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Part of USS Resolute: Chasing Shadows

3 – Best laid plans…

Resolute
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“Kovash, Bring us about and get us out of this asteroid belt,” Hale ordered, returning to the big chair.

This whole situation had the hairs on the back of his neck raised so much they were practically doing the polka. The attack had been… odd. And the last thing they needed was to get caught with their pants down by a larger pirate force. As heavily armed as it was, the Resolute was still only one ship.

“Put a schematic of the ship on the main screen,” he ordered. “Show me deck four and the shuttle bay.”

“Aye sir,” came the reply, and the view on the screen changed.

“Okay, put the schematic on the left,” he ordered. “And show me a live feed from where our teams are on the right.”

The screen changed again, and he narrowed his eyes. It was easy to see that the security team was holding their own at the bottleneck they’d created at the shuttle bay doors, especially since they were backed up by Mason and Bennett. Hale hadn’t seen either in action before, but the sight of them sprinting down the corridor fully armed was probably enough to make lesser men run for cover.

But what concerned him more was that those doors weren’t the only way out of the shuttle bay. Before he could open his mouth, though, the comm crackled to life.

“Mason to the bridge. These assholes aren’t giving over down here, but they’ve only moved half their force into place here. Just enough to keep us interested. Find out what the others are doing.”

“Aye, sir,” he replied, surprised by the captain’s perception. How could Mason tell what the hell was going on down there? Even from here it looked like chaos, so he couldn’t imagine what it was like for them down there.

“Looks like we have two teams, both trying to gain access to the maintenance shafts. They’re on automatic lockout because we beamed into the shuttle bay.” Hale motioned to the ensign on the security console to cycle through the feed from the shuttle bay. Just in time to see the pirates not engaged in a firefight with the Resolute’s security at the door hauling cutting equipment out of one of the pods.

“Okay boss, yeah… they’re cutting through the hatches now,” he replied, annoyance rolling through him. He should have seen it coming. Those pirate ships had caved too quickly. They really should have stopped to examine the wreckage. He doubted they were in quite as bad a shape as they’d thought. “I suggest we vent the shuttlebay to space. Get rid of them that way.”

“No can do. They’ve got some kind of suppression tech down here.” The captain was quick to reply. “Okay, let’s assume they’re splitting up. One team will hit engineering, and the other is heading for the bridge. That way, even if one team fails, they’ve got a backup plan. Sound general quarters, deploy beta security team to the security center to ensure the ones we have stay locked up, and secure the bridge. Bennett and I will take engineering.”

The orders were delivered rapidly, but there was something about how Mason spoke that told Hale he was running. And damned if he hadn’t just covered everything Hale had been about to suggest.

“Aye sir,” he replied, his manner just as brisk and professional as he stood. For some reason, he’d adopted Mason’s habit of standing whenever there was action.

“Okay, you heard the man, secure the bridge. Lock us down,” he ordered. “Security team beta, secure the security office and ensure all prisoners remain in custody. Someone open me a ship-wide channel please… All hands, this is the executive officer. We have a foothold situation. General quarters have been ordered. I repeat, general quarters. Report to battle stations.”

The bridge became a well-oiled machine as the officers all moved to follow the given orders.

Hale focused on Kovash and the tactical team. “Okay, they found a way on the ship for some reason, and chances are they’ve got a way off if this goes sideways. I want long-range scans, check if we’ve got a tail. I want to know the instant anything pops up.”

“Aye sir,” Harrow replied, his deep voice calm. “Been running them since the initial attacks. I’ll pick up anything that’s coming after us.”