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Part of USS Daedalus: Mission 1 – Measure by Measure and USS Mackenzie: Mission 12: Measure by Measure

DMBM 004 – Under the Mountain

Mining Operation
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“You want my advice?”  Captain Leopold Halsey sat on the couch in the ready room while his CO, Helena Dread, slowly paced before him.

Her brow was furrowed, and she wasn’t sure what she wanted.  The chair was her problem at the moment.  “Sitting in it feels like giving up.”  She threw up her hands in surrender, “And saying it out loud makes it sound even worse.”  She turned to him, “Sitting in that chair means I’ll never get out of it.  I will be stuck in it for the rest of my career.”  Dread threw herself down on the other side of the couch, covering her face with her hands, “This is not my brand or reputation.  Dread’s not afraid of anything.  She’ll take on anyone.  Except for that stupid goddamned chair.”

Halsey considered her reaction for a moment.  “Maybe that’s the problem, Helena.  You’re worried sitting in that chair will destroy what you’ve built for yourself.  There are days I look at your dossier and envy your path.”  He wasn’t lying.  She had climbed the ladder effectively.

She pulled her hands away and stared at him, “You sound a lot like my mother in her finer moments.”  She sighed, feeling the weight of those words lift from her shoulders and land somewhere else in her soul.  “She was a peach, that woman.  A rotted peach.”  She accepted a glass of water from Halsey, “You think I need to sit in that chair.”  She took a drink, feeling the coolness soothe her throat.

He shrugged from his place on the couch, “What I think isn’t important, at least right now.  What’s important here…is what you think.  I can tell you all day long what I think.”  He paused, “And I will do that…just not in this moment.”

She felt a smile on her lips, “You’re doing an awful lot of qualifying, Leopold.”

His eyes sparkled, “It’s Leo, but it’s nice to hear it in its full intensity.”  She rolled her eyes, and he laughed.  “Yes, you need to sit in that chair, Helena.  What do you think you need to do?”

She stood, smoothing her uniform, “I need to sit in that chair.”

The voice startled both of them, “Captain to the bridge!”

Dread walked out of her Ready Room, “Report.”  She moved to the center chair and remained standing.

Athena Catari spoke from the tactical station, “The two ships have entered the system.  They haven’t seen us.  Their weapons are hot, shields are up…and they are moving fast.”  She tapped at her console, her internal alarms increasing, “Fast was an understatement…they’re circling the moon and completing scans.”

Helena fiddled with her fingers.  They would only remain hidden for so long.  They could have taken one of the ships in a fight, but two were pushing it.  She asked Fowler, “Anything on the weapon?”  The clock at the front of the bridge clicked forward.”

“We think it’s a weapon designed to shut a ship down – power, shields, everything.  We also think some tractor beams were inlaid in the mine station somewhere.”

Dread shook her head, “Some kind of an assimilation weapon…or ship eater…and any proof is gone down its gullet.”

Catari shouted, “Captain, they’re coming our way. Intercept time is thirty seconds.”

Helena wasn’t about to try to play the hero, “Helm, engage intercept course for the Mackenzie, all available speed.”

The Daedalus dashed to warp in a flash.