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

21 – One Last Word

USS Mackenzie
11.2.2400 @ 1730
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“They hit us with the shields down.”  Okada sat at her station; the MSD displayed several bright red blinking sections.  “We’ve had to seal off two full decks.  Reid is compiling a casualty list.”  The XO shook her head, “I don’t know what I expected of the Devore Imperium…but they surprised me.”

Harris gave her an understanding look, “How bad?”  She shook her head.  They still didn’t know.  “I think they surprised all of us, Commander.  The Delta Quadrant has been trying to send us a message since we got here…and we’ve been trying to ignore the reality of this place.”  He returned to the center chair, “I think it’s time we accept that reality…and start acting like we belong here.”  Okada headed into the turbolift.  She had damage control teams to work with.

Kondo spoke up from his station, “There is a lone Devore patrol ship on pursuit, sir.”  A pause, “It appears to be the Inspector’s ship.  Shields up, and weapons hot.”

Harris turned to Prentice, who had returned to his station, “We’re past the border?”

“We’re nearly back at the position they had demanded we retreat to, sir.”  Will was still shaken from making it off the exploding runabout.  Kondo had run to the bridge from the transporter room as soon as Cadet Harris and Ensign Menzie had been handed over to Doctor Reid.  Will had followed the tactical chief.

“Bring us to a stop and turn us around.  “Let’s see what they have to say.  Hail them.”  They were still at Red Alert.  He waited until the screen showed Devore Imperium Inspector Jasev.  Harris walked slowly to stand in front of his command chair and put his hands behind his back, staring down the inspector.

“You’ve made a terrible en….”

Harris nearly rolled his eyes as he interrupted, “Enough with the pontifications, Inspector.  You were right.  We are in the Delta Quadrant.”  

Jasev frowned, “What exactly is….”

“My point?  My point is this – I’ve decided that if we’re going to survive this month in the Delta Quadrant, we’re going to have to start acting a little bit like everybody else, especially when it comes to the Devore Imperium.  Inspector, you’ve proven you have no respect for us, our people, or anything that we stand for as Federation Officers.  Despite every best effort at attempting to find common ground, we’ve been rebuffed, attacked, and threatened.”  He stepped forward, “You don’t get to decide our fates, our future, or our Federation.  We will not go gentle into that good night, Inspector.”

The Devore feigned boredom, “Are you quoting poetry to me now?  What is this pathetic show….”

Harris firmed up his voice, “Poetry is power, Inspector.  Poetry is the language of warriors awash in the blood of battle.  It is the lyric of justice and wrath.  It is carried on the blazing wings of vengeance upon the darkness.”  He took a half step closer, “You have tested us, Inspector.  We’re still alive.  If our friends are not by the time we get to them…I will remember you.  Do you think you know everything there is to know about humanity?  Do you think you know what the many species of the Federation are capable of?  Remember us, Inspector.  We will rage against the dying of the light in this place not because we’re ordered to…but because we cannot ignore the needs of the many.”

Jasev’s countenance had shifted.  He stared at Harris for a moment as if seeing him for the first time.  A look of curiosity passed through his eyes, and he scoffed, “You are something else, Captain Harris.  You won’t best us again.  Stay away from Devore space.”  The channel closed.  Fowler reported the patrol ship was moving off and was soon gone in a flash of warp speed.

Ambrose shook his head, “Prentice, course to the outpost.  Maximum warp.  Engage when ready.  Lieutenant Tir, you have the CONN.”

 

Jordan sat in her office in Sickbay as the captain listen to her report, “We lost five between two decks with the shields down.  I’ve got ten in intensive care, five critical, and three in recovery after surgery. The forcefields that kicked in saved a lot of our people, Ambrose.”  They were alone in the office, and the door was closed.  He’d been allowing her to call him by her first name when they were alone.  He wasn’t sure if it was the right decision, but it was the one he’d made.

“Send the five names.  I’ll need to write a letter.”  He paused as his emotions pushed at his throat and eyes.  The losses on the Eddie were still there in the background, a harsh reminder of the risks of serving the Federation.  “Goddamn it.” He accepted the cup of water from his girlfriend and took a long drink.

Jordan put her hand on his shoulder, “I put Juliet in the loop.  She’s pulling files to start the process of talking to their friends onboard.  News will spread pretty fast once the names are released.  I’m sorry.”

He placed his hand over hers, “Thanks, Jord.  Tragedy seems to follow us around no matter what we do.  We’re going to get tired of this feeling if we aren’t already.”  He drained the cup, “We’re going to need to hold a funeral ceremony for those who have a need for some…closure.”  Reid agreed and handed him the PADD with the full report before he headed out the door to meet with each of the injured.  He spent several hours going from bed to bed to listen, to talk, and to encourage.  Each had a story to tell, and each of them mattered deeply to Harris.  The last bed held his sister, and she smiled weakly as he pulled up a stool to sit next to her.

“Sorry, we lost the runabout…sir.”  

Ambrose waved her apology off and looked her report over on his PADD, “According to Chief Kondo, you single-handedly kept the shields up and powered down to the last moment.”

Natalie did her best to shrug, but it hurt still, and she winced, “Did he tell you about how he had to yell at me?”

The older of the two gave her a knowing look, “He told me a few things.  Is that why you nearly got yourself killed?”

Her face became determined as she spoke, “I think I know so much sometimes…I got a healthy dose of ‘ohhellnoyoudonot’ on that runabout.  I was trying to make up for my stupidity.”

Ambrose pulled closer and took her hand in his, “You made up for a lot today, Cadet Harris.” He leaned down and kissed her forehead, “I’m just glad to have my sister back.  Again.”  They continued to talk into the evening as the Mackenzie raced for the outpost.

Comments

  • I like how you start with the tension of ‘they hit us with the shields down’ and with the crew rocked and shaken but then we have a lovely turnabout with Harris standing up to the inspector and a threat over the taken crewmembers. He makes it personal and I really like the way he points out the Imperium doesn’t know anything about humanity or the other federation species on the ship. But then we see his reaction to losing crewmembers in private, before he puts his game face on and gets back out there to talk to the injured. It reveals a lot about his character that he listens to their stories, that he takes the time to while they are still in a dangerous situation. And that last part, where he’s with his sister. Lovely touch!

    November 10, 2022
  • The speech might have been laying it on a bit thick, but that does seem to be Harris' style after all. With the Harris family all safe and sound out of Devore space, totally expecting to see the family fallout back at the outpost once all parties manage to get there. If the SS Loch even gets there that is! The DQ is dangerous after all. This has been a lot of action and adventure for just a few days of time for the crew, looking forward to seeing some quiet time and how they react to the situation they just managed to escape from. Hopefully they do get some quiet time! Nicely done so far, keep it up.

    November 11, 2022