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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 11 – Wide Open Spaces

WOS 005 – Home and Away

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The tea’s warmth reinvigorated his mind, bringing healing to his body.  Henry Longfellow sat on the porch of Hiro’s parents’ home.  She sat next to him, enjoying the same tea and the experience that came with it.  They had arrived the night before, and the weather in rural Nagasaki was pleasant, with rain in the forecast for the afternoon.

“Sensei…you’ve been quiet.”

He returned to his tea, sipping as he worked to understand his feelings.  Another sip.  “We succeeded in our mission..and it feels like we failed.”  He watched as the bright sun slowly broke over the horizon, “I was cutting apart drones piece by piece to give us a chance at disguising them.  From life to death to life…it was a harrowing cycle, Hiro-san.”

She turned to face him, “How do you do it?”  Her face was calm.  Her voice spoke her internal truth.  She was younger than Longfellow. She hadn’t lived what he had lived.

“Hiro-san…it doesn’t get any easier.  You learn you can’t do it alone.” She leaned into his shoulder as he continued, “What we see…what we do…it’s some of the most extraordinary things someone can ever experience…but that comes at a price.  We have to experience some of the worst elements of the universe.” She sighed, and he understood, ‘We do the things most others wouldn’t have the stomach or the courage to face.  That’s something.”

She remained leaning into his shoulder as they drank their tea silently, the sun warming them.



“Thasaz.”  The voice of Quartermaster Henry Wyatt broke her reverie as she sat in the empty observation lounge.

“Henry.”  She was lying on the ground, looking up at the long and wide windows, a chilled cup of tea half filled.

He joined her, feeling his old bones protest.  “I thought we were all ordered off the ship.”

A chuckle from the Romulan, “You think I follow the rules?”

He smiled, watching the movement of Starbase 72 arrayed in the glass.  “Well, I’m not great at it either, so we’re in good company.”

She turned her head, “I know why I’m hanging out here.  Why are you?”

The El-Aurian shrugged, “I’ve been everywhere Earth has to offer.  I’ve seen it, lived it…too many memories of lives lived there.”  He asked, “Why are you hanging out here besides not being a great follower of orders.”

Thasaz let out a long sigh, “I…I’ve been here, there, and everywhere.  This is where I want to be.  I needed time to remember Katsumi…find a way to let her go.”

“She was something else.”

They stayed, lying down and watching the world of the Starbase pass them by.


“It’s going to be a long day, Reede.”  Gabriella Castillo sat across from Oscar Reede as they worked through the lunch they’d ordered at Pacas.  The communications chief had invited the chief flight control officer to his hometown of Memphis to introduce her to the cuisine.  He was also trying to flirt with her and felt it might be working.  Castillo had been born in Texas, and they’d spent the early morning taking in the barbecue restaurants.  Nothing had disappointed so far, and they’d been spending their time after a meal hitting a nearby track and doing some walking and stretching.  It had been Reede’s idea – they needed to keep up their metabolism to finish the day at dinner strong.

He shrugged, enjoying the flavor explosions. “But the food…the food is worth it.”  Castillo couldn’t deny his logic or him.  She’d found him amusing at first when he’d stepped aboard as a senior cadet.  His confidence and maturity had grown, and her eyes didn’t mind his looks.  They hadn’t called this outing a date, but she had decided as they were finishing lunch that it was a date.

“So…what’s next on our date?”  She threw it out, and his wide eyes made her laugh, “I know, I know…but…I think we should just call it what it is, Oscar.”

She was good, he had to admit.  “Okay.  Date it is.  I know a coffee place with homegrown beans, home-baked biscuits, and local music that’ll shake your soul.”

Her smile went from why to mischievous, “Is that a promise.”

In his head, he realized…she was trouble.

The best kind of trouble.