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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 4 – Harris Transport Chronicles Chapter 1 (HTC1)

HTC 001 – What We Carry

Opheim, Montana
12.31.2400 @ 2330
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“It is most late, Ms. Harris.”  Cardamon sat on the roof of the operations building, wrapped in a heavy sweater, scowling at her, and at the cold Montana air, “I’ve come to enjoy my bed and the time I spend in it.”

Natalie turned to him, “Cardy, you sound like an old man.”

He glared at her, but there was a slight smile behind it, “I am an old man, at least according to your measurements.”  The Voth sipped at the steaming mug of hot chocolate, “This whole fascination with a new year and new things is most fascinating, I must say.  For a Voth, time is just…there.  We don’t really spend much time marking it with holidays, or special events, or even…talk about it much.”  He looked to the stars above, “Living here in Montana…has opened my eyes to the ways of this planet.”

She leaned back on the roof and stretched her back, hearing it pop and crack.  She gazed up at the starry sky, “And just a month ago you were on the far edges of space.”  She felt his bulky body fall gently against the roof as he joined her in stargazing.

“I never thought of leaving it.  It never occurred to me that there was anything worth living for beyond that place.  I carried so much…fear that if I left…I would lose…me.” He searched for better words, “I would lose myself.”

Natalie chewed on her bottom lip, letting his words sink in for a few moments.  “I’ve been thinking about me and what I carry.  I didn’t go back to the Academy because I felt like I was carrying too much to even go back without a massive amount of shame and guilt.”  She searched the blinking lights in the sky, “…but I’ve been thinking about maybe carrying that wasn’t a good idea.  That maybe…I shouldn’t be carrying anything that weighs me down.”

The Voth turned to her, “This is one of those…metaphors you often speak of, isn’t it?  I ask because I was starting to worry that you are carrying too much throughout the day and perhaps you should avoid such weight in your hands.”

She chuckled and turned to face him, “Yes, it is a metaphor.  Your advice is not wrong, Cardamon…why we carry what we carry sometimes doesn’t make sense.”

He turned back to staring at the stars, “Humans make no sense sometimes, Natalie Harris.”  She smiled quietly and followed him in appreciating the stars above and the worlds beyond in the galaxy.