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

EOTP 004 – The Connection

USS Mackenzie
8.05.2401
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“This isn’t Maquis work, Commander.”  Deputy Chief Engineer Carolyn Crawford stood on the bare bridge of one of the Ravens.  “I mean, it is…but stuff here doesn’t make sense.  The explosives are not similar to what they’ve used in the past.  It’s as if someone told them what to do and how to do it, and they didn’t care much.”  She accepted a PADD from Lieutenant Barzo, “The other teams are showing a similar setup on the other two ships.  Lieutenant V’luth has completed a workup of the ignition devices, and she has begun to disable the explosive equipment there.  She says she can do have it all completed within the hour.”

On the bridge of the Mackenzie, Commander Park listened to the report.  “Do we know who they partnered with to get this done?”

Crawford glanced at Barzo, who was unhappy.  They had started the forensics work, and early indications suggested someone they were familiar with.  “Commander, we’re looking at some evidence it’s connected to Pandora.”  She wasn’t happy about it either. Pandora had sworn that she would kill Carolyn as a part of her revenge tour.  Living with that threat hanging just out of reach hadn’t been easy.

There was a pause on the channel before Park replied, “Send us what you have.”

 

“How many groups is she going to partner with?”  Captain Wren Walton stood at the front of the briefing room several hours later as the final details of the reports were shared. “First it was the Syndicate, then The True Way, and now it’s the New Maquis.  She’s not shy about diving into the deep end of our backyard, that’s for sure.”

Park tapped at her PADD, “We’ve still got reports of the New Maquis activity in other areas.”  She looked to the security chief, Pearce.

Seraphina replied by outlining their general security operational process while adding a few items to the list for when they’d be landing onto colonies, “We’ve got the reality of how the Maquis operates and how Pandora operates.  We started exercises and training scenarios a few days ago.  These two bad actors are not known for mercy or grace.  They have a goal, and we’re in their way.  Commander Hargraves has additional details on friendly colonies.”

Charlie’s face told the story he was about to tell.  It wasn’t good news.  “We’ve got a few friendlies, but given the escalation and actions of the New Maquis, we’re not going to have a lot of open ports out there.  My office has received several notices of Port of Entry closures to Federation starships.  We expect that number to climb.  We’ve had some chatter about Pandora’s part in all this…one of our theories is that she paid the New Maquis to target us with some of their older ships.  They will need funding and support to run this long term.”

Walton shook her head, “We have to keep pushing them back.  Any chance of the New Maquis getting more footholds in the demilitarized zone will make our lives harder and impact the few supporting colonies harder.  We’ve been assigned Captain Crawford and Commander Nalam to assist with the mitigation of all this shit.”  She bowed her head in apology, “Sorry, everyone.  We need to remain focused on making friends and influencing those around them.  Dismissed.”

The last senior staff had filed out, leaving Park and her CO.  She asked her friend, “You ok, Wren?”

Walton leaned against the wall, “I…how did we get here?  How did the New Maquis get lucky enough to form up again and spread their brand of chaos?  It feels like we’re stretched farther and longer ever since Frontier Day…and I don’t know how not to drop a curse word or two.  I’m pissed off at the universe, and I get over and through it…and then it goes sideways again.”

Park offered, “It’s always going to be a bit…,”

Wren interrupted, her voice approaching a shout, “This could have been prevented, Park!  Damn it; this was something Starfleet could have managed…we knew the True Way was growing and not being contained.  We knew people here were upset and frustrated.  Hell, the Obena class earned the ‘broken promise’ nickname!  This was all preventable.  All of it.”

“I know.”

Walton accepted her friend’s understanding, but it didn’t make her feel better about the frying pan-in-the-fire situation. “I don’t know if we can win this one, Park. We’ve got two bad batches out of the oven and spreading. People believe in them because they’re doing something.”

The XO repeated, “I know.” Standing at her captain’s side, she said, “You told me once that the universe’s impossibility of resolving conflict was job security for us.”

“I did say that.”

“You did.  We’re out here because we’re needed.  I don’t look forward to the day I’m stuck in a kitchen, at a desk, or watching the sunset from a rocking chair.  I need to be out here, doing…something.  You’re the same way.”

Wren leaned into her friend’s shoulder, “I hate it when you’re right.”  She sighed, “Let’s figure out a way to save the world again.”

Park grinned and kissed her on the cheek, “That’s the spirit!”

Comments

  • A great story building and interesting twists already! Looking forward to what comes next. P.S. If you can save one of those Ravens for spare parts the crew of the USS Jaxartes would be most grateful. Rather be safe than sorry!

    March 19, 2024