Orders are Orders
Posted on Thu Jun 27th, 2019 @ 11:26pm by Captain Kayla Desai-Scott & Lieutenant Akaria Okan & Lieutenant Commander Zar & Lieutenant Alexander Mitchell & Lieutenant JG Eza Bergen PhD & Major Brynhild Keil
Episode 7: Into The Fire
Timeline: Day 146 at 2150
Major Keil walked into the observation lounge on the Nogura, noticing she was one of the first ones there.
That was probably because she'd bypassed the stop at sickbay like it had been "strongly advised" she do, but there hadn't been time. As soon as all her birds and pilots that had survived had touched deckplates, she'd had to check in and check over. There were numbers to be counted, and she had worse-injured pilots to make sure got medical attention. She knew that medical staff had to be overrun after a battle like that, so she wasn't going to bother them with something superficial.
Of course, the end result of this was the Roehampton's CAG--former CAG?--showing up when called with a blossoming bruise around one eye, a cut to match, and blood half-smeared from where she'd used her sleeve to wipe it off. She was also limping, which was noticeably on the frame of a woman her height.
For the moment, she limped herself to a wall she could lean against. She didn't want to sit, just yet, feeling the adrenaline from the battle still pulling half her muscles taut while containing her grief and emotions pulled on the other half. Like a wire pulled tight and ready to snap, she folded her arms across her chest, leaned her side against the wall, and waited for whoever else would be showing up...
Lieutenant Akaria Okan was the first of the Nogura natives to arrive in the briefing room, her grey skin feeling clammy whilst beads of perspiration formed on her brow. She didn't feel great, and would have been surprised if anyone did, but still she did her duty. Upon noticing the unfamiliar face in the room, she stopped in her tracks and zipped up the gold undershirt of her uniform and fixed the collar so she looked as presentable as possible, despite the dirt and grime that accumulated on her uniform during the battle. "Hi..." was all she could muster as she took a seat at the table.
Brynna watched the other woman walk in. She didn't know her so could guess she wasn't also from the Roehampton. The major nodded slightly in return, although the gesture made her head hurt. "Hello," she greeted, though she didn't exactly feel in the mood for small-talk.
The tactical chief pulled out the chair next to her and gestured to her apparently new colleague and shipmate. "We're all in this together and it's been a pretty crap day," she remarked, with the most polite smile she could muster.
With a snort, Brynna said, "Yeah, you could say it has." She eyed the chair for a moment, but being a reserved-but-not-really-mean woman, she moved forward and sat down. She tried to return the smile, but it probably fell short.
"Major Brynhild Keil," she introduced herself after lowering her long frame into the seat with a grimace.
"Akaria Okan," the Cardassian nodded with the best smile she could muster.
The CAG-turned-whatever she was now smiled weakly. "I wish I could say it was a pleasure, but nothing about this is, eh?"
Eza entered the observation lounge and nodded to those present. An updated causality report in one hand, the only working hand he had the moment he had broken his arm during the whole ordeal and despite the bone being repaired the Doc had ordered him to wear a sling and not use it for at least a few days.
Alexander wasn't entirely certain why he'd been summoned to the Observation Lounge. On the Roehampton he was Chief Flight Operations Officer but on the Nogura he had no position. He entered to find several people already gathered, recognising only Major Keil from the Roe. He acknowledged everyone with a nod and slipped into an open seat.
Zar had been working long hours supervising what repairs could be completed, granted since the Nogura's chief engineer had been killed along with other members of the engineering crew, he had been over seeing that department; and placed Lieutenant Udi in charge of the ship's operations. As he walked into the lounge he spotted a couple of the Nogura's crew and a few officers from what appeared to be from the Roehampton's crew as well. As he took a seat near the head of the table he let out a quick sigh and rubbed his forehead and then the bridge of his nose, trying to release not only built up stress but his apparent tiredness as well.
Conversations continued for several minutes until, in the midst of the conversations, interrupting the fevered speculation, the doors to the observation lounge once again opened to reveal Captain Desai-Scott, who promptly made her way inside and gestured for everyone to take a seat. Instead of making a beeline for a seat around the crowded table, the Captain stopped in front of the wall mounted display console and tapped away, bringing up a display, live from Stellar Cartography. On the display, the entire Federation was displayed, with many red, flashing signals. When she eventually turned back to the staff, she took a deep breath.
"I've just been in contact with Starfleet Command," she scoffed and shook her head, "not quite true. I've been in contact with Rear Admiral Azulas, the most senior officer able to take my call," she started as she rubbed her right temple. "According to the Admiral, the Borg have launched a massive offensive against dozens of targets across Federation space in the last few hours. What we encountered in the Wastelands was one of many smaller engagements." Tapping on the screen again, a list of seven systems came up for all to see. "Benzar, Cor Caroli, Mab-bu, Memory Alpha, Orion, Qualor, Vega. All these systems have fallen in the last three hours and this...," she changed the star chart again to show just those seven systems, "...is why."
"They've got us surrounded, the major core systems." Eza said staring at the screen.
Just like everyone else, Keil stared at the screen. "By the gods," she murmured to herself. That...was not the sort of battle map one wanted to see.
Xander's stomach dropped at the sight of the star chart on the screen. What he was seeing couldn't be right.
"It is a significant shift in tactics from our enemy," the Captain continued. "We know what we have seen aboard our vessels. No attempts to assimilate the ships, just a strong desire to keep the conduit open and destroy us in the process. We've never engaged them in such large numbers, and we have never faced such an assault deep at the heart of our own space."
"With the core territories cut off from the rest of the Federation, it will make any sort of co-ordinated response almost impossible," the Captain smiled as she stood behind Lieutenant Mitchell, using the back of his chair for support as she looked around the room. "Almost impossible. Starfleet Command are ordering all available assets in the southern territories to assemble in orbit of Ba'ku, deep inside the Briar Patch. It's believed we can assemble there without fear of any Borg reprisals due to the nature of the Patch. In forty-eight hours, all vessels assembled in the Patch will launch a counter offensive and will attempt to punch a hole all the way through to Earth. If there is a sign that they are moving against Earth sooner, we go sooner. It's as simple as that," she revealed, finally breaking for a while to let the assembled gathering of Nogura and Roehampton personnel come up with thoughts or questions.
"We won't be able to Slipstream in the patch, but given the damage we sustained I'm not sure we'd be able to right now anyway." Eza chimed in. "How many ships can we expect to make up the force?"
"One. Sixty. Two hundred," Desai-Scott shrugged. "It all depends on how many are in a position to answer the call."
"If I may?" Keil said, face grave as she leaned forward on the table slightly. "Of the three squadrons from the Roehampton, we now have a handful on board the Nogura. Eight birds will be spaceworthy with some repairs. Three are scrap now. I have ten pilots alive, including myself, who'll be able to fly with a few repairs of their own."
Zar was looking at the out look of the map on display, the Borg did create an established defensive line around the core worlds of the Federation; granted things looked bleak but this suggested plan of action from Starfleet Command in his mind was suicide. A counter attack that could end up in failure, and there would be resources that would be lost behind it. "There are too many variables that could go wrong with a counter attack of this size, and from what we have witnessed the Borg have changed tactics which makes them more dangerous than before," Zar stated as he looked at the map. "If that's the case then we need to do the unpredictable, that is finding first those warp conduits and destroying them; if we do not destroy them they can continue to pour in massive amounts of ships. If we can cut off their supply lines to the Delta Quadrant then we will have them cornered, they may be able to repair their ships; but they do not have the resources to build them. Any word from the Klingons or the Romulans, or any other Alpha Quadrant power?"
"This is not the Dominion War," Kayla declared sternly, "we are fighting an enemy that doesn't depend on supply lines, doesn't even need transwarp conduits to get their ships here unless they plan to do so in larger numbers. There is no way we can destroy every single conduit that forms. The Borg are here, and the only way we can defeat them is to liberate the core worlds, regroup with the fleets in that area and go on an offensive the scale we have never conducted before," the Captain dictated. "Morale is already at rock bottom. If Earth falls, you can bet your asses we will never recover and the Federation as we know it, will be finished. Ask any of the El-Aurian's aboard. They are scattered, no longer a race. That's what we will be. We'll no longer be the United Federation of Planets... god knows what we'll be, but it wont be that..." she trailed off as she climbed down off her high horse for a moment. "And no, we've heard nothing from anyone outside of our borders, but according to Azulas, there are rumours the Borg have struck the Klingon's too. If that's true, we can probably assume the same of Cardassia, the Romulans, and anyone else we might turn to for help."
Zar wanted to call the captain out about Earth being the key to the Federation, considering just because one major planet or system falls does not destroy the entire Federation; however he would remain silent on that matter. "So attacking an enemy of brute strength and resources head on is the way to achieve victory? There has to be alternative strategies captain, simply launching a massive counter strike would do nothing but lose us additional resources and men and women."
"What would you have us do Commander? Skulk and hide as we seek out these transwarp conduits and try to close them? Do you see anymore starships lying around for us to destroy? I sure as hell don't," Kayla argued, rather forcefully. "This is war! Our very way of life has been targeted, purposefully, by an enemy intent on wiping us out. We have all lost close friends today and no one here wants to lose anyone else, so, if you don't think a counter-offensive is a good idea, by all means, present us with an alternative. But don't just sit there and suppose there are alternatives. Give me some! Anyone!"
"What about a way to try to disrupt their link to the collective and each other. If we could block that and prevent them from communicating we might have an advantage." Eza offered. "Starfleet has had some luck getting into the Borg command network, in the attack on Sector 001 the Enterprise was able to trigger the regeneration command and make the cube go dormant."
Alexander had been sitting quietly, listening to everything being said. "The Borg's ability to adapt is phenomenal," He pointed out needlessly, finally breaking his silence. "At best that would buy us time, probably minutes, and then we'd be right back where we are now." He paused for a moment before dryly adding, "Unless, of course, we can adapt faster than the Borg can."
"Not to mention, when the Enterprise crew were able to do that they had the insider knowledge of Picard and the incredible talents of the Android Data and last I looked," the Captain allowed a brief smirk to come across her face for a split second, "...none of you were super human machines capable of trillions of calculations a minute. We don't need to make a decision now," she paused, looking around the room as her voice lowered and she started to show some signs of compassion for the first time this meeting, "we're not due to arrive at the Briar Patch for several hours. Anyone not on emergency repairs to the engines or defensive systems needs to get some rest. In the meantime, if you come up with any ideas, feel free to bring them to me or Commander Zar and we'll discuss them before making a decision."
"There is another option that is open to us, however that can only be discussed between the two of us Captain. Yet what I do know is that yes this isn't the Dominion War and going on the offensive is not going to help anything. We need to think defensively for the time being; we need to adopt a defensive offensive plan, we draw the Borg into attacking us but in territory and conditions where we have an upper hand. For instance the Briar Patch is an excellent place to have a defensive battle to where we can defeat the Borg."
"The Borg may have changed tactics but they are not stupid," Kayla shook her head, "their ships would never survive the distortions in places like the Briar Patch or the Badlands. No, for now, we proceed with our orders."
"I know the Borg aren't stupid, however they are not blind to making mistakes; because they are of one mind means they are more capable of making said mistakes. It has to be something that we can use to bait them, and I have a very tempting bait but like I said captain; this has to be discussed in private."
"I don't keep things from my people Mister Zar," Kayla frowned at the Bolian, finding herself increasingly frustrated with the senior most member of the Nogura crew. "If you have a plan, share it here. I like all of my staff to have an input."
"Never mind captain, I'll speak to you about it later; right now let us focus on repairing the Nogura," replied Zar as he wished the captain showed more discretion in regards to private matters, the one thing he knew Captain Drayton would take under advisement.
"Anyone else?" the Captain queried, her hands on her hips as she looked around the room.
"I know it's a bit morbid but I'd like to search the debris from our lost ships. There may be components of use, with a Borg conflict it might be awhile before we can dry dock for proper repairs." Bergen said, "Perhaps our fighters could assist in the search once the Major clears her pilots and fighters."
"You have until repairs are complete," the Captain nodded.
"Thank you," Bergen replied turning his attention to his PADD and already beginning a list of priority salvage if they could find it.
After a few moments of silence, the Captain gave a nod. "Time to get to work everyone. Dismissed."
Zar waited for the entire room to clear out before he walked over to the captain "If I may have a moment their might be an option that hasn't been considered before that might want to be looked into as a last minutes option."
Kayla looked at the Bolian in utter silence before pulling out a vacant chair and staring at him. If he had something to say, he needed to make it quick. She had little time for him.
"I'll be quick," he said as he looked at her with his piercing blue eyes. He did not care for her, and she knew it; but at the end of the day she had no choice but to respect him. "As a last resort, we should consider the Omega directive; that's something we don't have to talk about now, but if we aren't able to hold the line and just one of the founding worlds falls. Then we might want to consider launching an attack against them with Omega, its just something to consider."
Kayla rose to her feet and shook her head with a smirk. “You really have no understanding of Federation rules, do you?” and with that, the Captain left the observation lounge in disgust at the suggestion from her acting executive officer.
Zar glanced at her back with his piercing eyes, a good captain would always have a back up plan incase things became even more dire; however he would allow her own folly and pride to consume her and watch her spiralling downfall....