Part of USS Olympic: Mission 1 – Uneasy Alliance and USS Mackenzie: The Mackenzie Squadron – The Uneasy Alliance

12 – The Uneasy War Part 1

Janoor III
03.16.2401
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Helena Dread checked her phaser rifle for the fifth time that afternoon and slung it back behind her. She tapped her hands on her hip-holstered phaser pistols and resumed her pacing while Peter Crawford lazily sat in a comfortable chair, searching the sky.  The Olympic had been sent away and emptied of most of its support crew to assist on the ground with the Mackenzie’s mission.

“How can you just…sit there?”  The usually focused Captain Dread was uneven and stared at the picture of peace with annoyance.  Peter Crawford was unflappable.

The Olympic’s CO shrugged, “They’re on their way.  We’ve done our prep work, we’ve trained our crew, run the scenarios, and handed out the equipment.  Whatever will be is out of our hands now.”

She grumbled, hating that there were hints of truth in his words, “I like having control, Pete.  I am not enjoying this experience.”  Dread fell back into the chair beside him, “Is this why your the CO and I’m the XO?”  She had wondered what had kept her from the center chair this time around.

Pete gave her an odd look, “I don’t have an answer to that, Helena.  I asked for you as XO because I knew you, and I knew your quality.  What you’re experiencing – that’s the fear and realization of the impending violence.  Every single person on Janoor III is feeling it.  Everybody above us is feeling it.  We haven’t been to war like this in a while.”  He leaned forward, clasping his hands, “It’s not that it’s any easier for veterans like me.  I compartmentalize – the stuff I can control I put on my plate.  The stuff I can’t – I throw that out the window and set it on fire.”

Dread chortled, “Part of me wishes I’d had your experience, Pete.”

He immediately shook his head, “There are things I saw during the war that I can never unsee, Helena.  I still wake up in cold sweats every so often.  It never leaves you…and it never forgets you.”  He sat forward, “I’d rather not have lived it.  I’d rather not have to relive it here and now…but as the Vulcan proverb goes – the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one…or the few.” He nodded at the group of officers and crewmen that had been assigned to each of them, “It’s going to be a fight measured in inches if they get down here.”  Crawford pushed up from his chair, “I’m gonna check in our team.  Whatever happens – stay with me.  I’ll see us through to the end.”  She was left oddly touched by his parting comment and began to have a new appreciation for the mystery that was Peter Crawford. 

Comments

  • Short and sweet, but I loved this dialogue, an aged veteran CO calming a young gun XO as they sit there in a quiet moment, the battle looming over them. In life, and certainly in combat, this rings true: "The stuff I can control I put on my plate. The stuff I can’t – I throw that out the window and set it on fire." Helena would be good to remember those wise words, but it's easier said than done. And it's something that the reader can draw on for inspiration in their own life as well.

    May 30, 2023