Part of USS Alita: Liberating Sevury and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Hell of a Plan

Meeting Room - USS Alita
MD01
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Frankie and Melody had forced Tiffany to go get some rest about the fifth time they caught her dozing off in her conference room chair. Her dreams of an eight-hour coma were supplanted by a three-hour cat nap, and calling what she managed to get ‘sleep’ was an exercise in hyperbole. Still, she did feel a bit more alert when she awoke so she threw her uniform jacket back on, open, and tossed her hair up in a ponytail… repeatedly, until it looked something that resembled respectable, then replicated a cup of café con leche and headed back to the conference room. 

She stepped through the doors to find a large chunk of her senior staff still in the same position she left them: Leaned over the table pouring over the scraps of intel that Bravo had provided them, “Okay, Commanders, how are we looking?” 

Frankie looked up from the readouts and gave her CO a wry look, “You want the honest answer there, or the optimistic one?” She asked, flatly. 

“Well,” Tiffany said as she took her seat again, “Now that my confidence has been thoroughly renewed, let’s go with the honest one,” She said. 

“Not good, Captain,” Melody offered. “We’re running on barely any intel here, and there’s no way to fill the gaps except with assumptions and best guesses,” She explained. 

“Not the best way to run an op,” Tiffany replied, nodding. 

“No ma’am. In our favor, these are the same Dominion forces we dealt with a couple decades ago, so we know their tactics inside and out. I’m hoping that’s going to give us the edge,” She offered, “But… we’re still flying pretty damn blind.” 

Tiffany pondered the situation for a minute, then took a deep breath and sighed heavily, “Okay… What have we got?” 

Melody looked over to Frankie, who motioned for Melody to explain it, “Okay,” The commander replied, brushing a lock of auburn hair out of her eyes as she stood up and tapped the key for a holo projection of the terrain map and the data they’d plugged in, “So… First, the conjecture,” She said as she pulled up estimated troop counts. 

“We don’t have a clear picture of how many troops are on the planet due to the irregular intervals of our areal recon data, but we do know firmly that there’s only four Dominion ships currently in the system. It’s their fighters, so that means they should have a compliment of one Vorta and between forty and forty-five Jem’hadar. We’re assuming that these guys were probably stuffed for an all out offensive, so we’ve called it fifty Jem’hadar, just to be safe,” She explained. “That means we’ve got a maximum of around two-hundred Jem’hadar in the system.”

Tiffany’s face noticeably tightened at that count. She knew that the strike team wasn’t going to be above fifteen people, and fifteen against two-hundred didn’t sound fair. She let her Chief continue, though. 

“We’re assuming they’d have left between fifteen and twenty Jem’hadar behind on each ship to act as crew, boarding parties or defensive troops should the need arise, meaning only around one-hundred and forty on the planet,” She explained. 

The holo display faded two red, concentric circles overlaid on the map around the city, “If they’re following standard protocol from the war, then they’ll have two patrol rings of four squads each around the city, so we’re talking a little over one-hundred troops in the city itself,” She said. 

“We think the brunt of them are here,” She said, swiping her hand to rotate the holo of the city and point to the prefabbed Federation HQ building, “Fortifying our target,” She said. 

She rotated the holo slightly again and indicated a warehouse-like structure, “The next major concentration is here in this building. Based on our intel we have reason to believe this is where they’re holding the hostages, so it will be a target for us as well.” 

“We’re assuming the last twenty or so are patrolling the city, but we won’t have to worry about them initially since we’re be coming in from underground,” Melody explained. 

That made Tiffany’s eyebrow arch, “Underground?”

“Yes, ma’am. That was Lieutenant Blake’s idea,” Melody replied, nodding to the younger man. 

Blake smiled awkwardly and gave a little nod, “Yes, ma’am. See, all of these Federation colonies have underground aqueducts in the original construction to help keep things moving before proper water services are in place,” He explained. “There’s a maintenance tunnel that is accessible from outside of the city. It’s console locked, but I’m pretty sure I can crack into it,” He explained. 

“Pretty sure?” Tiffany replied almost immediately. 

Blake smiled. He hated to sound boastful, but he knew every word was true when he said, “I can crack into it.” 

Tiffany gave him a grin and a nod, “Good. We’re sure these tunnels are still accessible? And can get us inside?” 

“Most of them wind up getting converted into storage later and are still used from time to time,” Blake explained. “But even if they’re not, we’ll be bringing some cutting phasers to get us through any sealed junctions.” 

Tiffany nodded, “So you’ll beam down to the entrance, crack the console and raid the base?” 

“Well… no,” Melody replied with a sheepish grin. 

Tiffany chuckled, “I thought that sounded too easy. What’s the catch?” 

”The problem is that the Jem’hadar have setup transporter inhibitors all around the city and their range goes out almost a klick in any direction,” Melody explained, bringing up the inhibitor locations on the map and turning on an overlay that showed their range.

Melody rotated the map to an areal view and then zoomed out, revealing a topographical map of the region, “The closest place to beam in would be this wooded area here, right outside of the inhibitors range, but if it were me–”

“That’s exactly where the patrols would be,” Tiffany interjected, finishing Melody’s sentence. 

“Bingo,” Melody replied with a nod, “And since I don’t want to beam down right in the middle of a Jem’hadar patrol, I’m recommending this area here,” She said, indicating a mountainous region just beyond the other side of the woods. “The hike is going to feel a lot longer than it is while we avoid patrols, but it shouldn’t be too bad. Only about two klicks total,” She explained. 

“The trick is going to be hiding the transporter signal,” Nadine said from her perch on the side of the table. “We’re assuming that the Jem’hadar will be scanning for Starfleet to beam down ground forces – we would, in their shoes – so we have to cover the transport in with enough energy the prevent them from seeing it,” French explained. 

“How are we accomplishing that?” Tiffany asked. 

“By dropping out of warp so close to the planet that we drift into the mesosphere,” Lieutenant Vlex replied, sounding tired. 

Tiffany looked over at her with wide eyes, but French picked up the train of thought, “Correct. Between the energy burst from exiting warp and the friction energy created by the atmospheric burn, we’re very confident that there won’t be any way for the Jem’hadar to detect the transport to the surface,” French replied. 

Tiffany looked around the table at all of the expectant eyes for a moment, then closed her eyes hard and sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose, “Okay, let me make sure I’ve got this straight… We’re going to hot drop out of warp into a planet’s atmosphere, transport a ground team down to the surface of the planet while we’re trying not to crash into the planet, then go on to engage the Dominion forces in orbit while our team of–” She stopped and opened her eyes and looked back over at Melody, “How many, Commander?” 

“Twelve, ma’am,” Melody replied, sounding like she didn’t want to. 

“Twelve,” Tiffany repeated, staring at the table for a minute before she scruntched her eyes shut and pinched her nose again, “While our team of twelve on the surface goes up again about one-hundred and forty Jem’hadar troops in an entrenched position,” She said. She let that hang for a minute, then opened her eyes again and looked at Melody, “Do… I have that about right, Commander?” 

“Broad strokes, ma’am, but… yeah,” Melody replied. 

Tiffany let out a long sigh, staring at the table for a moment before she shrugged and shook her head, “Sounds fun, let’s do it.” 

There was a murmur around the table as everyone started to really contemplate what this mission was going to mean, but Tiffany raise her hands, and everyone settled down, “This is… insane,” She said, letting that hang for a moment before she continued, “But if there is one crew in Starfleet that can do it, it’s us. I have had the pleasure of serving with all of you for over a year now and I could not be happier that you are my crew. I could not have more confidence in you, and I couldn’t care for any group of people more than I do for you,” She told them earnestly. “What we’re about to do is hard, but it’s not impossible. We’re going to have to trust each other like we’ve never trusted each other before. We’re going to have to rely on each other like we’ve never relied before. But we can. I know we can. We’re going to do this. We’re going to win. And we’re all going to come home, yeah?” She said. 

There were nods around the table, but Tiffany stood, “We’re all going to come home. Right?” She reiterated, more firmly this time. 

“Yes ma’am!” Came the shouts from around the table. 

Tiffany smiled at her crew then nodded after a moment, “Good. We’ve got five hours to get to Sevury. Get ready, get some rest… We’re in for the fight of our lives.” 

As everyone stood to leave, Tiffany caught Lieutenant Vlex by the arm, “You okay?” She asked not used to seeing the odd look that was in the young Betazed’s eyes. She couldn’t quite place it, but it didn’t look good. 

Vlex forced a smile, “I’m okay, ma’am. Yes, just tired.” 

“You sure?” 

“Positive. Just want to get some sleep, ma’am,” Vlex replied. 

Tiffany gave her a smile and nodded, “Rest well, then, Lieutenant.” She said. “It’s going to be a long day.” 

Comments

  • I like the confidence of Tiffany in her crew, even though some are new and not well known. It shows high regards of trust in her crew and ability to pull off such a stunt of a mission. I do wonder how long a team of 12 people will manage to survive against 200+ Dominion warriors. This will be a long stretch of hit-and-run raids on the side of Starfleet ;) Looking forward to it!

    May 6, 2023
  • Now THAT is a mission right out of the Sisko playbook, and I love every part of it. Tiffany is a natural leader; she has confidence in her people, she doesn't second guess them and it seems like she inspires them to achieve the success she needs. It's a tough mission, and their plan to land the away team is bonkers, but necessary. There's also that Voyager-esque sense of familiarity between them all, where they feel they can suggest these crazy ideas and get reprimanded for being nuts. I'm not sure how I feel about the odds of success, however. Good job we don't have a certain gold robot to tell us!

    May 6, 2023
  • Oh this I love! The situation is dire, they’re up against the odds but they’re going for it anyway. Tiffany’s idea of ‘fun’ may not be the same as everyone else’s there, but this is shaping up to be a fun adventure. I love your pacing and banter here, really makes me feel like I’m right there listening in. Looking forward to more!

    May 6, 2023
  • A Starfleet team of twelve against a Jem'Hadar army of two-hundred? You're weaving a truly mythical tale here, honouring a rich history dating aback to the Battle of Thermopylae. Crawling through maintenance tunnels and "hot drop out of warp"? I just know this is going to be a wild ride!

    May 7, 2023