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Comm Strike Resolution

Posted on Mon Oct 3rd, 2022 @ 5:38pm by Lieutenant Cor Cordale

Mission: The Koldaran Encounter
Location: Planetside

The ridgeline over-looking the site was - should have been, Henry corrected himself - far enough away to witness the detonation, but not get caught by the blast. Once inside the encampment, it had been a simple task to tag the emitters, and get out of harms way.

“Castle to Pennsylvania.” He said, tapping his commbadge.

“We’re getting incoming communications from the surface,” the call came from somewhere else on the bridge but Addie didn’t look up. Instead her focus remained solely on the console in front of her. “Fire, fire, fire, shoot.. Come on, it shouldn’t be this hard!”

It was only when the voice from the surface spoke that Addie looked up, surprise registering on her face. “Henry? I mean… Lieutenant Castle?”

"Yup. Good to hear your voice, Addie. Listen, we don't have a whole lot of time. Tell your tactical officer to tie the targeting sensors into the pod. It'll boost accuracy - we got a collection of ground targets to eliminate."

Addie’s eyebrow arched as her gaze turned back to the console. “We’re kind of in the middle of something here!” she countered. “And the tactical officer is in sickbay and none of these damned buttons say shoot!”

There was another explosion, the sound of which drowned out the red alert klaxons in the background. The Andorian officer at the helm cursed as the ship rocked violently.
“Many more of those hits and shields are going to fail!” the Andorian called out again. “We need to fire back!”

“I would if I knew how!” Addie countered, her frustration evident in her voice.

There was a pause on the comm, that lasted for two, maybe three seconds. Long enough to be noticed. "Okay." Castle's voice was calm, and even. "Addie, listen to me. You know stress doesn't make for good judgement. Take a breath. Take a second one. You have time to think. Get the Penn making evasive manoeuvres. Do not stick to one pattern. Keep changing it up." The voice was confident now, the voice of command. "That will give you a few seconds to think. Use it. You should have a list of targets, and a list of which sensors to use. External Sensor Pod. They will then give you a much greater list of targets." Henry paused, letting Addie follow. "Focus on the planet. You'll find a cluster of Communications Signal Emitters - CSE's - in a packed group. That's your selection. Pick the weapons option - photon torpedo. Which the target and weapon selected, the fire option should come up. Blow those targets to hell, that's an order."

Addie tried to follow along as he explained each step to her. "I think it's locked onto a target... maybe..." she bit her bottom lip. "What if I have the wrong target?" she suddenly asked as her fingers hovered over the flashing light on the console that was indicating that the weapons were ready to fire.

"I believe in you. Fire." The voice carried the smile on the man's lips.

There was another loud explosion behind her and Addie glanced back, noting the concerned expression on Vespa's face. Looking back at the console, she swallowed hard and hit the console, closing her eyes as her hand made contact with the cold glass panel.

Before Addie could respond again the ship lurched violently again, knocking her from her seat.

"Forward shields are failing!" The voice echoed across the bridge.

Addie screamed as she hit the deck hard, a searing pain tearing through her wrist and shoulder, her scream drowned out by another explosion on the bridge.

Then it happened.

KABOOOOM!

The light show in the sky above them was drowned out by an explosion easily visible from the surface. The kind of explosion that could only have come from the destruction of a large, highly powered object, like a starship.

Henry’s expression turned to shock, as he saw the detonation in orbit. “Oh… God. Someone tell me that wasn’t… the Penn.” He almost said ‘Addie.’

Camille was at Henry’s side by this point, staring up in equal shock and horror.

Cordale went quiet as the light from the explosion illuminated the heaves. Nothing quite bloomed like that. Nothing unless it was a starship. The Engineer in Cor started to wrack his brain. Was that a Federation warp core pop? Was that a pop he didn’t recognize? “T… this is Thux One.” he said finally, his voice shaky and broken. He pulled himself together for the sake of the team, for the sake of the mission. Somewhere, there was an officer giving one of those stupid ‘Can’t let THEIR sacrifice be in vain’ speeches. Somewhere, this catastrophe was being used to rally the troops. Somewhere, this was the turning point.

“... we gotta finish this. For them.” if it was them, Cor. The Thux didn’t want to focus on the numbers. DIdn’t want to focus on the percentages and probabilities. Simple and direct was needed right now, and as much as it damned him to Hell to even think it…

Assume it was the Pennsylvania, until Source proved otherwise.

“W… we do this for them. For the Penn.” Source damned it sounded like a rally cry. Thousands of hands lost, and all it became was three words. “Take ‘em down.” It was so simple now, to slip into the mindset of Us vs Them. Hero vs Villain.

The Koldaran just made the biggest mistake of their lives. They cemented themselves in Cor’s heart, as the enemy.

The plan had relied on the Pennsylvania. Their beacons were programmed to tie directly into the Penn’s targeting system, an obvious bright light to draw their torpedoes. With the ship potentially gone, Camille wondered what the next step was.

“Okay,” she finally said aloud, breaking the silence in the infiltration team, and keeping the comm link open so Cordale could hear. “Henry, Evelyn, Cor, Veznia. The transmitters are in place. We have to assume the Penn can’t finish their part of the plan, at least not right now. What are our options?” She didn’t know any of them particularly well, but she’d served on the bridge with Castle and while he was the team lead, it seemed smart for her to step up and let the engineers engineer. Distract them, especially him, from the potential loss.

Henry’s eyes were locked on the point in the sky that had been a catastrophic detonation. His plan. His order. He had distracted the Bridge crew in a critical moment. The silence in his mind was almost deafening. Anything around was replaced by a high pitched sound that blotted out everything. Henry Castle stood, mouth agape. Staring. Had he just turned the best thing in this wretched Quadrant into space dust? The question rattled around his mind.

He was held, paralysed by shock. His brain simply… empty. Except for pain. The only thing that kept him standing was the fact that sitting required action. His brain could not act. Could not process. Addie was gone. The pain of that fact cut deep. That it was his doing cut deeper still.

Sympathy ran through Evelyn’s heart as she saw the Chief engineer of the former Pennsylvania just stop. She tried to imagine how she’d react if it had been Astraea instead, but couldn’t fathom that scenario. ‘May it never happen.’ She thought to herself, ‘Won’t happen unless she takes me with her, I’m not leaving that ship unless boots first or I get reassigned.’ She took a deep breath and looked around while clearing her mind of the possibility, then looked more to her left as a voice seemingly in the back of her brain thought ‘ground attack mode’ “Can we use the transmitters as an IFF code?”

“That could work, we’d need to tap into their comm frequencies to know where their bands are.” Cordale, or Thux One as he dubbed himself, spoke up on the chatter. It wouldn’t be that hard, really. Considering all the scatter chatter that was already going up and about it was actually harder to find a frequency they WEREN’T spamming. “Okay, set a badge for six nine four point three at fifty nine.” the engineer spoke up. “Okay. to do that, open the little box and…”

“I know.” Henry called back, maybe a little snappy, but considering what he just saw he’d be forgiven. A few adjustments and the comm was set, “Okay, now what?”

“Set it and forget it. Oh, and tap it to make a call.” Cor pointed out. “Then run like hell.”

The instructions were easy enough. Dangerously simple really. Point and click and end a regime. Once the commbadge was set and tapped, the chirp that it made sounded different. Sounded hollow. Sounded sinister. It also didn’t stop chirping. As the team exfiltrated their position with haste, it wasn’t long before something entered the upper atmosphere with the intent on bypassing the lower atmosphere to vacation at sea level. Twenty seconds to impact, and the Koldaran forces stationed at the target site realized there was an issue. They picked up their comm units and called in for an emergency detonation of the incoming munition, but by the time the call went through, the munition had made impact.

The entire communication turret, and a good chunk of the landscape around it, went up in a flash and a catastrophic detonation. The flash along dazzled Koldaran forces that were looking near the event. Curiosity at the event turned into weakness, vulnerability, and shock. How did an invasion sanctioned by the Admiralty themselves go so sideways? It must have been them, and their failure. The Admiralty didn’t fail.

“This is Thux One. Reporting solid detonation and destruction of the target site. No sign of K..” he paused, and shook his head.

“No sign of the enemy.”

“That’s for the Penn,” whispered Camille, watching the conflagration from a distance. The job done though, she hung her head to mentally recite a silent prayer for her fallen comrades.

=================

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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