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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 12: Measure by Measure

MBM 002 – Set a Course

Starbase 72 / USS Mackenzie / Station K34104
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“The station is a former Federation station that was transferred to civilian control about fifty years ago.  It’s become a hub for the system and a trade port with connections beyond.”  Thasaz sat at the science station, tracing the history of the station they’d been given as the place Patra had told them to meet him to discuss their surrender conditions.  She noted a few items, “Starfleet Intelligence reports an uptick in Syndicate activity over the last year or so.  Information has been harder to get in the last three or so months.  They’re not saying much, but I think whoever they had as a contact isn’t around anymore.”  She turned to face the bridge.  They had been ordered on an intercept course for the station by Task Force 72’s Command.  Patra and she were acquainted throughout the years.  “There’s enough evidence to suggest it’s a trap…or at the very least an ambush of some kind.”

In the center chair, Captain Wren Walton stewed.  It had been Commander and then Captain Harris who had tangled with Patra and his ilk.  The additional layer of the alternate Carolyn Crawford wasn’t helping the situation.  She had spent plenty of years in the prison she’d broken out of with Patra.  Her file, at least what Wren had access to, was a terrifying read.  Once behind bars, she’d been placed in complete solitary for a year after murdering two inmates who had asked her how her day was going.  She hadn’t done much better when she was back in the unit.  Various violent incidents pushed her to be secluded into a high security unit.  There, she had met Patra when he’d been secured in the prison.  She asked, “We still don’t know where Crawford is in this, do we?”  She listened as Thasaz confirmed it.  Patra had been visible in the last month, and the two Syndicate captains had shown up with him.  Crawford was running cloaked.  Walton hated it.  There wasn’t enough control over this situation.  “Pearce put our Hazard Team on standby.  Ensure our security teams have photos of Patra, Crawford, and the two Syndicate captains.  I want all options available if this situation goes warp core critical.”

 

“She hates me.  I’ve been having nightmares that she’s coming to kill me.”  Ensign Carolyn Crawford sat across from Juliet Woodward in the counseling office.  “It…it’s just strange to know there’s another of me out there trying to kill us all…and for what?”  Crawford wasn’t sure. She wasn’t sure of anything.  Her father had stepped aboard the Mackenzie yesterday, leaving the Olympic at Starbase 72 for repairs and refit.  It also kept that crew out of harm’s way, she knew.  “I can’t imagine what life was like for her growing up and living in the hell she was raised in.  Why did it have to be my double?  I’m not a fighter, Juliet.  I’m not even sure I’m a lover…maybe I’m having an identity crisis.”  She shrugged her shoulders and folded into herself.

Juliet didn’t immediately respond to her friend and fellow officer.  She waited patiently until Crawford physically opened back up before she asked, “Is it because there’s two of you?  You’ve told me several times you can and can’t understand why she is the way she is…is there some worry that she exists somewhere in you?”  She momentarily let her wondering hang in the air and watched as Crawford thought through her words.

It took Crawford a moment to compose her thoughts and even longer to find the words.  Finally, she replied, “My dad always told me I was the best of him and my mother, that I was the light bore of the darkness.  I always knew he was talking about the Dominion War…but my mind’s been wandering over to Evil Carolyn…she’s proof that the darkness exists within me.”  She let out a long sigh, “I worry about her being somewhere inside me.  Maybe I worry about it too much.”  Carolyn leaned back on the couch, “Why did it have to be me?”

 

“Approaching Station K34104.”

Walton stared at the small station on the screen, “Thasaz?”

The Romulan science officer tapped at the console, “Readings are nominal.  There’s a group of transport ships in orbit around the station.  Nothing else in the system.  Fairly standard operating day for a station of this size.”

Wren ruminated, “A perfectly normal day.  Either it’s just a chat he wants, or he’s constructed an intricate trap for us.”  The door to the bridge opened, and Captain Peter Crawford stepped through and took his seat to the left of Walton.  She indicated to the station, “Normal day out there.  I’m open to suggestions.”

He stared at the screen momentarily as if thinking through an entire list of possible actions.  He suggested, “Send someone unconnected to Patra or any of them.  He wants his list.  Given his profile, he’ll take one if we give it to him.”

Park turned in her chair, an idea forming, “Chief Miados.  She’s one of the few who’ve never met or dealt with him.  She’s more than capable.”

Walton glanced at Crawford, who shrugged.  It was her ship, her crew, and her decision.  She tapped her badge, “Captain Walton to Commander Miados…meet me in transporter room one.”

 

This is a bad idea.  Miados spoke urgently in her head as the transporter beam faded away.  Shealynn indicated a wry smile to him and the world outside.  She told him, ‘Sometimes bad ideas are the best we have.’  She stepped down from the pad and handed the clerk her PADD, “Lieutenant Commander Miados here to see Station Administrator Fields.”  

The clerk intensely examined the device, the orders, and then his own console.  “Administrator Fields is currently off-station.  Deputy Administrator Cochran is expecting you.”  He returned the PADD and gave her directions to the office.  This is a really bad idea.  She was starting to agree with her symbiote.  The corridors were filled with some traffic, but the station was quiet, and she could sense something wasn’t quite right.  Miados agreed.  She found her way to the administrator’s office and tapped the button.  A gruff voice responded, and the door slid open.  She stepped in and stopped, “Captain Horat Rigilia.”

The Orion Syndicate Captain grinned widely, “Also known as Deputy Administrator Cochran.”  He tapped the button, and the door slid shut and locked behind her.  “Now, why don’t we talk about how you get out of here alive, Commander Miados.”