“Grab a drink, people, and take a seat,” Raan ordered as the small group entered the briefing room, waving toward the replicator set in the corner. He was glad of the addition. He’d been in meetings that had gone on for days. The only thing that had kept him going was coffee strong enough to jumpstart a warp engine.
His own mug in hand, he settled down at the head of the table, the chair creaking a little as he leaned back. His officers dutifully headed for the replicator, Bennett there first. Raan already knew what his drink of choice would be. Coffee as strong as his, laden with enough sugar and cream that it could be considered more a dessert than a drink. It was a habit that ensured the engineer rattled between borderline caffeine overdose and a permanent sugar rush.
Harrow was next. The guy drank tea. Not earl-grey as some human’s Raan had observed did, but green tea. His build and the way he carried himself would indicate he spent most of his off duty time in the gym but Raan had yet to see him there, or indeed do any form of exercise. He played poker to professional level and organized the poker evenings where Raan regularly lost. He still hadn’t worked Harrow out.
Burton was about to step forward when the door opened and the last of their number, Aida Micheals, the ship’s Chief Medical Officer, joined them. Burton stepped back from the replicator with a small gesture. The tall, rangy doctor fixed him with a look that could have eviscerated entire battalions in battle then shrugged and grabbed her own drink (Kraav, some kind of drink from her homeworld apparently. Raan was convinced it was actually engine degreaser).
He kept his amusement at the interplay between the two officers to himself. Burton was the perfect gentleman which Micheals wouldn’t even notice, and if she did, it would just get another shrug then ignored. Hard as nails didn’t cover it when it came to Aida Micheals.
“Gentleman and lady,” he inclined his head to Micheals. “Thank you for joining me.”
“Better be good,” Micheals retorted. “I’m supposed to be watching our telepaths to ensure they don’t go loco on us, remember?”
“Indeed,” Raan replied. “However, we’ve just had a development. During an interaction with a local mining ship, their reactions when it came to the mere mention of telepathic crew was concerning.”
Micheal’s brow lifted. “Concerning in what way?”
“Their ship jumped off an asteroid and tried to attack us,” Dayne broke in. “Damnedest thing. I’d like to get my hands on that propulsion system and space frame. Never seen anything move like that before.”
“Not what we’re here to discuss,” Raan cut him off. “The clock is ticking people, and we won’t have much time to get plans into motion.”
“Plans?” Burton leaned forward in his seat. Along with Harrow, Burton was one Raan hadn’t fully worked out yet. “What plans?”
“We have telepathic crew,” Raan lifted his mug, taking a sip. “Which means we’re going to run into problems when the Devore Imperium catch up with us. We need a plan to head that off at the pass.”
Bennett chuckled. “I assume we’re not going to try and stay out of their way then?”
A wry smile crossed Raan’s lips. “Of course, but there’s only so much running we can do. And we’re a small ship. If they come for us with one of those big destroyers they have, we’re going to run into trouble. So… we’re going to work on solutions. And I have a plan…”
Putting his mug down, he leaned forward, outlining his plan of action to the small group in the room. A group that included three veterans of nasty as hell wars, one con-artist, and a former spy. Their expressions went from cautious interest, right through to smiles and one very sadist grin.
Finally Raan sat back, his now cold mug of coffee in his big hand. It wasn’t a starfleet plan, that was for sure. Hell, it wasn’t even a sane plan and Burton looked vaguely horrified, especially when Bennett cracked his knuckles, the sound like gunshots in the silence of the room.
It wasn’t a plan he would have gone for in normal times, but he had to assume that the Devore Imperium had already captured at least some starfleet personnel, which meant they would be expecting a certain set of responses from the Resolute.
Which they would absolutely get.
But that wouldn’t be all they would get. Not by a long shot…