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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 11 – Wide Open Spaces

WOS 004 – Lifetimes of Chance and Choice

Starbase 72
Post FA
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“You have learned much in your time, T’saath.”  The Vulcan Priestess sat across from her in the shuttle as it flew towards its destination, Starbase 72.

“Is that why you are escorting me?” T’saath had spent the months since February in deep, intensive, and often painful mediation.  The guilt that had come with the loss of Captain Harris had held on longer and harder than she had anticipated.  Much of her work had been on herself, her mind, and the emotional control she wielded.  Her self-imposed interrogation had revealed pieces and parts of her psyche, Katra, and identity that were woefully in need of repair.

It had been a gauntlet of marathons, sprints, and crawling through the muck and mire that had stuck to the sides of her over the years.  She gave an apologetic look to the Priestess, “I am sorry for my…choice of words.”

The older woman didn’t react to her initial volley or her apology.  She kept her eyes searching the young Vulcan woman.  She finally broke the silence, “You have gone through much, T’saath.  You’ve completed your Kolinahr.  You are returning to Starfleet and the ship you left to return to us.  Emotions are powerful and must be monitored with mediation. You have learned much in your time with us, T’Saath.  Yet, you still have much to learn… it can only be learned by experiencing the universe and its challenges.”

T’saath concluded, “To learn is to live, and to live is to learn. Hlovate.”

“A human author?”  T’saath nodded. “Fascinating.”

 

“You’ve passed all the requirements to return to duty, Commander T’saath.”  Captain Geronimo Fontana sat before her, a PADD in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, “And yet you requested a meeting with me.  Why?”

She stood at attention and had not taken the offered seat.  “You were acquainted with Commander and then Captain Harris.”

He set down the PADD, sipping at his coffee carefully.  He wasn’t sure where she was going, but he decided he needed to pay attention, “I was.”

Her hands remained clasped behind her back as she spoke, “You are aware of the events that led to his death.”

Another sip, and a, “I am.”

“What do you believe about chance and choice, Captain Fontana?”

He frowned and set his cup down, “I have plenty of beliefs about either, but I’m more concerned about why a Vulcan is asking.”

She shifted her feet.  She wasn’t irritated.  Annoyed wasn’t on the list either.  Was it uncomfortable?  Her way of thinking from before had shifted and became more…curious.  She still had control of her emotions, but her mind seemed determined to answer the deeper questions about existence.  She wasn’t sure what that meant in the long term for herself.  She explained, “I have reconciled my involvement in the loss of Captain Harris.  It is not an emotional matter but…an issue of curiosity.  As Vulcans, we are bound to Logic as the way, the truth, and the life.  It is inescapable.”  She slipped into the chair, “There is still that…as you would say, nagging question…how do I balance chance and choice as I return to Starfleet?”

Fontana felt there was something more to her question.  T’saath was a young Vulcan by most measures.  He asked, “Are you concerned about repeating a similar situation?”  That hadn’t come up in the evaluations she’d worked through.

“No, sir.  It is…a desire to serve my captain and our crew to the best of my ability.  Taking the right chances…and making the right choices…that is my interest and focus.”

Geronimo chuckled lightly and waved away her raised eyebrows, “Commander T’saath…Chance and choice are a part of the daily life of a Starfleet officer.  The small decisions and the universe-shaking choices…they’re never going to allow us to have the time to make the perfectly right call.  You’ve got an advantage with your intellectual abilities and processing talents – you could tell me the odds of any mission’s success down to the percentage point to the tenth place.”  He looked her in the eye, “Choice and chance will never be fully known and understood, Commander.  We learn…and then we live.  It’s the only way forward.”

“I do not think this has…as humans would say..cured me…but has assisted in my thoughts.”

Fontana stood, and T’saath did the same, at attention.  The Task Force Commanding Officer gave her a nod, “That’s all we can do most days, Commander T’saath.  No matter what we are – it’s a complex universe out there.  Dismissed…and take care.”

T’saath walked out the doors.  He had given her plenty to think about.  She pointed her feet towards her quarters.  She had a few weeks before the ship was available to her.  It was time to open the books back up.