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Preparation is Key

Posted on 24 Dec 2016 @ 5:23am by Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant JG Samantha Lopez & Lieutenant Gemma Alexander & Ensign Aurilia Moretti

Mission: Click Three Times
Location: Flight Ops Briefing Room
Timeline: MD 11 || 0730 hours

Terry stood on the upper level of the Flight Ops Briefing Room, sipping his second cup of iced raktajino. The sausage, egg, and cheese English muffins he had for breakfast was setting well. The side of bacon was an added yum. He took a deep breath and set his mug down on the rail. Terry walked to the nearest console and sent a message to all of the pilots to report to the Briefing Room in thirty minutes.

Aurilia entered the Briefing Room less than fifteen minutes later with a mug of coffee in her right hand and a PADD in her left hand. She walked slowly to a seat as if she had spent most of the night running circles around the ship and had a bad leg cramp. She settled down in it gingerly and winced before she made herself as comfortable as she could. "Morning, Commander," she said.

Terry nodded to his newest pilot, Ensign Moretti. "Morning, Ensign." He was glad that he had been able to put her back in the pilot's seat.

"I wanted to thank you for giving me a chance, Sir," Aurilia said as she took a drink of her coffee. "It meant a lot to me."

"You're welcome," replied Terry. "I'm glad for you. Plus you're a real good pilot. I've liked what I've seen in the field and what I've read in the reports. Keep it up, Ensign." He took another sip of his raktajino.

Ensign Sito Jondar aka Galahad entered with a yawn, at 6'2 some jokesters felt he was too big for a cockpit. He gave such consideration it's due and ignored them. He rubbed a hand through his black hair trying to tame it as he nodded to his Commander as he moved, only partly awake to his seat. He caught sight of the new pilot Moretti as he sat nearby and smiled, like someone genuinely pleased over her change in status. "Finally I'm not the newbie pilot anymore, just don't let the others short your sheets they think they're funny..." He seemed to remember something as more of his brain came online, "Oh hey nice job with those pirates..." He said rubbing his eyes trying to wake up, he pulled a small thermos out of a small pouch on his belt he wore and poured a measure of raktajino into the metal lid of the thermos. There was room for 6 cups in the thermos which is why he loved it so.

It took Aurilia a moment to realize that someone else was talking to her and she looked over at the Bajoran pilot and gave him a smile. "Thanks," she said. "I haven't flown in so long that I think I was overcompensating on everything."

Sito smiled back, "You keep overcompensating like that and I might get to sleep in once in awhile..." He joked and saluted her with his mini mug, taking a drink then yawning.

Sam walked into the briefing room in her flight suit, having just finished getting her bird ready for the routine early morning CAP. "Morning all." She said, finding the empty seat next to her wing man. She held a cup of hot chocolate in her hand, which she took a sip from. She looked across to Sito. "Wakey wakey Ensign." She whispered, just loud enough for him to hear.

Sito sat up straighter and blinked, and quickly finished the cup of raktajino, "I am awake and alert at all times Ma'am, shall I bring M'Lady's fighter craft to her on my back?" He said just as quietly as he tried to quickly clear the cobwebs from his mind. There were some great ways to avoid sleep but they didn't help one become rested.

"Have you been watching those old Thunderbird cartoon again? Isn't that something Parker used to say to Lady Penelope?" She asked, a smile spreading across her face.

"Did he really?" he asked innocently, "I'm sure I don't know what you mean."

"Course you don't Ensign...." She said smiling.

Lt. Jg Gemma "Archer" Alexander walked in PADD in hand in her flight suit, "Did you leave any worms for us Boss?" She said knowing he had a meeting previous to this.

Terry chuckled at her comment. "Well Lieutenant, there are still plenty around. Fortunately, you're not gonna have to dig for them. I've got them all on a platter ready to serve up." Terry watched a few more pilots filter in behind his wingperson, but not all of them were here yet. He gently swirled the raktajino in his mug like it were wine. Old habits and all.... "You ready for the possibility of another round, Archer?"

Archer straightened and stood with a pilot's confidence but her eyes were serious and replied with a haiku, being rather fond of poetry, in a quiet but rock solid tone that laced throughout her British accent:

"Archers stance, breath held
Sighting along the arrow
The calm then the storm"

She looked at the pilot's filtering in some joking or talking while others were silent, good lot all. "They know not the storm they're going to unleash..." She said almost thoughtfully and with pride as she hoped whomever they were going to rain hell on would have horrible aim so they could all return safely. Unfortunately safety was not their lot, they could only do their duty and hope. She glanced back at her Squadron Commander.

"Or the one we're about to face." Terry picked up his mug and walked up the side of the briefing room as the rest of the pilots filtered in. He finished it off before putting it back in a replicator and heading to the slightly raised platform. Stepping behind one of the console-type podiums, he brought up a map of their general area. At least as much as possible in whatever universe this was. But he could show their current position and the point of arrival at the very least. "Okay, listen up. The morning Combat Air Patrol missions are on hold because the Black Hawk is currently at high warp. We think we know where the Cochrane and her crew are being held and we're less than eight hours away."

Alexander had nodded at his reply and moved to sit in her seat just in time for him to continue. His words woke even Sito up and the Bajoran sat up with sudden interest. "That's great news Sir, what's the plan?" Alexander asked, eager to rescue their shipmates from the tender mercies of the Confederation. The Confederation which Alexander linked in her mind to the Consortium for the depths to which they would sink and worried for the crew. Not all were like the Consortium but after them one didn't want to assume ones enemies had any sense of honor.

"Ultimately," said Terry, "the plan is to get all of our crew and ships back without any losses and get back to our own time. Specifically, we know their primary weapon is a phased polaron beam." He activated the monitor at the front of the room and brought the diagram and information that he and Cooper had been working from the other day, pointing to the location on the enemy ship. "So we'll have to be extremely careful. Our ablative armor should help a little bit. But don't depend on it. There are also torpedo bays fore and aft." The image on the screen spun to show the bay locations.

Alexander was taking careful notes, her mind already working angles of attack but she held off storing any questions until he was finished so better not to waste time.

Sito studied the visuals, trying to get handle on just what they were facing.

Aurilia studied the diagram and frowned at the mention of the phased polaron weapons. "We're going to go in hard and fast," she said. "The Peregrine is the most heavily armed."

"Indeed, Ensign. It's going to have to be hard and fast," said Terry. "And with pinpoint accuracy. From what we've learned, the beam runs hot and draws power from the impulse drive and auxiliary fusion generators. Bottom line is, they have to put more power into it. So they'll either move slower or fire slower. They can't do either one fast. So those will be our two primary targets, the impulse engines and the fusion generators. And as Miss Moretti pointed out, the Peregrine is the most heavily armed. If worse comes to worse, we provide Tango with all of the cover she needs to shut that beam down. But if there's multiple ships, we're all going to be busy."

"Recommend no matter what we have at least 2 to 3 other craft giving covering fire, Tango needs to get to target as quickly as possible." She said studying the visuals. "Hard and fast is a solid tactic, we hit them enough it'll keep them reeling." She looked thoughtful, doing some quick mental calculations "At this distance we getting anything for sensor readings?" Alexander asked.

"Those details were brought up in the briefing early this morning." He chuckled at the though of just how early that had been and took a sip of his Klingon coffee. "Probes were launched when we arrived. One of them was fired towards the direction we're heading. The hope is that we'll pick up the probe's telemetry while en route. I want to know what we're up against, too. But for right now, we have contingency plans. And one of them is us."

Aurilia thought for a moment as she suddenly found herself the topic of discussion and felt nervous as she looked around the meeting. Me and my big mouth she muttered mentally. "The cruising speed of the Peregrine is the maximum speed for the Valkyries," she said. "If they push to emergency speed, we can go in at warp four point five for thirty minutes. I can hit emergency speed of warp six for an hour. What kind of configuration would we use?"

"Charlie Flight will be configured as fighter versus fighter. We don't know if they'll have any," Terry said. "But I'm not getting caught off guard. Alpha and Bravo Flights will be configured as fighter versus starship. We need to have the micro-torpedoes in order to make sure the job gets done. Your Peregrine will be our best bet with her twenty-four torpedoes."

The redheaded pilot gave a nod. "I'll be on it, but what is our exit plan going to be?" she asked.

"Good question, Ensign," said Terry. "Once the primary weapon of the enemy ship has been disabled, or ships, as we don't know how many we're likely to encounter, Alpha Flight will form up on the Black Hawk to assist with defense and offense. Bravo and Charlie will be protecting the Cochrane. They will most likely need the most assistance due to being in enemy hands for so long. We don't know what they could have done to the ship or her systems or her crew. We will continue to provide cover until we're out of range or we're ordered back to the Black Hawk."

Sito aka Galahad spoke up, "What if the Cochrane is hostile when we get into the area Sir? Disable weapons or pull back for a boarding party? What if it tries to warp out?" He asked concerned about the Cohrane crew, he glanced at his Wing Chief as well one Lt. Jg Lopez aka Striker. Alexander nodded she'd like to know too. In battle there is chaos so they weren't going to be able to cover everything but every little bit helped.

"If the Cochrane is hostile, we'll get orders from the Black Hawk," said Terry. "They'll know it at the same time we do, if not before. But as you defend yourselves, remember that's one our ships." Terry looked out over the room. He hoped that it wouldn't come to firing on the Cochrane. He really didn't want to attack another Starfleet ship so soon. And from the faces of some of the other pilots, neither did they. "That's the bottom line, ladies and gentlemen. Last call for questions."

Sito shook his head.

Archer spoke up, "The usual training rotations on the holodecks?" She asked looking up from a PADD that she was reviewing, ready to get started before her mandatory rest period kicked in.

"Yep," replied Terry. "Usual training rotations. And...since there are so many of us and we still have several more hours at warp, some of you can stay here to study what we have of the enemy ships or enjoy a little bit of free time while you wait on your rotation. Speaking of, I highly recommend running the simulations with Dominion ships. That's gonna be the closest we know of to what we'll be going up against."

Alexander nodded and made a few notes on her PADD.

Sam turned to Sito again. "Free time or studying...what do you think?" She asked.

Sito looked at his Wing Chief, "Me, I want free time and go back to bed but then again I also want to not suck black hole when time comes to get our people back so there's that too. Whadda say? I go get more coffee and we can figure out what enemy wounds we can pour salt in?" He said leaning back in his chair, his body language unconcerned though his eyes were focused.

"Sounds good, I'll have a white coffee, 2 sugars. I'll have the info up for when you get back!" She said, smiling.

Galahad stood and bowed low, a smile on his face. "M'Lady's wish is my command." Then, with agility that belied his size, he headed for the replicator.

Aurilia looked around, then shrugged. "If anyone is up to it, I'll be running simulations in the holodeck," she said. "I want to be ready when we make our run."

"I'd be up for that..." Alexander said with a nod and a smile at Ensign Moretti.

Terry listened as several more of the pilots joined in with the holodeck crew. He was glad to see that the majority of the squadron was going to either get in some simulation time or study the sensor readings more in depth. They needed all they could get.


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