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Shadow of the Day

Posted on Mon Feb 13th, 2017 @ 11:03pm by Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Major Storr Garlake

Mission: S1E4 - Remnants Of A Lost Cause
Location: Marine Training Holodeck
Timeline: MD 67 - 1200

"I'll leave you all with this quote from a great warrior of Earth's past," Storr said, standing atop a cargo crate in order to address the hodgepodge assembly of Marine, security, and auxiliary members. "'In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.' What we have been doing here won't make first-contact with the enemy, because the enemy always has a vote. However, if we fail to plan, we're planning to fail. Hand-in-hand with that is after-action lessons. You're all dismissed to the Team Room but I'm not turning on the beer light until there's been at least fifteen minutes of good, productive talk." Catching two of his marines in the back, he leveled a knife hand at them "And that doesn't count playing grab-potter-marie, Muzika."

Akiva snuck in near the end and politely waited with his hands folded in front. Their numbers were drastically reduced from his last recollection, but at least the Marines and Security personnel seemed to be more cohesive than before. Perhaps that was the only silver lining to present circumstances.

When Storr's eyes fluttered his way, Akiva waved to request a private audience. The MCO nodded an acknowledgment as he began wrapping up. Akiva took a breath, trying to prepare himself to deliver news that the Major was not going to appreciate.

The horde began dissipating in small groups as Storr stepped down from the box towards the XO and extended his hand for a shake with Akiva.

"Glad to see you here. What can I do you for?" the MCO asked, leading the pair out of the holodeck and towards his office.

"I wanted to let you know that we're finally in motion," Akiva said. "We had a bearing on the probable location of the Clyde, but there's a catch: they aren't moving." He looked at Storr to make sure the Major caught his drift. "I suspect they're waiting for someone who isn't us."

Garlake stroked his chin as the two entered his office and he silently offered Akiva the other sole chair while the MCO took his place behind the small desk. "That makes sense, though you and I both know that once they make that rendezvous, the likelihood of us catching them goes down significantly. I assume we're on the way to their location?"

"At maximum warp." Akiva nodded. "But there's no telling what we'll find. It appears to be a completely vacant sector of space. If there are other ships moving into the area, then they're cloaked and undetectable on long-range sensors. Either way, we will need at least one boarding party. Possibly more if there are more ships, as we'll need to search anything which shows up."

Storr's fingers drummed idly on the desk. Boarding a ship was one of the most intense and dangerous mission tasks that marines performed. Being asked to plan for, staff, and execute multiple simultaneous boarding actions, even in the best of times, was a risky proposition. With half of his force decimated and augmented by the remaining security compliment (and even ancillary dogs-and-cats from around the ship), it was nearly mad to request it. The Major kept his thoughts to himself, however, as he could see Akiva had more on his mind than he was letting on.

The XO fidgeted in his seat for a moment, then took a deep breath. When he looked back at Storr, his eyes were resolute little slits. "I know your men are brave and enter every engagement knowing they might not make it home. However..." Akiva paused, fumbling over the words that he had to force out, "they should be armed with the knowledge that, since they're be boarding a vessel or vessels with unknown armaments and personnel in search of hostages, all bets are off." Akiva gritted his teeth for a moment. "I mean to say, Major, that in order for them to retrieve our people and return safely, they may need to recognize we're at Total War with our enemies... and respond accordingly."

Storr's fingers stopped. Total War? Did the XO know what he was saying? He shook his head slowly. "Comman...Akiva," he started slowly, meeting the man's gaze and risking some first-name conversation, "We all wish that Claudia was here and not on that ship. We all wish that the hundreds of friends that we've lost were still with us. But we need to remember that we're Starfleet first and that we stand for something. Are we to become our enemy in order to defeat them? To what level do we stoop to achieve our goals?" Major Garlake paused for a moment before continuing, gathering his thoughts. "Would you be able to sleep at night knowing that we brought the Captain back home but that we became monsters in the process? My men are the best in the business but you can only ask the top to be kept on a raging kettle so long before it blows."

"What else are we to do?" Akiva asked rhetorically. "It is written: 'thine eye shall not pity; life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.' I cannot order you to give them hell, Major, but I can and do extend the invitation."

Storr sighed. It would be funny, if he had the time to think about it; the Marine talking the First Officer out of becoming war criminals and responding to the base instincts of conflict. Truth be told, he was fighting against himself to want to pat Akiva on the back for making the transition to a true warrior mindset.

"The lex talionis? I'm not above it in the least but I'm letting you know that if this is anything larger than a ship or a reconstitution point that there very well may be women, children and other non-combatants there. I have to remind myself every day that these were normal Starfleet ships with families onboard and while I imagine the Consortium to be evil, surely they can't be that soulless." He chuckled before continuing. "As to the last part, we won't offer forgiveness; that's God's job...though we can hasten the meeting."

Akiva regarded the MCO with mixed feelings smoldering beneath a lingering scowl. "We shall do what we shall have to do. Nothing more and nothing less."

Storr chose to simply nod. "Yes sir," came the terse yet heartfelt reply.

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Akiva nodded, his dark eyes lingering on Storr's for a moment, and then left for his next meeting.


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