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For Heavy Tactical and Security Considerations Pt 2

Posted on Wed Jan 12th, 2022 @ 1:10am by Captain Cronin Keys [GM] & 2nd Lieutenant Christian Rogers & Petty Officer 2nd Class Corvus Hannah [Rogers]

Mission: Pre-Launch + Pre-Mission 1 Stories
Location: Utopia Planitia Fleetyards, Administration District, Mars
Timeline: Following "For Heavy Tactical and Security Considerations Pt !"

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The eleven men filed into the situation room in a quiet and orderly manner. Despite that they were dressed, still, in their rec gear and had various levels of red clay, grass stains, dirt and scrapes showing, they still managed to look like the professional and proud Marine members they were. Once inside they filed into three rows - two of four, one of two and Rogers off to the side.

"Captain," Rogers said with formality, "we are here to discuss the offered assignment, sir."

Cronin was reviewing a few things on the large holographic display table. One thing was the Pioneer rotating, the rest of the holograms were several ships from Voyager's logs and various specifications and intel on them scrolling next to them.

When the Marines entered Cronin decided to leave it all up and paused the data with a tap of a control before turning to them. "Ah, Lieutenant," he looked over the other Marines and smirked. "I see you all have been enjoying your off duty time well."

"Yes, sir," most of the team uttered in near unison with a mumbled "he made us" said from somewhere in the middle of the group. Rogers shook his head, suppressing the smile at that one remark. He couldn't be too upset. It wasn't an actual *order* that they had to play but...well...sometimes orders were said without being said. Besides, his attention was captured by the data on the holographic viewer. One was obviously a Starfleet ship, and he presumed it to be the ship they would be assigned, the others were alien to his knowledge. He automatically began looking for weaknesses in design and technology in order to formulate tactical plans. He wanted to ask about them, but until the captain made it formal that they were assigned, he knew this information was still 'need to know' and they didn't have that need. Yet.

Still, his gaze took in whatever information he could from the display.

Cronin smiled as he picked up on the amusement from Rogers and the annoyance, though tampered by enjoyment, from the team members. It was both good they had great synergy, though-he immediately shut down any negative paths his mind could go and focused on the meeting. He gestured to the Galaxy-class Venture-refit Explorer hologram. "This is my ship, the Pioneer, and it is part of a 10-starship taskforce that will be sent back to the Delta quadrant to pick up where Voyager's ended then head back along that journey but exploring all the space they didn't see."

He glanced around at them all as he brought his hands to his sides. "This is all classified information and while all personnel offered the choice of joining Project Delta, their families will also be given the choice of participating in the Colonial side of the project." Cronin added, "now I have offered M.A.C.O. Team Leader position for the Pioneer to Lieutenant Rogers, he will be given discretion for assembling his team and gear. I am here to answer any questions about the Project and what I have been told about the Delta. What would you like to know?" He finished.

The assembled Marines looked at each other, then as one looked toward Rogers. He shook his head before taking a baseball from his pocket and giving it a soft toss to Baldwin.

"Sir," Baldwin said, addressing Cronin, "you said families could go, does that mean spouses and children? And if so, will they have jobs and if so will there be childcare provided?" After asking the question, he tossed the ball toward Cronin.

Observing the Marines, one glanced over at Rogers and then the Lieutenant passed a baseball, of all things, to one of the Marines. It seemed interesting to the Captain as it came to mind as an indicator for who could speak. Or there would many questions thrown at him by everyone there at the same time, smart. Cronin smiled as he focused on the Marine who caught the ball, he had a moment before he saw the ball being tossed to him and caught it in both hands after the question was spoken.

Cronin inspected the ball for a moment then held it with his left hand and leaving his right hand to interact with the console. "Yes, yes and yes. The Pioneer will have a civilian affairs department that is overseen by the Executive Officer and will have childcare, education and activities sub departments. The other Explorer type starships in the task force will have this department at a high level while the more specialized starships will have lower levelled ones." He explained, he hoped to the Marine's satisfaction.

Baldwin grinned as he looked to the couple standing near him. That would help when he called his wife. That they wouldn't be left without resources relieved a huge worry that he had. His wife was already chafing that she was stuck home all day, despite how much she loved mothering their son.

Chackton raised his hand and waggled his fingers.

"Sir," Rogers said, his voice low and directed at Cronin. He remained standing apart from the others, his arms crossed over his chest while he continued to monitor the meeting. "You'll need to select the next person and let them have the ball." He glanced at Chackton. "Speaking out of turn comes with...incentives."

He couldn't help the smile form on his lips as Cronin glanced at one of the Marines who raised their arm then at Rogers as he explained how is has organised his team. "Very well." He said and nodded to Chackton before he tossed to ball to them.

Chackton smoothly caught the soft tossed ball then started passing it back and forth between his hands. "Sir," he said, as he cracked his neck, "Lieutenant told us we could request equipment. Is this going to be a priority assignment so that the equipment we request will be granted? I mean, we're a much better unit with a better mission completion rating than those shits -" he shook his head as he noticed the sudden glare Rogers gave him, "I meant turds, no disrespect to you, Captain. But we're much better than the 4th but we don't get to use the new 4Gen combat armor and they do only because they're permanent to Utopia at the moment and we're not. That's just not fair, we get much tougher assignments than them and we should get the better gear-"

"Chackton," Newton said, his voice low but still something of a growl. "Lock it up."

Chackton quickly glanced between his unit sergeant and commander, noticed both looked perturbed and caught the ball in his left hand and left it there. "I was just wondering, Captain, cause that armor is sweet and we should have it. Not lesser teams, sir." Having said that, he tossed the ball back to Cronin.

Both amused and annoyed by the intradepartmental slander, Cronin caught the ball. The Betazoid Captain knew of most of the departments across the fleet had some form of internal rivalry, even Captains, though he didn't personally have any; well that he knew of. He narrowed his eyes slightly at Chackton. He recalled from the fleet personnel reports that the 4th were offered the assignment to the project's task force flagship, Voyager. They had accepted of course. Clearly Captain Ada Hawk, currently the commanding officer of the famous Intrepid-class, wanted them. Though it seemed that not all the marine units were equipped the same, that was a little concerning to Cronin as he watched Chackton for a moment.

He wanted the marine to squirm a little under the pressure. Cronin knew that each ship were getting only 1 M.A.C.O unit, though the Dauntless probably will get 2 due to the mobile fortress carrier's purpose. He managed to claim Rogers, and hopefully his team, before anyone else did, Cronin smiled then. "Marine," Cronin began, "trust me when I say that all the Military Assault Command Operations units, which for this project mission's duration will be labelled, will be outfitted with all the latest, stable and some experimental, gear."

Cronin turned to the holodisplay's console and tapped a few buttons and the Malon freighters and Pioneer holograms were replaced by the armours and weaponry of several types. "As I understand it, Starfleet Tactical and Corps of Engineers have made a 5th Generation suits, though I suspect they are 4th with upgrades that will be detailed in the M.A.C.O handbooks you will receive upon reporting in on the Pioneer. Some of the weaponry include the TR-116 rifle, though labelled TR-120 as it has been upgraded and modified." He gestured to the relevant holograms. "Due to the classified nature of the project we are keeping most of our supplies movements and transfers discreet so I am not sure when you will get the gear but hopefully all ships will be ready to depart on launch date. Keep to your normal routines until your transfers are confirmed and do not travel together. There is a schedule that will be given to you if you accept the assignment."

He tossed the ball back to Chackton. "I will overlook that slander this time Marine but should I hear of any further, especially between Security and M.A.C.O personnel since the M.A.C.O unit will be serving in Security while not deployed, you will be put in the brig, then on our base of operations' brig once established and then sent back to the Federation once we are able. You may suffer a court martial depending on the degree of slander. Am I clear?"

When Cronin mentioned upgraded gear, there were some quiet cheers and high fives among the unit. Chackton's smile was the widest. It was about time that his unit's good work was recognized with some sweet loot. But then the captain kept talking. He caught the ball and stiffened as the man threatened to throw him in the brig for what? He didn't slander anyone. His gaze went to Rogers.

The Marine lieutenant was staring straight ahead, but his posture was erect, arms folded tightly across his chest and jaw clenched. Chackton was about to defend himself and point out that the captain spoke without the ball but he was cut off when Newton, seemingly accidentally, jabbed him in the ribs with an elbow. At the same time Kawolski grabbed the ball out of his hand.

"Hey!" Chackton said, "I wasn't done with-"

"Corporal!" Rogers barked, turning to face him. Rogers took a breath before speaking again. "Twenty laps. Go."

Chackton's surprise increased at the strict first time offense from the lieutenant but he only shook his head and made his way to the door then started at a run to hit the field for the proscribed consequence of speaking out of turn. Rogers, only turned to Kawolski. "You have something to say, Corporal?"

"Sir," Kawolski said, turning so he faced Cronin. "You said we could take our spouses and kids with us, but what about the rest of our families? The Delta quadrant is far away and if I remember hearing correctly, Voyager didn't have much chance to talk with us back home. Is that gonna be the same for us when we go?"

Rogers smiled to hear the foregone conclusion that Kawolski would be going. Though, he wondered if he would have another married Marine before they left for the mission. The slight smirk on Newton's face told Rogers he wasn't alone in thinking that. But he was curious as to the answer as well, though he didn't turn to look at Cronin for the answer. Instead he turned his gaze back to the wall, too upset at the Fleeter's threats against his men. He wasn't sure he could keep that dark look from his face at the moment.

Cronin glanced at the back of the retreating Chackton, ha! That kind of punishment only worked on marines, if he tried to order Starfleet officers to do laps, he had a feeling they'd actually laugh at him. He turned to face the remaining marines as Rogers spoke to a Corporal. The marine looked directly at him and began his questions, though didn't pass the ball over. That was odd.

He did log the Lieutenant's anger as it seemed to be coming off him. Cronin thought that defending the honour of other marines would get some respect though it seemed that there was wide spread lack of respect between marine units. He would speak with Rogers in private about it all. Hopefully this incident won't affect the team joining his ship, though the new questions from another of the marines indicated they were still interested. This was promising.

"As you may recall, Starfleet managed to make contact with Voyager using Project Pathfinder. We still have that method open to us and future developments that are in the works which will make communications as well as supplies from home a regular affair." Cronin replied with a smile. "However for the first few years or so only Pathfinder will have to do. On the matter of extended family, if they are willing to contribute in some way. So yes, your spouses and kids can join you on the Pioneer, we have room for immediate family like all Galaxy-class starships while extended family can join the colonists or civilian affairs department, I can set up a meeting with colonial services for you if you like?" He asked. "If they are Starfleet officers, we will need names and if they are available, if they are needed in Federation space it may not be possible. However in the future they could join us at a later date."

A few murmurs at the answer given by the Fleeter captain seemed to indicate that those present on the Marine side found it acceptable that they would still be able to 'call home' as it were during their extended tour into the Delta Quadrant. It even seemed as if they'd be able to receive care packages from their homes and families - only Rogers didn't seem excited by that idea. A series of taps on shoulders and hand gestures and Kawolski passed the ball to the tallest and broadest Marine present.

"Sir, Sergeant Anthony Brownell, but most just call me Brownie," he said as he turned to face Cronin. For a man so imposing in physical stature, he had a surprisingly calm voice. "We've been told that this assignment means we're not just gonna be Marines but we'll be acting as part of the crew's security deployment." He proceeded calmly but his gaze darted several times to Rogers as he spoke. "Can you give us a bit more of what that'll entail? I mean, will it be something more than just standing posts? Will we get to learn what Security has to know and have the authority to investigate and arrest as well?"

Rogers's approval of the depth of the question was shown as a slight lessening of his dark scowl.

"Also, I'd like to ask the Lieutenant if, considering that you're a Fleeter and probably unused to the idea of the speaking ball that you be given a pass this time for speaking without holding the ball?"

He turned to glare at his fellow Marines as there was a deep 'cough' from somewhere on the other side of the group that sounded suspiciously as if someone were trying to cover up the words "kiss ass".

Cronin walked up to this 'Brownie' and kept the Sergeant's gaze for a few moments before holding out his hand for the ball. "Well the last individual failed to pass me the ball and so I had to answer regardless." He said and accepted the ball when given. Cronin kept his eye on the marine until the last moment as he turned and walked back to the holo console then faced them again.

"The M.A.C.O team will serve as Security and Tactical personnel until the moment a boarding action or an away mission of a heavy description is ordered will the M.A.C.O team be deployed to lead Security against boarders or sent off the ship. Until then the team will fulfill all Security and Tactical duties or other departments they are more suited to." Cronin said then turned to Rogers, "we will discuss placement later," he said then turned back to Brownie and held out the ball.

"Aye, sir," Rogers answered, as he held up his hand to retrieve the ball. Once he had it he turned to his team. "Any other questions that need to be answered at this time?"

The team turned to look at each other, with shaken heads and shrugs. Rogers nodded at Newton then, tossing the ball from hand to hand he turned back to Cronin. "How long do we have to decide to accept this assignment?"

At this last question Cronin frowned slightly. "Unfortunately you have perhaps 48 hours maybe less." He replied. "If you agree to join the project, you must get yourselves to McKinley Station as that is where our ship, the Pioneer, is waiting. Though if need be you can shuttle to the ship after we launched as we will be travelling to a classified location where the task force will assemble." He said.

"Twelve hours, understood, Captain," Rogers said, looking at his team. He saw their nods at the revised time table. "Anyone that needs to use comms is hereby given my authorization." He noted Chakton returning to the group in time to hear the timetable. Turning back to Cronin, Rogers asked, "Anything further, Captain?"

"If any of you wish to come back with me you are most welcome, I will be returning to the Pioneer in the next 2 hours." Cronin said as he went to the holodisplay and tapped at a few controls returning it to standby mode. He wondered if he had to meet anyone else here on Mars.

"Dismiss them, Sergeant," Rogers said to Newton. Turning back to Cronin, "You'll have a team within the next twelve hours, Captain," he said. He'd already made up his own mind about the offer and, judging from what he knew of his team, most of them were onboard for the assignment as well. There may be a few who were undecided at the moment, and most of that was because of family obligations. Though, Cronin's earlier outburst at Chakton might skew things a bit.

Cronin nodded. "Excellent Lieutenant," he said. "How are you getting to the ship?"

Rogers watched as the others filed out of the room then stood, facing Cronin. He shifted his stance to a more formal bearing. Though, until official orders were issued, Cronin wasn't his CO, he'd agreed to go on this assignment which was as bonding to him as any orders from Command. "I'll most likely shuttle over once the team is settled."

"I will have to show them to their areas then," Cronin said and picked up a padd that was on top of the holographic display table and offered it to Rogers. "Your and your team's orders, as well as a dossier on our ship and gear that will be available to you and your team." He explained with a smile.

"Understood, Captain," Rogers said as he took the PaDD. "That'll make things easier. I'm not sure if you're aware, but we'll most likely need at least one enlisted family quarters." He stopped and thought for a moment. "Maybe two. Kawolski isn't married yet but this will probably hasten that occurrence." He pocketed the PaDD. "Anything else you require at the moment?"

The additional information pleased Cronin and he smiled again. "I shall let the quartermaster know upon my return," his smile faded. "I understand that you and your team are used to operating on your own and together, but once our mission starts you all are officially security officers, and one medical officer. Your duties lie in those departments until deployed to go on MACO away missions. Is that understood?" He asked as he put his hands behind his back in preparation to leave.

Rogers stiffened at yet another unwarranted rebuke. "Captain, my men are Marines which means they will always give their best in performance of their assigned duties or following the orders they are given. You will not have reason to regret their posting." There was more to say in defense of his Marines but he felt that this Fleeter really had no clue what it meant to be a Marine. Nor, apparently, was he listening when his command were eager and happy to hear they would have full time security duties aboard the ship. However, he would end it there and let his unit show this Fleeter just how wrong he was to judge them with so little value.

For only a moment did he consider withdrawing his interest in this assignment but then if he turned it down, he'd never have the satisfaction of watching this captain eat daily servings of humble pie. Happily served, if even unaware they were doing so, by his unit. "Is there anything else, sir?" he asked, reverting to NCO surliness hidden in appropriate formality. It was really him telling the captain to dismiss him.

Cronin was about to go into a few other things but decided to make them a surprise for his MACO team when they reported aboard. "Apologies, you and your team have much to do, I will not keep you any longer Lieutenant, see you onboard." He said and went to attention, one hand to went into a salute at his head while the other went to his side. "Thank you for accepting." Cronin finished, he hoped that in order to allow his Starfleet security personnel will bond better with the Marines if they had the same duties, though if that is a fruitful plan or not will only take time.

Rogers blinked at the salute then reminded himself Cronin was a Fleeter and, well, it must be culture shock. But protocol required to follow the lead of the senior officer. He moved to attention and returned the salute. Once Cronin broke it, he executed an about face and left the room.

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