Summary: Xiang and Aquilina bump into Pickett in the maps room, and a discussion is had about the battlegroup's next step after Castor.
Date: 2657.338 (4 December)
Related Logs: None

OOC Note: Map of the systems is at: http://wcgs.wdfiles.com/local--files/start/wcgs.png

Map Room

What have we today? A Pickett lurking in the darkened map room, lit only by the glow of the holographic projection table in the middle. Floating above the table is a representation of what looks to be a rather busy star system… one planet, two large planetoids with mining bases, and five jump points. Planning for the future, perhaps?

Maps. What else does one do in here but look at maps? Which is why the appearance of two junior officers might seem a little off. Aquilina's talking as he and Xiang move up the hall and through the hatch. "…thinks it's might be Nexus. If we could just compare the co-…fuck." Room's darkened. Shadowy form. Muttered to Jia: "Is that Pickett?"

Xiang's footsteps can be heard in the hall outside the map room before the hatch starts to open, as can strains of her conversation with Aquilina as it opens. "I am curious to get a look at…" Off she trails, mid-sentence, when Aquilina spots the possible Pickett. She squints, unsure, though her posture straightens instinctively at the presence of a CO.

"Well" Pickett comments with a bit of amusement at the entrance of the pair, looking up from the table for the moment. "Since you're here, you might as well come the rest of the way in" Pickett comments with a chuckle, gesturing the pair towards the table. "Let me guess. This is the 'speculate on our new assignment' phase of the program?"

"The 'run about screaming' phase was getting stale, sir," Alex replies, mildly. "We figured the timing was right." Still kind of in the hatchway, he makes a motion for Xiang to go into the lion's den ahead of him.

Xiang arches her brows at Aquilina and his motioning. Though, when they aren't shoo'd away, she does stride all the way in and approach Pickett properly. Salute quickly offered, as is her way. "Major Pickett, sir. I do apologize if we're being presumptious. But we did want to get a jump on preparing for…whatever we would be facing next. I would wait for the official briefing, of course, but given the current situation with the Wing Commander…" Or lack thereof, so far as she's aware. "…I thought it might be prudent to be proactive about staying on-top of things."

Pickett returns Xiang's salute, though in the fine tradition of officers ranking up the food chain everywhere, the version he offers is less a 'salute' and more a 'wave hello to his eyebrow'. Either way, he gives a little bit of a nod. "Don't worry" Pickett replies, a little grin crossing his face. "Contrary to popular belief, I was a Lieutenant once too" he jokes, before he gestures to the ghostly image floating over the map table. "I'm sure the full version of our orders will be posted soon enough, but for the moment… well, here's the Troy system"

Aquilina provides no explanation for his own curiosity, nor apology. He's already mostly distracted by the floating map by the time Pickett motions to it, the reflections of color turning his pale eyes funny shades. "We're going to Troy?" From the sound of it, that's one that didn't pop up on his guessing radar.

Xiang nods to Pickett, relaxing just a notch. She's never what you'd call loose. Her attention also goes up to the map, dark eyes tracking the jump points that lead them from Castor to Troy. "Can you provide us with any information as to what we'll be tasked with there, sir?"

"I'm not entirely sure of that yet myself. Like I said, the official orders haven't come through yet. Technically, we shouldn't even know this much, but…" Pickett gives a little shrug. "Well, sometimes the walls have ears" he explains. "And yes, we're heading to Troy system. To kick the furballs out, of course, but I'm sure it's probably more complicated than that."

"Objective's solid, anyway. I like that much." Alex peers at the Troy system marker on the big map, and the jump routes going to and fro. "Advantageous spot to be waging war, anyway. Plenty of supply lines from our routes available." He's talking more to himself than anything.

"I can't argue with that," Xiang agrees with Aquilina. "And I'll leave anything more indepth to those above my paygrade. I suppose there's little else for a pilot to worry about than kicking at the cats."

"It's got benefits and drawbacks" Pickett replies. "Three lines back into our space, though Pender's Star and Pyrenees don't have much going for them. Good chance of supply in from Gemini, though." The major continues, pointing to each little hazy blue sphere marking a jump point in turn. "But also two ways into Kilrathi-controlled territory. And three bits of real estate to try and take. Assuming we /are/ going to take them all"

Aquilina glances at Xiang and nods, then looks back at the map. His eyes find each supply point as Pickett mentions them, lingering on the lastly-named Gemini. "Assuming," he repeats. There's a few seconds of silence, then, "Sir, has the file from last night's operation been declassified?" That doesn't sound like a complete question yet, but he pauses there for this answer.

Xiang awaits Pickett's answer to Aquilina's question without adding anything of her own. She laces her hands behind her back, fingers clasped together.

"I don't believe that it has" Pickett replies. "Though I'll admit, I haven't checked recently. Once I heard where we were heading, I started taking a look at that. I figure the official version of things from last night will filter through before long" Pickett explains with a little chuckle. "The big thing that worries me here, is that Troy has very little terrain to make use of. Two planetoids, one full-on planet. No asteroids, no nebulas, no place to hide at all really. Which means we're going to stick out like a giant goddamn target from the moment we jump in"

"Ah, alright." The second question vanishes into the ether, at that news. Alex folds his arms loosely over his chest. "Opposite from the asteroid field we got to play around in here, hm?" 'Play around in' comes out drily. "Good thing is they won't be hiding so easily either."

Xiang certainly doesn't press. She sniffs primly at mention of the asteroid fields, faint shadow passing across her face. "I won't be sorry to leave them." She leaves it at that. "When are we expected to reach Troy, sir?"

"That I'm not entirely sure of" Pickett replies. "I'd have a better idea of an ETA if we weren't still trying to let those two transports that met up with us just before we left Castor tag along. The navy pukes might have a better idea."

Aquilina hehs under his breath and nods. "Let them drive. Wouldn't want to distract them; I don't have my seatbelt on. Guessing it's a fair chance we're going to have to come out swinging when we come out of that jump, Major?"

Xiang just nods to that. If she's amused, any signs of it aren't visibly expressed. Her expression grows even more moderate at Aquilina's last question. "Perhaps I should put in some extra time in the sims, while we're en route."

"It probably wouldn't be a bad idea" Pickett replies to Xiang, before he looks back along over towards Aquilina. "And safe bet that we're looking at some action as soon as we arrive. Even if they're not covering the jump point, which I would fully expect them to be… they're bound to pick us up not long after we pass through"

"Understood, sir." Alex expected that answer, his nod just confirming for himself. "We'll be ready for them."

"Understood, quite," Xiang echoes Aquilina, adding a short nod of her own. "Tactically, they'd be fools not to." Those queries seem to have answered the curiosity she had that prompted her to venture into the map room.

"Though we also don't really have a good idea of just what we're looking at there." Pickett adds. "It's not likely to be a major concentration of forces, they still need that to balance the rest of the fleet… but, I suspect we're looking at stiffer resistance than one isolated garrison this time"

Aquilina nods again. "Then they'll get a stiffer attack. We'll adapt, it's what we do. If we're good, we'll adapt fast enough that we're ahead of the curve, and it's them reacting to us rather than the other way around like it has been."

Xiang tries to mirror Aquilina's confidence. She doesn't make /quite/ as good a show of it, but she manages another nod that's reasonably firm. "We'll do whatever we're tasked to do, sir. And if we can stay one step ahead of them, so much the better."

"I think that's exactly the idea" Pickett explains to Aquilina. "Take the initiative away. Either they don't defend Troy, and we get a good springboard for taking back most of the mining colonies in Fariss… or they do, and they're diverting forces away from opposing the main body of the fleet" Pickett explains. "But, that's all speculation at this point"

"Aye, sir." Alex's green eyes turn to the map for a few moments more. "Well, that in mind I'm going to see if there are any open pits in the sims for a while. Thanks, Major. Looking forward to that briefing."

"I think I'll do the same. Thank you for the heads-up, sir. What you could provide, that is." Xiang offers Pickett a parting salute and then turns to exit the map room.

"Have a good evening, then" Pickett replies with a smile. "I'll let you know just as soon as I've got the information to give you" Pickett continues, pausing for a moment before he adds. "And for what it's worth, hell of a job back in Castor"

Aquilina makes a motion like tipping a hat, which becomes a more proper salute. "Pleasure to serve under a good man, sir." He glances at Jia as she seems to be headed the same way, and heads out once he's dropped salute.

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