Raan allowed himself precisely five seconds to take a breath and get his thoughts in order, then he opened his eyes and grabbed a padd with the information packet Captain Barrington had just sent through. Heaving himself to his feet he strode out onto the bridge.
“Set course for Arriana Prime,” he ordered as he walked across to the door on the other side of the bridge. “Get us there as fast as you can. Senior officers, emergency meeting in the briefing room. Now. Rennox, get yourself up here as well.”
With that, he swept into the briefing room, his head already full of the intell he didn’t have and the plans he was going to have to make on nothing more than assumption and best guess.
It didn’t take long for the senior officers to start tumbling through the door, to find Raan leaning over a map of the main continent on Arriana Prime. His expression was serious as they took their seats around the table. Rennox was last through the door, looking confused and nervous. Raan waved him to take one of the unoccupied seats.
“Okay, I’ve just had a priority one communication from Command,” he said. “I’m assuming you’ve all heard of the Lost Dominion fleet? Yes? Good. Because they’re back.”
He held up his hand to forestall the questions about to spill from the lips of his senior officers. All of them if the surprised looks on their faces were any indication. Apart from Rennox, who looked like he was about to throw up. Whether that was because of the alcohol he’d put away tonight after his heroism today, or the idea of the Dominion, Raan had no idea.
“Information is sketchy at the moment, but long story short. The Lost Fleet went missing during the war and somehow blinked forward to now. For them, the war didn’t end, and they’re wreaking havoc through Federation space. We weren’t ready for this… there was no way either the Federation or the Fleet could have been ready for this,” he added. “And we’ve very much been caught with our pants down. Worse, for some reason Starfleet Command don’t seem to be taking this seriously, so we’ve been mobilized by Fourth Fleet command.”
“I assume we have orders then, sir?” Burton asked, frowning as he looked over the maps displayed on the conference table holo display.
“Oh yes.” Raan touched a button, and an image of a planet floated in the air in front of them. “This is Arriana Prime. Like many planets, it has suffered Dominion attack. Ships in the area were able to repel enemy vessels, but they couldn’t stop a large force of Jem’Hadar beaming down to the surface. Intel so far says they have destroyed orbital defenses and seized two major settlements on the surface. They are marching on the capital city as we speak. To add to that, the colony’s militia has fallen. There are reports of isolated groups still fighting, but there is no cohesion or command structure anymore. The Governor has declared martial law, giving Starfleet full authority but ships already in the area aren’t able to help since they are engaged in fighting off the Dominion threat, so we’ve been ordered in.”
“Ordered in?” Burton blinked as he sat back in his chair. “Did command miss the fact that we’re a Rhode-Island class?”
Raan arched an eyebrow.
“Captain Barrington doesn’t strike me as the sort of man who misses details like that. We’ve been ordered in because I have some experience with ground combat,” he said. “We’re a tough little ship, yes, but we’re not a warship. So we’re gonna let the big boys go tangle with the dominion ships, and we’re heading in to stop this Jem’Hadar invasion.”
“With less than a hundred crew, most of which aren’t Starfleet security?” Burton persisted.
“It’s not what you’ve got; it’s what you do with it,” Raan replied, leaning forward to change the display on the screen to a map of Arriana Prime’s surface. “We have a full security department under Gunnar, and many other personnel aboard who have at least some combat training, even if they are currently in other roles. Bennett and Micheals are two such examples; there are more.”
He knew because he’d approved all of their transfers onto the Resolute.
“Okay, this is the little intel we have, heading right to your padds.” A chorus of cheeps sounded around the room as the senior staff received the most up-to-date information command could give them.
“The planet’s governor has declared martial law, and both sensor scramblers and transporter inhibitors have been activated to stop the Jem’Hadar from advancing too quickly. We can’t hit them from the air, and their shroud tech is going to make it difficult on the ground, so we’ve got some big disadvantages. But… we also have some advantages here. Our first is that we know their tactics. We’ve been studying them and what they got up to in the Dominion War for years. Our second advantage is that our tech is updated from what they’re used to. That’s a good start, but I want more. The floor is open…”
Silence reigned as the staff read through the intel, a charged atmosphere building in the room. Bennett looked up.
“Tactics,” he rumbled in his deep voice. “They’re used to fighting Starfleet, and being honest, those tactics haven’t changed in years. We need to switch it up to confuse them.”
Raan tilted his head. “So we go guerilla?”
Bennett nodded. “Would be one way to keep them on their toes. The terrain, with these settlements and larger towns, lends itself well to setting up chokepoints and while these bastards might have shroud technology, a mine ain’t got no eyes so if they step on them they’ll blow whether they’re playing invisible man or not.”
“Our tech is good,” Gunnar interjected, a frown between the chief security officer’s pale brows. “But it’s still not enough of an advantage. S’Jaren, the ship’s armorer, has been looking over the tech the pirates brought on board. It’s… different, far more advanced than ours. So that could give us an advantage?”
“From this, we’re also going to need to coordinate a ground rescue of civilians and casualties, sir?” Burton said, looking up. “May I suggest we bring Smith in on this?”
Raan frowned. “Norman Smith? The operations officer?”
Burton nodded. “Not to throw himself over any more grenades, I think once was enough for a lifetime for him, but he has logistical and humanitarian expertise. He could be helpful on planning that side.”
“Do it,” Raan ordered. “Burton, you run that side. Clear the lounge and get it set up as a command base and see if there are any civilian ships in the area able to help with the evacuation. The Jem’Hadar are stuck on the ground so the more people we can get out, the better. Rennox,” he looked at the young yeoman. “Go through the records and get me a list of every crew member on board with actual combat experience, and what type. Then a list of crew members with flight training, give that to Kovash.”
He looked around the room. “We have a little time to prepare people, but make no mistake, we are going to hit the ground running, so get moving. We have people to rescue and some Jem’Hadar ass to kick and kick hard.”