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

13 – Reunited

USS Mackenzie
11.2.2400 @ 0830
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Ambrose paced the shuttle bay.  Okada had made it clear that he wasn’t coming along.  Regulations were one part of it.  She also was keen to understand the danger of having a captain getting captured by opportunity.  He had resisted at first but ceded to her in the end.  Now he stood behind the shield, walking back and forth as Cardamon watched, either amused or shocked.  Harris wasn’t sure how to read the Voth well yet.  It was a work in progress.

“You love your sister.”  

Harris slowed his steps and faced his guest.  “Yes.”  He resumed his pacing.  

Cardamon watched him for a few more minutes, “You said she was eighteen of your years.  That would mean she was born when you were…seventeen.”  He tapped his claws on his chest, in thought, “I do not know what a human would feel like in that moment.”  He gave an expectant, or at least what Harris interpreted as an expectant, look.

Ambrose checked his chrono.  They had time, and he knew the Voth would continue to ask in a roundabout way until he found the answer that he was seeking.  He had learned at least that much about him.  “She was a surprise.  I was in my last year of high school when she arrived.  That first year…I was a babysitter when I got home from school.  Mom and Dad were working hard.  I got to know her that first year.  She was a cute baby.”  Cardamon looked up, and Harris chuckled, “Our babies are cute.  Well, most of them are.  There are some ugly babies.”  He pushed forward, “I went to Starfleet Academy in 2383 and made trips home when I could.  I worked hard at keeping my connection with her.”

The Voth asked, “Did it work?”

“It did.  I graduated from the Academy when she was 5. I made trips home, had calls with her, and even gave her a tour or two of the ships I was assigned over the years.  Mom would bring her along on her missions, and we’d meet up when we could.  Every time she wanted to see engineering.  Every time she wanted to know everything about it.  She applied to Starfleet Academy, and we were waiting to hear back on her application.  Then this all happened.”

“And your cousins?”

Harris grumbled, “Love is a strong word.  I’m not sure I love them.  Everything they’ve done…has always been about them.  It was just them growing up when they were younger…but they never grew out of it.  They just kept…going.  My aunt and uncle didn’t seem to see it as a problem…until it was too late.  Then, well…they were adults.  And it was a problem.  It is a problem.”  He glanced at the shuttle bay doors, “I’ll do everything I can to bring them home…but once they’re off my ship, I’ll wash my hands of them.  They’ve had time to figure it out.  I think the family is tired of running to their rescue.” The lights began to flash as the doors to the shuttle bay creaked slowly open.  The shield before them shimmered, “Well, here we go.”

The shuttle approached slowly as the klaxons changed timbre, and the lights went from yellow to red as announcements blared over the speakers on the progress of the shuttle.  Harris clenched and unclenched his hands, watching the window of the shuttle, waiting for a glimpse of his sister. The thundering sound of the impulse engines flared as the ship slowed, drawing closer to the landing space.  It wheezed as it lowered to the ground, and finally, a thumb as the legs touched ground and the landing space locked to the shuttle.  The massive doors shuddered closed, and the all-clear was given.

The shuttle door croaked open as the shield dropped, and Harris walked quickly to the gangway, waiting for his sister to appear.  Okada was down first and gave him a smile.  Next came Natalie.  She limped down the steps and fell into the arms of her brother, “Amb.  Thank god you showed up.”  He embraced her lightly as she cried quietly on his shoulder.  He pulled back and looked at her.  Her clothes were a mess, and her face was puffed and painted with blood and dirt.  Her smile was hidden by relief, and sadness rolled into one.

“I’m glad we found you, Nat.  Doctor Reid is going to help get you to sickbay.  We’ll talk soon, OK?”  She gave another weak smile and thanked Reid and her orderlies for helping her onto the biobed.  They quickly went to work transporting her to sickbay.  The rest of the crew went about securing the shuttle and the bay.

Okada handed him a PADD, “We checked on the rest of the crew.  They were mostly dehydrated and needed human food.   They let us bring a mobile sonic shower unit along with a replicator unit and some fresh clothes.  We talked to the crew a little.  Your cousins were originally in search of Blood Dilithium, but they got tipped off to something bigger…something better. Apparently, there’s something out that can do all nature of things.  They didn’t share details with the crew much – part of why this group surrendered as fast as they did.  You can read most of it there, but suffice it to say they were tired of the two about three weeks into the journey. The last straw came when they were forced to shove your sister into a corner to shut her up.  They decided the Hazari were better company than your cousins.”

Ambrose was reading and felt his heart’s fire explode from simmering to raging.  They were family, and he needed to find them.  They would spend the rest of the trip secured in the highest security he could manage in the brig.  “Fools.  Both of them.  Have Prentice ready to break orbit.  I need to see if I can engage the Hazari in an actual contract.”

The XO gave him a look, “The Delta Quadrant has different rules, Captain.  I encourage caution.”

Ambrose groused, “That word has a different meaning out here…but yes.  Your point is taken.  Walk with me to the bridge.  We’re going to need a plan.”