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Strike Two - Attack on the Comms

Posted on Sun Aug 21st, 2022 @ 1:31pm by Fleet Captain Abigail Laurens & Lieutenant Cor Cordale
Edited on on Sun Aug 21st, 2022 @ 1:32pm

Mission: The Koldaran Encounter
Location: Odraclite

One of the small staging areas had a small, coffee table-sized display screen. It had a group of the Engineers a couple of hours to put the thing together, and it was definitely a help in planning certain operations. Like the one being undertaken.

Henry Castle, Chief Engineer of the Pennsylvania stood regarding the top of the display, which showed a topographic map of the area, courtesy of the ship's in orbit.

He looked up at the assembled team. "We're gonna blow up some comm relays." He announced. "With a starship." The grin couldn't be suppressed. This was going to be fun.

The grin was infectious, and spread to Camille Lévesque, Pennsylvania’s Chief Science Officer, next. “Très cool,” she said. “I like it already. Even without details.”

“Gotta admit, I love when a plan comes together.” the blue-furred engineer, Cordale, mentioned. It was so weird to look at him among all this setup. The display, the emitter, everything seemed so cobbled together… and so did he.

Solid frame, cobalt-blue fur, icy blue eyes, the engineer looked like he was dunked in the blue dye a few times then went back for seconds. The only thing that seemed really out of place on him was his entire left arm.

It was an ancient prosthetic, a limb of durasteel plates and straight lines and boxy angles, ending in an industrial manipulator of two fingers and a thumb. The shoulder of this museum-level relic tucked under the shoulder of his uniform but the bulk of it seemed to show that it extended for a little while under his shoulder before his living tissue resumed the operation. A solid frame, a hard working frame.

“And taking out this comm array is gonna…. Discombobulate ‘em? Throw off their orders? Source, that’s gotta be weird. Having all that beamed right into your head.” the Thux examined a helmet they salvaged, “I don’t suppose these things come in blue?” he joked.

“I’d hardly think so.” Evelyn said with a slight frown, “Though I’ll say this, you wouldn’t catch me dead wearing one of those. I know they’ve been cleaned out, but I just can’t imagine the smell.” But she dutifully returned her attention to the holo projection, “My only fear is that by using a starship to do the actual booms, it’s going to bring a resumption to the Fleet action. My poor Astraea is up there without me right now and I swear if someone dings her up, they’ll answer to me!”

“Ain’t nothing we got planned that ain’t gonna come bite us in the tail when it’s done.” Cordale retorted. “Especially an orbital strike. I’d think we should worry more about any of their ordinance pointed down more than out. The Astraea’s a good little ship, built to take a hit from another ship. Me? I’d rather not.”

Henry held up a little piece of tech, about the size of a matchbox. “I had a few signal emitters sent down with the supplies. Granted, they are not powerful enough to pin-point with accuracy from orbit. The plan is - on paper - simple. We attach one of these to each of the towers in this cluster." His finger traced a circle on the map. "The tower should boost the signal enough for a ship in orbit to target. The Pennsylvania has the sensor pod attached, it has the imaging resolution to tie weapons control into a near perfect lock." The grin on his fell slightly. "We just need to make damn sure we are well enough away from the site when they fire. I haven't been able to fully computate a blast radius. Lévesque?"

Camille nodded. “It will work. The Pennsylvania’s sensor pod has fantastic resolution. It can put torpedoes directly on the targets, assuming the signal is strong enough.” She held up another piece of armour. “We will need to get to the towers though. And I’m sorry Commander, I think that might mean at least some of us wear these.” She shrugged and gave a lopsided smile. “Just think of it as a learning experience!” She held the faceplate of the helmet to her face. It did indeed smell rank but it actually fit over her head nicely, spectacles and all.

Evelyn grimaced as she took a helmet for her own. They were right, this could literally be life or death if spotted, but she did not have to like it at all. She forced a smile on her face as she did what every other senior officer would do in her own situation: Suck it up and deal with it. As she held her gorge in from the smell, she thought of what Jidressa would do… She was the fighter pilot former life and she’d had to do things she didn’t want to do, too. Then she reached for one of the upper armour pieces, “Well, in for a deci-cred, in for a credit.”

Veznia hurried towards the team, having just received orders to accompany them. “I’m here, I’m here.” Her words were breathy as she tried to inhale after running. “Lieutenant Veznia. Medic… well kinda.”

“How are you ‘Kinda’ a medic?” Cordale, the cobalt-blue weasel with that ancient prosthetic limb asked.

“Rather interested in that, myself.” Henry added, with a raised eyebrow at the Lieutenant. “Medic doesn’t feel like something that has a scale… you either know how to be one… or not.”
Blushing and puffing her face slightly, Veznia searched for the words. “I’m a Counsellor.” She declared. “Strictly speaking, I did pass my Field Medic certification.”her face stretched into the widest smile she could muster, in the hopes it might put them at ease.

It was easy to tell when the Thux let his emotions get the better of him. Didn’t need an empath, just someone who could decipher his Space Brooklyn accent. “Well dat’s great den. Got someone to talk to bout my feelings if I get sh-.” Cordale started, then stopped, closed his eyes and took a breath. Long, slow, and held it in place. He muttered something as he let that breath out. Counting. Sure, it was in Ferengi, but he was counting down from ten.

Trick is, ‘Cor’ was the Ferengi word for ‘One’.

He didn’t make it down that low, but after a few seconds he opened up those icy blues and tried again. “Sorry, you didn’t need dat and you’re tryin’ your best, like any of us. We’d be glad to have you, just in case.” he paused, “‘Sides, you’re a field medic, which is good, cause we’re gonna be in the field.”

Veznia didn’t have the heart to tell them that she was bumped up to a passing grade just so the instructor wouldn’t have to have her in his class again.

“Well, just remember. This part…” he patted his right arm gently, “... needs medical attention. THIS part…” he patted his prosthetic left arm, “... needs engineering maintenance. Don’t mix them up.” the Thux said with a smirk before turning his attention to the briefing. Best plan of action to avoid needing to test her medical skills, or lack thereof, was simple.

Don’t die.

“Or if you do confuse them, document it well,” quipped Camille, her voice muffled by the helmet that she was trying to get working. “A medic healing a prosthetic arm would be journal worthy. Can someone help me get this working? I can’t see what I’m doing.” She gestured to the helmet latch, having managed to get it on but not having thought through how to get it off, and hoped one of the engineers – of which there were plenty – would know what to do.

Cordale made his way over and gave it a gentle tap, “Cordale here, howaya. Hold still.” he started to examine the latch. “Okay, so, gonna check on the connector, I might accidentally touch your neck or chin. Is that cool?” he cleared before he’d start.

“Vas-y,” Camille replied. “It’s fine. Just try not to shock or pinch me.” It was her first real interaction with any Thux, and it was going well so far. With her face in an alien helmet though, ‘so far’ was the best she could muster until the mission was done. Still, une expérience fascinante, as she would say, experiencing the inside of Koldaran armour.

“Don’t worry, I’m well grounded.” he replied to comfort as he examined the clip. “Now how the hell does it, oh wait, it’s tension held. Just a little pinch here and…” the Thux took hold of each part of the clasp, one half in a grip of fuzzy digits. Warm and alive.

The other in a pair of manipulator digits of his prosthetic hand. Cold and lifeless. It moved with all the grace and precision of its living counterpart. He must have had that thing for a long, long time.

“There we go. It holds together by being tight, so you gotta pull the ends together a bit to undo the connection. Simple, once you know how it works. Guess the Officers don’t want the rank and file having to do too much thinking.

Knowing how it worked, the science officer re-latched the helmet and undid it herself a few times. She took the whole unit off and examined it closely before giving Cor a big smile and wink. “Merci, Monsieur Cordale. Good news, Henry! We know how to get their armour on and off now!”

Castle gave his team - that still felt weird. The trust that he had been given was starting to dawn on him. “All right. We got that figured.”

“If this keeps us all safe and in one piece, it’ll be worth it.” The voice came out of Evie’s helmet all croaked and with a tinge of… Something in her voice, “Sure I can see out of it, but dear gods the smell!” She shook her head, “Did anyone do a scan of the armor to see how effective it may be against their own weapons?”

“Not really. The chest piece seems pretty good against ballistics, so whoever it is out there with a slug thrower, feel free to piss them off. The helmet’s thinner than that piece, though, so try to get them to aim for the torso.” Cordale quipped. “Though honestly, I think the best we can hope for without a full trial run is, in the words of ancient wisdoms… try not to get shot at.” he remarked, now with a smirk. “Assume you’re good for one hit. After that, you’ve got a hole for the next shot.”

“What they’re throwing around has that same sizzle in the air as a disruptor, so no point in assuming it’s anything less. Also, I don’t think they’re setting their’s to Stun.” he pointed out. “So when you’re pretending to be them, keep that in mind.” he held one of their rifles in his hands. “I have a feeling we’ll be getting all the answers we want about ten minutes after we stopped needing them.”

“Usually when you get all the information.” Castle agreed. “Does anyone have any critical questions before we head off? I don’t want this going south over a misunderstanding.”

Cor raised his hand, “I don’t think these guys are dumb enough to overlook a tail. I can run interference, maybe try to jam any communications in the region that aren’t Starfleet bands. So that if they spot you and call for backup, that backup never comes.” the Thux offered.

Evelyn shook her head, “I think we should head out soonish… The faster we get done with the mission, the sooner we can be out of this armor.”

TAG all


The team, minus the resident Thux, were in disguise and on the move. As soon as they crossed over into Koldaran controlled territory the entire feel of the region just shifted. Bodies were left to lay where they fell, enemy and ally alike. Buildings were damaged, even destroyed, without regard. A thousand years of history, and it took twenty minutes to erase it. Koldaran soldiers moved in formation from one region to another, repositioned by an invisible hand that watched from above, like the player of a chess game controlling actual people.

Wearing the right armor, carrying the right weapons, the team didn’t have any issue getting into the region. Whoever was on patrol had more important things to worry about, or were just following whatever orders they were given. Internal troop positioning was thinner then on the front. Whoever was commanding these forces perhaps didn’t think that losing ground was an option. EIther that, or was saving security forces to bolster the more important targets. Who cared about a few streets or the ruins of a demolished city from a race about to be erased from history? The Koldaran certainly didn’t.

“This is Thux One.” Cordale came over comms quietly. “Standing by on trouble jammer.” the Thux had a deterrent on standby, a jammer that cut comms on several known frequencies but kept one or two emergency channels open. Trick is, how many uses of it would the team get? They were assured one use. Every use of the jammer after that was a gamble, a gamble of diminishing returns.

“Infiltration team, on course for target one,” said Camille. She was in the middle of the pack. She wasn’t an engineer, like Castle or Rozia, nor was she there for medical support, like Veznia. Her job was to keep them on track for their target and keep them in touch with Cordale back at camp. Her tricorder was in an armoured hand, the armour large enough to conceal the device if someone took a quick glance in their direction.

The armour did smell foul, as Rozia had suggested, but Camille barely noticed. She had never worked inside a mechanical suit like this before. She could hear the different moving parts whirring as she walked, keeping her eyes down on the tricorder while others took point and covered from behind.

Evelyn kept her front between Camille and the road ahead, trying to act like a soldier. Checkpoint in fifty meters.” She whispered through the comms, “How do I play this, just march on past, or all arrogant-like?” She was definitely not in her element here.

“Thux One here. Just play it cool. That long-earred commander from the Astraea pushed an update through the comms that should give the universal translator a primer on Koldaran.”

Fifty meters. Fourty. Thirty. The checkpoint was getting closer, and at this range the oppressive presence of the Koldaran troops could be felt. Troops walked through the streets on patrols. They controlled this region of the city. As a patrol passed by the Federation infiltrators, there was no acknowledgement. No nod, no salute. Nothing. Chatter over the comms started to pick up, but it was all local talk. Nothing on open air going back up to the support ships. Just calling out local holdouts, pockets of resistance, and then the inevitable all clear. The only exceptions where where the Koldaran encountered the Federation. That’s when the Universal Translator went to work.

Slang terms were used to describe the opposition. Terms like ‘Ears’, ‘Twins’, and then new ones like ‘Reds’, ‘Blues’, and even ‘Yellows’. Perhaps referencing the uniforms of the Federation members they encountered. Their speech pattern was very simple, they used as few words as possible… or maybe they didn’t really know that many words.

The checkpoint was getting closer, and closer. The group was easily in weapon range now, and yet there was nothing stopping their approach. Nothing barring their advance. Just a checkpoint, barely staffed, and a Koldaran in armor identical to the ones worn by the infiltration team. Waving them in. “Clear.” the translation of its gutteral voice came out over the helmets. “Pool.” it motioned in one direction. “Food.” it motioned in another. “Sleep.” in a third.

Henry breathed a silent sigh of relief. They had made it inside. Now for the hard part…


Lieutenant Henry Castle
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Pennsylvania

Lieutenant Commander Evelyn Rozia
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Astraea

Lieutenant Cor Cordale
Chief Engineering Officer
USS Wellington

Lieutenant JG Camille Lévesque PhD
Chief Science Officer
USS Pennsylvania

Lieutenant Veznia
Chief Counsellor
USS Astraea


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