Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 2: Wayward Sons and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

12- Deal with the Devil

USS Mackenzie
11.2.2400 @ 0800
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“You have a contract you wish to engage?”  The Hazari looked at his viewer as he took in the bridge of the USS Mackenzie, “It's been some time since we've done business with proper Starfleet.”  He leaned in, “You have a Voth on your bridge?”

Cardamon looked up from his PADD and stared at the screen, silent.  Harris glanced to his right and then back to the screen, “He's our guest.  We're looking for a transport ship.  The SS Jeremiah.  We've been asked to find them.”

The Hazari narrowed his eyes, “You sure the Voth isn't…available as a part of negotiations?”

Cardamon exploded from his seat, shouting in a clear and distinct guttural roar that startled everyone on the bridge as he pointed his talons at the Hazari, “This Voth will never be available to you for anything short of a burial, you” he cursed in Voth at this point in a string that upset the Hazari enough that he shouted his curses back as the two roared at each other.

Harris stood and stepped in front of his Voth advisor, his eyes drilling in, “Enough!”  The reptilian eyes flashed with fury as he stared down the CO before huffing his breath in and out and roughly sitting in his seat.  Ambrose turned to the Hazari, “You will not speak to anyone onboard my ship in that manner, Hazari.  He is a guest of the United Federation of Planets and is afforded our courtesy, respect, and protection while onboard the USS Mackenzie.”

The Alien chuckled and looked off to his left and said something in his language, and returned to the screen, “Your idle threats do not scare me, Starfleet.”

Harris hadn't moved, “The last time your people tempted fate with a Federation ship…it was the USS Voyager…have you heard the tale?” An uncomfortable silence filled the channel as the Hazari blinked a few times, seeing Harris for the first time.  He took a step forward, “They outflanked you and the ThinkTank.  Voyager was 25 years ago.  Imagine what we've learned in a quarter of a century.”

The Hazari turned to someone off to his left again, and he began shouting at whoever it was until another Hazari entered the frame, unfocusing the camera for a moment as the body of the original speaker was picked up and thrown across the command center with a scream and a bone cracking snap, followed by silence.  A new, older figure stepped into view.  “The young forget their place in time, Captain Harris.  I am Y'Mar, and I am the senior…whatever it is you call someone who commands a fleet.”

Ambrose glanced at Cardamon, who had his arms crossed, and his face looked as if he was going to eat someone on the bridge in short order.  He nodded at the screen, “We, uh, call them Commodores…or Admirals.”

Y'Mar bobbed his head in appreciation, “Commodore Y'Mar.  I like it.  I remember the Voyager.  That was…an experience worth remembering.  You mentioned a bounty contract, Captain?”

“Yes.  We're hoping you can help us find the SS Jeremiah.  She's a transport ship from Earth.”

A snort, “That is unfortunate.  The SS Jeremiah entered our space and most of her crew attempted to steal one of our transport ships near our planet.  All but one were caught after a lengthy firefight and imprisoned for their crimes."  He crossed his arms, “I won't even charge you for that information.  That's…what do you humans call it…a courtesy.” Harris felt every single eye on the bridge at his back.  They had good reason to stare him down.  They had found at least half of the crew.  

Harris focused on, “You said ‘most’ and ‘all but one’.”

Y'Mar studied Harris from across space, “One of them escaped in the firefight and fled in one of our smaller shuttles.  He managed to get out of our system.  We tracked him to Devore space on our long-range sensors.  We decided to leave him to them.  One of the Jeremiah crew was found bound and gagged on the ship when we confiscated it.  We discovered some new words to add to our Earth dictionary.”

Ambrose thought for a moment longer, “If we said we would relinquish any claim to the Jeremiah and give you command and control of it…would that get us closer to releasing them?”

The Hazari considered it, “You said there was another ship out there.”  Harris explained the other ship briefly.  The Bounty Hunter considered, “If you were to bring us this newer transport ship…and our shuttle back…then, yes.  We'd be willing to discuss releasing the prisoners.”

A small sense of relief filled his heart, and he took his next gamble.  “Who was the one who did not participate?”

Y'Mar shouted at someone off-screen, and a device was handed over, and he read it carefully, “Her name is Natalie Harris.  I have a little knowledge of human naming…she is your….?”

His throat caught as he answered, “My…sister.  She's my sister.”  He recovered his emotions, “I would like to ask for her to be released…and her only.  You can keep the rest of the crew while we round up the rest of them.  We'd like to have a medical officer sent down to monitor them in the meantime.”  It was a big ask.

“If you were still talking to my foolish first officer, you'd get nothing.  But I am not above the…what is the term you say?  The give and the take.  I will release Natalie Harris to you.  You may send a medical officer to us…I would recommend sending someone hardy as our prisoner facilities are not pleasant.” 

The channel closed, and Harris walked back to his chair and sat in relief.  Cardamon turned to face the CO, “I…regret my outburst, Captain.”

Harris shook his head, “Your emotions are never wrong.  It's what we do with them that matters.”  He turned to face the Voth, “Truth is, Cardamon, I only stopped you because I wanted him to shut up, not you.  I would have let you read him every violation from every treaty signed since the start of time.  Nobody gets to own anybody.”

“I wish that was the rule of this place, Captain.  There is a small industry out there for Voth warriors from my world and beyond.  Those that fight…fight frighteningly well.”

Atega spoke up from her communications station, “Incoming message from Y'Mar.  He's ready to escort us to the planet and the prison to facilitate the exchange.”

“Confirmed.  Mr. Prentice, let's follow them onwards.  Maintain yellow alert.”  His heart was beating fast now.  His sister was alive and would be back in his arms soon.  The Delta Quadrant taketh away…but it also giveth.

Comments

  • Ambrose's reaction when he learned that his sister was being held captive was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. This is because he is both happy that he may finally have his sister back and sad that he was unable to fully protect her as a brother should. That being said, I am relieved that she is on her way back to her brother. Continue your excellent work. I'm excited for the next episode.

    November 7, 2022