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F.Adm Red, R.Adm MacLaren | "Old Bags"

Posted on Fri Jan 29th, 2021 @ 7:40pm by Fleet Admiral Blyx Red & Rear Admiral Sidra MacLaren

Mission: A Distant Thunder

Yeoman first-class Stella Kidd kept her lips shut tight in solid line, struggling not to utter a word. Her eyes, though, if they could, they would be boring a tunnel into the younger, more junior yeoman's soul. Her ears were picking up what he was saying, but there was a thrumming sound as she tried to contain her anger.

As calm as she could, her large dark eyes blinked once, never leaving his as she surmised in as neutral a tone as she could muster what he had reported. "So, it's zero seven hundred hours, the Admiral has been in the office the entire night, and not once had you thought to offer coffee or do any other kind of checks?"

"I um..." he was flustered, tired, and confused, looked around the room for relief only to find none. "No, the Admiral said she didn't want to be disturbed until we arrived at the station."

Stella nodded, putting down a small stack of Padds she had been ready to present this morning, and went to the replicator, "That means don't let anyone contact her, don't bring her anything that isn't marked as urgent. That does not mean completely ignore the flag officer your entire shift." Kidd was busy arranging the carafe of coffee and mugs on a tray, void of any sweeteners or cream when the young yeoman stammered and shuffled around a small pile of Padds. "She might need to view this then." He was pale as he handed over the Padd with a quaking grasp. Stella saw the subject and marking of urgency on the brief. She couldn't even look at the young man, "You are dismissed, Yeoman Xil. I have nothing further for you at this moment." Her statement was profoundly laden with the implication that she would definitely have something for him in the near future.

"Yes, Yeoman Kidd, " He almost whispered in a defeated voice as he quickly left the front reception area of the Admiral's temporary office. "Any why do I bother to try to have a normal work schedule? Can't train anyone to be competent in their job." Kidd muttered to herself, taking a deep breath and finding her center as she carried the coffee carafe into the office.

"Good morning Admiral, sorry to disturb you, but I knew you'd want coffee, and there is an urgent communication that needs your attention." Kidd came in with a cheery smile and placed the tray down on an ante table, pouring the Admiral a mug of black, dark coffee.

The office was brightly lit in the simulated morning light. It didn't surprise Stella to see Sidra MacLaren not looking any worse for wear despite never retiring to her quarters the previous day. The yeoman handed over the coffee first and put the communique at the top of the pile. Though she was intensely curious about its contents, years of experience provided her with the comfort that whatever it was would be disclosed in tantalizing bits, spread out over time.

Sidra had been facing the stars but spun around as her yeoman entered. "Thank you, Kidd. I can get my own coffee." The tall redhead said the oft-repeated line with a smirk as she pushed out of her chair.

Arranging Padds on the Admiral's desk, Stella boldly said lightly, "With all due respect, Admiral, I haven't once seen that happen."

MacLaren's hand grasped the mug and wrapped her fingers around the warm vessel. She inhaled it first, resisting the urge to let out an audible sigh before taking the first sip. Sidra's open hand reached for the Padd, unlocking the cool device with her biometric signature. Deep green eyes skimmed over the words, darting back and forth. They moved to the top of the message and the cheerful morning mood came crashing down in less than a blink of an eye.

"This came overnight." She stated in a voice drained of its previous cheer as she reread the message, absorbing the few details that were available.

Stella Kidd, was apologetic and her mood immediately went to match Admiral MacLaren's, "Yes Admiral, I apologize and take responsibility for the poor conduct of the third shift yeoman."

MacLaren put the Padd down and looked out the viewport, "The ship will dock at the station within the hour. I need to see the Fleet Admiral on arrival."

"Of course, ma'am. If there is nothing else?" She asked, already backing towards the door. "Dismissed," Came the quiet, distant command. MacLaren sighed weightily as the doors swished shut, and the Admiral was once again left in solitude.

Sidra could see her reflection in the viewport as the stars streaked by with dizzying speed. She drank more coffee, needing the energy boost and comfort. Her countenance looked tired and worn in stark contrast to just minutes ago when she was happy and eager to be approaching the station. They had been out in the light cruiser for months as she had personally met with security leaders and reviewed new protocols that had been implemented across the fleet.

The rush to get home, the excitement and eagerness to be back with her better half, to hug her growing son; it was replaced with an anvil sized weight on her chest.

MacLaren's energy had rebounded her mental state in the time it took the light cruiser to arrive and dock. Expecting some resistance from Gris, Blyx's Bolian guard dog at the outer gates, MacLaren strode down the corridor, passing her own neglected office, eyes locked on and full of fire. "I need to see her, Lieutenant." She announced with a bit more bark than even she intended.

He didn't stop typing and announced, "If she is willing..." There was too long of a pause as he added, "Admiral."

MacLaren harrumphed and waited to be let in, going over the little information she knew. Blyx had no doubt been sitting with the news since last night and had time to digest and chew on this.

Gris couldn't contain the annoyed sigh that escaped his lips the moment his screen flashed with the Fleet Admiral's response. "You're in luck." He drolled, gesturing vaguely towards the door behind him and off to the left.


The nebula beyond the station was bright as ever, its clouds of gasses and dust shining in all their golden glory bright as any sun, though far more easy to behold. It was a turbulent nursery of stars, hiding its secrets with any number of magnetic storms, rifts, and anomalies that had long been exploited by the Stenellis peoples that had created a home within it. A shield. A beautiful, never ending shield. It guarded its secrets with rancor, much the same way the Admiral that observed it had learned to do over the decades since her inception into Starfleet. Those secrets would die with her, as they had with her sister... As they had with Rochelle.

A deep intake of air seared through her nose as the predecessor to a hefty sigh. Blyx simply refused to yawn. There was no place for weakness, especially not in the face of other members of the Admiralty that weren't as intimate with her as Hark.

"I take it you've heard the news." She finally broke the silence, knowing Sidra was not unlike her when it came to being kept waiting, "A shuttle crash. On Earth." Her voice was dry, but its lack of emotion was an emotion in and of itself. Telling and revealing everything and yet nothing. Admirals were often the best actors the Universe had ever seen, but hardly ever were they given the credit they were due for the roles they played.

Sidra took a few moments to observe, keeping her thoughts to herself as she did try to analyze the cool way that Blyx had just responded. Shields were up, in place. MacLaren knew this was raw and new and had not previously considered how she wanted to breach the subject. Now she needed a plan to penetrate the defense.

MacLaren stood casually, one hand grasping a wrist behind her back as an exceptionally bright star in the nebula flashed for a moment before settling down again. She couldn't help but think about the young Commodore. She was their future, their bright and shining star. Blyx and Sidra were still useful, still commanded attention, but it was almost time for them to hand in the keys and turn things over to the younger stars.

"I heard. I came to offer my condolences." She weighed her words carefully, not wanting to overstep and definitely not wanting to imply anything that hadn't been confirmed, "and to see if I could be of any assistance." There were so many unknowns with what had occurred. MacLaren was not up to date with the investigation plans or any new updates since the initial report.

The crow maned one's nose dropped a fraction of a degree, acting as the only indication that the other Admiral's words had been heard at all over the dull roar of emotion and thoughts racing within her skull. The tide was turning, rising higher and higher within her until there was a tangible fear that she was going to be swept asunder and drowned by it all. "How long have we known one another, MacLaren? Twenty-what? Five? Twenty-Five years sounds right." Blyx spoke, finally turning from the Nebula to address the redhead in the room, "For twenty-five years we have watched strife and chaos bloom. We've watched our own die before, to old age, to sickness... To war." Her head shook, "But never to a common accident. It seems so hollow. So anti-climatic. So..." She paused, searching for the right word until her eyes finally rested on Sidra's, "Convenient."

Sometimes there was more in what wasn't said than what was. Blyx knew it well, the language among the old warriors. Sidra had long ago proven her worth and mettle among them, her loyalty as unflappable as her own. In many ways it was a comfort in a time when so few things could be considered such.

There it was Sidra thought, the very slightest twitch of a smirk pulling at the corner of her mouth, not at the situation, but of finally hearing something outside of the cool facts that had been presented. Her own history at the forefront of her mind. "You're too smart to be pulled into a smokescreen of false hope and I'm not here to offer any. I work on facts." They had been speaking casually as they often did when not in the company of some round pipped and eager officer's to impress. The Rear Admiral though knew her place, knew the casual conversation could easily go straight back to business and formality in the company of her superior.

"I once disappeared in a shuttle, was commanding Epsilon at the time. A Commodore then..." There was an anxiousness she felt rising in even telling the few details she provided feeling the similarities between the two. The nightmares from her time as a captive and what it had done physically to her body still woke her in cold sweats from dead sleep far more often than she ever let any counselors know. Sidra had no idea what had happened to the Admiral's niece, didn't want to speculate either. For herself, she'd been gone so long, the trail so cold, they had all moved on. Her husband had her declared dead and moved to a new command. They never repaired the rift, it was one of the many losses she had suffered. Her command had been reassigned, it still stung to not see through the long term projects she had planned.

Holding the Fleet Admiral's stare she said, "I'm here, against anyone thinking I ever would be. There was something more then. Right now, we don't have enough information. I know this" Sidra marked facts on her left her hand, thumb out for the first, "Shuttles don't just go down, especially not on Earth." Her index finger next, "They haven't found her." Her middle finger as she narrowed her eyes, "If it smells like shite, it's likely shite." She tucked her hand back into a balled fist, feeling like she wanted to fight. "So what's the plan?"

"I have ordered the Vindicator to recover the wreck. They will bring it here and we will conduct our own investigation." When Blyx found her voice again, it was a bit huskier and rougher than usual. More dry and less silken than it cared for. The pieces of armor the one called Shrike wore were one by one allowed to come away and expose the woman behind the rank and legend. Sidra, for what it was worth, had already sat her proverbial sword beside her and had openly challenged Blyx to do the same, and rise to the occasion she had, "Hark feels as we do. That there's something being hidden and the one doing a rather shoddy job of sweeping the dust under the rug is none other than Commodore Aksel Ravnsson." The name tasted sour, rancid even, and came so very close to compelling the Admiral to spit to rid it from her mouth.

"The questions now are whittled down to three. Why? What does he stand to gain? Where is Commodore Ivanova? As soon as we manage to answer one, I feel the other two will fall into line - but we have to get there, MacLaren, and then maybe there's hope that she can return and burn as brightly as you have in the years since your own incident." Yes. The star of the Federation, the crown jewel. Risen from ashes so many times, it would be a cruel fate to go in such an elementary fashion. Officers, people, like them didn't die in shuttle crashes. They died in the heat of battle or old and warm in their beds surrounded by children and grand children alike that were better for having been born of such legendary material. Blyx's eyes closed briefly at the thought and her heart felt as if it were being squeezed. In a way it was... By stress, by pain, by an unnamable emotion that came along with traumatic loss so great one refused to believe it had happened at all but was faced with it each and every time she looked at Hark or the faces of the crew. "Have I sold my soul this time, Sidra? Have I gone too far?"

The mention of Ravnsson got the gears moving in Sidra's head. She didn't know him personally, but his reputation whispered in every corridor of this station and all others he had touched. They had a loose familial connection, Blyx, and Sidra. Red's dead ex-husband was the bastard half brother of her husband's cousin, Alistair. Sidra had steered clear of the Dunross' as much as possible having a rocky relationship with Alistair, but the connections had benefitted her in many ways over the years. She could not fathom a link between the two but put a pin into the thought to consider later.

Sidra watched Blyx's armor almost completely crumble in front of her. Maclaren moved forward and squeezed the shorter woman's shoulder, rubbing her upper arm in a show of affection neither of them showed often. There was anger rising in her as she watched the five star give way to the stress, her fair skin flushed. "Sold your soul how? We haven't gone far enough, don't you dare start to think this is any fault of yours."

The redhead shook it, jutting out her chin in defiance of the negative thoughts. "I know you won't listen, but you need to get some sleep and a sedative may help. Just a few hours. Once more information comes there won't be any time for rest and you know I'm right about that."

At first the touch inwardly surprised Blyx. It wasn't often people just reached out and shared compassion or affection in a tactile manner. But this was Sidra MacLaren, she reminded herself, and old friends were old friends that often bent and broke all rules... For the better. That rub on the shoulder was proof positive evidence that she and Hark weren't tripping and stumbling down that particular rocky path on their own. Friends, allies, were there and just as perplexed and suspicious of the elements surrounding the situation as they were.

A hand came up to capture Sidra's and Blyx afforded her a smile and a squeeze in a show of appreciation and understanding. It was good that she had made haste to the station, adding her degree of clarity to better leverage the pile of unknowns and to clear any fog that may have settled in. Emotions often got in the way of better judgment. "I have put the station's XO on watch. He's an ally, a good man, a Marine first and foremost... But a good man. We have support that we will need to keep Ravnsson from realizing we have, if you catch my drift. He's already threatened Stacker's family, namely his wife." Now wasn't the time to connect the dots or explain that Valeese Stacker just so happened to be a Vorta. A rather polite, charming, young doctor who served Starfleet with honor. Sidra had a mind like a well oiled steel trap that contained a rolodex and a sponge. Information went in, was soaked up, and she conducted her own research from there. It was what had made her the perfect choice as the Quadrant's head of security. Undoubtedly, the woman was making mental notes already.

"I'll admit that I'm worn thin by this. Perhaps with you here and the Marines being placed on the Campbeltown to keep watch and Ch'Krang's men lurking with Xander, I'll be able to get a little shut eye." Later it would be a source of great amusement that Blyx found solace under the watchful eyes of Marines and Klingons. "I feel like we're preparing for war again."

A nod came from Sidra on her last statement, "We would know that feeling well. Get some rest, I have some work to do." The last line came with a sigh. She would of course go reconnect with her family, but it wouldn't be with the same attention she was planning on just a couple hours ago. The lack of sleep from the night before felt heavy now on her body, but her brain was on overdrive.


Fleet Admiral Blyx O. Red
Commanding Officer
Beta Quadrant

Rear Admiral Sidra MacLaren
Beta Fleet Security Command
Cold Station Theta


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