Posted May 3, 2021, 12:57 p.m. by Major Krin "Hannibal" Lardel (Commander Air Group (CAG)) (James Sinclair)
Posted by Gamemaster Wookius Furrius (Gamemaster) in Main Sim - Escorts… or Bait? (Tag MBattCO)
Posted by Mar. Captain Idzi Vix (Second in Command, Air Group) in Main Sim - Escorts… or Bait? (Tag MBattCO)
Posted by Major Krin “Hannibal” Lardel (Commander Air Group (CAG)) in Main Sim - Escorts… or Bait? (Tag MBattCO)
Posted by… suppressed (36) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Lardel reviewed his plans and nodded in satisfaction. He then pressed the comms and said =/\= CAG to Battlion CO. Please come to my office asap, Colonel. I have a game I think you might like to play. =/\=
Jon heard the call in his office and pressed his badge. =/\= On my way. =/\= A few minutes later the Colonel walked into the CAG’s area and knocked.
Vamuhn, Marine Battalion Commander
The door was, as usual for the CAG’s office, open and the Zakdorn looked up from his desk and saw the Battalion CO. Standing up and going to parade rest, he said “Colonel. Thank you for coming.” and he gestured to one of the chairs in front of the desk. “Coffee, sir?” and he turned to the small table behind the desk and the pot of real coffee sitting there.
OOC! Lol! Real coffee!
IC: “At ease. Thank you and yes I would like a cup of joe.” He said while taking a seat.
After retrieving mugs and setting them on the desk, Lardel sat and looked at the Lieutenant Colonel. “I have an upcoming operation escorting the convoy to the transfer station. I have an operational plan in place, after having received some… let’s just call them ‘special requests’… from one of the Corporation representatives. Seems they have a problem with pirates hijacking cargo ships. My original intent was to simply scare them off for the duration of our stay… but your arrival has opened up a source of new possibilities.” and he took a drink of his coffee.
“I was wondering if you and your Marines would like to be the hook inside the bait on my fishing trip?”
After taking a few moments to ponder and having a couple sips he turned his head to look at the CAG. “Interesting. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, then instead of scaring them off and having to deal with them time and time again, not to mention others that travel these parts...... we can simply eradicate them all....” He rubbed his cleanly shaved chin a bit. “We’ll do it. This will give my men a chance to stretch their legs, make the Marines and Starfleet look good in the eyes of everyone else, a chance for you and I to finely hone our trades, and to work together. Do you have any Intel about the pirates?” He said taking a long sip of his coffee. “This is really good by the way.”
Lt Colonel Muhjon Vamuhn 29th Marine Battalion Commander
“I get it from the Commandant’s office.” Lardel said with a slight smile. “As far as ‘eradicate’ goes, I think that may be too strong a term. I am anticipating less than 10% casualties on their part. If it goes as planned, we should be able to take most of the pirate personnel into custody and turn them, and their ships, over to Starfleet. The pirates are not combatants, after all. So their disposition would fall under Fleet, not us. But as Fleet’s resources are thin in the area, and we have been asked for assistance directly, I see no reason we shouldn’t… as you said… ‘stretch our legs’.”
Lardel stood and motioned the other officer to the large view screen. He also pressed a button the desk and the door slid closed and locked and the window looking over the flight deck went opaque.
Walking over to the view screen, pulled up a overview of the region known as ‘The Cloud’. “This is the area of operations. Convoys go through corridors in area from point to point. While they do shift and change, buoy systems move with it to communicate the ‘map’ ahead.” Maneuverability is problematic, and the pirates take advantage. So they need protection. The Shogun, the missing vessel, used to do this and with its disappearance it fallst to my group to fill in that gap of escorting the convoy to the transfer station just beyond the Cloud. So… since transportation within the cloud is limited to a series of corridors with lighter stellar dust concentrations, the region naturally has pirates lurking mainly in the ‘crossroads’ where the corridors make a turn and the ships need to come out of warp and make course adjustments. They are called the ‘Groyim’, a people who live farther within the Cloud.”
“The region called the Scar is a place that has its own unique .. culture. Apart from those on Plouton 9, there are a half dozen other star systems that are not unlike old City States in structure. The pirates all are elements of each of these. Most of the vessels are equal to the task of preying on transports or small ships. The Shogun outclassed any three of them, and rarely was it noted that more than two allied together. In this case, there is no honor or unity among thieves.”
“There are apparently agreed upon rules of passage in the corridors that every race within the Cloud holds to. As ships pass, shields are up, weapons ports are cold and tubes closed. If that does not happen and a warning message is not heeded they are deemed hostile. That leads to delays in the deployment of force. In Federation space, not an issue… but we are not in Federation space. Typically where the Shogun went ships, even pirate ships, were polite. Without that show of force the pirates have become more brazen.”
“The ships the pirates use are as one would expect… they vary. Intel provided by the Company suggest the biggest are equivalent to a light cruiser. Most are modified craft, some heavily modified. Now, the local systems will offer escorts for important convoys, and keep any immediate corridors in their space watched, but the Shogun was the only ship to actually patrol the grey zones - those outside of the systems’ space but still in the corridors. There are buoys which denote space corridor borders. Anything within them it is polite to communicate that you are there and why but that is it as far as protocol.”
He tapped a few commands on the interface and the routes through the Cloud appeared in red lines twisting and turning through the area. “We have intel on one Luan’kor… the most reputable pirate known. He has a projected ‘fleet’ of three, maybe four ships, but they have only ever been seen in singly or in groups of two. They know it is him because of the black claw painted on the hull of his ships. If he is hunting he will have his light cruiser that has been modified to carry fighters and another of his modified freighters to keep the cargo. None should pose a real threat to my fighters. Crews on board are supposedly at a minimum, but I know how far I trust non-vetted intel. Typical tactics are to wait in the eddies of the corridor walls where sensor hits are not as reliable and strike out from there. Occasionally they will take advantage of the ‘tides’ where some of the space dust making up the cloud drifts through the corridors - not unlike the age old tactic of putting a tree across the road. They are, from all reports, cunning and know their space well. Tactically they have an advantage. We have to nullify that advantage before engaging. And that is where my plan comes in. Please, have a seat.” and he directed the Colonel back to the desk. As they sat, the CAG pressed a button and small panels opened on the walls and sensor hardware became exposed. After a few moments, the panels slid closed. “Sweeping for bugs. OpSec and all, sir.. any questions prior?”
OOC: Awesome synopsis James! .. Gene
=^=Andreassen to Lardel.=^= The Captain’s voice sounded through the comm system.
Lardel tapped the comms and said =/\= Yes, Captain. What can I do for you?=/\=
=^=I’m reviewing the data packet regarding the Shogun and I know you’re about to head out for escort duty. It appears the Shogun chased after a pirate ship, I’m not sure exactly what this means, but I wanted you to be aware of that. Not sure if that means they were ambushed, but since you’ll be traveling through the area, maybe keep an eye out for more clues for me,=^= Freja replied, =^=Good hunting and if I find any other information that might be relevant, I’ll communicate that.=^=
=/\= Understood, Ma’am. If I may, would it be possible to get a copy of the intel you have? It would help if we had an idea what you know and what may be relevant. =/\=
=^=Absolutely, I’ll send you a copy. I’m presently going to look at the crew, the ship was certainly not an underpowered vessel by any means, so I have to look at reasons why they might have suddenly gotten overrun by pirates who usually aren’t organized enough to bring down a starship. I’ll continue to share data about the Shogun and her crew as my investigation unfolds as well.=^=
=/\= Understood, Captain. By the way… I am preparing to brief the Battalion CO on the operation the Wing is going to do right now. You are welcome to participate, if you like. It might make some cross-discipline endeavors more efficient. We are in my office. =/\=
=^=I’ll be down there shortly, thanks for the invite.=^=
Sure enough, a few minutes later, the office door chimed.
The door slid open to show the CAG office. Lardel stood and said “Captain. Please have a seat. I was just about to brief the Battalion CO here on the upcoming operation.”
“Excellent,” Freja smiled and took a seat, “Thank you for inviting me to sit in.”
“Of course.” the CAG replied. He then brought up the Operations Briefing he had prepared. “The plan is quite simple: No one outside of this command will know our plan going forward until Phase One is complete. If the pirates are getting intel from crew of the transports, we don’t want to lose our element of surprise. So… Operation Pandora’s Box will take place in three distinct phases. Phase One… Baiting the hook. The Black Sheep will commence patrol operations around our current location. Patrols will also begin forays into the Cloud to establish a regular presence over the next twelve hours. Patrols will be two hours each, with the relief flights moving into position before the others return. This overlap will be the key to baiting the hook. In twelve hours, the convoy will leave with escort fighters led by myself and Captain Vix. As the convoy enters the Cloud, they will do so at the same time as the patrol change over. This time, however, the patrols will not return to the Chimera. They will instead magnetically lock onto the convoy vessel’s exteriors and power down all systems save life support and comms. Our fighters can be back to full power in under five seconds from a cold start, so this will not hinder response time. The ‘escort’ fighters will continue along with the convoy as normal, but it will be a small contingent. Enough to keep away most, but small enough not to scare away our big targets. Once all fighters are attached and powered down, Phase one is complete and we move to Phase two.” Lardel paused and took a sip of coffee.
“Phase Two is Trolling. Here we simply wait and see if someone takes the bait. Our hope is the presence of fighters flying escort is interpreted as a sign of high value cargo… at least higher than normal. As we wait, all fighters in formation will scan for signatures of both the Shogun and signatures similar to what you have provided, Captain. If we find anything, it will be relayed back to the Chimera on a secured channel. If someone takes the bait, we move to Phase Three, Setting the Hook.”
“Phase Three is where the element of surprise comes in. If and when someone decides to try and take the convoy, overflight will attempt to mitigate hostilities and garner any intelligence possible on the attackers. At a given signal, the powered down fighters will deploy and we will engage as necessary. We will have transports with us carrying some of the Colonel’s infantry. These will be tasked with docking onto the attacker or attackers, breaching the hull, and taking the attacker’s ship. While the pirates have been successful in taking mining and cargo vessels… and apparently the Shogun… they haven’t set against fully armed and armored Marine Breaching teams. I believe we will be able to accomplish the operation with less than five percent casualties. The only issue I forsee is if we have to engage the Shogun itself if it has been compromised. Should that happen, we will need to be in possession of the vessel’s command codes in order to have a chance at shutting down it’s capabilities while we are engaged. Is that possible, Captain?”
“I’m going to check in with command shortly when done here, I might be able to make the case of having command codes to shut her down based on what we know the Shogun was doing last. That’s of course if the pirates haven’t found a way to alter the codes. Failing that, I can make available to you any command level details on the schematics of the Shogun that I can pull from the database. There might be weaknesses that we can exploit if the ship has indeed been compromised.”
Jon came back into the office. “I am sorry Major. I had to use the latrine pretty badly.” Then seeing another Trill there. “Oh. Did I miss something?”
Lt. Colonel Muhjon Vamuhn, Marine Battalion Commander
Lardel simply said “Just the entire briefing, Colonel.” dismissively and he looked at the Chimera Captain. “Any questions, Captain?” as he asked an intermittent alarm sounded outside the office on the flight deck. Lardel looked at his chronograph and said “Flight deck depressurizing in sixty seconds. Patrols are about to launch.”
“Darn. Sorry about that. Chili, Broccoli and sauerkraut do not mixed well. But that was an excellent burger.”
“No questions from me, I’ll see what I can dig up with respect to the Shogun’s systems and see if I can somehow convince command to give me command codes that will let me disable her quick. I’ll keep you all informed with what I turn up in my investigation and if you find any evidence that might suggest what became of the ship, I’m sure you’ll do likewise.”
“We will Captain. Thank you.”
Lt. Colonel Muhjon Vamuhn, Marine Battalion Commander
After the Captain left, Lardel went over the briefing… again. “Questions, Colonel?” he asked after he had finished.
“No. No questions. Thank you and I apologize for having to leave. You take care and I’ll see you around.” With that the Colonel got up and left.
Lt. Colonel Muhjon Vamuhn, Marine Battalion Commander
Lardel nodded and began making preparations.
A transmission in text came through from the orbiting station. =^= Station Control to Chimera Escort. 30 minute notification for outgoing Ore Train. Please acknowledge your readiness. Route, speed and composition is attached. =^=
=/\= Understood. Escort ready for deployment twenty minutes. Have Ore Train Leader contact patrol lead on this frequency for coordination of departure, Station Control. Clear all traffic from departure route five minutes prior to departure and keep clear five minutes after clearing Station Control operational area. Black Sheep out. =/\= and he closed the comms and then tapped the internal Squadron comms. =/\= Attention. Attention. Commence Operation Pandora’s Box. Fighters to the flight line for immediate launch. Commence overflight of baby bird immediately. =/\= and a claxon sounded throughout the Squadron’s area.
Immediately, aviators and ground crews went into action. Fighters were rotated into position and readied for launch. Aviators scrambled up ladders and dropped into the cockpits, and the solid metal hatches closed up around them. Ladders were pulled and deck personnel began directing the craft into launch position. Through the organized ballet of chaos walked Hannibal, flight suit on and helmet in hand.
“You ready to get to it, Babyface?!” he yelled over to a Marine Lieutenant trotting to a waiting Templar. “You know it Hannibal!” came the response from the Bolian aviator. Hannibal gave him a thumb’s up and ducked under the nose of a fighter. “Hannibal! I got your six!” yelled a pilot strapping herself into the cockpit as the canopy slowly closed. “Wouldn’t have it any other way, Charger!” he yelled back with a quick grin. Hannibal moved to the far side of the flight line and there sat a fighter that was different than the others.
Where the other fighters were painted a dark gray with a white field on the tails depicting a Templar Fighter flying straight forward over a field of blue stars beneath the right side profile of a black sheep with prominent curved horns; this fighter was jet black. It had the same unit designator on the tail, but on the nose was a splash of red on the top and left side… as if the fighter had flown through something red and it splattered across the nose. The other difference was the canopy over the cockpit. On each side was painted, in bright white… ram’s horns.
Lardell climbed the ladder and dropped into the pilots seat. He pulled on his helmet and started his flight systems. He looked out at the ground crew standing and watching him, and gave them a thumb’s up. In unison, the five technicians saluted and then returned the gesture. The canopy came down, and Hannibal was encased in darkness.
And then flight systems came online.
Immediately, his hands flew across the control panels and the fighter sprung to life. =/\= Black Sheep to Chimera Flight Control. Request clearance for flight operations =/\= Lardel said to the bridge. =/\= Confirmed, Black Sheep. Good luck and good hunting.=/\= came back the voice of the Chimera’s Flight Control officer. Hannibal keyed in the approval and then hit his comms. =/\=Hannibal to Black Sheep.=/\= and his voice sounded in the cockpits of the fighters and transports. =/\= Launch on my mark. Set… Mark. =/\= and his fighter leapt forward on the magrails and was thrown out of the flight deck and into space.
Idzi bolted across the flight deck. Her heart was racing this is what she loved, sure it was only a escort mission but it didn’t mean it couldn’t get interesting. She ran up the ladder and dropped down into her cockpit. Nodding to the groundcrew she checked her system as the cockpit closed. “Here we go” she said before she felt her fighter launch out of the flight deck.
Mar. Capt Vix (CAG 2IC)
As the last of the fighters formed up on him, Hannibal activated his comms. =/\= Black Sheep to Convoy Leader. We are all green for operations. Please send us transponder codes for all ships in convoy. =/\=
Idzi flew in formation waiting for the information, she knew same ships would be slower then others. As she waited she couldn’t help but wonder, if this was going to be as simple as it was expected to be. She had experianced enough times things going firm 0 to 100 really fast.
Mar.Capt Vix (CAG 2IC)
OOC: Back in the land of the living .. mostly ..
=^= Ore Train Gamma Niner. Acknowledged. We are underway. Cruising speed warp 2.1. Single file config. Course direct route to Transfer Station. Transponder Codes should be in your box. =^=
=/\= Copy. On station Gamma Niner. =/\= Hannibal replied, and the Black Sheep fell into formation.
As soon as they were clear of the ore plant, Hannibal gave the call and the fighters began to move close… very close… to their escorted ships. =/\= Black Sheep to Gamma Niner. We are commencing maglock docking on your outer hulls. Spread the word down the line, Captains only. We will be radio silent after locking is complete, but I will monitor your comms. Confirm, Gamma Niner. =/\=
Lardel watched his HUD as the Templars fighters moved gracefully and attached themselves to the exterior hulls of the ore train. Once all were in place, Hannibal moved his own craft onto the lead ship and latched onto it. He then powered down all but comms and life support. The rest of the Black Sheep had done the same.
The trip to the first (?) issue peacefully lasted six hours and twelve minutes. In the meantime they had passed a Vnick Cargo Hauler and its small Corvette escort two hours previously. They passed with all standard convention. According to information the Vnick were another race that inhabited the Scar, though further into the cloud. Their vessels were fluid and fish-like, hulls of a burnished blue. At that time the had signaled that all was clear in the corridor behind them.
They passed the third ‘leg’ of course changes from the corridor and both lead convoy ships - labeled OT Niner One - and the lead escort would pick up a sensor reading ahead. Dotted in their path was a series of asteroids. Navigation through that field would be problematic for the larger ore carriers who did not have the maneuverability of the smaller craft. =^= OT Niner One to Escort. Slowing to sublight. Note this is not a common event. Over. =^=
Hannibal sent a single ping to the rest of the squadron. To anyone monitoring comms, it would appear as part of the inner ore fleet communications. To the Black Sheep, it signaled ‘Standby’.
As the convoy slowed and approached the configuration of asteroids there was an increase in comms chatter. One ship pulled away from the convoy and made its way forward at a quarter impulse. It was registered as the Repulse. Scanning it would show that it was a high powered ship for its size with a dozen ‘tractor’ arrays located around its squat bulk making it look like an oversized beetle.
=^= Repulsor moving into position to clear a path. Requesting escort. =^=
The six fighters flying overwatch moved into position. =/\= Repulsor, this is Hydra. Do your thing, I’ll keep an eye on you. =/\= Hannibal listened and smiled to himself. Hydra was a great aviator. And she had an instinct when it came to trouble… both in and out of the cockpit. Hannibal sent a second ping and all the docked fighters turned on comms in receive-only mode so they could hear what was happening.
Something didn’t feel right Idzi knew it, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. For now she kept a close eye on the communications and made sure she was ready to move in a moments notice. She hoped she was wrong but years of experience and her gut where telling her otherwise
Mar.Capt Vix (2IC CAG)
The Repulsor moved slowly, lights illuminating in blue-green circles about the tractor emitters as they powered up. It shifted slowly into the midst of the asteroids and, using opposing elements worked at giving the asteroids a ‘shove’. This moved on for several ‘pushes’ before the squat vessel came to a sudden halt. =^= Repulsor to escort. I’m reading something dead ahead after that last push. Metallic object. Looks like salvage but it’s … oh … =^=
Lardek and Vix could see the object suddenly lurch forward toward the Repulsor and latch onto it with a clang .. the clang heard through the hull of the Repulsor and coming through the comms to the fighters. =^= Register object on hull. Deck 3 forward starboard side. =^=
Hannibal activated the comms. =/\= Black Sheep to Convoy leader and Repulsor. Scan and identify unknown object. =/\= Hannibal had a feeling, but hoped it was wrong…
He hated mines.
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