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Part of USS Odyssey: Volleyed and Thundered and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Volleyed and Thundered – 18

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000), Divinum System, Deneb Sector, Alpha Quadrant
Stardate: 78194.38
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“Over a billion dead, bordel de merde!” 

The holographic form of Rear Admiral Madeline Allard stood in the centre of Fleet Captain McCallister’s ready room. At the same time, the other captains in his squadron, along with Commanders Duncan and Banfield and Lieutenant Commander Tomaz, all sat or stood around the side of the room. The admiral’s profanity in her native language caught some of them off guard and the universal translator. 

James Preston McCallister wasn’t surprised by her reaction. He had said a lot worse in private after uncovering what they discovered. “I’m sorry, admiral, but we’ve been running sensor sweeps since arriving in the system. We can’t find any survivors anywhere.”

The commander of Farpoint Station crossed her arms against her chest and shook her head. “It’s madness, I tell you.” She said with a heavy sigh. “So, is this courtesy call, captain, where I hear whatever Fleet Admiral Ramar wants to do in my sector, or are you honestly asking me for operational direction here?” She looked around the room. “I can see you’ve got everyone assembled, so I’m thinking it’s the former.”

McCallister had been leaning on the edge of his desk with his arms crossed. “Actually, ma’am, it’s the latter.”

Allard appeared slightly surprised by that admission. “Trying to win some favour with the locals, captain?”

That caused the others in the room to smirk, making McCallister do the same thing. “Perhaps, ma’am, but the reason I’ve called you and submitted an update in writing to Fourth Fleet Command was simple: you know the region better than us, you know the people better than us; what do you want us to do here?”

The admiral gazed at McCallister for a little bit longer before responding. Her eyes squinted as she unfolded her arms and placed her hands on her hips. “Alright, captain, this is what I want from you. Find these bastards that did this and stop them at all costs.”

“Gul Jacet has offered to provide us with military support,” Cambil added to the conversation whether it would help tell the admiral that was another thing.  

“Then use him and his ships to your advantage,” Allard squinted at Cambil as she responded. Her snap at Cambil almost sounded like a teacher telling students to get on with their work and why they were bothering her with their nonsense. 

“And what about the Divinum system?” Captain Canção asked. The highly experienced and wise El-Aurian captain was standing close to McCallister. She was almost copying the admiral’s posture and by pressing the admiral for such matters, may have helped them. Nevertheless, she was expecting a similar remark back like Cambil had received. “The system isn’t fully secure yet, admiral. We just can’t leave it for anyone to take it?”

Allard gave out a sigh. “Do you honestly want me to answer that, captain?” She turned to McCallister. “You lead this squadron, Fleet Captain McCallister; how do you assess the security of the Divinum system?”

“Allowing the Dominion and Breen to take it is not an option, but with the station out of action and power not restored to the colony, it isn’t in a position to defend itself remotely,” McCallister replied. “We’ve got teams working on restoring what we can, but-”

“But what, captain?” Allard challenged McCallister. “From what I can see, you’ve got an entire Corps of Engineers assigned to the Odyssey, along with three other ships with full engineering departments. Use the resources you have under your command to achieve both objectives. Once the system is secure and you’ve got an idea where this Death Task Force is, then let me know. Otherwise, I’ll inform the rest of the sector of what you have discovered and alert all our assets to monitor theta-band emissions.” She looked around the room quickly and then back to McCallister, “And next time, captain, the audience can stay out of our calls. Allard out.” She punched a button out of view, and her holographic image disappeared within a fizz.  

 “Damn, and I thought Admiral Beckett could be tough,” Cambil said from where she was sat. 

Horatio McCallister chuckled and shook his head. “Beckett is a teddy bear once you get to know him,” He smirked and looked at his older brother, “However, Allard did just serve you your arse there, J-P.”

“Thanks, H,” James McCallister gave his brother a telling look, one saying he didn’t need him to tell him that. Everyone had seen it. He wasn’t annoyed with Horatio, but he didn’t need the remark or Horatio trying to be cute or funny there and then. “Tomaz, what’s the likelihood of us actually being able to fully secure the Divinum system in the quickest amount of time possible?”

“Honestly?” The Barzan chief strategic operations officer asked. “Days, probably a week.”

“In a week’s time, the Dominion could attack many other worlds close by with this weapon,” Banfield remarked. The half Klingon/half Human science officer was sitting on the sofa beside Tomaz. “Could we partially secure the system?”

Tomaz considered her suggestion for a moment. “If we pull our teams off from trying to restore the station, then we could get orbital weapon platforms and other planetary defences up and running within three days.”

“That’s still three days where the Dominion and Breen could strike somewhere else,” Duncan said, sitting in one of the armchairs. He had a PADD in his hand and then activated its contents to show the local map. “The nearest largest populated world near this system is Cait, along with other smaller settlements on several worlds dotted around.”

“I’m sure the Caitian government have deployed their planetary defences, and if the admiral gets through to them with our news, I’m sure they’ll be on the lookout for theta-band emissions now,” Cambil stated.

“Didn’t Beckett tell us only to trust the Fourth Fleet?” Horatio asked the group; his question was more aimed at the other captains in the room. “If so, the likes of Admiral Allard will probably do what she says, but to ensure Cait’s security, we should send a package of data to the Caitian defence forces. Call it an update to whatever the admiral tells them. Something we forgot to share with her?”

“Are you saying, just in case the admiral doesn’t tell them?” Duncan quizzed the captain. 

Horatio nodded. “It wouldn’t cause any harm, and the admiral, won’t look like a fool if we send them an update.”

“And if she doesn’t tell them?” Banfield checked.

“Then, we’ll be ensuring we save one of the Federation’s oldest members in the region,” Horatio replied. He looked to his brother for support which he got with a nod.

“Tomaz, organise such a briefing and transmit it on secure channels to everyone in the local vicinity,” James ordered. Then, he turned to look at his former first officer, “Bexa, you think Jacet can be trusted?”

“Trusted to hunt this Dominion squadron and deal with the threat they pose, yes,” Cambil said. She had briefed him and the others about her conversation with the Cardassian leader. Horatio shared that what Jacet had conveyed was true, that he had gotten his hands on the intelligence that Jacet had been holding on to. He had been sent into Cardassian territory based on rumours Starfleet Intelligence had heard to locate and get a copy of what Jacet had in his possession. Horatio was planning to call some of his old contacts in Starfleet Intelligence to get his hands on that information again to help them with their cause. 

“Then, you, me, Horatio and Rio are going with Jacet and his squadron of ships to find them while Max and the Odyssey remain here to finish securing the system,” James decided. “I’ll transfer my flagship of the squadron to one of the other ships.”

Duncan sat up straight then, “Sir, is it wise benching the Odyssey from the hunt?”

“We don’t have any other choice, Number One,” McCallister answered bluntly. “Time is a factor here, and we need to track these Dominion ships down sooner rather than later. If we’ve not succeeded by the time you’ve secured the system, you can join us.”

“Aye, sir,” Duncan said with a nod. He didn’t appear happy with the decision; regardless, he respected it and would follow it like the dutiful and loyal first officer he was to James Preston McCallister. 

The fleet captain looked at his brother. “Horatio, you said Ensign Jonarom modified your sensors to trace these theta-band emissions?”

“Yes, I did,” The other McCallister confirmed with a solid nod. “He was able to determine how they used one of the attack fighters to deliver the metagenic weapon and how the Breen ship was modified to release the antidote.”

“Have him liaise with the other science department heads in the squadron and Gul Jacet’s ships to modify their sensors, too,” Fleet Captain McCallister ordered. Then, he looked at Banfield and Tomaz, “I want you both to join me to develop quick win tactics in how we deal with the Dominion swiftly.”

It was clear why the fleet captain wanted Tomaz with him (he was the only chief strategic operations officer in the squadron, and it was his job to ensure they had all the relevant information to deal with the present threat). Still, everyone in the room was unclear why Banfield was chosen. She knew, and her superior knew what she had gone through earlier in her career. Fleet Captain McCallister was the only one in the room with a high enough clearance to know what she had experienced the Dominion War twice. Once as a Starfleet officer and the second time as a Starfleet officer who had been transported back in time. While forced to accept her displacement in time, Banfield had joined the Klingon Defence Force to fight the Dominion one more time. She knew their tactics and what it was like to fight them. 

Banfield spoke up, attempting to distract the others from considering why McCallister wanted her with him. Instead, she looked at her commanding officer. “Captain, Doctor Slyvexs was reviewing the data from the colony and the data Doctor Corben had collected while wading through the debris field. She was hoping to find a way to replicate the antidote.”

“Yeah, after Jonarom had briefed us on what he had discovered about the theta-band emissions, Sarella had run an in-depth series of scans on the Breen refrigeration suits she and Lirissa had found. She believes that on a molecular level, she had found the antidote somehow attached to their clothes,” Horatio shared. 

Appreciating the support from him, Banfield nodded. “I believe Slyvexs was hoping to run a comparative scan on both the results Doctor Corben had found and the evidence our away team had collected on the planet’s surface to be confident in the antidote’s composition.”

“Can she do her work on the Bellerophon with Doctor Corben?” Fleet Captain McCallister asked Banfield.

“I believe so,” Banfield replied. “However, if we want to make it work, I would suggest that the other doctors and specialist scientists in the squadron are involved too.”

“We would need to work on a quick delivery system for the antidote if the Dominion deploy the metagenic weapon,” Canção pointed out. “Maybe we should be putting our best minds together on this. Seeing as Ensign Jonarom is the one who identified the theta-band emissions, perhaps he should lead on it?”

“Can you honestly see the other more senior officers taking orders from an ensign?” Cambil questioned; she looked at Horatio, “No offence, Horatio, I’m sure he is a great kid, but we can’t have them squabbling over matters like seniority here.”

Bellerophon’s captain waved the comment off as he responded. “No offence taken, but he is a smart kid. Gifted, in fact.” 

“Alright, alright!” Fleet Captain McCallister raised his hands. “We need to get started on both projects and this hunt,” He turned to his first officer, “Do you think you can do without Lukiz for a few days, Max?”

“Umm, yeah, I suppose. Why? What have you in mind?” Duncan asked.

“Lukiz is a senior officer within the squadron; he can lead the antidote delivery system with Ensign Jonarom. In addition, one of his previous hosts has the experience and knowledge that will only further help with such things,” McCallister replied. “Have Tobias fill in for him in the meantime.”

Duncan nodded to the idea. 

“Rio, I want the Triton to host the team working on the delivery system while the Themis can host the team working on the antidote instead of the Bellerophon; is that okay with you, Bexa?” McCallister had looked at both female captains.

“That’s fine with me,” Cambil agreed.

Canção smirked. “My first officer will appreciate it.”

Ignoring that comment, McCallister looked at his brother, “And brother dearest, Tomaz, Corella and I will join you on the Bellerophon while we work on finding the Dominion’s Death Squadron!”

“Death Task Force,” Horatio corrected his brother with a smirk. “But I like the sound of the return of Double-McCallister-Trouble! The Dominion won’t know what hit them.”

James chuckled slightly at his brother as he ended the meeting, but not before telling everyone they would be underway within two hours. 

They weren’t going to wait any longer than they needed to.

Comments

  • Rear Admiral Allard was the star of this post. She gives us a look at how a regional commander would feel with the Fourth Fleet stomping all over her AO, how tired a commander would be after her AO has been trashed, how exasperated one would be upon learning of a billion losses, and yet also how a flag officer would tell a line officer to be an adult and manage the multiple crises they have simultaneously. Even after she hangs up, she still looms over them, in the fears they have about Cait, and in the orders she gave that are going to stretch Odyssey Squadron thin between two very different directions. Now go forth Double-McCallister-Trouble and avenge our fallen!

    June 5, 2023
  • Over a billion dead! RAdm Allard should have used far more vile profanity. I must admit, the only time I regretted leaving Constellation out on the edge of nowhere without subspace communications was when I couldn't write Taes reacting to this unfathomable turn of events. I really appreciated the intrusion of the politics of this invasion, the way you addressed the splintering factions in Starfleet. I respected McAllister's respect for the regional knowledge. I'm loving the gathering of all the captains to strategize: it feels like the Avengers are assembled!

    June 14, 2023