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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 3 – Island of the Damned (IOTD)

IOTD 017 – Start the Search

USS Mercy
12.28.2400 @ 1000
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“What do you think, Captain?”  Chief Okada stood on the bridge as her team of engineers finished with the last modifications to the room.

Harris glanced at the consoles that were now placed with the two chairs on either side of the command chair, along with the bluer carpet and adjusted lighting.  It was more than he expected and yet felt just right.  “Well done, Okada.  She looks great.”  The Chief Engineer gave a brief bow and led her crew to the turbolift as the bridge crew took their stations.  Harris slipped into the chair.  It still felt like the same chair.  There was something to be said for a chair that just felt…right.

A turbolift door opened, and Gul Hasara stepped out, frowning just enough to look concerned but not enough to appear menacing.  It was a delicate line for a Cardassian, he had discovered.  “Captain Harris, permission to step aboard?”

Ambrose gestured for him to come to the seat to his left, “Permission granted, Gul.  Welcome.”  As he sat, Harris briefed him quickly.  The Marion had arrived moments ago and had begun working with the Vulcan ship Temerity on arrangements for the investigation.  Harris had spoken briefly with both captains.  “They’re ready for us to leave, and I think we’re just about there ourselves.”

The turbolift door opened once more, and T’saath stepped through, walking to sit to the ride of her commanding officer.  She handed Harris her PADD, “All departments report ready for departure.”

Ambrose accepted the report and gave it a quick glance.  It was as detailed and exhaustive as her reports tended.  “We look ready and able.  Tir, set us at yellow alert.  Prentice, set course for our first waypoint – maximum warp.  Get us our way when ready.”

 

“You seem nervous, Captain.”  Gul Hasra sat on the couch under the expansive windows in the ready room as Harris worked through the sensor reports that were being sent to him every half hour.

“You never had a problem saying what was on your mind, Gul.”  The Cardassian did his best shrug, and Ambrose sat back in his desk chair, “I’ve been thinking about these Arretans.  The power they have and the things they can do – I’m not sure we can beat them…or even stand a chance at taking them down.”

Hasara leaned forward on the couch, “How did your Starfleet handle them before?” Ambrose explained how Kirk’s Enterprise had encountered them before and the extreme challenge the Arretans at the time had presented – it had taken a great amount of guile and ingenuity to force the creatures into oblivion eventually. After a moment of reflecting on the story, the Gul wondered, “Do these creatures know the fate of their parents and relations?  They’ve been here so long – they were probably caged here long before the others encountered Kirk.”

Ambrose stared at the Cardassian, “I don’t think telling them their parents are dead is going to help things.”

A shrug from Hasara, “Our methods differ.” Harris moved to attempt a rebuke of the Cardassian but was interrupted as the door opened.

T’saath stepped into the room, “Captain, we’ve got a communications signal coming from the planet Palasa identified.”  She handed a PADD to him and remained standing, avoiding the curious stare from Hasara.  

Harris read through the message and shook his head. “They’re not serious.  They can’t be.  The complete surrender of the Palasa Group followed by the Cardassians and then the Breen.”  He tossed the PADD to Hasara as he asked his XO, “Did they send this to anyone else?”

T’saath answered, “No, only to us.  It is curious.”  Harris motioned for her to continue, “They possess great power, but there is an element that’s missing – they don’t have the capability to wage a traditional war using what they have from Palasa.  A working theory that I support is they’re attempting to draw us out and in to take the Mackenzie and press her into service.  Possibly get us to bring others into their web of control.  If they were able to get significant numbers of Task Force 47 in their command…they’d have a chance with their power at doing what they’re saying they’ll do.”

Harris scoffed, “That’ll be the day.  This is madness.”  He turned to Hasara, “I’m unlikely to like a suggestion from your side of the room, but I’m open to at least hearing some.”

The Gul smiled slyly, “Your early interactions encountered this…Jade Dilithium?  I think our answer might be there.  Your Federation and a lot of others are still sorting out the Blood Dilithium effects and impacts.  They found a way to remove it.  Let’s pursue a similar path.”

T’saath spoke up, “I do not usually agree with Cardassians, sir…but Gul Hasara’s insight is logical.  The science teams are convinced the Jade Dilithium is being used as a control device.”

Hasara chuckled deeply from the couch, “I’ve never been called logical, but I agree with the Vulcan.”

Ambrose put his hands up in mock surrender, “It’s been a banner day all around.  Commander, let’s start looking for some of this dilithium.  Gul, I’m assigning you to that team.  You’re the outside voice we need to keep us thinking about the other sides of this problem we seem to be forgetting.”

Hasara stood, grumbling with a small smile on his face, “I’d rather smash the box, but beggars can’t be choosers.  Commander, lead the way.”

Harris almost laughed out loud at the look his XO gave him as the Cardassian walked out onto the bridge but restrained himself.  They still had an El-Aurian in recovery, and he had a feeling they were going to need all the help they could get.