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Posted on Sunday 9 August 2020 @ 22:56 by Major Richard "Wolf" Johnson, Psy.D. & Sergeant Major Zorass Zh'tohrit & Commander Melody Jones

Mission: A Whale of a problem (We're going to need a bigger boat)
Location: =/\= Marine Country =/\=
Timeline: MD3 1100
1471 words - 2.9 OF Standard Post Measure

Richard was watching the Marines with his arms crossed over his chest as each squad ran through the various training courses on the holodecks and in the gym. Things had gotten sloppy with the teams being out of sync and now trying to regain their rhythm. Most of the old guard had been rotated out, which brought fresh faces and new personalities, quarks and habits that everyone needed to get used to and mesh with. Wolf shook his head as the squad with the newest to the unit went down in defeat again, "Sergeant Major, I want the squads reorganized, let's spread the FNG's out a bit more, and make at least three squads QRF across the Company," he said and leaned down with his palms on the desk as the Sergeant Major nodded and took notes on her PADD, "also, anyone who scores less than a ninety-six percent success rate here will be put into your training until they achieve that mark, and that is mandatory," he added.

Melody entered the room quietly as stood near the door watching, not wanting to disturb the training exercise as they all seemed very focused on their task. She saw Wolf and his Sargent Major direction operations from the front of the room.

One of the Marines suddenly saw her watching and finished his task and stood to rigid attention, calling out "Commanding Officer on deck SIR!"

Wolf and the other Marines in the Companies command center snapped to attention, "Captain," Johnson greeted and stepped forward, coming to a looser attention, "what can we do for you, ma'am?" he asked.

Melody walked slowly to the front of the room where Wolf was stood. "Good afternoon Major. I thought I'd drop by unannounced for an informal inspection. See what's going on down here in Marin country. Please don't let me interrupt. Carry on, by all means."

The Major nodded and motioned to the monitor, "Captain," he offered as he and Zh'tohrit stepped back to allow Melody to see, "Zh'tohrit and I are assessing the Company as a whole," he explained, nodding to the Andorian woman then to the monitors, "it is more than just combat skill we're watching for. We're looking at cohesion, team work, ability to adapt and improvise, ecetra," he said and pulled up a visual feed of a squad of mostly veterans that had worked in the same squad for a year, "this squad is what we're looking for in the rest," he added.

On the screen the six Marine squad was moving through an urban setting. It was quiet, however, each squad member was moving forward cautiously along a building wall. They were in a line, called a stack, and each was watching a specific area as they moved. As the squad got to the corner of the building an explosion caused debris to rain down on them and civilians to flood the street in front of them. Bolts of green energy cut through the crowd, hitting people and walls. The squad instantly split, executing unsaid orders, and putting themselves between the disruptor fire and civilians as best the could. The Sergeant leading called out to get to cover and the others grabbed as many people as they could, pulling them behind buildings and vehicles before opening fire, sending hot, white balls of energy from their compression rifles towards where the disruptor blasts were coming from in an attempt to just keep cover fire until the civilian got to cover.

Melody watched the team work as one without any verbal communication gong off each others signals and glances. They made it look easy when Melody knew it was not. She looked over to Wolf to read his expression.

Wolf nodded to himself, "alright Zorass, let's move Van to first platoon, first squad and make him alpha fire team lead and grab Francisco and make him third alpha lead," he said after the simulation ended, "tell them both I want their teams operating at peak by weeks end," he added and then motioned for the Sergeant Major to take over monitoring, "I'm hoping we can get our vets to pick up leadership positions all the way around and get the kids in fighting order," he explained to Jones and smiled, "so, what would you like to see first, Captain?" he asked.

Zh'tohrit nodded, "copy, Major," she replied and finished making notes on her PADD before stepping up to the monitors, "thezh shelat," she cursed as one of the Privates ran out in the open, firing blindly, "zztan (things are very bad)," she muttered and shook her head before pressing the comm, "second platoon, thanks to Private Kil'slo you will be running in the holodeck at three times g, report at zero three, second squad, run it again!"

"This is your show, Major." Melody replied, "We'll proceed at your discretion." The Marine unit has proved it's worth a hundredfold during the Dominion War. "How many new recruits did we receive this time?" It was easy to pick out the seasoned Marines from the newer members who tended to be more impulsive and eager then the more experienced members who's movements were more stealthy and deliberate. "I would like to discuss the current mission and hearing your thoughts on the subject." She added as aside to Wolf. "I like to prepare for all eventualities."

Johnson nodded as they moved out into the corridor, "well, about half the company are raw recruits with the other half either existing or transfers from other units," he replied and stepped through a door leading to the armory, "the problem I'm finding is only a few have seen actual combat, and less have seen heavy combat for any length of time. Peace is an amazing thing, but, for our readiness it has made some reckless," he explained then stopped at a mission planning table at the center of the room, "of course, the whale probe," he said with a nod and pulled up a 3D image of it projected over the table.

Melody looked at the image. "The first time we encountered this, it was able to neutralise every starship it met and almost destroyed Earth as well. Now, while this effect was not deliberate it raises some.... concerns with regards to first contact. Over a hundred years have passed. Who knows what advancements they have made or what they are capable of now?"

She turned to Wolf. "I've already expressed my concerns to our security chief and I've got engineering working on some power reserves." She took a breath. "There is an opportunity here for something historic but at the same time, like Garushda, a disaster beyond comprehension."

Wolf nodded and leaned forward on the console, "right....." he replied thoughtfully as he looked at the image, "do we have course history and projection yet?" he asked.

Melody tapped a few controls and a dotted line appeared behind the probe tracing back a to a point that the Merlin was on a direct course to. "The coordinates transmitted by the probe seem to match its original trajectory leading back here." She pointed to the dot. "It's still beyond our sensor range but it looks like the probe came from this unexplored region of space here. There are indications of a G type star system but beyond that, we can't get any clear readings."

The Major nodded as he looked over the data on the hologram. He tapped a few of the holographic buttons and zoomed in on the indicated system, "well, the Marines can run a recon mission there, that is our bread and butter as force recon," Wolf offered and looked over to Melody, "if nothing else we could give Merlin a heads up to any surprises?"

She nodded "Sounds like a plan. I would prefer no surprises. Prepare a recon team and dispatch them as soon as possible. This is observation mission only, they are not to engage. Understood?"

Richard nodded, "understood, ma'am," he replied with a nod, "I'll send Zh'tohrit and Van with a small team," he replied, "can I make a request?" he asked.

”Of course Major.” Melody said before smiling wickedly and adding ”As long as it's not for the location of my Aldebaran whisky stash.”

The Major laughed, "damn, and I really wanted to know," he said, "I'd like to have engineering throw a coat of black paint on one of our runabouts for this mission, a poor mans cloak," the Marine explained.

”Good thinking Major. Yes, by all means. If you see Lieutenant Rathburn I'm sure she’ll be happy to accommodate you. Keep me informed of their progress.”

"Copy that, ma'am," the Marine replied with a nod, "I'll get with her today," he added then motioned to the door to continue the inspection.



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