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Posted on Thu May 5th, 2022 @ 1:00pm by Captain Abigail Laurens & Lieutenant Commander Evelyn Rozia & Lieutenant Commander Jason Myers & Lieutenant Commander William Rogers & Commander Ichiko Gail & Lieutenant Commander William Gunnison & Lieutenant Commander Calvin Morgan & Lieutenant Alexis Aenera & Lieutenant JG Tamarack & Ensign Jaimie Nolan & Senior Chief Petty Officer Maria Vasquez & Chief Petty Officer Lisa Terrix & Ensign Elaine Goff & Lieutenant JG Alistair Fletcher

Mission: The Koldaran Encounter

Despite the fact that it had been about eighteen hours since the crew of the Astraea had first arrived on the surface, and despite the fact that they had already suffered casualties and fatalities, the lack of trust on the part of the Acehaya was still very obvious.

The large hall at the entry of the temple had been used as a staging ground for the crew. An antechamber off to one side had been set up as a makeshift medical facility, and there were other smaller rooms off the main hall that had been co-opted as required. While the Acehaya had been politely civil, they had shared food and supplies as directed by the Elder Clerics, the distrust of the 'off worlders' was apparent in the way they skirted to the shadows while carefully eyeing the strangers in their most sacred building.

The doors to the temple slammed open suddenly, a small group of crew half dragging, half hauling a lifeless body behind them. Abigail watched as more crew rushed forward, helping to lift the form and carry him toward the makeshift infirmary. Ensign Caeco. While Abigail didn't know him well, she knew who he was.

Calvin quickly took over with several Acehaya and Starfleet Medical staff. They stopped momentarily for two Doctors, Calvin and an Acehaya to discuss what was going on before they disappeared off into the infirmary.

Abigail turned toward Commander Gunnison. "What was the last ETA on our reinforcements?" she asked.

"Still about eight hours eight Ma'am," Will replied.

Turning toward Ichiko, Abigail nodded. "We need to find a better approach. We're barely holding ground and we can't keep just putting lives in front of them," she said quietly.

Ichiko had on a thoughtful face as she considered. "Right now everything the Astraea has is occupying everything the Koldaran have. If we call down air support Koldaran fighters will follow suit. Right now the Koldaran are confident enough that they aren't calling in for orbital strikes." she offered. "Okay, so... Gather up a few small teams. Demolition specialists, combat experts, you know the type. I want to put together two, maybe three small strike teams to take the fight to the Koldaran, behind the lines they have here. Knock out their comm turrets, cut their supply lines, maybe mine any possible landing sites for more troops. We take the pressure off here by moving it to a number of other hot spots. Keep them guessing."

"If we knock out their comm turret then that'll hurt the troops here. Without a line back to the officers in orbit, they'll have to do the one thing they really can't do to well." A pause, "Think."

"If we can get me near their comms, I can bring them down." Evelyn inserted herself into the thought process, "I may not be a demolitions expert, but Jidressa had training on targeting things like that, so I know where the weak spots are going to be." She shrugged.

Abigail shook her head. "We can make plans but I'm not confident sending teams out until our reinforcements arrive. We're having enough trouble holding ground as it is, especially with the Acaheya still trying to defend themselves." She sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. It had been eighteen hours, give or take, and already the sounds of war had become like a constant background noise. "Commander Gunnison, contact Astraea and confirm an ETA for our reinforcements," she ordered. "As soon as they're here I want to hit the ground running. If we have everything planned we can get teams out to try and level the field."

Will nodded before moving aside to have as much quiet on his end as could be expected. Tapping his comm badge, he contacted the Astraea. "What's the ETA on the other Starfleet vessels?"

"ETA 7 hours 45 minutes," came the report.

"Understood. Let us know when they're here. Captain wants to be able to hit the ground running upon their arrival."

"Acknowledged," came the reply.

Ending the conversation, Will moved over to Captain Laurens and gave her the report, while at the same time signalling a passing crewman to hand her a flask of water.

A pause, a sharp intake of breath. Someone handed her a flask of water that Abigail accepted gratefully, taking a sip before she spoke again. "Commander Gail, I want you to work with Astraea, find key locations we can attack, I'll trust your recommendations on those."

"Commander Myers, Commander Rogers, Commander Rozia check our ammunition supplies. See if we need anything else sent down from the ship that might be beneficial for these kinds of ground attacks," Abigail gave the orders. "Anyone who hasn't yet, try to get some rest."

"Copy that." Sleep was a distant consideration for Rogers. "If we have a spare earth mover they could send that down."

Calvin worked his way over to the other senior officers, waiting for silence to bring updates. "We've made some progress with the Acehaya. Apparently our common issue of injured has alleviated some barriers. However we keep bonding at this rate," Calvin paused, dropping the sentence. He couldn't think of a witty statement to blend with the darkness. "I'll have our casualty count updated at the bottom of the hour, and whatever Acehaya I know of."

"I'll handle the ammunition check." Evelyn nodded. She was tired, there was no doubt about it, but being Joined had some perks to the Host, one being higher stamina and less of a need for as much sleep. "Jason, Buck, if you want to get a few hours of bunk time, I'm good for a while."

"As long as the captain is okay with it." Buck replied. "There won't be much rack time once the Koldarans work out where we've hold up."

"Maybe a bit of time. But don't hesitate to reach out of you need." Jason replied.

Abigail glanced at Buck and nodded. "Get some rest while you can. We'll hold the fort here. That goes for everyone! Rest while you can. As soon as our reinforcements arrive, the hard work begins!"

Ichiko gave a nod, set her phaser down, and curled up essentially on the spot. Away from the foot traffic, out of direct lines of movement and the avenues of soldiers that they were. She closed her eyes, and tried her best to push out the sounds of distant weapons fire, and the sounds of weapons fire from her memories of Koldaran conflict. Her rest would be fitful, twitchy, and hardly what one could call 'good sleep' but, it was time off to just process the last few hours.

The distant, distinct sounds of Koldaran weaponry filled the silence between moments. Everyone knew the sound of a Klingon disruptor, or a Romulan disruptor, a Jem'Hadar rifle, or the ever present Federation phaser. These disruptor bolts were different, they had a weird hum to them. A 'whoop' noise, really. Irritating to the ear, and unmistakable once you had one pointed at you.

The once grand and beautiful civilization surrounding the Federation officers had turned into a crumbling hellish warzone. This was the crux of the invasion. Break the native population here, and this planet would fall. Fall to the Koldaran Armada. Another world to convert from useless dry dirt and grass to a glorious bog, proper terrain for the next generation of Koldaran strong. Glory to the Admiralty, they'd say, their first words with half-formed mouths. An oath they take at birth, before they even learn their own names.

Ichiko twitched a little in her restless snooze. Another memory she couldn't outrun. Another time, another place...


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