982: Hold Your Ground

by Lt. Commander Paxton Briggs and Commander Salvek
After Let The Games Begin

-=Alchemy Team: on Sibalt=-

Jelca stepped back away from the two groups, as they broke off and headed for opposite sides of the pond. Salvek took note of his team, and their varying amounts of enthusiasm for the current game. Ryn and Halliday seemed to be leading the pack as far as those who were actually excited about what was to come, while Tryst and Ledbetter were bringing up the proverbial rear. Samson was gazing at the sky with unease, and Cristiane was gazing at Lassiter with in much the same manner. Salvek could tell he was worried about her, but Gira’s mannerisms seemed to indicate that, if anything, being off the ship and engrossed in this training was probably the best thing for her.

Salvek’s second in command had fallen into step at his side. The last time they had served as Commander and First Officer, Briggs had relieved the Vulcan of duty, dropping the jaws of all those around them. There had been a silence between Briggs and Salvek up to this point that stemmed from those events, but if they were going to coordinate this team and lead them to victory, they would need to communicate.

Salvek finally broke the stalemate between the two of them.

“If you are worried I blame you or do not trust you, do not.”

Paxton had been engrossed in checking how the opposite team on the far side of the pond was setting up and was caught off guard by the statement. It took a moment for him to realize exactly what Commander Salvek was referring too.

He smiled. “Oh. Um that’s good sir. I really was not too worried about that, I’ve been around you enough to know that you are a stand up guy. Still, it’s good to know that there are no hard feelings.”

He looked back to the other side of the pond and changed the subject as he considered the subject closed and no worth further discussion. “They’ll probably use O’Sullivan as anchor with Blane in front of him to give them the most leverage. The expendables will be in front.”

“Expendables?” Salvek asked.

Paxton nodded not taking his eyes off the competition. “Yes, the weakest of the bunch will be out in front because they will contribute the least to the effort and if they go into the drink it would be less of a overall impact to the team.” He turned back to Salvek. “What I know of Commander Blane that is what he is suggesting right now.” He nodded to the conversation commencing between Blane and O’Sullivan.

Salvek surveyed his team to determine who exactly was “expendable”. He found the term distasteful, as even the those with the least physical prowess would still contribute more to the whole than the team would have without them. Except maybe for Ashton Ledbetter.

Dane could hold his own, he was sure, as could Ryn. Lassiter fit and Salvek knew there was no stopping Lair Kellyn when she put her zeal into anything. He was not sure what to expect from Vol Tryst. Tug of war did not seem to be his forte, yet the motivation of not being dragged in the mud could possibly have a profound effect on him. Trev Sterling was a newcomer but just sizing him up physically, he appeared to strong. Samson and Halliday were average in size and Ledbetter was, well he was Ledbetter. And Landry was Landry...

What concerned Salvek was the clear mismatch of pure brawn between the two sides. The Sera side had O’Sullivan, Blane, Tubman, Blakeslee, T’Dara and a Vedek who could clear out a bar if he so desired. And those were just the heavy lifters.

“I believe it is clear you or I should anchor,” Salvek said, offering Briggs the opportunity to make the choice as a show of trust.

Paxton nodded his agreement. “You should anchor, my back is not what it used to be.”

He noticed the First Officer’s curious stare and decided to explain. “I suffered some…significant injury to my back several years ago. Almost ended my career.”

“Perhaps it would be wise for you not to participate.”

Paxton shook his head. “Oh I think I will be fine. I just think you should anchor and don’t worry I’ll stop if I think I’ll be injured.”

He glanced up into the lightly falling rain and then back to the slick ground. “It’s going to be hard to get good footing.”

Salvek was already calculating the strength of each team in his mind, and it was a foregone conclusion that he was depending on Briggs to even consider victory a long shot. If Paxton’s back was injured, then Salvek’s long shot had just turned into a no shot.

He looked over his crew once more, as they awaited their assignment. None of them seemed to be aware, or to care how outmatched they were in this battle. It was in the moment that Salvek decided surrender was not an option, and if the Sera was going to be victorious, they were going to have to earn every inch.

“Mr. Ledbetter, you are at point.”

“That’s Captain Ledbetter,” Ashton corrected.

“No, it is not.” Salvek corrected right back. He went down the line from Ledbetter arranging his officers as best he could, before digging in his heels into the ever increasingly

Paxton gripped the rope tightly and positioned himself in front of Salvek when a thought struck him causing him to turn around and face the Vulcan.

“You know, maybe we are looking at this the wrong way. A large part of these exercises is the tactical aspect. Maybe we should rethink this.”

Salvek’s eyebrow rose. “What is your idea?”

“We are at a distinct disadvantage here. Maybe we should not try to win this event but to simply hold ground. This will be a long couple of days, if we can cause them to burn up energy now, it might payoff later.”

“A war of attrition?” Briggs was definitely onto something. If they forwent the offensive aspect of the challenge, and merely played defense in the form of doing their best not to give up ground, the Sera team would expend a great deal of their resources to defeat them.

Paxton nodded. Salvek signaled the strategy to everyone. “Hold your ground as best as you can.. Do not loosen your grip in an attempt to pull on the rope. We will play for a stalemate as long as we possibly can.”


Lt. Commander Paxton Briggs
Executive Officer
USS Alchemy NX-53099


Commander Salvek
Leader of Team Alchemy