Inspecting the Line
[OS] Tales of Moreau
Location: Ourea Colony
Timeline: MD01 || 0800
Kreitenne hadn't slept for more than a power nap since the Vaadwaur attack the day before. It was a damnable feeling. The colony felt exposed and backed into a corner. Kreitenne personally felt like they'd been toyed with. Why would the Vaadwaur send an invasion force and do nothing with it? Why spare Ourea and not Kartelan?
Her tactical upbringing could not ignore the red flags or ask the questions. In fact, it almost seemed like Starfleet was being herded like cattle, but for what? For slaughter? For containment? Nothing about this entire situation made sense. And, as much as Kreitenne tried not to think about it, she couldn't help it, even when she tried to focus on the more immediate situation.
A team of Marines had set up a perimeter near the site the Vaadwaur had detonated. The area was still teeming with residual radiation, and it was too much for anyone to enter, even with a protective suit. The decay rate looked promising, and hopefully they'd be able to enter within the next day or two.
Kreitenne put her efforts into where they needed to be the most, inspecting the defensive perimeter, and even trying to reassure the local government. There were thousands of civilians here, after all. Kreitenne even halfway wondered if they shouldn't start distributing arms to every single person. She was convinced the Vaadwaur would return, and soon.
The Commander arrived at last to the defensive perimeter, precisely where the Vaadwaur had landed and bombarded the shields. Even though the shields had held, the generator still suffered heavy damage and was undergoing repairs. A platoon of Marines stood nearby, holding patrol and sentry positions. The full contingent would remain on deployment for the foreseeable future, at least until calm and a sense of safety returned to the colony.
"What's our status?" Kreitenne asked aloud, referring to everyone, and no one in particular. Marines, engineers, and even medics were nearby, each tending to tasks.
Washington Hayes knelt beside the engineer, offering tools as needed, and keeping an eye on the last of the repairs. At 6'6", his broad-shouldered frame wasn't one that went unremarked, usually with some derivative of 'big guy' attached. People expected the football player to be short in the brains department and while he played to the stereotype when it suited him, truth was he'd studied history and literature. Still ended up in the Marines though. He heard the question and rose to his feet, turning as he did so. "The generator should be operational before full dark, Commander," he said.
Kreitenne searched her memory for the Marine's name, not wanting to appear distant in front of those around her. She was excellent at remembering faces and features, but names had always been a challenge. "Excellent, Mister Hayes. It'll be good to have our defenses back to full power. Have you heard anything from the other Marine sentries?"
"No, Ma'am," Wash answered as he scrubbed one hand through his curling blonde hair. "Still about thirty minutes to regular check-in though."
The Executive Officer nodded, moving her eyes to the horizon. "How about scuttlebutt then?" she asked. "An opposing force set down 300 troops to distract us from the fact that there was a secret Vaadwaur installation just klicks from our position. The Vaadwaur have destroyed our other facilities and operations in this sector. Why abandon this one?"
"Its a good question, Ma'am," Wash said, his own gaze sweeping the horizon as though searching for an answer, "Seems like there are at least a couple of possibilities. Our shields held, maybe they decided to come at us in a different way or something else was more important." He shrugged lightly. "Not sure and its all speculation at this point. Which bothers me more than a little, I have to say."
"You and me both, Hayes," Kreitenne confessed with a sigh. "The Vaadwaur are native to this quadrant, we're not. If they'd been on this planet all this time, you'd think they would have warned us earlier on, not this close to finishing construction."
"More like they decided they wanted this world once they saw us settling in," Wash said. He kept his head on the swivel, an expression he'd picked up somewhere in his training, which bothered some but had saved him more than once. When in the field, it was hard to keep eye contact with him; people learned to adjust. "Or found something here that they want enough to fight us for ..."
Kreitenne had sensed it too. This conflict, while confusing, was clear in only one aspect: the Vaadwaur would be back. "We are certainly in no condition to evacuate or otherwise abandon Ourea," she stated plainly. "They took out Kartelan, closed our access point to the Alpha Quadrant, and effectively stranded us here. We've got no choice now but to dig in our heels.
Just as soon as she finished talking, she took in a whiff of gas supplied by her breathing apparatus. Being the only Barzan on the planet had its disadvantages, especially when it came to a lack of proper atmosphere for her lungs. The whiff she inhaled caused her to cough, almost like one would be if they were congested. She was taken aback, the surprise shocked her more than the cough itself.
Wash thought of it more as cut off their line of retreat, access to supplies and reinforcements. "Sound tactical move," he said. "Makes us vulnerable to whatever they have planned."
Kreitenne took a moment to collect herself. Her breathing had returned to normal, but she wondered if there was an issue with her breathing apparatus, or if she needed to go refill the gas pellets. Still, she wouldn't linger terribly long here. She'd finish her inspection and visit the colony's medical ward, or at least see if she could get someone from the station to send her a backup breather. "All the more reason to make sure you're good with that rifle. Just because we have nowhere to go doesn't mean we're going to let ourselves be removed from here."
"Oorah, Ma'am," Wash said in response. So much meaning packed into a single word but then, he wasn't verbose on the best of days nor was it in his nature to brag. He was good, some might say better than good but that wasn't something he spread around. Actions generally spoke louder than words. "Whatever you need."
Kreitenne smiled and nodded. "As you were, Marine." With a final nod, she continued on down the line so that she could finish her inspection of the perimeter.
Wash returned to his former position, helping the engineer and keeping watch. Even when he wasn't on guard duty, he was on guard. Especially in a situation like this with so much unknown. Something was going to happen but who know what or even when. And that kept him restless as though if he looked just a bit harder, he'd find the missing piece and it all would make sense at last.