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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 14 – Echoes of the Past

EOTP 001 – A Light in the Darkness

USS Mackenzie
8.05.2401
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It had started with “Captain to the Bridge!” at three in the morning. Wren Walton had hastily put on a clean uniform and stalked her way down the corridor to the bridge and through the doors into the command center of the USS Mackenzie. She accepted the coffee offer before she asked, “Report.”  Patrick Gehry, the deck officer in charge, gave her the rundown.  They’d detected a three-ship fleet of Raven class ships in the next system.  “What are they doing?”  Her bleary-eyed look was fading as the coffee reached her stomach and mind.

Gehry spoke as he gathered the data on his PADD, “They’re hanging around but don’t register as Starfleet.  They’re reading…well, it’s weird.”

She gave him the sternest look she could muster in the middle of the night, “Weird seems to be our new normal, Lieutenant.”

“They’re broadcasting a Maquis signal.”

That got her attention. “Openly?”  He nodded. Wren thought as her mind caught up, “There was an intelligence update last night from Fourth Fleet regarding an incident a few days ago.”  She had glanced through it before crashing into her comfortable bed. She accepted a spare PADD, and her eyes widened as she took in the full scope of the situation.  Her mistake annoyed her.  She should have read the full report.  “Anything else in that sector?” He glanced at the science officer on duty, who shook her head.  Walton began to understand his phrasing of ‘weird.’  “Good call with the wake-up.  Wake up the rest of our science and tactical teams, including the department heads.  Whatever’s going on out there isn’t going away.  Start the clock.”

 

Two hours later, Walton was on her third cup of coffee, and most of the senior staff, save for the XO, was on the bridge and working.  Wren had ordered Park back to bed since she’d have to finish her sleep eventually.  She savored the brew amid the chaos, “The Maquis are not known for just sitting around eating…whatever a Maquis crew eats on a lazy day.”  She stood from her chair, “Reede, anything?”

Oscar slipped his earpiece out.  He’d been frowning and fretting over the three ships since the night crew had awakened him.  There were trace communication signals but nothing concrete. They weren’t close enough.  He reported as much in his reply to Walton, adding, “It feels like they want us to get closer.  There’s just enough to interest us.”

Walton grimaced, “It’s a trap any way you slice it.  Let’s keep an eye on them from here.  Update Starfleet.”

Reede said, “Captain, Starfleet has already sent a message…but not about that.”  He tapped at his console, and her PADD beeped.

She read the message and groused, “It just keeps getting better.  Wake up Commander Park and have her meet me in my ready room. Thasaz, you have the CONN.”

 

 

“Peter.”

“Wren.”

Peter Crawford sat in the chair opposite his former Squadron Commander and current girlfriend, his face mixed with emotions. He’d been called back to the Mackenzie to assist with the many developing missions around the demilitarized zone. The Maquis had been born again, and the True Way was not losing ground.  He was a captain without a command.  In the words of his reassignment documents, he was “a resource that was needed closer to the front lines,” and while logically it made sense, he had more than enough reasons to be concerned.  They’d assigned Commander Riandri Nalam to assist him in the mission work.  He shifted in his seat, “I need to make you aware of something…that may not be reflected in the records regarding the commander.”

Commander Park rose from her seat on the couch near the windows. “You and her? She doesn’t seem the type.”  She raised her hands in surrender when Wren Walton snapped to glare at her.

Crawford pursed his lips.  “The commander guesses correctly. We had a relationship.  Carolyn Crawford was the result.”  His hands clasped together on the confession, “I’ve never told Carolyn about her mother…and in the confusion of the Dominion War, it wasn’t a part of the official record keeping for whatever reason.  My captain never knew, and we drifted away after her birth. Her life and duties were…too complex for a child then.  We haven’t spoken much since.”

Walton’s eyes were wide open now. “Carolyn Crawford is part El-Aurian? How had this never been discovered?”  She was also grappling with the other side of her, which was attached to him romantically.  Aside from being a private matter, the conversation hadn’t come up or been mentioned.  That it involved a long-serving Starfleet officer made it something larger than it had been.

Peter admitted, “We…I…worked on a modifier to…hide most of her situation from regular medical checks.  The problem is…it wasn’t permanent.  It’s been fading over time…and more than likely, on her next physical, it’ll show up if it hasn’t already.”

Park piped up, “We?”  Walton didn’t shut her down this time and kept her eyes boring into Crawford.

“An old friend.  He’s long dead.”  He sighed, “We’ll have to tell her…and Starfleet.”

Wren shook her head in disbelief, “You’re one of a kind, Crawford.  I understand the why…but why let it go on for so long?  Why not just…explain it?”

He shrugged, “Guilt?  Shame?  I loved her, Wren.  I couldn’t expose our secret, given we were both trying to climb the mountain of Starfleet.”

Walton considered his words.  She could send an immediate report to the Fourth Fleet and let the universe reestablish the natural order of things.  There would be anger, tears, and probably some shouting – some of it at her.  She could also choose to solve it here and now, on her ship.  She would also suddenly have to navigate ‘the other woman’ in his life.  Why did things have to be so complicated, she asked herself.  “You chose to tell me about this at the start, Peter.  I appreciate that.  I’m going to let you solve this here on the Mack.  She’s coming aboard in an hour.  I’m making you her welcoming party.”  She tapped at her console, confirming his assignment, “Welcome back, Captain Crawford.”

Crawford stood at attention and left the room.  Park turned to Walton, who fell back in her chair with a long sigh, “Don’t….just…don’t.  Give me a few hours to process it all.”

“I’ll start the clock.”  That earned her a stare, and Park chuckled.

Comments

  • If Rebecca knew... she would be hurt that Peter, and Riandri didn’t tell her lol. Great character interaction.

    April 18, 2024