“I disagree, it’s not likely. One doesn’t just execute prisoners and eliminate value and options without a point unless whoever is holding them is a petulant child. That said, if we escalate things openly then I expect anyone we don’t recover to be potentially subjected to harsher human intelligence methods and could well suffer from their prolonged detention. Expediency would still be preferred, but I think that Lieutenant-Junior Ironclad’s assessment is partly incorrect.
“That said, it seems that Commander Matsiyan seems to be operating with some level of independence or on his own recognizance, corroborating powerful benefactors with influence. If we can get word to him, he may be able to see himself out as it were and rendezvous with us rather than requiring his own extraction. This limits the needed engagement to Lt. Cdr. Morlock if he has been separated from the rest of the senior officers. If Cdr. Matsiyan has been released, then a potential complicating factor is the possible release of Lt. Cdr. Mundy. If she’s still in detention, things are simpler. If she’s been released, then she needs to be identified and either extracted or provided coordinates per the commander.”
Alia frowned suddenly, then twisted her neck with several audible pops to relieve tension in her shoulders.
“Either way, if we think we are eminently about to make an overt move then ships should be provisioned and cargo containers launched with drones and some maneuvering thrusters to stage supplies. If these cargo containers are pre-programmed to follow separate paths and follow a standard plan once they are clear of the immediate area of burning for a few seconds, rotating to a next known vector, burning again after several minutes, and so on, they can set themselves up in stable orbits in the local vicinity in a way that would be difficult to track since the drives would only be engaged for short periods of time but since we know when and where they were launched and what each maneuver was made afterwards, then we can always calculate where they would be located along their orbit for recovery as needed. These can include denabyte fuel reserves, ordnance stockpiles, spare parts, medical supplies, commerce goods for trade, any form of valuables or reserve currency we can stash…. anything of value, really. Indexed and made available to us as needed in a way that would be prohibitively expensive to try and find manually. We could even fire off dummy containers if we have more than supplies to fill them to try and reduce the likelihood that the ISN would be able to track an actually valuable target.”