The Trench - Part 2

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General Tal sat at his desk, engrossed in a conversation with a researcher from the Fleet in this quadrant. Razaal could tell the researcher was from the fleet because he looked like he hadn't seen a second of combat in his life, like most of SciOps.

Tal noticed Razaal had stepped into the pop-up and rose to his feet. Razaal snapped to with the salute, and Tal snapped off his own, eager to dispense with the formality. General Tal was a grey,  but unlike the researcher he was speaking with, also a grey, Tal had seen more than his fair share of combat. Razaal had heard stories about Tal's actions during the great AI rebellion.

"Captain Kameku, thank you for joining us. Are you familiar with SciOps?"

Razaal stood straight.

"Only based on the faulty equipment we've been getting lately, Sir."

Tal grunted what seemed to be a restrained laugh.

"At ease, Kameku."

Razaal relaxed his stance and approached the two grey.

"Anyway, Kameku, meet Researcher Caltu. He's been dispatched here to our little battlefield with a special task and I need you to run point on it."

"Sir."

Razaal looked over to Caltu, expectantly. The grey hadn't seen action, but he seemed serious enough.

"Captain, I've been looking at the battlefield reports of this region and I believe I may have a solution to push the Imperial rebellion's forces back enough to encourage a full tactical retreat."

Razaal ground his teeth. He couldn't stand the idea of a cozy analyst playing distance warmaster. This researcher was lucky nobody else had heard him say a damn thing.

"We're open to suggestions, Caltu, but I brought in Kameku because he's a straight shooter, here. I trust his judgment."

This was the first General Tal had really spoken with Razaal for more than ten seconds. Where had this come from?

"I apologize, I don't mean to be insulting."

Had Caltu noticed Razaal's annoyance?

"I just am proposing an operation that would benefit your efforts that requires a certain level of technical expertise. I have volunteered in that capacity."

General Tal pointed to the unoccupied chair in front of his desk and Razaal took a seat, setting his armor to the side. Caltu continued.

"Now, correct me if I am wrong, Captain Kameku, but the Imperial rebellion has utilized massive trencher devices to carve up the region into an array of defensive trenches, correct?"

"That's correct," Razaal nodded. "We'd touched down on the planet just as they'd reinforced themselves with the trenches. They have about seven or so rings of these and we've only managed to push them back by one of them."

Caltu tsk-ed in response. It irritated Razaal.

"And, I am assuming they have heavy ion cannons covering their perimeter?"

Razaal scratched at a sideburn. "You'd be correct, we're unable to stage a landing for any flanking maneuvers."

"A scan of the battlefield showed me a staging area for the final trenching operation prior to your arrival, were you aware?"

"We assumed there was a staging area and did confirm it's presence during a scouting mission."

Caltu clasped his hands together. Razaal twitched and felt condescended to.

"My proposal is to get an escort to that staging area to reprogram their trencher tool. It's heavy machinery and not easy to destroy from the front. It can carve a trench through the concentric rings, right into the heart of their own reinforced location and, as a bonus, it can disrupt their ionic cannon coverage."

Razaal stared at the grey. It was certainly a bold strategy, theoretically. General Tal glanced at Razaal, who was just aware enough to flash a quick glance back.

Caltu shrugged and took a seat.

"That's all I have."

To be continued

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To be continued...

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