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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 1 – Back to Work

Mack, Me, and Us

USS Mackenzie - Crew Mess / Lounge
10.31.2400 @ 1700
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Most of the crew had filtered into the main lounge, and the Chief Counselor had been right.  They all fit.  Further food and drink had been assembled while a band comprised of various officers from across the ship played on the stage in the middle of the room.  Harris stood behind the bar, slinging drinks as the need arose, drawing curious glances from more than one crewmember.  Reid stood, leaning on the bar sipping on a Shirley Temple.  The drinks were non-alcoholic by design, but the crew was starting to mingle across departments, with some finding friends from the academy and more.  “You know what you’re going to say?” she asked.

He shook a faux martini and poured it into the glass before answering her, “I’m hoping for courage and reality without too much fear.  Working out how to balance that out….that’ll be the delicate walk I get to make.”  He sighed, “Feels like the academy days were just a week ago…and I was getting my feet wet in engineering.”

She gave him a cross look, “You waxing poetic about the past, Captain?”

A shrug, “I’m trying to remember what it was like…to help me find the right words for them.  What would I have needed to hear if I was standing out there?”

Jordan down the rest of her drink and looked out among the gathered crew.  She had read most of their files as the chief medical officer.  There were stories of heartbreak, loss, victory, love, and pain.  Each of them carried with them something that defined them and directed them.  She reflected on the beauty of larger starships with larger crews.  There were more stories just around the corner to hear, learn, and welcome.  “I think I’d want to know we were doing the right thing…doing this.  That the risk was worth it.  That this what the Federation is about.  We aid, rescue, and protect those in need.”

Ambrose pointed at her, “I may steal some of that.”

She raised her glass as the Chief Counselor took the stage, “Steal it all, Captain.”

Juliet Woodward stood before the floating microphone, “Crew of the USS Mackenzie, thank you for coming tonight.  I know we’ve been feeling a lot of things and talking about a lot of things…we wanted tonight to be a chance to gather and grow together more as a crew.  Captain Harris would like to share a few words.”

Ambrose moved to pull off his apron but left it on as he stepped onto the stage and looked around the room.  The lights adjusted so he could see them all from where he stood.  The silence grew as he played with the washcloth he had taken with him.  Then he spoke, “You’ve been briefed by your commanding officers.  You’ve read the stories on the newswire, and you picked up on the talk on Bravo about what’s going on in the Delta Quadrant.”  He slowly turned so that each part of the room would see him talking to them, “Some of us come to you from the Eddie…well, the USS Edinburgh.”  Quiet chuckles broke out among the crowd.  “We’ve faced things as a part of that crew…things we didn’t expect or understand.  We came together as a crew from command to crewman to cadet…and we served the Federation’s promise and the ideals of Starfleet every step of the way.  We were not perfect…and I won’t expect that of any of you.  We’re one crew today – the crew of the USS Mackenzie…or the Mack as we’ve all started calling her.”  The entire crew rumbled with chuckles and a few whistles.  He took a sip of the water he had brought with him.

“We don’t sign up to be Starfleet officers for the glory or the praise.  We sign up because the universe is larger than we can fathom.  You’ve all been through the academy or are finishing up – you know what we are called to do in our service on these symbols of hope, freedom, and safety.  That the Federation lives up to its ideals.  That we hold tightly to it no matter the storms, no matter the risk, and no matter the fear.”  He gestured down to the apron, “I think of us as the person behind the bar.  We serve everyone who comes to our table.  We offer them whatever we can to help them in their time of need…from drink to food to conversation to a shoulder to a hand.”  He looked out to them and met as many eyes as he could.  There was less fear looking back at him now.  There was something greater filling the room and the hearts within.  “We take the risks because that is our job.  We do the unthinkable because it must be done.  We step forward into the unknown because someone must seek out new life and new civilizations.  You are each that someone.”  

He held up his glass to them, “A toast.” Glasses across the room lifted up to meet his, “To the crew of the USS Mackenzie – to the adventure, to the experience, to the journey…and to each of you as we work together towards facing the risks ahead with courage and strength. Cheers.”

Loud echoes of “Cheers” and the clinking of glasses filled the room before they subsided, and Ambrose held his glass, “Continue to break bread together and get to know each other tonight.  Thank you for all that you do.”  A round of applause broke out as he headed back to the bar, drowning the last of the water.  He slipped back around behind it and picked up the PADD with orders.  

Reid gave him an approving look, “You did good, Captain.”

He handed her another Shirley Temple, a quiet smile crossing his face before he returned to the orders at hand.  Reid turned to watch the gathering as it continued to mingle.  Tomorrow they were going to prepare to journey through the wormhole into the Delta Quadrant.  She had felt doubts, but as her boyfriend…and captain had spoken, she had felt some of those doubts fade away.

The Delta Quadrant was a day away.  And they were as ready as they were going to be.