(( Sim Center, Deck 6, CIC Desdemona ))
Savel: I may have an idea that could improve our odds of getting close to the Shint cruiser. Even if it may be slight. I do not imagine you all will like it.
Dakora: By all means, Mister Savel, share it with the class.
Savel punched some commands into a console and a virtual representation of Desdemona, the shuttlepod, and a Shint cruiser appeared. They were all in relative scale to each other. Harry didn't miss Stennes' involuntary step away from the Shint vessel. There was a deep, evolutionary-level instinct there. Fear was a survival mechanism. It was important to self-preservation, but if given too free a head, it could hold a person back from advancing. That was a thought for later though. Harry was eager to hear Savel's idea.
Savel: I propose that we use the Desdemona to make the Shint think the shuttle has been destroyed. The Shint will likely have no regard for a defeated CIC vessel the size of our shuttle. Not with the Desdemona close by.
Dakora: Are you thinking we make it look like the Shuttle is full of separatists or deserters and we make it look like the Des shoots it down? ::He frowned.:: It could work. Maybe.
MacKenzie: ::shaking her head:: I don’t know. I can guarantee they’ll pick up the power from the engines.
Stennes: Personal prismic shields might help mask life signs. ::beat:: That’s a big might. Regardless, all it would take is one clean shot to blow the shuttlepod out of the sky.
Sato: Every encounter with the Shint is a roll of the dice though. We're just talking about giving ourselves the best possible odds. Risk versus reward, right?
Savel manipulated the models, moving the shuttlepod closer to one of the Shint cruiser’s sensor nodules.
Savel: Your concerns are valid. We will indeed have to power down the ship to minimal levels and likely drift toward the Shint cruiser. A longer period of exposure, however they should not detect us until the last minute. At which point, our shields and systems will be active and we will be in place to breach the hull.
Harry couldn't fight the grin spreading across his face. This plan sounded wild, foolhardy, and absolutely devastating to the Shint ... if it worked.
Dakora: It’s possible. If we time our breach with a barrage from the Desdemona they might just take the damage in stride. Then we’d just have to get in and steal the prisma-whatevers and wreck things inside bad enough on our way out that we can get back to the Des and get away before the Cruiser can kill us.
MacKenzie nodded slowly. Stennes looked somewhat dubious. He'd been through a traumatic encounter more recently than the rest of them, so that was understandable.
Stennes: Famous last words, “Let’s split up and double our chances.” Who among us hasn’t been cautioned against making that old chestnut of a tactical error? ::beat, traces a line along the exterior of the Shint ship:: Still, with multiple prismagons aboard, it’s tempting.
Harry was still in the headspace of thinking like the Shint. The Des would seem like a cornered prey animal, lashing out in desperation. The thought would likely never even occur that the prey had planned the whole situation. Hopefully.
Sato: I think this is a good plan. They won't even notice we had our hand in their pocket till we're half a block away with their wallet.
He'd seen enough pickpockets back on Earth. Chicago was still lousy with them. Once, he'd let one lift his chronometer, just to see how it was done. Granted, he'd chased the boy down and put him in the infirmary afterward, but the lesson for both picker and pickee had been worth the cost.
Dakora: Let’s run it back from the beginning. We go loud with the Des’ sensors and wait for a Shint Cruiser to pick up the trail. Once they’re in sensor range, we deploy the pod of ::He made quotation marks with his fingers:: deserters and make it look like the Des’ shoots them dead. Then what?
Stennes: The shuttlepod drifts into position on low power and Desdemona volleys some fire at the Shint. ::to Harry:: Make them blink so they don’t notice the speck of grit in their eye.
Harry nodded at Didrik. It was starting to feel like the only way the first part of the plan could fail would be if they weren't successful at masking the life signs on the pod or if the Shint were feeling in the mood to take a pot-shot at a "disabled" shuttle. Neither seemed particularly likely, but both were technically possible. Once they were on the enemy ship, the variables that contributed to failure got a lot harder to predict, but that was a problem for future them.
MacKenzie: Then we get in and get out as quickly as possible.
Stennes: If anyone can make a quick exit and keep our weapons hot, it’s Kader and Vik.
Sato: I'd like to be in the boarding party too, so it's been said. I promise it won't be like Eutril VI.
That particular mission had been too soon after Michael's death. He'd gotten to emotionally wrapped up in the mission, and nearly gotten seven officers killed. They made it out safely in the end, but when they beamed back on board, Harry was covered in so much blood they almost beamed him straight to sickbay. As soon as they realized none of it was his, he'd gotten the tongue lashing of a lifetime. Since then, he'd focused his hate for the Shint into something more like a scalpel than a shotgun.
Savel / Dakora: response
MacKenzie nodded, sealing the deal.
MacKenzie: That’s the plan. It’s time to put it into motion – we don’t have much time.
Stennes: ::to Dakora:: Who do you want with you in the shuttlepod and who do you want watching your back ship side?
Harry stood silently, knowing more words would simply dilute his case.
Dakora / Savel: response
Stennes: I don’t know about that Edo mediator. Part of me thinks she’s just gathering intelligence on us to use later. The Holier-Than-Thou Fleet on Rubicun III has been hedging its bets against the Commonwealth for years.
Sato: Maybe, but they're damned good at what they do. Right now, it's "the enemy of my enemy is my friend," right?
Dakora / Savel / MacKenzie: response
Stennes: As soon as we’ve got some working prismics and a target ship, we go. ::beat:: In the meantime, uh——::beat:: Harry, could I bend your ear for a few minutes? Maybe take a walk to the soup dispensers and back?
Sato: Sure thing. ::nodding to Dakora and MacKenzie:: Sirs.
Dakora / Sato / MacKenzie: response
(( Corridors, Deck 6, CIC Desdemona ))
Harry had made mental notes about things to talk about with Didrik once this whole steal-the-most-valuable-things-in-the-fight-against-the-Shint mission was over, assuming they lived through it. He'd been a bit surprised by the invitation to partake in the ship's "culinary delights." His suspicion was the man had misgivings about this mission. The chuckle Didrik uttered merely confirmed this.
Stennes: All those hours alone in the escape pod, drifting through space with only myself for company, I actually started to wish I’d spent more time in session with you.
Sato: My god. Things must really be bad if Major Didrik Hard-Ass Stennes wants to talk to the shrink. ::softening:: We need our people sharp. Is there something distracting you? Something you want to talk about? And don't b-s me this time.
Harry chuckled himself now. His approach was always akin to an ancient blacksmith. None of this coaxing and leading the patient to solve their own problems nonsense. They were actively involved in a war. When people came to him (or when he summoned them), they were laying themselves bare psychologically. His job was to hammer them into a shape that could be used against the Shint. That being said, he wasn't completely without feeling. He dreamed of a life post-Shint, where people could live without fear and worry that every day they woke up it might well be their last.
Stennes: I promise I’m being genuine this time. I’m not just trying to flatter you in hopes you’ll prescribe something to help me sleep. ::beat:: You’re a good counselor, Harry. Better than I've given you credit for.
Sato: 'Preciate it, sir. I try. Hopefully one day I'll have the luxury of doing more than keeping the crew battle-ready.
The vending machines at the end of the corridor dispensed military rations masquerading as something edible. Harry often daydreamed about his mom's cooking. She made the best fried chicken when he was a kid. He supposed that had stopped too. Real meat was hard to come by these days, even on Earth. It was all replicated. Harry put his hands on his hips, surveying the dismal choice before him.
Stennes: Ugh. Bolian-style tomato. ::beat:: Nobody has seen a Bolian in 15 years, and yet their soup survives.
Sato: I hope to leave a better legacy. Have you tried the split pea soup? Makes the tomato crap almost delicious by comparison. ::beat:: So what's up, Didrik? This isn't about the soup, is it?
Stennes: The thing is, the nightmares are back. And they’re getting worse. Every night, every time I close my eyes to sleep. It’s the same person as always. It’s like I know them, but I don’t recognize them.
When Didrik had first told Harry about his dreams - these "phantoms" that seemed painfully familiar yet not, who would reach out, but could never be touched - Harry'd figured there was a simple explanation: Major Stennes was internalizing the horrors of war on the front lines. There were countless people whose lives depended on their success. Countless had already died. Entire civilizations had already been lost to the Shint. As the dreams continued though, and with very little variation, he started to suspect there was more at work in the man's psyche.
Sato: You still can't make out their face?
Sato: What about the sounds? You mentioned that a while ago. Have you been able to figure out where that's coming from? Have you heard anything similar?
It was always possible the dream was the manifestation of some internal struggle, but was incorporating familiar elements in unfamiliar ways. Dreams were tricky things - the stuff of mystics and the superstitious mostly, but sometimes they gave glimpses into the subconscious of the dreamer.
Sato: ::taking a sip from his soup cup:: I swear this is getting worse - the soup, not your dreams. Though I'm sure that's not getting any easier. Have you tried those meditation practices I sent you? Have they made your dreams more or less vivid?
1st Lt Harry Sato, Counselor
CIC Desdemona RNS-601
simmed by Hiro Jones E239510KD0