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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 7 – Harris Transport Chronicles Chapter 2 (HTC2) and USS Mackenzie: The Mackenzie Squadron – The Uneasy Alliance

HTC2 003 – The Unknown and The Known

SS Ambrose
3.05.2401 - 3.07.2403
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McKee stood on the platform, bags slung over her shoulders.  The Aerie Class ship sat on the launch pad, swarmed by Harris Transport crew working on getting her ready for launch.  For Elizabeth, it was a moment of decision.  She’d spent much of the last month mourning the loss of her friend and former chief, Ambrose Harris.  Together with his sister and his girlfriend, she’d formed an unlikely bond that had been a support to each of them through the fog of grief.

“Mckee!”  Natalie Harris embraced her with a broad smile, startling her.  “Thank you for coming along.”  She pulled back, “How are you feeling about this….thing.”

Elizabeth indicated the finishing work on the ship, “I’m here…that’s all I really have.  Been wanting to get back out there…I’ll know more about how I’m feeling once we’re at warp speed.”  She noticed Jordan stepping into the room, her belongings being pulled behind her in a hover cart, “How is she?”

Natalie glanced at Reid and gave her a wave. Jordan smiled briefly and went to the loading bay.  “How are any of us doing is the better question.  I wake up with tears most mornings…but I need to find my way out there.”  She leaned into McKee’s shoulder, “Nobody should do this kind of thing alone…I know it’s good that we’re together.”

She gave a skeptical look, “Putting three grief-stricken women on a ship together, flying blindly into the darkness to poke around for a mysterious enemy?”

Harris laughed dryly, “You make us sound so helpless and damsel-ly, McKee.  I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to skulking around and being the master spy I always dreamed of being.”

McKee rolled her eyes dramatically, “Let’s get on board before you say something more audacious and borderline unbelievable.”

Natalie snorted, “I’m just getting started.”

 

“SS Ambrose, you are cleared for departure.  Federation Flight Operations has you cleared to depart at warp six towards the Deneb sector.  The transport manifest has been verified.  Your flight plan has been approved.”

Elizabeth sat in the center chair of the bridge, while Harris sat in the helm, and Reid took a rear console.  The bridge was an older model, but it was functional.  McKee ordered, “Natalie, get us in the air and follow the departure course.”  The older ship rumbled as it pushed off and headed into the air.  Harris carefully followed the predetermined route and gripped her console as they transitioned through the lower atmosphere into the upper atmosphere, and eventually, they loped out into space.  She tapped a path through the crowded transport and shipping lanes, grimacing as she had to move slowly through each portion or else she’d get pulled over to talk to Transport Operations.  They were never very happy to talk to the offenders.  The SS Harris slid through the required inspection point, and after fifteen minutes, they were clear and flying through the Sol System.  She announced they were clear.  McKee dropped her shoulders in relief.  One stressful part of their journey was done, “Plot us a course for Farpoint station, maximum warp…and get us on our way.”  Natalie tapped at the console, and SS Harris leaped to warp.

 

“Well, what do we have?”  McKee sat in the crew mess, PADDs spread across the table.  A few days had passed, and the information-gathering operation had begun earnestly.  From tracking civilian communications and movements to tracking Starfleet ships, they had put together a haphazard map, emphasizing the haphazard.

Reid read from her PADD, “There’s a lot of talk about this not being a Breen skirmish…a lot of what’s on the local wires is that this is a Dominion invasion and attack.”  She acknowledged the shared gasps from the other two, “It’s ludicrous – the Gamma Quadrant is where they’ve stayed for the last twenty-five years.”

Harris was next, “I talked to a bunch of our transport captains,’ and they are scared shitless…sorry, scared witless.  A few of them had sensor reports to share…and they’re right to be scared.”  She tapped the PADD, and the main screen in the mess was filled with a plethora of sensor data.  “Those are Dominion ships and Dominion fighters.  Big ones…and lots of them.”  She shook her head in shock, “There’s not much good news either as I kept going.  Those sensor logs and their observations…they think it’s The Lost Fleet.”

Reid snapped her head to stare at Harris, “That’s…insanity!  There’s no way!  They went into the wormhole and never came back.  The Prophets tore them apart 25 years ago.” It was her turn to shake her head, “No way.  Just…no.”

Natalie wished she had better answers, “It’s not just our people.  There are many people in the way of this…or have already been run over that are saying the same thing repeatedly.  The full force of the Dominion is here.”  She tossed her PADD into the pile, “I’ve got transport captains refusing to leave the relative safety of Farpoint Station, and the panic is spreading.”  A long sigh, “Mom’s having a hell of a time keeping everyone in order.  She’s had a few calls from the Fourth Fleet to see about providing humanitarian supplies and transport.”

McKee groaned, “I know where this is going.  If she accepts, she acknowledges the reality of what’s happening out here…and that means she’ll be out of step with what’s being reported and the official Starfleet stance on the matter.  There’s a good chance people turn on Harris Transport…people could choose to take their business elsewhere.”

Reid grumbled, “People will think Harris Transport believes in conspiracy theories and fake news.”  She wondered, “Nat…what do you think she will do?”

Harris chuckled, “Well, mom’s not one to be pushed around by anyone…so she confirmed with Fourth Fleet Operations about an hour ago.  She’s working on recalling all captains who are unwilling to assist back to headquarters.  That reassignment process is going to be ugly.  We’re in it.  We’re to drop the supplies at Farpoint and pick up an additional load there and ship out for Cait – they need resupply in the face of what could be a Dominion attack.  Other Harris Transport ships will be bringing additional supplies.”

McKee was impressed by Rachel Harris.  The woman had courage where it counted.  “Get us ready for Farpoint.”  Harris nodded, and the three women went to work.