Chew Toy, Vol. 2
Mission: Cardassian Mayhem
Cato had been off his feet for a few days and was going stir-crazy. Having finished and submitted his after action report the night before; He went over the details one more time on the PaDD to ensure everything was correct with his story and the report. Closing his eyes, Cato stood for the first time in days on his own two feet. Grunting, he donned his uniform jacket and picked up the PaDD shortly after. Limping out of sickbay, every time the fabric of his uniform pants touched the dermal wrap he could feel it. Having once again said no to the dermal regenerator, a memory of his grandfather yelling at him when he broke his leg when he was nine years old popped into his head. Stepping into the turbo-lift"Pain is just weakness leaving the body, use it, learn to love it! to say his 'childhood' was rocky was often a stretch. "Bridge" Cato stated continuing to read over that PaDD one more time.
The turbo-lift doors opened and revealed the Bridge, being this was his first time on the Bridge he took a quick glance around as he headed for where he thought Enalia's ready room was. Guessing right, he pressed the chime on the door and awaited entry.
"Come in," Enalia called, looking up from her desk terminals. She was rather haggard and it seemed she had images from the EV suit recorders burned into her retinas. "Chief, excellent. You're right on time. I need some clarification on a few things in your report. Grab a drink and have a seat." Motioning towards the replicator, Enalia went back to staring at her terminals.
"Thank you Ma'am" He said, hobbling over to the replicator and tapping on the keypad before stating "Coffee, black, hot.". The aluminum coffee mug materialized in a swirl of blue and teal light, taking the cup and moving to take a seat as gracefully as his leg would allow. Placing his PaDD on the table and his coffee mug next to it. "I figured you'd have concern over the use of force and tactics, which is why I was as detailed as possible in the report."
Enalia pulled a small bottle of irish cream out of her desk and offered it to Cato as she started talking. "First off, I wasn't aware that MACO had already modded the TR-116C already. I expected you to use a modified proton rifle or something that's been around more than a couple years. Second off, I know MACO tactics differ considerably from standard security protocols and SOPs, but I'm hard pressed finding justification for using the level of force you used. Most of it was ineffective against the... given targets... But even so, it was dangerous what with being in a confined area like that. You're lucky no one died from your actions. Just from being underprepared for an insanely crazy situation."
Cato nodded and accepted the bottle from Enalia, adding a shot into his coffee mug before returning the bottle to her. Taking a sip, he listened as she continued. He was set to start in the beginning "I was fortunate enough to be issued one of what is now identified as a TR-116C2. My team got a case of the 'working' prototypes, after the dissolution of MACO they were lost in the shuffle and I didn't say anything. I continue to hold an Expert Rating with the TR-116 and all variants" he added before taking another sip. "As for justification, I too am struggling with finding any. That was the first time during an operation that projectile weaponry had little to no effect on an enemy combatant. Working from my playbook, full auto is justified to achieve fire superiority/suppression in a close quarters engagement."
He continued "Our position became compromised, by an unknown enemy force of unknown strength. Melee distances when we were stacked in that hallway didn't seem plausible due to how the turrets were positioned. The chances of being overwhelmed during melee combat were high." shifting in his seat, Cato took a sip from his mug "You're absolutely right when you say that my actions were close to, if not crossing the line. I can't deny that my judgement wasn't questionable" he sighed taking another sip from his mug "As for the use of 18mm airburst rounds, my use would be the first reported in a CQB scenario. However, use of a modified plasma grenade has been successfully executed before. It was my belief that the use of such ordinance would allow us to push through enemy combatants while maintaining a controllable kill box and safe direction of fire. While at the same time allowing us to push forward to gain ground."
"The grenade I'm not so worried about. Nexi carries charges on her for her particular style so I assumed you had some sort of explosives on you as it was. Besides, logs show both explosions to be the right course of action." Enalia punched up an image from the EV suit recorders of the second explosion on her terminal. "Hell, that's a quicker death than I'd have given them..." she muttered.
Cato nodded "I was trying to work as quickly as I could to advance the teams position with minimum loss of life from our side." he took a swig of irish coffee instead of a sip. "My methods are questionable, but they are usually effective. Walking into that situation, I had no idea that tritanium rounds and 18mm airburst would be so ineffective. If I had, I would've taken a few more plasma grenades."
"Next time may require a great deal of stealth and guile and green paint." Enalia clicked off her screens and leaned back in her chair a moment before looking into her own empty coffee cup. "Anyway, since you refuse proper medical treatment, I think the Doctor will have plenty of extra duty for you for a while. If you take too long to heal, you'll get left behind. Also, when you're not on duty or attending to the Doctor's wishes, you're confined to your quarters for the next month."
Cato nodded finishing off his cup of irish coffee, standing offering to take her empty mug "Refill?" He asked before moving to the replicator.
"Please," Enalia replied, handing her empty mug to Cato.
"Don't worry, if it gets too close I'll call it and let the doctor work his magic. But, I've been down this road before; I'll be fine Ma'am." He stated moving to the replicator and tapping on the panel. "As for record of punishment, official or off the books?" He inquired, curious as to her response.
Enalia was silent for a moment before she spoke. "Why would I punish you for a mission that never happened? And what could you have possibly done wrong on a standard survey mission near the badlands? I'm sorry, I don't understand the question."
He grinned, placing the empty mugs into the replicator. Tapping on the replicator key pad, he recycled them. "Coffee, black, hot." two fresh mugs appeared. In his hands he hobbled back over to her desk gracefully. Passing one of the mugs to Enalia, he placed the other down in front of where he had been sitting. Plopping back down. "Thank you, I appreciate that. At some point, I'd like to find a road to get my commission back. But ranking up is so far down on my priority list, at this point. I've started to just focus on fighting and not give a shit anymore."
"In that case, I recommend keeping your nose clean and paying attention to the rest of your performance report. Well rounded individual and all that." Enalia commented. "As for this, this is all unofficial. I'm sure I don't need to tell you you'll never be able to talk about this whole mission with anyone outside of the command staff and your department."
"Aye, I'll do my best to remain well rounded." he paused "No Ma'am, I know the protocol." He stated "How long do we have before our little venture back to 2160?"
"We're still awaiting official word, but I'm expecting it to be in the next six weeks. Calculations are being done for the slingshot now." Enalia poured a bit of the irish cream into her mug and sipped at it again. "Nothing like a good irish cream to make any coffee better. My wife prefers I not drink it, but you have to have a little something now and then, right? Besides, the coffee evaporates the alcohol away instantly."
He chuckled "Absolutely right." He reached for the irish cream and gave his mug a splash as well. Taking a sip, he continued their conversation "With respect to T'Pral's department, security isn't equipped to handle away missions like the one we just had. Three lives is three too many. I know Commander Eneas won't like the fact I'm suggesting this, but I still know where a few of my boys are." he handed a PaDD with three service records on it; all of whom had served underneath Cato in Special Warfare. "These guys are the real deal." he said "Crazy, slightly less reckless though."
Enalia glanced the PaDD over and sent the data to her own terminal before handing it back. "Thank you. I'll take it under advisement. I'm not sure I can get any more crew though, let alone get more former MACOs. We'll likely have to make do with who we have at the moment."
"Very well." Cato slammed the remaining coffee in his mug before standing "If there's nothing else Ma'am, I'm due back in sickbay." Cato stated picking up his PaDD from her desk.
"Work on healing then. Dismissed," Enalia nodded.