Sam made her way to where the Marines were gathering. She was scared, terrified even. But the numbers were against them, and any extra body had to be a help. She could act as a distraction at the least. Surely Romulans didn't beat and rape their captors before throwing them out the airlock right? It wasn't much of a consilation, but it was something.
"Colonel" Sam called out meakly.
Aria slapped the second shin guard in place on her plate armor, the set now having been brought to completion about the same time as the rest of them. They looked very, very different in their armor than in the BDU's and T's they'd worn for the last few days. The air was different, not sad, not thick, but rough as though it had dried into something more tangible - it was tough.
Aria felt like she was breathing a Hemingway novel. None of her soldiers raised dust, nor did said dust powder any trees, nor did tree leaves stir in any breeze. Still, the way the air felt had a certain appropriateness. The small voice that cut through the sounds of assembly did so with surprising effectiveness.
"Yes?" Aria turned to find another surprise, Sam. "Did you need something love?"
Sam gave Aria a small smile. "Can I help? I can be a distraction, or hold equipment." Sam tried to prove her worthiness with the examples.
Aria chewed her lower lip, wondering what to say to the girl. It was heart wrenchingly adorable and inspiringly honorable at the same time. This request lacked the sillyness of Klingon martyrdom "honor", though some might look at the girl and conclude that's what the effect would be. Aria sensed the girl genuinely wanted to contribute in a meaningful way.
"You understand where we are going, right? That I can't guarantee the safety of myself, let alone a civilian." Aria had the annoying little habit of considering fleeters civilians. "Are you ok with that?"
Sam nodded. "I understand. I'm a Starfleet Officer, not a civilian. I can take care of myself." Her voice was quiet, tinged with fear, but assured. She definitely had experience taking care of herself. "If we don't succeed we'll all be dead or worse anyway, won't we?"
"Dead if you're lucky," her voice heavy, cold, "worse if you're not." Aria took her weapon in hand, a carbine rather than the sniper rifle she loved so much. She didn't always have time for the careful aiming when she was expected to lead. She grabbed a second carbine, the weight next to nothing, its cold, metallic body deceptively strong despite the easy lift.
She looked at the weapon, then at the yeoman. Highly unorthodox, definitely against regulations, but that never stopped her. Her reputation had been forged by unorthodox methods. She tossed the girl the weapon.
Sam almost dropped it, fumbled, then managed to grasp the weapon correctly. "Thank You." She looked the weapon over, making sure she understood how it worked. She'd fired weapons before, but nothing so sleek as this. "What do you want me to do?" Sam asked, ready to receive whatever task she was given.
Aria grinned, mostly with amusement and made no attempt to hide it. "A marine is first and formost a line soldier. An infantryman first and a specialist second. These weapons are kinetic weapons, slug throwers, a lot different from the phasers you'd have used in the academy. If you haven't fired one before expect a surprise, because you'll be firing it not long from now."
"I need you to function like a marine. Don't worry if your aim is poor. Firing at the enemy will keep their heads down. So your job is surpression."
Sam nodded. "Ok. I can do that." She swallowed. She could do it. She concentrated on stilling her hands.
"Great!" The cheerful tone of her voice sounded grosely inappropriate for the situation, but those around her got used to Aria being inappropriate. "Form up with the rest for the briefing. We have insertion in 10."
Sam wasn't exactly sure where to 'form up' but she joined the rest of the Marines and waited for instructions.
The group of them, a small bunch of twelve, had made a rectangle, three wide and two deep and standing at attention, helmets off. Aria motioned for Sam to create a forth 'row' next to Xantho who offered the girl an encouraging smile.
"This is it. The Charon has found herself in something of a tight spot and, as usual, Force Recon has to go clean it up. Our mission is to take hold of the airlock the Charon is grappled to, secure it and pop the ship off. Are there any questions?"
Sam let her eyes dart around, wondering if any of the Marines would have questions, but she kept still, following the example of the others.
The colonel nodded to the small assembly. "Very good. Not really complicated so I wasn't expecting any. Remember there will be overwhelming enemy force. Don't bother with trying to take prisoners." Aria raised her carbine high into the air, yelling, "Kill for the living!" The reply came almost immediately, weapons raised, "Kill for the dead!"
The marines broke assembly and made last minute preparations. In minutes they'd be deployed. Aria went over to one of the supply crates that had been brought abord with them, rifled through it and pulled out what looked like three thick sweaters in one, an urban cammo-style vest with three clasps on each side. She tossed it to Sam.
"We don't have time to get you any appropriate armor, but wear that. It's called a shatter vest. Named so to stop fragmentation and shattering debris. We give it to non-military specialists or civilians we're evacing to keep them safe. Best we can do right now."
Sam had watched the Marines react as one, and swallowed down her fear again. She wanted to be holed up in some cramped jeffries tube, safe. But she knew it would only be the illusion of safe. She had to take care of herself, to participate in her own emancipation, only this time it was Romulans, not pirates. Sam examined the vest, figuring out how it clasp together.
"Thank you." She smiled at Aria. She was glad it didn't way too much, she wasn't sure she could handle any heavier armor anyway.