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

IOTD 035 – Home is Relative

USS Mackenzie
12.29.2400 @ 0800 / 1.3.2400 @1600
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“Task Group reports the handoff from our medical teams is complete and they have assumed both planetside and sector control.  They’ve released us from our station and duties.  We are clear to depart.”  Atega listened further to her earpiece, “They wish us fair winds and following seas.”

Harris smiled at the archaic blessing.  Starfleet still felt like a navy in space – the old sayings and beliefs held on through the ages.  “Give them our thanks.”  He turned back towards the front of the bridge, “Helm, set course for Earth.  Engage at maximum warp.”  The Mackenzie sped forward into the stars.  Ambrose stood, “Tir, you have the CONN.”

 

Six days later they were entering the Sol system and Harris was back in the chair.  They’d built a respectable repair list along with some needed upgrades that would need addressing.  Prentice had flown them through the planets and through the traffic lanes with patience and professionalism, keeping his maverick habits at bay.  The bridge crew gasped and gaped at the screen as Earth came slowly into view as they moved carefully closer to home.  Ambrose smiled, unable to resist the warmth that the sight brought to him, “We’ve come home.”

Prentice chuckled, “There’s something about that view, sir…it’s just…the best word I got is glorious.”

T’saath was at his right and unamused, “It is always a curious thing how humans view their home planet.”

Fowler turned in her chair, “For a lot of us…it’s the one place where we can step foot where we grew up.  The dirt, the air, the smells…you can’t replicate it.”

The Vulcan moved to speak, “In truth…,” before Harris waved her off.

“Let them enjoy this moment, commander.”  T’saath remained silent for the remainder of the trip.  Prentice slotted them for docking at Starbase 1 and Atega had found them a docking slot in quick order.  It took fifteen minutes, but they were soon mooring into a dock, and the ship trembled as they locked in place.  Harris stood and tapped his chair comm, “Crew of the Mackenzie – you have 80 hours of leave granted to you.  You are required to return on 1.8.2400.  You are dismissed.  Senior staff – finalize your reports and send them my way before you depart.”  He turned to the bridge, “You are all relieved.”

They all signed off on their stations and Atega was the last when her console started beeping, “Captain, I’m getting a transmission from a Rachel Harris on earth – for you alone.”

Ambrose frowned.  His mother had retired to work at Harris Transport.  Why was she reaching out to him?  She knew he was headed their way tomorrow afternoon.  “Go ahead and put it on the screen.  I’ll handle the channel from here.”  Atega nodded and transferred communications control to his chair console.  She stepped into the turbolift and it closed as he opened the channel.  His mother appeared on the screen, looking a bit frayed.  His frown deepened, “Mom, what’s going on?”

She sighed, “Rachel McKee, ‘Brose.  She sought me out…looking for you.  She showed up at our offices yesterday and just…it’s a lot.  She’s been staying with Natalie.”

Her son sat back in his chair, “Rachel’s…there?  It’s been…ten years?  What’s happened?”

Rachel Harris shook her head, “She seems to believe she’s responsible for the deaths on the Garrison.”

“What?   That’s…insane.  I know what happened on that ship.”

“She thinks differently. You’re going to need to come down here, Amb…she’s been desperate to talk to you.  I think it’s been eating at her for a while.”

Ambrose put his head in his hands to collect his thoughts for a moment.  He glanced up after composing himself, “OK.  I may bring my counselor with me.  She’s been asking to take a trip to the ranch for a bit.” He glanced at his chrono, “I’ll be down by 2000 hours.”  She thanked him and closed the channel.  He closed out the channel and stood from the center chair.  Rachel McKee was back in his life after ten years.  Something was gnawing at the back of his mind.  It was a terrible thought, but it remained possible.

What if she was right?