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

HTC 002 – The Secret of the Truth

Opheim, Montana
1.2.2401 @ 0900
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“And the repairs on the heavy transport?”  Rachel Harris sat at the front of the oblong conference room table with the various department chairs filling out the chairs on either side of the marble table.  The Chief Repair officer confirmed they were on schedule with the ship and would have it ready for launch within two days.  She turned her attention to Research and Development, “How are we doing with the new thruster engines?”  The meeting lasted another hour until she felt they’d resolved the issues.  They broke at 0900 hours, and Natalie followed her mother as the CEO of Harris Transport headed for her office.  “How is Operations going for you, Nat?”

Natalie grimaced as they walked, “It’s…good.  I know I need this, but it’s been really hard wanting it.”  She sighed, “But it’s been helping me find my place and getting my head around how this place runs, walks, and moves – it’s massive!”

The elder Harris chuckled as she accepted a PADD from her assistant, reading the report as she spoke, “Imagine it from my position.  I’ve been working on getting a strong team working with me – my brother did not run a great operation…or even a good one, let’s be honest.”  She signed the PADD and continued, “They left so much business to chance – we’re working hard to earn some of it back.  We’ve got a long road ahead.”  Her feet were back in motion as they walked down the corridor.

“Mom…you really want to do this?”  Rachel came to a stop and gave her daughter a long look that caused Natalie to wonder if she’d offended her.  “I didn’t mean…,”

“No, you…just…you have a point.  Come on, let’s keep walking.”  Natalie caught up, and Rachel continued, “I know why you’re asking – you’re worried it’s too much.  Remember where your mom cut her teeth – Starfleet Diplomatic Corps.  Forty years of that will prepare you for anything – believe me.”  They arrived at her office, and she pushed through the door, her daughter following, “I don’t want to dismiss your worries for me, Nat…you’ve always been the one to tell me the truth.  So keep me honest.  Get me out of the office when I stay too late.”

Her daughter eyed her, “You gonna listen to me…or are we gonna fight like old times when I tell you to go to bed?”

Rachel smiled at the memory, “We’ve had some fights, I’ll admit.”  She checked her desk console and turned to her daughter, “It’s you and me against the world, Nat.  I need someone I trust in the wings keeping the stage moving with an eye to the rafters and audience.  This job might seem like it lacks danger…but it’s not all repair and construction.”

Natalie frowned, “You’re not going to explain what that means, are you?”

The older of the two smiled mysteriously, “Soon enough, you’ll have to get read into it all, daughter.”  She was going to say something else when the door to her office opened, and her assistant entered, a confused look stuck on her face.  “What is it, Lori?”

Lori Dahl wasn’t sure, “I have a Rachel McKee in the waiting area asking to see…Ambrose Harris?”

Both Harris women raised their eyebrows, and Natalie spoke first, “Isn’t that….”

Rachel finished, “It is. That’s the young woman that Ambrose saved.  It’s been, what…ten years?”  She thought, “Move my meetings around and send her in.  Natalie, stick around.  This is going to be…interesting.”

Natalie took a seat at a console near the windows while her mother stood behind her desk.  Rachel McKee walked in a moment later, dressed professionally but looking unsteady as she glanced around the room.  Her blond hair had been given a professional going over, and she nervously held a handbag with her.  She seemed out of place in every sense of the word.  The CEO of Harris Transport gestured to one of the chairs in front of her expansive desk, “Ms. McKee, please…have a seat.  Can I get you anything?”

The young woman shook her head and then thought better of it. “May I have some water, ma’am, please?”  She awkwardly worked her way to the seat, her shoes looking brand new and not broken in.  Natalie stood and grabbed a glass and filled it with lemon water from the back kitchen area, setting it gently on the end table next to McKee.  A hushed “Thank you, ma’am,” whispered from her lips as she adjusted in the seat.

Rachel Harris sat and leaned over her desk, “What can I do for you, Ms. McKee?

She glanced at Natalie, a nervous smile playing across her lips, “You remind me of him…both of you do.”  She gave a nod to Rachel.  “I’m Rac…actually, I go by Elizabeth these days.  I’m Elizabeth McKee.  Your son saved my life ten years ago, and I’ve recently been working through my experience with a counselor…and he suggested I reach out to Ambrose.”

The older Harris asked, “I need to ask why, Ms. McKee.”

The young woman had been playing with her hands and let out a long sigh, “I need to ask his forgiveness for what happened that day.”  She pulled a tissue out of the handbag as tears threatened to flow, “I killed them, Ms. Harris.  They died because of me.”

Rachel looked to Natalie, whose eyebrows had shot up in shock, and tried to assure Mckee, “You can’t have known….”

The tears turned to sobs as she spoke her terrible truth, “I did.  I knew what was coming.  I could have stopped it.  I could have saved them all.  I let them die.”  She collapsed into further sobs.