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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 13 – The Edge of Hope and Despair and USS Mackenzie: Mackenzie Squadron : The Edge of Hope and Despair

EHD 001 – Build a Bridge

Colony Gladas
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“We’ve got our medical response teams in the main colony working through immunizations and medical care.”  Commander Park sat in the chair opposite her captain, Wren Walton.  They were in the ready room after the first few hours of work had started on the colony below.  A mostly Cardassian population had recently seen an uptick in human visitors, mostly traders.  The other segment was currently the purview of Kondo and Pearce.  The ways and means of the True Way were many.  “Longfellow’s concerned about a recent epidemic and some residual side effects that seem to be sticking around – that’s in his report.  Engineering has its hands full with repairs and manufacturing new parts and equipment, and Operations is working to sort out the rural areas a little more.”  She sat back in the chair, “There’s a lot of work down there, Wren…and none of it is easy.”

Walton grumbled in agreement, “Starfleet’s name isn’t worth much to many colonists out here.  We’re going to be working from a deficit for a while.”  She frowned at reading a section of the report, “What is this about a missing child?”

“It’s…odd.  Hafsa isn’t really a child…she’s a sixteen-year-old rebellious, angry, and unhappy Cardassian teenager.”  She chuckled as her CO rolled her eyes.  “Those were her mother’s words.  Her parents reported her missing last night and made a beeline for us this morning when we arrived.  Apparently, the governor isn’t interested – Hafsa seems to run off every few months…she always returns.”

Wren read the section again, “What I am not seeing in this report?”

“There’s some talk of a love affair, but it’s third-hand gossip at best.”  She felt Walton’s stare intensify. “Right.  Some other teens think she’s seeing a young man – traveling out into the forests to meet him.  That would explain the running away every so often.”  Park tapped at her PADD, “We did run a report on the dates and times – it seems to happen every two months around…the same time.”  She looked at Wren, “We’ve got ourselves a mystery.”

Walton sighed, “We need to find her – we feign ignorance; we’re no better than their governor.  Given her family’s prominence in the colony council, I’m putting you and Charlie on point.  Use Barzo and V’Luth to do the local footwork.  You and Hargraves see if you can track her down.” Park grumbled, and Wren scolded her XO, “Look, there’s no bridge between them and us right now.  We need to build it from scratch.  Finding the runaway Cardassian teenager is part of that process.”

 

“It does say Diplomatic Operations on my door, yes.”  Charlie stared at Park as she lounged on his office couch, drinking lazily from a replicated iced tea, “But tracking down a teenager who’s probably just spending some time with a guy she likes…seems a bit out of my world.”

Park sat up, downing the rest of the drink, “Captain’s orders, Charles.  You and I are going on a rescue mission.  It’ll be fun.  We’ll get to wear our outdoor duty gear.  It’s a little more fashionable than my uniform.”

Hargraves groaned, “Ground rule number 1 – no talking about fashionable uniforms.”  He stood, packing his away pack. “You think she’s in trouble, our girl?”

The XO stood, “I think if she’s been doing this for six months, something’s up.  Could be somebody her age who she doesn’t want to walk around town showing off.  Or it could be something else – we need to find her and find out.  You aren’t just a little bit excited about stomping through the forests?”

He pulled his bag over his shoulder, “I like negotiating with people over breakfast, lunch, and or dinner.  Sometimes, all three.  I’m not an outdoors person when it comes to trees, hiking, climbing, or anything else.  So, no.  My excitement level isn’t going to match yours.”  He gestured at the door, “Shall we?”