On The Journey Home...

April 23, 2016:

Rowan and Ulani debrief on their way back to the Third Fleet

Pacific Ocean


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The trip back wasn't a simple hydroport for Rowan, Ulani and her squad. The cutter they came in is going to be their ride back. There's a lot of operational security to consider and they have to get clear of Arctic Blue waters before they're free to maneuver. The icy cousins of the Blue are famously security conscious and they don't want the diploments engaging in the time honored practice of diplomatic espionage.

The cutter cleared Arctic waters a day ago and is cruising to link up with the 3rd Fleet at the Lemurian colony of Vendimar. There's a large coalition force gathering there and word has it that there's a very large Wild Tribe Horde coalescing around Haverleigh. Still it's all just rumors and whispers on the radio for now.

Rowan is at the controls, though he's not actually piloting. The ship is following a slow, quiet course southward, listening for any hint of the enemy.

"Anything?" comes a quiet voice from the hatchway to the cabin as Ulani enters. Padding across the deck in bare feet. She's still dressed like a Blue though she's dressed 'down' (if that's possible) now that she's not making representations to the Arctic Blue Senate.

She looks tired and worried, this trip, this war is slowly taking its toll - not just on her but on all of them. The Blue in this dimension haven't been at war for so long and certainly not one of this magnitude in aeons.

Rowan shakes his head. "Nothing on the 'scope' at least. We had a couple of contacts but they're moving off south." Same, indeed, as they are. Most of the action is concentrating in that direction. The Blue's allies are still marshalling but ever more forces are being brought to bear on this conflict. "You should be asleep."

"The south…" Ulani stops next to Rowans chair and leans her hip against it, watching the scopes for a moment. "It feels like we're rushing towards to the abyss, Rowan. I'm not sure we're ready for the next battle." She'd never say that in front of her squad, but … Rowan has a different perspective on the matter.

"I've slept for as long as I can." The words murmured as she casts him a knowing look "You should sleep as well. And don't tell me you do - sitting in that chair and dozing isn't sleeping."

"Sure it is." Rowan says quietly as he stretches. "The Lord of the Deep is on the move. We can do nothing but try to match him as best we can." It's not a question of whether or not they're ready. The enemy they have simply isn't going to give them the time, so they have to make do with what they have and hope that others will come to help. "I'm not sure what your new orders will be but I imagine your squad will be back on the front. Doesn't sound like we're in a position to rotate people out for R and R."

Rowans response gets a raised eyebrow from the Blue Envoy and she shakes her head. "Mmmmhmmm, if you say so." He certainly doesn't seem the worse for wear, unlike her. He'd told her to compartmentalise not so long ago, and she's trying.

"And we will do the best we can do. It's all we have. I'm hopefully the Arctic Blue believed the picture we laid out and will send troops to to assist." Fresh troops, not ones that have been slowly worn down over the course of this war. "And I'm hoping those aren't rumours about the masses of Wildings that are moving."

"There can't be R and R, Rowan. We're too stretched. Not knowing who to trust has taken it's toll. I was told before we left that we would be in the Van, pushing the lines." She looks over her shoulder to where her squad sleeps. "I'm giving them all a twenty four hour pass when we get back. They can see their families and loved ones … " what she doesn't add is one last time.

"Hard to get solid intelligence out of them, but what we have seems to be passed on to us by Wildlings already fighting with us." It's as good a report as any they're likely to get. "The Eighth is launching a fresh offensive, it sounds like and the Third is to launch a supporting attack soon. Hopefully we'll catch up with them before they depart but…" A lot depends on their route and how many times they have to detour to avoid enemy patrols and forces.

"And you? You should take some time, see your parents."

"It's a good thing, then." Ulani nods slowly, easing herself to sit on the arm of the chair as they talk, one leg swinging whilst the other foot keeps her balanced. "Yes, hopefully we'll be in time to join them. We still can't Hydroport… " there's a slight level of frustration in her voice at that "Any news on the Tenth?"

His question gets a shake of her head "I'm to report to the Government on our mission and there will be those that wish to debrief with me individually." Spy masters, ambassadors, senior officers. "I won't have time. Besides, Camari and Gaige have been deployed too. Camari with a science team working on … solutions. Gaige…" the Blue Female looks out the window for a while "… is back on active duty."

Rowan nods slowly and looks back to the scanner scope for a few minutes, watching for any sign of contact. There's none. "The Tenth is refitting. The elements of it that are still battleworthy have been seconded to the Ninth which is operating with another coalition of Wildlings far to the south, trying to prevent a Reacher in the Atlantic from rounding the Cape and opening a southern front. We're hopeful for assistance from the Atlanteans on that matter but they're still under attack daily."

"What about you? You could take a leave pass. Go visit … friends." She knows he has them. Not family of course, not in this dimension or not that he remembers.

"King Arthur committed to help us, Rowan. He is an honourable man." Not that she'll say it aloud, but with what we now know about The Trident - she'd not be sad if he were detained. The toll that artefact must be taking on him … "And Queen Mera, will act independantly if they prove to be recalcitrant."

"I've not heard anymore from our Surface allies." It's her turn now to share what little she has. For this journey, she's been relying on him to keep up with the intel and allow her to focus on … diplomacy. "Before we left they were clearing New York of the nodes. Successfully too. I hope they're still safe, but I dare not contact them till we're back with the fleet."

"Fleet Command will want to coordinate the next effort with them. Our entire strategy depends on weakening the network enough to allow our allies to launch a Psychic assault upon the Lord of the Deep." It's believed that only a combination of physical and mental efforts can seal it into its hole. Whether or not they can push it back into its own dimension is another question but even bottling it up in the trench would be an improvement.

"As for the Atlanteans… Arthur may be honorable but he's committed to his nation and perhaps a bit myopic in that. I'm less confident that we'll have meaningful aid from them while Atlantis remeans threatened."

"Lio knows this. He was liaising between the two groups when we left. Getting communications systems linked together and tested for the major offensive." Ulani straightens, rising again and starting to pace. Seems she can't settle for long lately, the need to do something taking a physical form. "They had been using the psychic node takedowns as practice runs."

Her pacing takes her past Rowan and she stops to put a hand on his shoulder "I fear you may be correct, Blue Warrior, however, Atlantis are not fools. They must realise that if we fall … they'll get the brunt of The Lords attention." and after Atlantis, the Arctic Blues and then anything else that remains to oppose to it.

"What they realize and what their political system will allow them to do are often two different things." Rowan points out wryly. "But that, like many things, is out of our hands right now." So it's best on some level to let it go.

"Barring any disasters we should be back in the next day or so."

Ulani gives Rowan an equally wry look and shrugs a little. "Barring any disasters, yes." she agrees. "And then at least we can see what we can affect." Turning to look at the 'scope' again, she sighs softly "All we can do now, is wait."

"And sleep." Rowan smiles a bit. "Which you should do more of. I'll wake someone in a few hours to take a turn. Promise." It helps sometimes just to be awake and watching, even if there's nothing to watch.

"I'll wait with you, doze in the other chair." Ulani smiles back "I'll take your word for it, that it's as good as the real thing. Besides, I … would rather have the company right now."

Folding into the other chair, she considers Rowan as she settles in and gets comfortable.

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