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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 12: Measure by Measure

MBM 006 – The Tangled Weave

USS Makenzie
7.16.2401
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“Well, this is terrible.”  Commander Park sat at the briefing room table, PADDs all around her, while Doctor Henry Longfellow worked on the other end, PADDs filling the space before him.  “There’s a lot to run down here, Doc.”

“We’ve been able to cross off many of these with simple communication checks.” He made another note, removing a name from the list, “But there’s enough here that either haven’t responded or can’t be reached that have me worried.”  He highlighted several on the holo screen on the wall, “I’ve sent messages to the Task Groups in the area.  It’s a waiting game.”

The XO highlighted several on her list, “This is interesting.  I asked the computer to isolate contacts that were in the same system or nearby.”  She tapped once more and gasped, “Oh, shit.  Shit….shit.”  The screen highlighted at least five groupings in five separate systems.  Each area contained anywhere from five to ten to fifteen people who shared a connection with the crew of the Mackenzie.  “That’s bad.  That’s real bad.”

Longfellow clicked his tongue as he watched Park’s work be displayed in nightmarish form.  He worked with the data, comparing it with the messages they hadn’t received in return.  His throat went dry as the reality became clearer.  He turned to Park, who was agape.  “I believe your word applies here.”

Park gulped, “Shit.”

 

Walton walked onto the bridge, holding the report from Park and Longfellow.  “Mr. Reede, hail the transport ships, please.”

Reede turned to his station, detecting a tone in his captain’s voice.  He’d begun to interpret her mood or the situation based on how she ordered him to open a channel or something else.  When she used ‘Mr.’ in front of his name, it indicated she was in a crosswind kind of mood and was ready to have a knockdown, drag-out fight with whoever was on the other side of the channel.  He tapped at the console and got someone on the line, “I have the lead ship, the Garrod.”

She spun on her heels in front of her command chair, “Let’s see who we’ve got.”

The impassive face of a human appeared, and he introduced himself, “I am Commodore Vance Galfway of the…”

Wren stopped him, “I know, I know.  The Orion Syndicate.  You’re just here on a layover or something.”

The Commodore’s mouth opened in response and then closed.  “I’m not sure I appreciate your tone, Captain Walton.”  He sat up in his chair, eyes daring to dig through the screen.

“You would appreciate my tone if you knew what I knew, Commodore Galfway.”  She held up the PADD, “You’re not here to cause any trouble.  You’re just here to distract us while all this is happening.”  She tossed the PADD into the XO’s chair, “Your boss Patra tried to distract us with you.  I’ll give you half marks for sorta succeeding.”

The man looked as if Wren had kicked his cat, dog, Yeoman, and girlfriend all at once.  “That’s a serious accusation, Captain.  I will be making…”

Wren turned to Reede, “Cut the channel.”  She moved to the center seat, “Red Alert, shields up.  Full reverse – give us some distance.  Mr. Kondo, lock phasers on each ship’s engines and shield generators.  Lock torpedoes on the lead ship’s bridge.  Hold your fire.”  The klaxon rang as the lights dimmed red, and officers moved into their red stations, some heading off the bridge and others stepping onto it.   She sat, waiting.  It took three minutes.

Oscar nearly jumped at the beeping from his station, “Captain, the Garrod is hailing us.” His eyebrows raised, and his heart rate ran like a bat out of hell.  Walton continued to surprise him.  She motioned for the channel to open.

A sweaty version of Commodore Vance Galfway appeared, his eyes wide with apprehension, “You can’t be serious.  This is…this is…”

Wren spoke, her voice even as her eyes bore holes in the screen, “Absurd?  Offensive?  Disrespectful?  You’re here to stop me from saving friends and family of my crew, Commodore.  I’d say I’m giving you a taste of what Patra’s capable of and how it feels to be under pressure from him.”  She stood and approached the screen, “You’re ordered to leave this sector.”

Galfway looked as if he was going to protest, but he was glancing at his threat screens.  The full weight of the Excelsior II class was overwhelming.  He gave a terse nod, “We take our leave.  I hope never to see you again, Captain Walton.  Good day.”  The channel closed.

Wren turned, relieved, “Feeling’s mutual.  Tell me they are leaving.”

Kondo reported, “All ships are leaving the station orbit and headed to open space.”  He tapped the screen to follow them, and the bridge crew watched until they finished in a flash of warp speed.  “They are clear.  No other contacts in the area.”

Walton picked up the PADD and handed it to the helm officer, “Plot an intercept course, maximum warp.  Stand down from Red Alert.”  She turned to the crew as the lights returned to normal, “We don’t have much time to try and stop Patra from his plan.  Get your teams ready, and let’s see if we can put something in the win column.  Helm – get us on our way.”