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Moving Forward - MISSION END

Posted on Sat Sep 4th, 2021 @ 1:16am by Captain Jacob Kane

Mission: By Artemis' Bow
Location: USS Athena - Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: MD05 - 11:30hrs
478 words - 1 OF Standard Post Measure

Kane managed a wry smile as Captain Rodriguez entered his ready room. His counterpart from the Cavalier was still sporting a mild discoloration around his left eye - a shiner left over from the previous day's events that evidently he'd not had fixed, due to time or simply a reminder of what had occurred.

"Captain." The darker-skinned human extended a hand immediately, which Kane took. "It goes without saying that I owe you and your crew my life, and the lives of my crew..."

"Not necessary. You'd have done the same for us in a heartbeat," Kane replied, dismissing the gratitude.

"Even so. I would not have expected any such rescue would have been required." The Captain was deeply troubled by things. Indeed; Kane knew that were their roles reversed he might well have felt similarly. Betrayal by one's XO cut far too deeply. "I'm led to believe you've come across these clones before? Replacing Starfleet Officers?"

"I have," Kane said quietly.

"What a thing. Enough to make a Captain paranoid, huh? Sort-of reminds me of the blood screenings we had to take back in the Dominion War." Rodriguez snorted a little bit at the strange memory.

"We're working on a solution," Kane said. He knew that was vague enough a reply without tipping his hand. "Are you heading back to starbase?" he asked, changing the subject.

"In a couple of days. Starfleet is recalling us for full debrief on how smugglers could operate like that right under our noses. Think I'm going to have some fun trying to explain all this." He sighed at the thought. "You?"

"We're being withdrawn too. Dropping off the pirates we captured at a local starbase. I think Commodore Ehestri has invited a few local Captains for some sort of end-of-year celebration, too." Kane added the last part with a sense of awkward annoyance; he wasn't great at socialising with other commanders. And with everything going on behind the scenes, he was indeed starting to feel paranoid about such things.

"Well maybe I'll see you there; buy you a drink." Rodriguez grinned.

"If our paths do cross," Kane agreed. The other man slapped him on the shoulder.

"I mean it, Captain. We owe you. If you ever need a hand, you give the Cavalier a call. She might not be as tough as Athena, but she's got just as much heart." He smiled.

"I believe that," Kane nodded. "Safe travels, Captain."

"And you."

Their short conversation over, the other Captain departed, leaving Kane to himself. He needed to unpick everything that had gone on the last few days; understand the depth of this strange conspiracy that was unfolding, and regroup his people. On the bright side, he reflected, looking out of the viewing window at the distant planet and orbiting Pilgrims, the babysitting job was all but complete.


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