Four hours later, Kate Sheridan surveyed the group that Lisley had assembled around the holographic map table for her briefing. Sheridan stood at the head of the table to Lisley’s immediate right, with Captain Lex on Lisley’s immediate left. The twelve surviving members of the Defender’s security detachment and Ensign McGregor, who would pilot the shuttlepod, surrounded the other three sides. Sheridan didn’t like having to leave the base camp undefended, but it was necessary if this mission was ever going to have the slightest chance of success.
Lisley tapped a command into her padd, bringing up a map of the area, and began her briefing. “Our target is a sleeper ship which is being housed in a subterranean launch facility here, at the peak of this small hill.” She tapped a command into her padd and the terrain became partially transparent to reveal the layout of a subterranean complex with a large highlighted area at its centre. “The objective is to immobilize the majority of the base’s personnel, capture the section of the facility containing the ship and hold it for forty eight hours so that we can launch the ship ourselves. To maximize our chances of success we’ll commence our attack at 0200 hrs to coincide with the middle of the sleep cycle for the majority of the military contingent and all of the project’s engineers and scientists.”
“What kind of numbers are we facing?” asked Lieutenant Somner.
“The surviving documents place the base’s complement at around seven hundred and fifty personnel,” replied Lisley, “so we’ll initially be out numbered by fifty to one. However this should drop to around two to one following the initial attack.”
Somner was unable to hide his surprise, as were most of the others around the table. Sheridan understood their response, but she knew that the plan maximised their changes of success against such impossible odds. It was just a question of tactics.
“We’re not planning to engage them directly,” Lisley explained. “Instead we’ll be using a covert small-unit three phase strategy. For the first phase we’ll split into three teams of five, each one targeting one of the three main entrances to the facility.”
Lisley tapped the controls on her padd and map highlighted and enlarged the first location. “Captain, you’ll head Alpha team consisting of Bower, Russ, Olabi and June. Your target is this old Aircraft hanger to the southwest, which our earlier recognisance indicates to be the main vehicular entrance to the facility. You’ll need to secure the hanger and then wait for Lieutenant Sheridan’s signal. When she gives the all clear, signal Lieutenant Johnson that it’s safe to approach in the White. You’ll need to use the shuttlepod as a relay to cut through the radiation’s interference.”
Lex nodded to show his understanding, as did the members of his team.
“Mendez, Jones, Fleming and Singh, you’re with me,” she continued, moving the map’s focus to the next location. “Our target is the barracks located to the north. Once there our objective is to incapacitate as many of the base personnel as possible before securing the entrance to the complex in the building just to the south of the barracks.”
“How are we planning to incapacitate them?” asked Lieutenant Jones.
“Optimum conscripts were controlled using drugs, including their sleep patterns,” explained Lex. “Automatic systems would administer aesthetics to send them to sleep and stimulants to wake them up. You’ll have to hijack those systems to administer a dose of anesterzine that will render them unconscious for two days, before sealing them in their barracks.”
“The automatic dispenser is located just inside each barrack,” continued Lisley. “We’ll need to enter each one, trigger the dose and then seal the door using our phasers.”
Jones acknowledged her understanding along with the other three members of Beta Team.
“Finally, Commander Sheridan will take Gamma Team,” Lisley said rounding out the team assignments, the map table’s focus shifting again to display the final location. “Your objective will be to capture the main command centre to the east. Raj, MacGillis, Somner and Halpen, you’re with Sheridan.”
She shifted the map back to the overview of the base, which now had the three entrances highlighted as well as the central location. “Once each team completes Phase 1, they will signal you to initiate Phase 2 by misdirecting as many of the remaining personnel as possible to this location here,” she pointed to a section of the base well away from the sleeper ship. “Once they are safely contained the final phase can begin.”
At this point Kate tried to gauge the group’s reaction to the plan so far. She knew that what they were asking them to do not only seemed impossible, but also went against all their training. She was pleased to see that although nearly all of them were wary and cautious of the plan none were shying away from their duty.
“Beta and Gamma teams will converge on the facility’s launch section and our primary objective. From the scans it looks like each section can be sealed by a set of blast doors. As you advance into the base close and disable them behind you,” Lisley continued. “The only route into the base will be via the hanger. Alpha team will remain there until Lieutenant Johnson arrives with the components for modifying the ship. Alpha team will then seal this entrance behind them too. The only way we’re leaving this base is on that ship.”
With Lisley’s last statement the true gravity of the situation hit. If they failed there was no going back; this was a do or die mission.
“Timing is critical. From the initial attack to base capture can only take a maximum of three hours. Longer than that and we’ll loose the cover of night and the chance of discovery before we’re ready will increase ten fold.” Lisley turned to the Captain, “Is there anything you want to add, Sir?”
“Don’t take any chances,” said Lex. “While we’re using history as our guide we’re stepping on very shaky ground. Keep your weapons set to heavy stun and avoid killing anyone if at all possible. Most of all don’t let anything that could effect the future fall into the Optimum’s hands, even at the cost of your own life.”
“Any further questions?” asked Lisley. Several seconds passed and there weren’t. “Ok, Gamma Team, you’ll deploy first. Dismissed.”
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