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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 12: Measure by Measure

MBM 008 – Never Say Die

USS Mackenzie
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“She can’t possibly think she can take us on.”  Captain Wren Walton stood in the middle of Mackenzie’s bridge.  The Daedalus had updated them on the state of things.  The implications of how deep Patra’s plans had gone were not a surprise. How they had fallen short of the goal was the curiosity.  

At tactical, Kondo was wondering.  He frowned, “Captain – we haven’t seen or heard from Patra this entire time.  It’s all been done by his surrogates…or at least those who thought they were operating as his surrogates.  He’s been moving pieces on the board without being near the action.”

Thasaz piped up, “I’ve been monitoring the alt Carolyn Crawford’s ship as best as possible.  She’s sending out encrypted communications at a frenetic rate and pace…but nothing’s coming back.”  She shook her head, “We know his capabilities to build a kingdom…I’m wondering if he’s sacrificing them to test our defenses and responses.”

Walton let that thought wander her mind for a minute as the rest of the bridge crew did the same.  The implications were wild and alarming.  If he had the numbers to cast out sacrificial probes as people…that made her nervous.  “If that’s what’s happening here…this gives us a chance to try and turn alt Crawford.”

Park’s eyes went wide, “You’ve read her file, Wren…the woman is a sociopath without anything tying her down.  She’s as feral as they come.”

“A fair point…I wonder if it’s just possible to turn her…around and throw her back at Patra?  Maybe send Rigilia back with her upset enough to light the entire thing on fire and disrupt?”  Walton wasn’t sure about the idea, even as she said it.  The reality of their situation was leading them to less and less practical solutions.

Kondo listened as they debated the merits of what to do with Crawford’s doppelganger.  He reminded them, “We still have to figure out how to rescue Lieutenant Fowler.”  He thought for a moment and turned to Thasaz, “Is there a planet nearby where we could facilitate a…meeting of some kind?”  Kondo was thinking on his feet and explained further, “An independent colony who doesn’t like us or the Syndicate…an impartial place to meet?”

The Romulan science chief went to work, realizing what he was proposing.  A quick search of the charts gave them three options.  She quickly drilled down each and came up with a winner, “Rasputin Colony.  1500 souls.  A mixture of Human, Cardassian, and Romulan.  They’ve adopted the image of the old Russian wizard.”

Walton had returned to her chair as she listened to the proposal. “We sell it as a trade for information.  You think she’ll go for it?”

She had turned to Park, who had been thinking through the ongoing conversations.  The profile of alt Crawford was a terrifying read.  There wasn’t much leverage you could use on her, and the report made it clear your only hope in encountering her was to survive her.  There were several lines in the text about her desire for the bigger things in the world.  She wasn’t satisfied with whatever dirty plot she had on her hands.  She was always looking for the next big score.  Commander Park related to the bridge what she had found in studying the records, “The only chance we might have at getting Fowler back without a fight is to give her reason to unseat Patra.”

Wren remained unsure.  “What if Crawford’s worse than him?  She still wants to kill her pseudo-sister and Captain Crawford.”  She didn’t have much on the alternatives and was preparing to accept the plan.

Quartermaster Henry Wyatt had come to the bridge for a requisition sign-off as the conversation had evolved.  He interjected, “We know she has one goal, at least for now.  It’s limited.  Patra’s goal is the domination of the galaxy and beyond.  Isolating the collateral damage from them isn’t the worst thing…to be fair, it’s not the best either.”

There was a shared agreement on the bridge, and Wren grumbled, “Mr. Reede, send a message to our friend.  Advise her we have significant information and would like to meet to discuss terms of trade with Ms. Fowler.  Get me the colony on a private encrypted line in my ready room.  They may hate us, but they’ll be happy to have someone around who is threatening to kill us.  Seems like the Rasputin thing to do.”  She stood and had another thought, “Mr. Wyatt – join me.  I think you may be our best ambassador for this type of thing.”

The look on Wyatt’s face was surprised, “Not Commander Hargraves?”

She chuckled as they reached the door for the ready room, “I think he’ll be relieved to be standing as your second in this situation.  He’s never been a fan of phaser standoff diplomacy.  You, on the other hand…”

He finished it with a smile, “…have a habit of being a bit of a badass.”

Wren snapped her fingers with a cackle, “There it is.”  They entered the Ready Room and got to work.