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Part of USS Dragonfly: Mission 1 – From Mackenzie to Dragonfly and USS Dragonfly: Dragonfly Emissary Division

FMTD 004– Vanishing Act

USS Dragonfly
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“That’s impossible.”  Commander Park turned in the command chair to face the Science Chief, Commander Thasaz.  “We had multiple eyes on her and her fleet.”  She stood and walked to the science station, “I know I sound a little upset, but…well, we had her.”

Thasaz gestured to the screen, “You’re not the only one, Commander. We said she would be there…but she isn’t anymore.  We’ll have to get to that sector specifically to take advantage of the short and medium-range sensors to see what the truth is…but at the moment, Pandora Crawford is in the wind.”

Park tapped her badge, “Captain to the bridge.”  She muttered, “This isn’t going to be fun.”  Three heartbeats later, Walton walked in, and her XO gave the distressing report.

“We lost her?”  Wren turned to Thasaz who gave her the same look she had given Park.  “Damn it.  Set a course.”

 

The warp trails weaved a trail of confusion before they vanished off her screens. Thasaz muttered Romulan curses as she tasked the sensors with rechecking what she feared. Pandora Crawford’s operation had once again scattered into the darkness of the space beyond.  The second sensor scan run yielded some additional details and yet the same conclusion.  She turned to face Walton, “She was here with four or five other ships.  They scattered about an hour ago – mostly in the same direction, but they did a lot of twists and turns – I can’t get a good extrapolation on their intended course without a wildly wide prediction ratio.”

Walton rubbed her temples, “All this work…and for nothing.”  The rest of the command crew felt the same – they’d spent twenty-four hours putting together a plan they thought would get them to a place where they could finally resolve the Pandora Crawford trouble.  And now, nothing.  She pulled herself back up, “Well, let’s not waste the time we have. Helm, get us back to what we were working on.  I’m sure the folks we left on the colony could do with a check-in or two.”  She stood, “Tir, you have the CONN.”

She walked through the doors to her ready room and paced the room until her second in command walked in, waiting until the doors closed to say, “You’re unhappy.”

Wren spun on the commander, “Unhappy is such a nice word, Park.  Pissed beyond measure.  We had her.  We were just…so goddamned close to closing this stupid shitty chapter…and never having to worry about that evil woman anymore.”  She felt her internal temperature drop a few degrees as she ranted out her emotions with her friend.  “We’re going to have to keep looking over our shoulders, worrying about what plots she’s concocting to have her misguided and maniacal revenge. Goddamn Pandora Crawford.  At least her father’s dead – we only have to worry about one of them.”

Park arched an eyebrow, “He was that bad?”  She watched, amused, as Walton snagged a PADD, tapped in a search string, and tossed it to her. She skimmed the reports, her eyes widening, “Bad seems like such a nice work when you read this. Damn.”

Wren shifted to the couch and sat down with a long sigh, “He was orders of magnitude worse than her.  The murders, crimes, and attacks he was suspected of committing before he finally ran out of space and found out what happens when you piss just about everyone off – that’s just the first-hand confirmed list.  I did a little digging because I hate myself and the secondary list…I’ve seen and heard a lot in my career…but that man was whatever beyond a sociopath is – he might have just broken the damn meter.”

“Somehow, we ended with the normal Peter Crawford.”  Park handed the PADD back with a shudder, “You think she got spooked?

Wren stared out the wide windows, wondering what had sent Pandora Crawford running.  “She might have heard we’re a little taller and a little tougher than we were before…and those schematics are pretty useless now.”  Walton snapped a finger, “Maybe someone read that report and decided there was only one way to keep us safe.”

Park chuckled but then stopped as her captain stared at her, impassive. “You’re serious?”  Walton shrugged.  “You think they’d do that much work, that much movement – throw an entire division in chaos – just to keep us from suffering from something we forgot to check in the schematics?”

Walton retrieved a hot Earl Grey from the replicator, “All I know is they pulled the Mackenzie into Starbase 72 for a full workup before she goes out again.  I don’t think they’re taking chances.”  She was silently relieved – putting Mackenzie back out in the open had made her nervous.

Park had one last question, “What do we do with our two prisoners?”  Both had a list of charges, which would likely result in prison time for both.

Wren considered the question.  She’d hoped to use both of them to get to Pandora.  Now, she was beyond their reach, and the leverage they had was meaningless.  “Signal Starfleet Security to pick them both up.  This sucks no matter what, and I’d rather have them both off my ship as soon as possible.”

“Are you going to be okay?” Walton remained quiet and brooded as she sipped her tea. Park tried again, “Wren?” The ragged eyes of her captain finally met hers.  The XO sat down beside her CO.  “I’m sorry we couldn’t get this done.”

Walton sniffled, her eyes sparkling in a rare display of emotion, “I’m sorry too, Seoyeon.”  Leaning her head into a comforting shoulder helped soothe her heavy heart.  “We’re going to get her eventually.  It’s just going to take time.”

They remained embraced as the Dragonfly rushed through space, returning back to their sacred duty.  The stars blinked on, and the orbits swung on.  

Still farther out, a blazing fury watched…and waited.