(( Shuttle Banshee, near Representative Tych’s Mansion, Eladar IV [Feladon] ))
Serala thought it over. There were arguments both for and against both options. As Commander, she needed to decide what had the highest priority. And unfortunately, that was the Feladoni. They were defenseless against the Caraadians. The Prime Directive prevented them from interfering in the natural development of the planet, but this was far from natural development. And the locals did not have the technology to deal with this threat. Commander Rosek and her team would have to hold out as long as they could until Serala could effect their rescue or release.
Serala: :: shaking her head :: Unfortunately, Commander Rosek and the others are going to have to wait. The protection of the Feladoni needs to be our priority right now. :: turning to Kiax :: Commander. Locate the coordinates relayed down by the ship and lay in a course. :: to McKnight :: Lieutenant, get the shuttle ready to go. I am going to invite our Feladoni friends to observe, possibly even participate. This is their planet, after all. They should have a hand in its defense.
McKnight: On it, ma'am. :: he turned back in his chair to start the shuttle :: It might be good to enlist the help of those soldiers that General brought with him
With that, Serala quickly exited the shuttle and made her way back to the manion. She spoke to the guard there and requested to speak to the General.
Serala: It’s most urgent.
Once the guard had entered the structure, she paced impatiently. It didn’t take long, but to Serala it might as well have been hours.
Zadok: Lieutenant Commander, What can I do for you?
Serala: General. Your planet is being invaded. It’s a small force, for now. But we’re going after them. I thought you might want to come along? Maybe even bring a few troops of your own?
Zadok: :: Nods :: Of course. Let me discuss this with the Representative.
Serala: Please, General. There’s not much time. We need to move quickly if we’re going to minimize the impact to your world. If Representative Tych wants to come along as an observer, that is fine, but we must hurry.
Zadok: =/\= General Zadok to Representative Tych. =/\=
Tych: =/\= ...Yes, General? =/\=
Zadok: =/\= Sir, we have a situation developing out here that you need to be made aware of. If you’d like to come it can be explained to you on the way or would you prefer, I can have one of my men bring you up to speed and you can remain here. =/\=
Tych: =/\= ...I think I had better stay in my Manor, General. With your defensive squad. But… if I can be of help, please keep the comm link open. =/\=
Zadok: =/\= Ten four, Sir. Zadok out. =/\=
Serala led the General back to the shuttle. When she got back, she nodded at Amuro and the shuttle began to lift off. She looked at Commander Kiax for a status report even as she took her seat and gestured at another for the General.
Kiax: Caraadian forces have entered the cave network. I can’t get a fix on their exact numbers but it looks to be between eight and twelve. I think I’m reading residual energy discharges a short distance from where their shuttlecraft have landed, though the distance between that and where I believe our crew to be is a reasonable distance. They’re likely safe for the time being.
Serala: Very good. Lieutenant, get us as close as you can. Maybe we can solve two problems at once. Commander Kiax, are you able to get a lock on our people yet?
Kiax: Negative, Captain. Can’t get a lock, the signal is still too garbled, even at this range. We’ll have to go in on foot.
Serala: I see. What about a general location?
McKnight / Azorius: Response
Kiax: About 600m to the north of where their shuttle are parked, that’s where the energy discharge is located. It seems to coincide with a small dip in the terrain, likely where the entrance to the subterranean network is.
Zadok: =/\= All troops to the cave systems. This is General Zadok. The Mekra’fari are in trouble and we need to do what we can to help. Sound the alarm. All non-military personnel need to seek shelter in the designated safety bunkers until instructed otherwise. Tell the security forces to secure Feladon. We are under attack from unknown forces. This is not a drill. I repeat this is not a drill. All military to the caves. =/\=
Serala had been about to ask something, but the order from the General stopped her in her tracks. Given their opinion about the Mekra’fari people, she hadn’t expected that kind of response. Not that she was going to complain.
Zadok: What? I may have my own opinion about them, but I’m not about to let innocent people die.
oO Very commendable, General. Oo
Serala was pleased to hear that. Maybe there was a chance Federation diplomats could step in and help these two people resolve their differences.
Tych: =/\= General Zadok, is it the Federation aliens? Are you all right, should I call for backup to your location? Are they attacking us, as I feared? =/\=
Zadok: =/\= Response =/\=
She only half-listened to the conversation between the two Feladoni. Her mind had kicked into tactical mode and she was planning how to address this problem.
Serala: Do you think we can get there before they reach the Mekra’fari?
Kiax: I suppose, if we’re quick. They seem to be taking their time ensuring security as they go, given the rate at which they seem to be moving forward, though their signals are jumping about a lot, so it’s difficult to tell.
McKnight: Ma'am, I know what's causing the interference. This entire area has a high concentration of dilithium. It's everywhere. It's also highly unstable in some parts. Weapons discharge can set it all off. We can't use the shuttle's weapons. It could blow up the whole mountain.
Tych: =/\= … More aliens, General? Are you serious? And what do the ones you’re with want to do about it? =/\=
Serala looked back at the General.
Serala: You can reassure him that we will deal with the threat. It’s not our world, but we will defend it, if you allow us to.
Which she really should have asked first, before rushing off to deal with the Caraadians.
McKnight / Azorius: Response
Zadok: All I can tell you is that it’s a maze down there. Tunnels going in all directions with dead ends and pitfalls in some.
Serala: Any other obstacles we should be aware of?
McKnight / Azorius / Kiax: Responses
Zadok: The cave systems are dimly lit at best. Some caverns have better lighting, but the Mekra’fari are sensitive to the lighting the Feladoni are used to. Those that work above the ground use special goggles to protect their eyes and dim the lighting.
McKnight / Azorius / Kiax: Response