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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 6 – Uneasy Alliance and USS Mackenzie: The Mackenzie Squadron – The Uneasy Alliance

07 – The Uneasy Relationship

USS Mackenzie
03.05.2401
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“I get the distinct impression you don’t like me very much, Captain Walton.”  Gul Hasara stood at the conference room’s windows, his grey eyes searching the blackness of space.

Wren plopped down in the chair at the head of the table. “I think that’s just a default for most of the older Starfleet officers – you can’t deny the Cardassians have given us plenty of reasons for distrust.”

He turned to her, a look of genuine hurt in his eyes.  “You wound me, captain.  You’ve read Captain Harris’s reports?”  She nodded.  She had.  “Then you must know my motivations are less aligned with the Union and more with the Federation.”

She scoffed, “Gul, I’d much prefer if they were completely aligned with the Federation.  We’re working overtime to repair five Galor class starships with the clock ticking on a Dominion invasion force.  The people of Janoor III will eventually have to accept Cardassian help…and the best you’ve got is to whine about the Union and how these young officers are not friendly?”  She threw up her hands, “You sold yourself to me as a resource.  The reports from Captain Harris agreed.  And yet, here we are…waiting for someone to step up.  You should be slapping the young captains sideways and back in line.”

The air between them was tense, and he stared at her, mute.  He turned to the window and remained in thought for a few minutes before moving to sit next to her, “Captain Walton…I was not on that colony by accident when then Commander Harris found me.  I had grown tired and indifferent to the ways of the Cardassian military.”

She rolled her eyes, “You’re telling me you’ve lost the will to be the Cardassian we need?  A pacifist passive Gul is what we’re going to get?”

He played with his hands, “You don’t know….”

She slammed her fist on the table, startling him, “I know, Gul.  I’ve known people who were on the other end of it.  Hell, you can ask Peter Crawford about his experience during the Dominion War.  He saw and knows plenty. We all have to be in touch with our darker sides in war.”

Hasara shook his head morosely, “It is not who I am anymore.”  He leaned back in the chair, “I told Captain Harris once that he had never seen me at war…he had only seen me at peace.  We were fighting a terrible enemy, so I returned to my old ways and feelings…and after he was murdered…I began to question my identity.”

Wren resisted the urge to groan out loud.  Hasara wasn’t wrong in his struggle.  He’d seen a friend die at the hands of someone who had let their darkness run wild.  “You are not like the Devore.”

The Gul chuckled dryly, “That is part of the why, Captain Wren.  We aren’t that much different in our methodologies or means.  Janoor III is a prime example of what happens when we leave …I think the phrase is from one of your ancient politicians, ‘the better angels of our nature’ behind in pursuing our goal.”

She disagreed.  “You’ve done some terrible things, Gul, I’m sure.  Hell, my service jacket is far from perfect.  But what makes the difference is the ‘why.’”  She gestured to the room around them, “You’re on a Federation starship, Hasara.  There’s a standard that we hold ourselves to every day we step into this uniform.  No matter what we do, we follow the better angels of our nature in everything we do.”  She leaned in, “You taking on the five Galor ship captains and putting them in line…opening that door to your harder side…it gets us the protection and cooperation we need from them.”  She hoped her argument convinced him and finished with, “For the first time in your life, you’ll be doing the right thing with that intense side of you, Gul.”

He regarded her for a moment, her words resonating most unusually.  “You told me your job before this was to work with officers and commands to get them to improve and better themselves.”  She nodded.  “You were very good at it, weren’t you?”  Walton returned his question with a sly smile, and he found a new appreciation for this wily Federation captain.  “You can be diplomatic and thoughtful when pressed, Captain Walton.”

Wren shrugged, “I have my days, Gul Hasara.  Don’t tell my diplomatic officer.  Does that mean you’ll help me with the Galor captains?”

Hasara stood and extended his hand.  She did the same and shook it firmly.  He stepped back and glanced at the window, “It means I’m going to, as you humans say, ‘take the bull by the horns’ and get them to listen.  I may even slap them.”  He laughed at her grimace, “I know you were not terribly serious about that, Captain…but I may have to find external motivations.”

She watched him leave the conference room and felt a smile tug at her lips.  A Cardassian complimented her?  She was going to carry that with her for a while.

Comments

  • I still maintain that Wren is my favorite character I’ve read yet, she is a hoot! But I loved here that, when the situation called for it, she exercised her diplomatic skills that she likes to keep hidden behind that gruff exterior. I also really liked Hasara in this chapter. We don’t often think about the situation the Cardassians were put in during the war. Another great chapter from the Mack!!

    May 15, 2023
  • Wren is a tough cookie. To gain the respect of a Gul is no mean feat. Great character building.

    May 15, 2023