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

HTC2 006 – Friends and Neighbors

Jolla Colony
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“You’re not alone in questioning the narrative.”  Persefoni Hargraves sat at the expansive table in the Captain’s Mess.  She handed a PADD over, “We took our time on Janoor III gathering witness statements, evidence, data, and reports.”  Reid glanced through the screen as the Olympic Journal’s Editor in Chief explained how they were being prevented from publishing but not, she pointed out, stopped from gathering materials for future publication.

McKee held up her own PADD, “We’ve been doing the same as we’ve traveled…plenty of believers in the people who’ve been beaten up…but you’re right – there’s a weird disconnect with everyone outside of those who are here.”  She passed it down the table to Hargraves, who began to read.

Crawford paused in his meal, “The people of Janoor III were pretty resistant to us – there’s been plenty of suspicion about anyone outside of their local Task Group out here in Deneb.  There’s a tide to be turned, even with the truth staring a lot of them down from orbit.”

Natalie shook her head in disbelief, “I don’t get it.  I mean, I’ve had plenty to say about Starfleet Command’s dysfunction, but this…feels different.  There’s indifference…and then there’s whatever the hell this is.”  She cringed, “Sorry, Captain Crawford.”

Pete replied, “You’ve gotten a taste of it, Ms. Harris.  We’ve all felt the same ‘hellish’ confusion since we found our way into Deneb.  I can’t speak of the operational side of Fourth Fleet with civilians, but I can say we’re not alone in trying to understand what’s happening.”  He stood, and the gathered senior staff did as well.  “I’ll leave you all to it.  Ms. Harris, McKee, and Reid – you’re welcome to join our efforts to help the colony below.”  He left the room, and the dinner group broke up.

Jordan spotted her former Mackenzie crewmates making their way over.  She waved off Natalie and Elizabeth, “I’ve got some catching up to do.”  They both hugged her tightly and left the expansive dining room.  

 

“We’ve missed you, Jord.” Juliet Woodward sat at a large round table in the crew mess with Fowler, Prentice, Atega, and Moore.  “We didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye.”  Her tone was one of concern for her friend and not an accusation of guilt.

Jordan looked at each of them, her eyes reflecting sadness and joy at sharing space with them again.  She tried to explain, her words starting slow as the emotions of loss remained recent and fresh.  “I…I ran because I didn’t know where I was…or where I was supposed to be.  Everything I had known for the last year was around…him.  Ambrose was the man who changed my life…my career…and my heart.”  She sipped at her drink, wincing at the ginger, “He was my first real constant light…and he was open to me.”  Reid swallowed her emotions, “Everything and everyone on the Mackenzie reminded me of him…I couldn’t look at any of it.”

Sadie leaned into the arms of her boyfriend.  Reid had been the strongest woman she’d known, and her departure after the death of Captain Harris had shaken her.  What did that mean for the rest of them if Jordan couldn’t stay standing?

Presley Atega was first, “I understand, Doctor Reid.  I don’t hold it against you.  We all experienced the loss of Captain Harris in our own way.”  She’d cried for the first time since her freshman year at the academy.  “None of us handled it very well.”

Greer raised her glass, “It wasn’t easy.  Yet here we all are, standing strong.”  She gestured around, “I remember that first time we all sat down with Juliet…most of us were ready to quit.”  It had been a raw meeting with rough conversations and lots of silence.  “We kept coming back to talk about how we were feeling.”

Woodward returned the glass toast, “We did…and we all found our own way.”  She returned to Reid, “We’re still working on finding our way, Jord…the grief journey is a long one.”

Jordan had been thinking over their words as they’d talked, “Someone told me once that nobody should struggle alone.”  She shook her head, “I don’t know if I can come back to Starfleet yet.  I’ll be honest…I’ve missed…this,” she motioned around the table with a reserved smile, “…I still need to figure out who I am…and what I am.  Losing Ambrose has made me rethink a lot of it.”

Fowler understood, “We’re never finished living and learning life…don’t ask me who said it, but it’s been something I’ve been thinking about.”

The group continued sharing into the late hours of the night as they remembered what made them a crew in the first place.  They eventually all returned to their quarters.  As Reid crawled into her bed, she felt her heart full for the first time…and the ache within had lessened.  There was power in community..