Situational Resolution

Posted on Mon Oct 3rd, 2022 @ 6:54pm by Lieutenant Commander Cor Cordale

Mission: Episode 07: “The Koldaran Encounter”
Location: Planetside / Orbit
Timeline: Day 1 at 0000

The battle in the atmosphere above the planet had taken an interesting turn. From seemingly out of nowhere the USS Vesta had joined the battle, placing itself between the Koldaran orbital forces and shielding the battered Pennsylvania. Her superior tactical loadout zeroed in on the aggressor, and now the predator had become the prey. Volleys of torpedoes lit up the space between the two, and phaser arrays lanced across the distance to score solid strikes against the Koladaran invasion ship. Detonation after detonation lit up from within the cruiser until finally it ruptured and exploded, raining debris down on the planet below. Now it was a fight more in the favor of the Federation forces. The Koldaran braced for a tactical reposition when a disturbance emerged behind them.

Three ships of sleek alien design, two of them from a matching aesthetic, emerged from warp space and moved to flank the remaining Koldaran carriers. Swarms of Koldaran fighters routed to the new threat, and were met by a small squadron of fighters from the new arrivals. Some of them were sleek, predatory, and fast. The others were small, dangerously small. Too small to have a pilot.

Ts’usugi Blink FIghets, and the Dalacari drone swarm.

Watching the engagement was like watching a song play out, or a storm roll in. Depending on if they were your allies or your enemy. Blink craft earned their name, zipping around the battlefield in bursts of speed that had even Federation targeting systems confused for a moment. A call came through to the Vespa, from the ‘Captain’ of one of the alien craft. A Ts’usugi by appearance, who spoke very little Federation standard, but spoke enough.

“Allow us to assist.”

Federation tactical boards were updated with the latest feeds. The blink fighters, the drone swarm, the whole of it lit up with sensor feeds and updated IFF tags. Friendlies about, Unfriendlies plain and clear. While the battle for the stars raged in space, landing craft were dispatched to punch through and offer the one thing the ground crews needed more than anything: Relief.

Tsusugi boots on the ground were hard and heavy. They WANTED the Koldaran to know they were there. In the charge, in the fray, was the disposable army of the Dalacari Republic. Standing Tall, Standing Proud, Standing Until They Fell… and onward they marched. Hovering behind the front line was an oddity. Captain Laurens of the Astraea would recognize it in the most unusual means, as the last time she saw it was at a delegate’s office, hovering in place and acting as a table.

Behind even the floating disk, there were the last things anyone expected to see: living Dalacari in uniform, each carrying backpacks with one sporting scouting equipment whie the other sported a lengthy rifle of some design. For such a species to take up arms in conflict, the enmity between these peoples must be great indeed. Each pair took up positions far from the front line, and set up positions in what any Security officer would recognize as a sniper position.

Dalacari Snipers. What has this conflict done to these poor people?

Step for step, line for line, movement for movement the Dalacari drone offensive began. It was little more than a single line that started to move forward, and any enemy combatant that was spotted was lanced down with plasma. In space, plasma was never that effective as opposed to pure directed energy, but here in an atmosphere, plasma earned its keep. Burning through armor and combatant alike, while the expressionless features of the drones kept still and silent, updating the Thinking Engine in orbit aboard the Dalacari explorer with data and projections. Successful tactics were propagated, while losses were pruned and expunged. Diplomacy or Defeat. The drones weren't without their losses. Several of them went down with the first Koldaran counteroffensive. Less with the next push. Less still after that.

The next time the Koldaran tried that tactic, though, they were caught in an ambush. With brutal efficiency, plasma lances cut down the Koldaran offensive, and across the face of the battlefield, every drone on the planet knew what to look for. And how to counter it.

For every drone that fell, a new one appeared in the back ranks in proximity to the floating disk that accompanied the troops. A beacon? A transport booster? The how and the what didn't matter, the effect was obvious. Drones arrived in a swirl of light and sound, and after about thirty seconds to reorient and receive instructions they were mobile and on the march.

The drones were the ones to reach the Federation camp first, and each time they encountered a new officer, a new cadet, a new being the response was always the same. “We are here to help.” but that changed the moment one of the drones spotted Rostra Tang looking over a rubble wall. It made its way to her presence, and took a position next to her. “Your safety is a priority.” it announced. “We are here to help.”

“Protect everyone here.” she ordered, and the command went through the ranks of lifeless drones like a fire. Everyone was met with the cold, singular optic line of a drone, and it echoed the sentiment. “Your safety is a priority. We are here to help.” and they began to reinforce the line. Distribute aid parcels from the landing craft, or simply supplement manpower. "Your safety is a priority." was their greeting to everyone new they met, "We are here to help." was the affirmation to everyone.

Everyone, that is, except for one. A lone Lieutenant Commander in faded gold from the USS Wellington. A drone met her glance, of course, but the outcome was much different. No pomp, no circumstance, no announcement of how it was here to help her. “Ma’am.” it said, simply, with a nod. This drone didn’t EXIST an hour ago. How could it know? Koh was right. They were more startling in person, and this time, they were armed.

In orbit, the remaining Koldaran carriers were taking a pounding from all sides. The second carrier ignited shortly after a broadside torpedo salvo ripped through its nacelle brace, while the final member of the Koldaran orbital fleet tried to make a break for it, only to be caught in the crossfire of the Federation and Ts’usugi / Dalacari forces. The lights sputtered on several decks before going cold and dark.

On what we left of the bridge, the Koldarn Captain stood next to the command pylon. Tactical information would normally be displayed here, but the screen had cracked around the second salvo. Sparks and fires were flying across the bridge, most of the crew here were already either burned beyond service or had died from electrical exposure. All that was really left on the bridge was the captain struggling to reclaim control and their second in command delivering bad news.

“Send a mission update to the Admiralty about this new threat. Maximum encryption.” but the second officer shook his head, “Our external communications turret is out. If we use the emergency internal turret, the heat buildup will melt the whole s–.”

“DO IT!” the captain barked. With that, the second in command pressed a few buttons on what was left of the command console, and the order was complete. The heat from the internal comm array was incredible, and caused it to actually melt out of the craft and fall into space. "Message sent, sir."

“Damage report!” he barked. “Engines out. Helm control out. Life Support failing. Weapons out.” his second listed off, and the Captain just shook his head. “Communications Turret unaccounted for. The dead are in the hundreds, maybe more. Internal sensors are out, we can’t…” and then there was a creaking sound. The Captain looked over, noticing that the thin trails of comfort mucus on the consoles were starting to.. Move.

“Sir, bulkheads are compressing... we… we’re caught in their moon’s gravity well.” the second in command started to frantically push buttons and pound on consoles to will the ship to move as the angle of approach started to intensify. The feeling of Ship Gravity started to be replaced with the feeling of Moon Gravity. More and more panic filled the second until a hand fell upon his, urging him to stop. “Sir? Impact in fifteen!! What do we do!?” The captain looked at him directly, fear was not even present in those yellow eyes. “For the Admiralty, we die.” The alarms, and everything else, finally stopped.

The detonation of the final carrier craft as it impacted the native moon was seen as far as the surface, heralding the defeat of the invaders. Snipers of the RAD division were already dismantling and harassing targets at range, with fighter craft from the conflict above descending to help mop up the remains now that the space battle was handled. The lead of the Ts'usugi ground forces would personally apologize for their late arrival, and inform the Federation forces that as of now, the situation was under control. They fought, they bled, and they endured. And now they could do the one thing they were denied for so long: They could relax. Drones at the front, allies by the side, and snipers at the rear.

They could rest. It was over.