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Part of USS Mercy: Mission 3 – “Lost in Space”

A Mercy’s End

USS Mercy
11.01.2400
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“Captain’s log…date 11.01.2400.  This is the final log in my brief tenure as Commanding Officer of the USS Mercy.  We stepped aboard her two months ago, and I thought this would be my home for a while.”  He stared out the window of his ready room at the glittering insides of Starbase Bravo.  “Sadly, that is not to be the case.  Needs must…and the Mercy is needed elsewhere, and so are we.  I’ve been tasked with a teaching and advising position at Starfleet Academy at Mellstoxx III.  Starfleet needs additional medical professors…and I was on their list.  My wife was offered a science teaching position, and she’s accepted.  They’re letting her take her experiments and studies to work with the students…something she is qualified to do.”  He returned to staring out the windows, reflecting on his journey to the Mercy.  He would miss the crew most of all.  They received orders for new frontiers, assignments, and directives.  There was no question that he would keep in touch with each of them, but it didn’t take the sting away from losing something he had wanted for so long.

He stood from his desk and went about the process of clearing out. It took him an hour.  The quartermaster crew came through and picked up the boxes as he completed each until the room stood bare and silent.  Halsey took one last look around and stepped through the doors.  The ready room remained quiet and empty.

He stepped into the officer’s lounge and felt every eye turn towards him.  His senior staff was there, as well as various assistants.  In two months, they had been through and experienced so much…they were a miracle crew in every sense of the word.  He had spoken with each of them over the last few weeks as the orders began to come through.  It hadn’t been easy, and feelings were still felt below the surface.  This would be their last meeting together before departing for the transporter rooms and shuttles that would take them all to their next adventure.  The gathered officers stood as he entered, and for the first time, he didn’t ask them to sit down.  He looked at each crew member and finally said, “As you were,” at which point they returned to their seats.  “It’s important to remember what we had together…it’s why I wanted to dismiss you from here as a last chance to say goodbye.”  He turned to Sorek, “Commander, I couldn’t have asked for a better Executive Officer.  Your steady logic and focus kept us even and together as a crew and ship.”

This was an emotional time, and though Vulcan, Sorek was experiencing an inner turmoil about the Mercy assignment concluding.  It was obvious seeing how some of the others were taking it, so for them, he maintained the stoic posture expected from him.  “Thank you, sir,” he said, standing.  “The good we accomplished here was because we had the commanding officer that inspired us to serve and be our best.”  He sat back down, casually resting his hands in his lap. Sorek didn’t know what his next posting would be, but since he had accumulated leave time, for now, he was returning home to Vulcan to see his family.

Halsey smiled in recognition of Sorek’s words.  He was hopeful Sorek’s next assignment would be what he needed.  He turned his attention to his chief engineer, “Chief.”  They had talked several times over the last few weeks about her reassignment.  She’d been less than thrilled initially, but she was slowly coming around.  “You’ve made engineering your own…your crew your own, and the Mercy your own.  You proved your worth every day and kept the ship running for all of us.  I’m proud to have served with you, Neva.”

Neva swallowed the lump that seemed permanently lodged in her throat and found herself blushing at Captain Halsey’s words. “Captain…thank you,” she found herself hoarsely whispering. Neva coughed and continued.  “The Mercy will always be our Iron Lady to me, Sir. You put Her Heart in my care, but you saw to Her Life. No matter what we faced, You brought us Home every time.” She smiled warmly, nodded, and sat back down as tears blurred her vision.

The CO gave her a quiet nod.  Engineers were unique in the love they had for their ships.  “Doctor MacDonald…I don’t think we could have managed an orderly and functional sickbay without you.  Between you and your husband, you kept us focused on the things that mattered…and helped us save the day more than once.  I’m going to miss being able to discuss the medical cases of the day with you, Doctor.”

“And I as well,” Aimee replied.  “It was an honor  Cap.. Doctor Halsey.”

Leopold turned to Sesias next, “Lieutenant, you’ve kept us organized and the departments working tirelessly together.  Operations is often a thankless job, but I’m not letting you and your crew off the ship without saying just that…thank you.  Whoever we turn the Mercy over to…they’ll be getting her in better shape than when we got her.”

Sesias stood and motioned toward everyone in the room. “Captain, it wasn’t all me, it was us all of us. The team behind me and those in this room made everything possible. May the gods watch over you all, and may they guide you where ever your journey goes next.” he nodded toward the captain as he retook his seat. 

Halsey let the moment hold before he nodded to Choi, “Lieutenant…you and your team have given us much in keeping our heads and hearts clear.  I’ve come to rely on your counsel, and I will miss those moments the most – your head and heart are worthy things to count among a crew.  Egrel…thank you for being a part of our crew and our time on the Mercy.”

Egrel had his hands clasped behind his back, chin tilted up. He felt a swell of pride in his chest as he overheard the Captain talk to each officer. He had become fond of each and every one of them and will carry them dear to his heart on his future assignments. He was proud of the crew and of the Mercy. He turned his smile to the Captain, dipping his head as he murmured, “Captain. It was an honor to serve for you and the crew on this ship.” He hesitated, turning slightly to glance down at everyone else, offering that same gentle smile towards them. The Betazoid spoke a little louder and a little clearer, “I am proud of each and every one of you, I’ve seen everyone grow not only as a crew, but as individuals. May your futures bring many bright and happy blessings, my friends…” He looked back to Halsey and murmured softly once more, “Captain… Halsey…. Friend.”

Leopold felt the emotion of the moment.  He and Egrel had shared many a conversation in the last two months about the Chief Counselor’s status and situation.  Progress has been made in that brief time.  He was proud of the officer.

“Lieutenant O’Shea, you’ve kept us safe throughout our missions from a deadly station to a rescue operation to the complex process of avoiding contact with a pre-warp people…your focus and your crew’s focus on the safety and well-being of the Mercy and her crew…you did your department proud and you made us proud.  Thank you for making our jobs that much easier.”

O’Shea nodded with a smile, “Thank you, Captain, it has been a pleasure to work aboard the Mercy and with you and the others.” He looked over at the rest of the senior crew, “As others have already said this, I will keep it brief and echo their statements. It has been an honour to work with each of you and I wish each of you the best in the future. We have been through a lot and I hope our paths will cross in the future.” With that he turned back to Halsey and held out his hand to shake that of the Captain, “A pleasure, sir.”

Halsey accepted the hand and shook it firmly, “A pleasure and an honor.”  O’Shea returned to his seat, and Leopold began his last words to his crew, “I’m not sure what the future holds beyond our next assignments.  I’m unsure if I’ll find this kind of crew again soon.”  As he spoke, he looked to each of them, “Your future is your own.  What you do on your next assignment, next step, or career – it is up to you to make it remarkable.  You’ve done extraordinary things here on the Mercy…I wish you the best wherever you travel, land, or journey.”  He swallowed and spoke his last, “Crew of the USS Mercy…you are relieved.  You are dismissed and released to your next destination.”

The group blinked, realizing it was over.  The moment had come.  Haltingly, they stood and spoke quietly to each other and shared last hugs and handshakes.  They left the room one by one, walking down the empty corridors.  Soon it was just Halsey and Sorek.  The captain sighed, “I suppose we should talk about Pottinger.”

“Indeed.”  Sorek expected they would talk about the disgraced officer.

Leopold sat down, “She’ll never wear a Starfleet uniform again.”  The blowback from the discovery of her actions and those of the crew on the planet had been shocking.  A contingent of Starfleet Security had arrived and taken her away, and she would be facing a trial and numerous punishments for her actions.  Her superiors had dispatched a ship to address the civilization on the planet.

“Justice will be done, sir, but there is one last thing,” said Sorek.  “You and Pottinger butted heads.  For lack of a better way to say it, you won.  How do you feel about that going forward?”

Halsey considered the question.  Pottinger had been a significant part of his career in the imprints she had left.  Her return to his life, albeit briefly, had threatened to return the daily chaos to his life.  He answered, “I feel free, Sorek.  Few people in this universe have danced on that final nerve until it snapped…and Grace was one of them.  I’m not proud of feeling that I’ve won…but I’d rather stand on the pride of beating her than humbly bowing at her feet.”

Sorek nodded.  Though not living with emotions, to some degree he understood why Halsey felt the way he did.  Sorek simply wanted to know his CO was going to be okay.

Halsey stood from his seat, “I’m hopeful you’ll return to Starfleet someday, Sorek…but I understand your why.  I wish you the best.”  He raised his arm and saluted the Vulcan, “Live Long and Prosper, Commander Sorek.”

Sorek returned the salute.  “I will be back.  For now, it is logical for me to spend time on Vulcan.”  Pausing for a few more seconds than he realized, Sorek nodded and left the room.  For each of them, it was a new chapter now.

Halsey stood in the empty room as the XO departed, the yawning silence echoing through him.  Whatever was next, whatever lay beyond the next star…his journey and that of his now former crew were just beginning.  The vastness of space lay before them, and the continuing missions in life and career awaited each of them.  Leopold gathered himself, walked out the door, and made his way to the transporter room.  Soon, he had vanished in the brightness and was gone.

The USS Mercy soon stood empty, crewed by station engineering working on repairs and operations officers preparing the ship for whoever and whatever came next.  

All while the universe watched and waited.