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

08 – The Uneasy Agreement

USS Mackenzie / Janoor III
03.06.2401
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Wren loved mornings.  She gave a nod and a greeting to each crew member she passed as she ran the corridors just after 5 am.  It had long been her tradition on the ships and stations she’d served.  It felt important to her for this part of her life to continue.  The running helped clear her head and heart.  Her unusual habit had initially struck the crew of the Mackenzie.  It had become normal to see the pony-tailed captain running deck to deck.  Greetings were less stiff, and she followed up on the conversations she’d had previously.  A slow drift of crew morale had started to shift her way.  Her badged beeped, and she slowed to a walk just outside her quarters.

“Park to Walton.”  She gave her the go-ahead. “The governor and his team have signaled they’ll be ready to transport aboard within the hour.  Operations and DIplomatic teams are putting the final touches on the meeting hall.”  Wren checked her chrono.  She had just enough time to shower and slip on a fresh uniform.  She told the XO she’d meet the group in the transporter room.  She closed the channel and headed into her quarters, ready to clean off the sweat and face the day.

 

The transporter beams coalesced and revealed the figures of Governor Gideon Rosser, Secretary of Staff Oleg Hertz, Secretary of Planet Security Paula Judon, and three additional dignitaries.

Wren stepped forward, “Welcome aboard the Federation Starship Mackenzie, Governor.”  She extended the same greeting with the same slightly warm smile to Hertz, Judon, and the others.  Rosser sighed, “Let’s get this over with, Captain.”  The others mirrored his tone with bored looks as she nodded and led them down out the door and into the corridors.  She gave a passing history of the Excelsior II class starships and the overall background of the Mackenzie, pointing out different parts of the ship as they walked.  The Janoor III delegation didn’t notice the two seemingly indifferent security officers wandering behind the group making small talk while keeping a sly eye.  The group entered a turbolift, and the two security officers waved off the offer.  They’d catch the next one, they said.

Walton led them out of the turbolift and around the corner to the meeting hall.  Two new security officers picked up their trail, followed them to the doors, and then nonchalantly walked past them as the group entered, now under the watchful eye of security and diplomatic teams.  She pointed out the tables, “Diplomatic Officer Hargraves will escort you to the tables and give you instructions on the summit.”  The captain knew none of the group would admit it out loud, but their wide eyes and the attempts to tamp down their impressions of the beauty and modernity of the Mackenzie were amusing to her.  She left them in the care of Charlie as she accepted a nod from the XO and slipped over to her side, “It’s been 12 hours.  Hasara made any progress?”

Park handed her CO a PADD, “He’s got three of the five onboard.”  She pointed at several points on the PADD, “The remaining two…Sovalev and Mase – reached out to me and said they refused to work with a known traitor.  I asked them for details, and they told me it wasn’t their story to tell.’

Wren muttered, “Goddamn Cardassians.  Annoying as hell and combative as a teenager in her prime.”  She sighed, “We’re going to need the other two if we can get the delegation’s cooperation.”

Her XO pointed at the PADD, “There are a few options.  We can offer some inducements to add additional repairs to their ships.  Chief Okada thinks she can work a miracle or two.  Trouble is they might not care about it since they think it won’t make much of a difference…and listening to Okada… it won’t be more than 5% difference.”  Wren asked what the second option was.  The grimace from Park didn’t help her worries, but the XO explained, “We stage a coup on the two ships – take the two captains into custody and replace them with the XOs from the other three ships.  This was mostly a Hasara plan, but the captains and crews he talked to weren’t opposed to it – they want to beat the Dominion as much as we do…and there is a sense of responsibility among them to make up for what happened before on the colony.”

Walton asked the obvious, “We think the rest of the crew on those two ships will go along with this?”  There was enough political intrigue to go around with just the Janoor III delegation.  She wasn’t convinced adding additional spinning plates to their already wildly spinning plate would work out.

Park considered, “Hasara’s three seem to think so.  The two holdouts are much younger, more belligerent…and not the greatest commanding officers. There has been discontent growing under their command.”

Wren rocked back and forth on her heels, “I suppose I’m the one to give the order, then?”  A nod from her XO.

“You do have the four rank pips, Captain.” Park ignored her CO’s tongue being stuck out in response.

Walton deliberated in her head.  The Dominion was two hours away, waiting and watching.  Being down two Galor Class ships wasn’t just a bad idea; it tipped the tactical scales.  “We can’t afford to let this get in the way.  Have Hasara put it in motion.”  Park walked out of the meeting hall, and the CO took a deep breath as she headed for the front of the room.

 

 

Governor Gideon Rosser spoke from his table, “I now accept the report from the secretaries that they witnessed a significant force of Dominion fighters and a battleship.  I also will hesitantly accept further reports from the Fourth Fleet regarding Dominion and Fleet movements.”  Standing, he looked at the group around his table and the others, “It is…not easy to admit when one is wrong.  I stand here before you to admit this.”  He turned his gaze to Wren, “We’ve moved to accept the assistance of your squadron in full faith.  However…”

Wren acknowledged the Borg Cube in the room, “Your concerns remain with the Cardassian element.” Rosser nodded, and the entire delegation reflected a nervous energy.  “We’ve had some…developments on that front.” She explained part of the results of Hasara’s discussions.  She finished with, “There is the feeling that they wish to make up for those who had committed the atrocities…that they feel this is their chance to make something right out of the unconscionable wrong.”  She knew she was stretching the truth slightly, and Charlie’s warning look was enough to keep more to the reality.

Rosser frowned as he listened to her and turned to the group at his table to discuss once she’d finished.  Wren stepped away to give them some sense of privacy as Park strode in, smiling quietly.  “I’m always worried when you’ve got that kind of a smile on your face.”

The XO widened her smile as she reported, “It went smoother than anybody expected.  Hasara sent a message to each ship demanding their commanding officers surrender and be transported to the Mackenzie…Wren, it took fifteen seconds for the bridge crews to remove them.”

“That’s…impressive.  They must have hated the bastards.”

Park nodded emphatically, “The Cardassian crews used other words…but yes.  We have a fleet of five Galor ships with crews willing to help the people of Janoor III.” Both exchanged thankful but weary smiles.

 

“We will initially allow Cardassian crews to work on the outlying defense systems outside the cities and towns.  They will be escorted and assisted by Starfleet engineers and security members with additional supervisory roles by Janoor III Marshals.”  Rosser tapped at his pad device and continued reading what had been decided and noted, “Once the outer planetary defense systems have been completed and inspections verifying repairs are whole…we will begin the process of allowing Cardassian crew into the cities and towns on a limited basis with the conditions outlined earlier in place.  We will also agree to the Galor Class ships entering a defensive orbit of Janoor III predicated on Starfleet’s oversight and agreement to respond if an attack or acts of aggression occur.”

He sat and looked expectantly at Wren, who took her place at the podium, “We’ve agreed to the conditions on our part as Starfleet, but we still need agreement from the Cardassians.”  She had warned the group that this was necessary as she spoke, “Gul Hasara has been granted field command of the Cardassian fleet from the Galor captains.”  The door to the meeting room opened, and the imposing Gul stepped slowly into the room and walked steadfastly to where Wren stood.  The Janoor III delegation blanched noticeably – they had warned her in return that they hadn’t seen a Cardassian alive and upright in twenty-five years.

Hasara cleared his throat and spoke into the microphone, “The Cardassian Fleet has accepted the conditions laid out by the honorable Janoor III delegation.  We will honor the conditions as they’ve been set.”  He said the words while knowing the reality would be much different.  Those gathered around the tables from Janoor III were a small representation of the larger planetary colony population.  As word would spread, the mission would become complicated and possibly compromised.  He signed his portion of the agreement on the PADD and stepped away and to the side as the various dignitaries signed their names to the agreement.  No handshakes were exchanged, and the Janoor III group left without saying much else, their faces a mixture of relief and nerves.

Soon it was just Wren and the Gul as the diplomatic and food services team finished resetting the room.  She turned to him, “Traitor to the cause?  That wasn’t in Captain Harris’s reports.”

He grimaced, “I had wondered what the fools  would say.”  He motioned at the table before them, and they both sat.  Wren waited.  She had suspicions about what was about to be revealed, yet she had learned that you could never assume anything about anyone.  Hasara put his hands together, “The two officers I had deposed were suspected of having Dominion sympathies.”  He kept his eyes in contact with hers, “In the Dominion War…I had a part to play when we became allied with them.  I went along for a time.  I was in my late twenties and was convinced we were doing the right thing.”  Hasara shook his head as scattered memories of a lifetime muttered to him from the depths of his mind.  “In the middle of the war, I began to question what we were doing…why we were doing it.”

Wren muttered, “I’m guessing that went well.”  She raised her eyebrows at his dry chuckle, and he waved her concern away.

“It began my journey to my colony and to meeting Commander Harris.  They tried to get me to believe again…but something broke in me, Captain Walton.  I couldn’t…what is a good human metaphor…slow dance in a burning room anymore…I wished to…as you humans would say, dance like no one is watching.”  Her sloppy grin amused him as he spoke, “Did I not use them correctly?”

She put up her hands, “No, you used them right as rain, Gul.  Cardassians and dancing are not things I would put together.”  Wren sighed, “So the two fools were referring to your falling away from the war machine.”  

He nodded, an unusual sadness filling his face.  Regret had haunted him in many corners of his mind and the universe for so long.  He hadn’t been able to unburden himself.  He felt the sweet cool wash of relief embrace him.  “You know the rest.  Dozaria Prime was my place of exile, and they forcefully forgot about me.”

She leaned back in her chair, a new picture of Hasara forming.  He would probably be annoying for as long as she was stuck with him, and she’d have to practice her coping strategies when his cup of frustration overflowed.  She acknowledged, “Harris was right about you  – you’re honest to a fault and loyal to whoever sits in the chair.”

They remained quietly observing the other as each contemplated what they would say next.  Wren wanted to ask so many questions.  Hasara had one, “You trust me now, Captain Walton?

What a question, she thought.  How could she qualify and quantify the last few days’ events into measurements equal to the challenge of calculating trust?  She settled on, “I trust you more than I did before, Gul Hasara.  Let’s be happy with that and do what we can to protect and save the people of Janoor III.  We’ll keep an open tally on the trust question.”

He stood to attention, “I find this suggested compromise acceptable.”  

She pushed out of her chair and moved towards the door but stopped.  She returned and put out her hand, “To making this work.”  

He frowned at the gesture and wondered what she was up to with two handshakes in two days but forcefully dismissed his paranoia.  It had served him well with Cardassians and Humans alike in the past…but Harris and now Walton were shattering the mold he’d long become accustomed to handling from time to time.  They were a new thing.  He put his hand in hers and shook it, “To making this work.” 

Comments

  • Hasara is a wonderful character that I’ve really grown to like over the past few chapters. It couldn’t have been easy for the Cardassians during the Dominion war once they realized who they allied themselves with. And those with a conscious like Hasara must’ve had it particularly rough. I’m glad that the Governor has finally accepted the reality of their situation, looking forward to the next chapter!

    May 15, 2023
  • Wren and Hasara are turning out to be friends I think. I love how this story is shaping up.

    May 16, 2023
  • Ahahahaha. "Borg cube in the room". I like that! I'm enjoying Rosser's growth. It *is* hard to admit you're wrong, especially on something you are really entrenched in believing. I'm still loving Hasara. He seems complicated, and also, like he has such stories to tell!

    May 18, 2023