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Eisenhower might have been right

Posted on Thu Apr 16th, 2020 @ 6:05pm by Lieutenant John Collins & Captain Seregon French

Mission: Prelude: Getting The Team Together
Location: Team office space, Deck 13
Timeline: MD 10 - 1030

Seregon and Collins:

Seregon sat down at her desk and began writing out the phases of the operation. In order to keep the TOC or Tactical Operations Center appraised of their progress, each phase of the operation from start through to extraction would be marked with a phase line designator to let the important people know how we were getting on. The one word on the list that Seregon hated most was a two word combination. Off Book.
That meant something had gone horribly wrong and the team was now flying by the seat of their pants.

Seregon had decided that the first phase would be insertion and it would be called Omega. So the chart would look something like this.

Phase line Omega - Team inserted proceeding to next phase.
Phase line Marilyn - Team in position read to grab the HVT or High Value Target.
Phase line Charlie - Target safe, heading for next phase
Phase line Payton - Ready for extraction
Phase line Helen - Extraction completed exfil in progress
Phase line Saints - Mission complete

And so on until they finished the operation. In a perfect world, this would be fine. But on an op like this one. There were some serious moving parts, so one phase might not be completed until several other jobs were done. So there was no doubt that she would be adding more phases to this operation. And for that she needed Collins input. So she waited.

Holding a cup of coffee, Collins walked in. "Captain French, just who I was looking for. Let's head into the SCIF and see what we can put together?" He walked over to the door to the SCIF (which was really just a high-security conference room) and put his hand to the scanner, putting his eye to the retinal scanner while he muttered a passphrase.

Seregon followed. Not speaking with padd in hand. As the SCIF was really the only secure location to undertake this high level a conversation.

“I’ve begun setting up the phases of the op. But There’s a lot for us to discuss. So when you’re ready I’ll show you what I have so far.” Said French.

"OK, one moment while I double check the anti-surv status...." A few taps on Collins's part into a wall console. "And we're good, they're already active." He looked over French's PADD, and looked thoughtful before speaking. "This isn't bad if we were talking about a conventional Marine operation; in fact it's quite good. The problem is, this isn't a conventional Marine operation, it's effectively a kidnapping. If we don't plan flexibly, focusing more on what people need to accomplish in what order but leaving 'how' unstated, we're going to both waste our time and come off as too practiced to make our cover stories plausible," he noted. "Remember, the Romulans will notice his absence. We need to be able to have an alibi for everything we do, and then a good lie for when they pierce the alibi. Under no circumstances can they be given reason to think this was other than, at worst, a kidnap for ransom. Ideally, they should think he went wandering off of his own accord."

That's when he pulled out his own PADD, linking the two devices over a secure ad hoc network. "The way I'm thinking, we need to plan on spending a day or two just observing and blending in. The ground team needs to play their roles, build up credibility as whatever as we insert as, preparing to observe the target as they do. Along the way, during those two days, I will attempt to hack into the resort via the planetary networks; making it look opportunistic like any data criminal. If I get in, excellent, my intention is to set up backdoor access to the surveillance network and to get myself into a position where I can intercept alarms and signals to planetary security forces. If I don't get in, so long as nobody can trace the hacks back to me, that's acceptable.

"At 48 hours after insertion, the target should arrive for his week in paradise. We go quiet then, just observing. Get to know him, his weaknesses, his vices. If we make contact, OK. Make him think we're on his side for a day or two. Supply him with those vices of his that are illegal or unsavory, build up rapport with him.

"Then, on day 5, we move to extract the target. Ideally, he'll cooperate, either because he genuinely wants extraction or because we make it difficult for him not to cooperate. How precisely we go about this needs to be planned on the ground; it's way too situationally dependent to do from here."

"In any event, by the dawn of 7 days post insertion, we should be exfiltrating from the planet, ideally with our target in our control."

Seregon listened intently and was not totally happy with the amount of time that he thought they would be on the ground. But she did not know everything about these types of extractions. He sounded credible and God knows he would not be here if he had no idea of what he was doing.

"Ok, so have you got a viable story if we get rumbled?" Asked French, after all she was the tactical expert for the team. It was important that she and Collins come up with a super viable plan, or people would surely die!

"If they breach our local covers about being legit employees, we admit it. We fall back on our general covers. Instead, we say that we're with Paladin Security, investigating on behalf of a client allegations that a group of resort employees has been engaged in the trafficking of sentient beings in violation of Romulan law and interstellar treaty. We had heard rumors of the resort's connections to Romulan officials, so naturally we didn't want to make accusations formally without corroborated evidence," Collins replied. "If that cover fails, we're a kidnap for ransom team employed by a franchise of the Orion Syndicates." He let that triple redundancy sink in, then continued. "The reason I'm positing we develop the operation over days is because we can't predict when our target will be vulnerable to extraction. Considering we only get one shot, it seems wiser to move slowly and avoid detection. Also, it actually corroborates our backup covers - under either scenario, the expectation would be that you'd take your time with the surveillance. If we go in, find that he's wide open, then we could move faster, but I work on the presumption that there will be security, if not of his person than at the resort level."

Seregon began to pace the floor in thought. "We're going to have to run through this a lot to get it down pat. Going over every possible scenario. Role play has often been the best way to work through a problem like the one were facing." Said French

"Yeah, no argument there regarding run throughs. Let's pull up a holotable map of the property and see what comes up," Collins responded. Walking over to the conference table, he tapped on his PADD a bit, causing a holographic 3D model of the resort property to pop up. "There's a water tower on site that would make an excellent perch for our sniper to perform recon and comms relay from. He'd have a clear view of the landing pads we can expect security forces to arrive through. The site is blocked from transporters by pattern scattering devices; 16 of them, positioned to cover the entire property. Nobody beams in or out. Entrances are here, here, and here. Screening is by low wage contract security guards."

“So we need to get him outside the no transport zone to beam him up. I think a shuttle is just too dangerous and could be shot down way to easy. Do you agree?” She asked Collins.

"I would agree, except that in this case the logic is flipped. Transporters are blocked on the resort and a good distance around; However, there's way too much civilian aerospace traffic to utilize air defenses. My thinking is, have a craft make planetfall along the normal re-entry corridors, then break off from them and go terrain-contour flying to reach the shuttlepad from over the city. Ideally, we blend in until we grab our target, then fade back into the civilian traffic," Collins offered in response. Bringing up a holographic display, he showed the flight profile on the holotable - it would take skilled flying from the pilot, but it was possible.

“In theory that works for me. But as a fall back plan, we should set into motion a way to hand off the HVT to one operative who can hide him on the planet whilst we run our op in the other direction. Thereby slipping him out the back door.” Seregon offered

"Going to remind you that I won't be in the AO. I don't know that anybody else on team has the tradecraft skills necessary to go to ground with an unwilling extraction target for any length of time," Collins cautioned. "It's a good idea but there is such a thing as asking too much."

“You have a point. But unwilling? The brief said he’s ready to get out. I don’t think he’s unwilling! Maybe that’s a point of contention we need to verify?” Replied French

"Even if he's willing now, we're trained to presume he won't be when we knock on his door," Collins noted. "Guy is leaving behind everything he knows."

“That’s very true. Let’s just hope when the time comes. He doesn’t change his mind. Because right now it’s a retrieval, then it becomes a snatch and grab of an HVT. And I hate when that happens. “ said French

"Same." Collins replied with a grin.

“I think it’s time we get to the holodeck and see what they have for us. We can talk more with the rest of the team present.” She gave Collins a quick look before they both headed to the holodeck to continue prep for the op.


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