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Part of USS Daedalus: Mission 2 – The Edge of Hope and Despair and USS Mackenzie: Mackenzie Squadron : The Edge of Hope and Despair

DEHD 004 – Fine by Fire

USS Daedalus
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“…the warp core.  We think we can get a little more out of our top-end speed with some…well, Greer calls it ‘jiggery-pokery,’ but it’s more detailed…” Elizabeth McKee went to speak, but her XO gently interrupted her.

Captain Halsey held up a hand to pause their Deputy Chief Engineer, “McKee, I know your skills.  This report is incredibly detailed.  I have every confidence in you and Greer.  Run the changes.”  Elizabeth blinked and stood at attention before she headed to the turbolift.  The doors opened, revealing the XO trainee.

Natalya had taken the time needed to settle into her new quarters, making it feel as much like home as she could, but by the time she did, it was time to report to the bridge. She made her way rather quickly through the ship’s corridors to the bridge.

As the doors opened, she saw three officers, none of which she knew yet. “Commander Natalya Koerner, reporting to the bridge as ordered.”

Halsey glanced up, “Commander, join me.”  She walked over to where he stood in front of the command chair, and he handed her a PADD, “That’s the mission.  We’ve got Cardassians on one side and Bajorans on the other.  There is plenty of history between these two groups and their colonies.” He gave her time to read over the briefing information, “We’re expecting a…”

Presley Atega at communications interrupted him, “Captain, I’m getting an urgent hail from the away team!”

Leo frowned.  They weren’t due to report for another hour or two.  “On speakers.”

Natalya understood the premise of what was going on, as she held been on a ship that dealt with such matters in the past. The need for diplomatic solutions was always needed, but also incredibly tense

The voice of Ensign Catari filled the bridge, “Daedalus, this is the away team.  Parica’s taken the family shuttle…we tried to talk him out of it or stop him…but he’s leaving orbit.”  The voice of Lieutenant Tir was heard shouting in the background.  “The lieutenant says the kid wasn’t going to listen to us no matter what we said or did – and he’s right.  He’s frustrated with his parents.  He left them a note telling them everything.”

Halsey turned to Prentice at the helm, “Intercept course for that shuttle – maximum warp.”  The Daedalus shifted in space and took off.  He returned to the channel, “What’s happening there now?”

Tir’s voice became stronger as he opened the microphone on his station on the shuttle, “They’re declaring this an act of aggression and calling up the various shuttles and ships across the colony.  We estimate they can launch a force of about ten ships in about five hours or so.  The weapons are reading pretty rudimentary, but they’ll damage the other colony.”

The XO sighed, “How close are we to the shuttle?”  The situation had gone from the replicator to the warp core quickly.

Will tapped at his console, “Five minutes.  We’ll overtake him well before he gets to the other colony.”  He wasn’t sure what they would do, but his eyes were glued to his console.  He needed to be ready for whatever the Daedulas would be asked to do. 

Halsey turned to the XO trainee, “Welcome to the mission at hand, Commander Koerner.”

Natalya nodded “It seems as though tensions are tight and I joined just when things are starting to get interesting. I will help in anyway I can, Sir. I am sure you read my service record and know what all I have done so I am willing to put that experience to use.”

Leopold accepted her offer, “Let’s catch this kid, and then we’ll see what needs doing.”

Natalya nodded and stood on the bridge as the ship intercepted the shuttle. Once the shuttle had been intercepted, Natalya followed along to the shuttle bay to see just what was going on.

Parica sat sullenly in the shuttle bay, his family’s shuttle behind him. “I’ll break out of your brig.”

Halsey mused, “You realize your home colony is getting ready to go to war with your girlfriend’s colony?”

Natalya thought for a moment. ‘That seems like an interesting relationship.’ She wasn’t quite sure about the story between the boy and his girlfriend, but the issue seemed to be that the boy didn’t care about the authority of others. She looked at the kid in a sincere way. “I may be overstepping asking this, but what did you think you were going to accomplish by doing this?”

Parica fired back, his face glowing red with his words, “You ever been in love so much it hurts, commander?  That being apart from the one you love feels like someone slowly stabbing you in the deepest parts of your heart?”  He shook his head, “Everyone’s so concerned about who hates how for what…and we’ve got a love that goes beyond all that.”

Natalya took a deep breath as she should have known such a question could bring up feelings from her past. She looked at the boy and nodded “In fact I have, but take that pain and intensify it to where that stab is now a permanent part of your heart. I watched the explosion that killed my parents…I don’t usually talk about it, but sometimes when you love someone you have to think about the bigger picture. My parents died and in a way I blame myself for it. I have questioned that day for years and while it hurts there is a part of me that realizes if they hadn’t sacrificed themselves I might not still be alive. So if you love her will you do what has to be done to keep her safe? Even if for now that hurts?” 

The young Bajoran stared at her before he found his words, “My love isn’t dead, human!”  He caught a sudden and sharp glance from Halsey and apologized, “I’m sorry yours died. I am.  But Kartika’s alive and well.  Nobody wants to let us try and be together.  Maybe that’s the problem.  Everyone’s focused on killing our love because that’s all they know.  Killing for the sake of killing.”  He sank into himself, his hopes deflated.  His eyes still burned with his love for the Cardassian.

Halsey knew there was truth to the boy’s words.  The two colonies had never truly enjoyed a peaceful existence.  The trade port that straddled the line between the two systems was the only place they came together, and it was marked with a litany of rules and processes to keep each side honest.  “I’ll compromise to having you confined to guest quarters, Parica.  We’re going to try to avoid any bloodshed on anyone’s behalf.  Our security team isn’t your parents – they will restrain you if you attempt anything from escape to trickery.”

The boy’s mood had fallen to a somber understanding, “Yes, sir.  I can do that.”  Halsey gestured to the security teams and gave them their instructions.  They escorted him out, leaving Halsey with his trainee.

“Well, that didn’t go how I was wanting it too. I was trying to show him that sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the greater good of everyone, but I didn’t take into account his age and emotions I guess. My apologies, Captain.” She said shaking her head.

Leopold understood.  “We live and learn, Commander.  You’re here on Daedalus to learn.  I’d say, for the first day, we’re doing pretty well.  Let’s get back to the bridge.  This is far from over.”