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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 11 – Wide Open Spaces

WOS 011 – The Fate of the ECH

USS Mackenzie
Post FA
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“Computer, lights.”  The bridge of the USS Mackenzie flickered on as consoles hummed to life.  Captain Wren Walton stood in the command circle, watching her ship come to life.  She looked at each station, thinking about what the past had done to them and what the future might hold.  The next thing wasn’t going to be easy.  “Computer, activate the ECH.”

The figure of Rachel McKee shimmered into view as she turned to Walton, “Please state the nature of the command emergency.”

“There’s not an emergency…I’ve been tasked with figuring out what to do with you.”

The ECH cocked her head to the side, “That would make logical sense.  Captain Ambrose Harris is no longer the commanding officer of this vessel.  You share no connection with the real-life model that was the basis for this avatar.”

Wren admired what her predecessor had done in creating the ECH in the likeness of an old friend.  It also came with an odd feeling and the unending question of…why?  He had carried some guilt with McKee’s near death, and the use of her was a connection to his past.  She couldn’t understand why he had kept her, even after the real McKee had sought him out to settle her conscience.  “Why do you think he kept you?” she bluntly asked.

The ECH processed the question quickly but relied on human mannerisms in parsing the response.  “I imagine he didn’t want to forget those friends and crew he served with before on the Erigone, the Edinburgh, and the Mackenzie.”  She appeared to think further, even though Walton knew the hologram had already reached each conclusion.  “Humans are odd in what they will hold onto from their past…and what they will try and forget.  You, Captain Walton, must have a similar experience being human.”

Wren felt her breath catch.  She was aware of the additional programming that Harris and Jordan Reid had done to enhance the ECH further.  Being aware of and having it used on you were two entirely different things.  “You know how to get to someone.”  She sighed, drawing a curious look from the ECH.  She pointed at the hologram, “Don’t…just…don’t.  Captain Harris may have appreciated your insights, but I’m not ready for you to start telling me about my head.”

ECH McKee slightly nodded, “I understand.  What do you intend to do with my program?”

Walton wasn’t sure.  “You serve a purpose.  I wonder…you can be loaded with different specialist modules?”  The ECH nodded.  She thought again, “Jordan Reid had a part in your programming.” Another nod.  “You could serve as a medical assistant.”

The hologram appeared in thought.  She replied, “It would be a continued use of my programming and function.  I agree.”

Wren felt some measure of comfort.  “I’ll start the process of getting you transferred.  Computer, end ECH program.”  The figure of McKee faded, leaving Walton alone on her bridge.  She glanced at her watch. The crew was due back tomorrow morning.  And the question as to who was staying would be answered.