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

IOTD 027 – Chasing a Ghost

USS Mackenzie
12.28.2400 @ 1930
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=^=We’re unable to get a lock on Hasara or the Commander=^=

Harris stood from his chair, “Prentice – tract….”  The Cardassian ship leaped to warp and was gone in a flash.  Silence filled the bridge.  Ambrose felt his gut begin to churn, and he tapped his badge, “Harris to Chief Okada – core status?”  He could see in his periphery Fowler was working feverishly on tracking the Cardassian ship as it moved farther and farther away from them.

=^=We’re at half capacity, sir.  I can give you warp five.=^=

“I’ll take it, chief.  Prentice, intercept course at warp 5 – go.  Chief Kondo, set Red Alert but hold at standard stations for now.”  The klaxons rang out as the lights filtered to red, and he turned in his chair to his chief science officer, “Fowler, talk to me.”

Sadie’s nerves had swung wildly from calm to a full-blown tempest as the Cardassian ship had leaped into warp with the Gul and their executive officer aboard.  She had singularly focused on tracking the ship as best as she could, “Long-range sensors are locked on the ship – it is moving at warp six on an intercept pattern to the planet Palasa had identified to us as the center of the Arratan’s operations.  I was able to confirm they were both alive when the ship took off…but there was a faint reading of phaser fire before they went to warp and out of range.”

Harris turned in his chair, “Phaser fire?”

She gave a nod as she thought through scenarios.  Atega spoke up from communications, “Sir, wasn’t the commander unusually affected by the Jade Dilithium on the transport ship?”

Fowler made the connection, “Pres…Ensign Atega’s right.  With the ship powered back up, the dilithium would have been recharged to full strength.”  

The bridge went still and silent again, and Harris sat in his chair, thinking.  He posited a question, “Do we know what kind of weapons fire it was, Fowler?”

She ran the scans through the database and replied, “It was a Starfleet phaser signal, sir.”  She pulled up the away team roster, “The crew that came back didn’t report any missing weapons.  Commander T’saath had her sidearm…but the Gul….,”

Harris finished the thought, “…he was unarmed per regulations.  So did he overpower her and shoot her?  Or did she shoot herself?”

Kondo had turned in his chair, “That’s a tough thing to do, even for the best of us.”  He glanced at the empty chair where the XO usually sat, “She could have asked him to stun her if she knew what was happening.  Vulcans have been shown to have extraordinary control mentally and physically in moments like this.”

The CO stood, “Then we can hope the Gul has control of the bridge.  We’re following this ship straight into the Arretan’s home base.  We need to prepare for the ultimate test – rescuing our friends and putting a stop to them so they can’t do this to anyone else.  Fowler – get with Chief Kondo to figure out a way to use the mechanisms we used to flood the area with signal – to find a way to adapt our torpedoes or even probes to it.”  He turned his attention to Atega, “Ensign, I need you to track every signal coming from and going into that sector of space.  That ship is being controlled somehow, and we need to find out how.”  Lastly, he turned to the assistant chief engineer who had taken a station on the bridge in order to update him as the repairs continued, “Greer – continue working with Chief Okada and Tir.  We need maximum warp if we have any chance of getting in and out of this without too much more injury.”  Each of them nodded and got quickly to work.  He stood from the chair, “Lieutenant Tir, you have the CONN.”  He strode to the turbolift and stepped inside.

 

Harris stood at the massive bay window as the low muttering of the red alert klaxon echoed in the background.  The stars streamed, and the rumble of the ship beneath his feet bought him some level of comfort at the moment.  They were flying as fast as they could, chasing a ghost ship that had taken his executive officer captive for whatever reasons.  Along for the ride was Gul Hasara.  He clenched and unclenched his hands, staring at the stars.  He wished they could go faster.  He wished they could smash the Arratans back into the unsettling prison and throw away whatever passed for a key.  His anger was slowly simmering and he knew there were few places on his ship where he could find the cool relief to drop the temperature of his frustrations slowly.

“You have the look of a very unhappy man, Captain Harris.”

Ambrose turned and found Henry Wyatt walking towards him carrying two mugs of steaming tea.  He accepted one of the mugs, “Shouldn’t you still be under observation?”  The El-Aurian was dressed in casual wear and gave him a quiet look in answer.

“Your Doctor Reid cleared me and suggested I walk around a little.  Mind you, I have a friend who follows me,” he turned and waved to the security officer who stood and observed.

“Rules and regulations.  He’s very good at his job – part of why Kondo put him on you.”  He took a sip of the tea, and remarked, “That is a unique blend of Earl Grey – heavy on the bergamot.”

Wyatt smiled, “It is a guilty pleasure – the fruit is one of my favorite flavors.  Has been since I first tasted it so long ago.  There are some things you just never forget, no matter how long you live.  He gestured to the stars, “One of the views on any starship, I’d venture.  I always say a ship should have plenty of windows to gaze upon the miracles of the universe.”  He took another sip before he turned to Harris, “You’re not here for the view.”  The CO pursed his lips and explained what had occurred to bring him to this moment.  Wyatt remained quiet, returning his attention to the stars.  He sipped at his tea until he spoke, “Something I’ve always admired about Starfleet Officers..or any officer in any army I served or knew.  They willingly went into the danger – and found ways to survive.  There’s something about the training, the journey, and the life that just…inspires them to fight and scrabble that much harder.”  

Harris took a drink, relishing the fullness of the black tea, “Reminds me of an old engineering saying. ‘When you can’t run, you crawl. And when you can’t do that, you find someone to carry you’.  Ours is a sacred duty – the living, the hurt, and the dead.”  He finished his tea and handed the cup back to Wyatt, “Thank you for reminding me of why we do what we do, Mr. Wyatt.”  He walked thoughtfully past the security officer and out the door, leaving Wyatt alone to contemplate the stars.