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Part of USS Resolute: The masks we wear and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

20 – On your marks

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“Bring us around,” Raan ordered, his expression set as he focused on the main viewscreen of the bridge. “Have we picked up Harrow’s signature yet?”

“Confirmed. Harrow is definitely on the surface,” came the call back. Callahan. Raan had noted her unflappable and professional manner. “He appears to be in a partially ruined complex on the northern hemisphere. All the life signs on the planet are concentrated in this area.”

The view screen changed to show a schematic of the building she was referring to, with blue dots for lifesigns showing on all floors.

“Red for Devore, I assume?” he asked, looking over his shoulder at her.

She nodded. “Yes sir, although they appear to be concentrated in this area here.”

Moving her hands, she changed the view the bridge crew saw. The Devore personnel were all crowded into one area, on one of the lower floors. There were no blue dots near them.

“I’d like to think that means Harrow has them contained,” Raan commented. “But hope for the best, expect the worse. Mason to Bennett, are you ready for go?”

Bennett’s gruff voice replied almost immediately. “Locked and loaded, boss. What are you dropping us into?”

“We’re going to drop you on the second floor. I suspect Harrow and his forces are on four. But it looks like the Devore are marshalling a defense and possibly re-arming on sub-level one. Expect heavy resistance.”

“Awesome. I do like a bit of heavy resistance.” Bennett’s voice held the edge of a chuckle. “We’re ready to go on your mark.”

Raan nodded. “Happy hunting, Primus. Bring our people back.”

| Seconds later on the surface

Dayne Bennett rematerialised in a swirling spiral of blue. His rifle was up in his shoulder in an instant as he swept his assigned fire arc. It was second nature, his movements all down to muscle memory as he sighted through the scopes.

Nothing.

“Clear,” he said, voice loud enough to carry to the away team around him, the word echoed by the others. Halstein’s deep voice followed by Velor, then Micheals.

“Moving.” His voice was a gruff bark in the air, and as one, the away team moved like the well oiled machine they were. They should be, they’d trained often enough on the holodeck and off ship as much as the captain could arrange.

Happy hunting, Primus.

The words hung in Dayne’s mind as they moved, covering all the angles and working their way up to the level Harrow and the others should be on. It was a message from the captain, a reminder of the war they’d served in together.

Mason had been his commanding officer back then as well. Dayne hadn’t liked him much. He’d assumed the feted son of the planet’s premier would be a spoilt brat more interested in bling and braid rather than getting his hands dirty. Dayne hadn’t expected him to survive his first battle, much less turn out to be a decent soldier.

Happy hunting mean a wealth of things from ‘don’t die’ to ‘do what needs to be done’. It was responsibility and release all in one. Get the mission done, no questions asked.

“Keep it tight,” he ordered as they moved down darkened corridor after darkened corridor.

It was cold and dank, some of the flooring beneath their feet slippery. In places dark stains spread out from closed door ways. Dayne had seen enough combat to know what blood and death looked and smelled like. So did the team with him, their silence becoming more and more weighed as they moved forward, overlapping each other to take cover and provide it as their team members moved.

Dayne’s breath rasped in his ears, all his senses on alert for any movement. When it came it was a surprise and a relief all at once. Movement ahead resolved into a small unit of armed Devore, and a second later the narrow corridor erupted into a vicious firefight.

| Meanwhile, also on the surface.

“The cavalry has arrived,” Allen commented, his eyes still strange, a second before the sound of combat filtered up from a lower floor. “Bennett and his team are here. They’re fighting a unit of Devore two floors below us.”

Harrow nodded, and looked around the large group they’d already managed to liberate. How he and Allen were so calm, Talia didn’t know. Her heart was pounding like a drum, and she was sure everyone near her could hear it.

“Okay,” Harrow’s voice carried across the small hall they’d gathered in. They’d found whoever they could who was still alive. Most weren’t. The memory of walking into some of those cells would haunt her forever.

“We have help incoming,” Harrow continued. “But we’re going to need to secure this location. Protect ourselves until they get here. So we’re going to sort ourselves into three groups. Anyone combat capable and willing join me. Anyone with technical abilities or prefer to help build defenses with Allen. Wounded, you’re with Armstrong. Let’s move people!”

 

Comments

  • I loved the way we really seeped into Dayne's perspective on this one. My attention is always rapt by his interpretation of events and especially his insights into the captain. "Bling and braid" is such a telling turn of phrase and "I do like a bit of heavy resistance" simply sounds fun to say. Throughout the unpacking of "Happy hunting, Primus" was really hypnotic, such a steady drumbeat of character revelation. Such a fun post!

    December 23, 2022