Chapter 9 - Dear and Not So Dear Prudence

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The Enterprise-E arrived on schedule and the Cookie docked with it per Federation protocols. Mack was pleased to see that the team was all decked out in clean Black Sheep uniforms. Everyone was just so, and she suspected she could bounce a Calafan Lo coin off Tag's abs.

She shepherded her entire team off the Cookie and locked off return access, just in case.

She had dressed for the occasion, too, wearing a blazer and dress pants with kitten heels. The captain greeted her personally, as did Marty, but he kept it to a handshake in front of the others. Mack's inner circle was with her. Wesley was looking about as spiffy as she'd ever seen him look. He hugged his mother tightly. Crita, Daniya, and Majira all looked professional. Mack made the introductions and Crita seemed a little embarrassed at the close male attention from those not of her family or even of her species. The tips of her ears reddened a bit.

And with them was one other person, the linchpin of the operation, Richard Daniels.

"Let's go to conference room B," Picard suggested.

"Lead the way," Mack said. She and Marty stayed in step together, the same kind of in sync behavior they had been doing ever since they had been kids. "How are things going?" she asked as they walked.

"I've been having interesting dreams lately."

"Oh?"

"Dreams of the future." He bit his lower lip a little as they strode. She nodded.

"I have similar dreams."

The conference room was well-appointed. Before closing the door, Picard said, "This is a highly confidential meeting. Anyone who leaks, well, anything from it will suffer some rather severe consequences. I trust I make myself clear?"

"Captain," Mack said, "My people know all about it."

"I trust everybody in this room," Rick said. "May I?"

"By all means," said the captain as he took coffee and then sat down next to Dr. Crusher.

"Thank you. I hate doing and redoing this, over and over again. I'm sure it's not great for the timeline or at least it's not so great for my own personal psyche, to see everything shift and fail repeatedly. So this time, I want it to be right."

"We're on the same page, then," Marty said.

"Good. Dana here gave me a list of people who would be shown certain extras on the Cookie. This is all a sham. The idea is to catch a certain operative in the act of radically shifting time. Fortunately, Dana's list includes the operative. She may suspect certain people. I haven't told her who it is yet. But I will tell all of you now."

"So, who is it?" Daniya asked.

"It's funny; I'm partly this species, but not through this person. She's a Calafan and her name is Yi'Imspi."

"Holy cow," Mack said. "I trusted her. Damnit, I trusted her!"

"Who are the other people who were invited to see the sights, as it were?" asked the human doctor.

Mack said, "It's the Imvari, Grosk; Tag Shaw; the Jem'Hadar Xochar'inif; a female Witannen named Adeel; M'Belle the Caitian; and a female Klingon named Cilla."

"So we've got muscle from the Imvari and the Jem'Hadar at least," Marty said.

"Tag's no slouch, either. And don't forget Cilla," Mack said.

"Right, of course. Do you think the Caitian and the Witannen would be intimidated by Yi'Imspi?" asked Marty.

"Not M'Belle," Crita said. "Yi'Imspi was prying the other day and M'Belle got her to stop. She was a lot more assertive than I ever am."

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