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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 004 – The Well of Despair

Colony Gladas
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“The colony map does not include this…portion.”  Commander T’saath stood at the crossroads of the overgrown path, examining the map.  “They said that a group of settlers had fled this way after the first raid but did not hear from them again.”

Commander Thasaz rolled her Romulan eyes at the Vulcan Operations Chief, “That was several months ago.  They also said the group seemed like they didn’t want to be found, and they had left it at that.”

“A highly illogical response.”

“Cardassians are known for their massive gaps in logic, Commander.  It’s almost a defining characteristic.”  She scanned with her tricorder and pointed to the less worn path, “This looks promising.”  She led on, followed by T’saath.

“You don’t like Cardassians very much, Commander.”

Thasaz chuckled, “I have a more…refined view of them.  They have a habit of talking too much.  The truth is, Romulans aren’t much better on the whole.  Our history is full of barbarism that could compete with the Cardassians any day of the week.”

T’saath arched her eyebrows, “I am aware of Romulan history.  The various volumes are required reading in Vulcan education.”

“If you had asked me if Romulans and Vulcans get along, that’s a far easier answer.  They don’t.  Usually.”

“That is an illogical simplification of an extensive and complex shared history.”

“Yes.  That’s the way I like it, Commander.”  They walked on in silence.

 

They walked for another hour.  The afternoon sky was bearing down its heat as they rounded a bend, coming upon a ragged-looked refugee camp.  Numerous lean-to structures covered the ground as far as they could see.  Tired eyes and worn faces looked up at the sudden appearance of the two Starfleet officers.  Thasaz snapped up her tricorder and put out her other arm to hold T’saath back, “Something’s up.  Let me scan.”  She tapped at the device as she focused on several nearby.  “It’s a mix of Romulan, Vulcan and Human.  Not in great health.  We’re going to need to get a medical team here.  Let’s suit up.” Slipping on, powering up, and securing their quarantine lightweight uniforms took a few minutes.

Thasaz walked into the camp and found one of the leaders approaching.  She introduced herself and T’saath and asked, “What happened here?”  

The leader gave his name as Peter Herring.  “The True Way.  They…they told us we couldn’t live in the main colony anymore.”

T’saath and her Vulcan logic interrupted, “But the True Way is not here now.”

Peter gave her a look of exasperation, “Yes, we know.  But they always come back.  The last time they came, they told us if they found us in the colony, they would take some of our people as payment for our crimes.  Something about keeping the colony pure.”

T’saath tried again, “And yet there are non-Cardassians at the colony now.”

He stared at her as if she had three heads, “No shit, Commander.  There aren’t as many, so they can hide or be hidden.  Look at us…there are too many to hide.  They’d scan for us and find us.  You wish to build us shelters that repel their scans?”  He turned to the camp, “We came here because it was a place that was alive…thriving and growing.  A place where we could have a life.  The colony accepted us.  They were our friends.”  Peter kicked at the dusty ground, “In the face of The True Way, they become fearful bystanders.  They may bring a temporary hope but eventually poison fills the wells with despair.”

Thasaz returned to the conversation after calling the Mackenzie, “We have medical teams on the way.”

Herring pleaded, “And what of the True Way?  What if they return?”

The science officer gave him a solemn look, “Leave them to us.  We may not be known well for our presence here in the past…but that’s changing.  And The True Way is going to have to learn a few things.”