OOC: This is before ‘Blue’ arrives and will run simultaneous with that Brig thread when it happens.
There was nothing Shara could do but follow the plan. Faye’s handler was on the way, and for better or worse there would be some sort of outcome. This wasn’t her first Op of this nature, but this was the first one where the stakes were not only very high, but also so deeply personal. She was sure there was someone somewhere in Intelligence HQ who would be screaming when they learned of this. But tough luck. She hadn’t asked for this assignment, but just like before when the personal connection fell into her lap, she wasn’t going to hightail it and run.
She had debated with every step down here whether calling Rollo for Faye had been fair. But the look in her daughter’s eyes, and those moments where she had clearly gone elsewhere in her mind had been terrifying for her in a way that Shara hadn’t anticipated. But then again, PTSD was like that. It snuck up and threw you against a bulkhead before you even realized what was happening. Admitting that she had it to Faye and how it had happened was sobering. She hated it. Not because she felt weak or any such nonsense for having the diagnosis. But because she never wanted Faye to feel like it was her fault, that she caused it. She hadn’t. The circumstances had.
Entering in her access code, the door to the lab slipped open and Shara sought the quiet refuge of the computer space. She fully understood why Faye liked it down here. Down here, you could disappear for awhile and no one would likely even remember you were here. You were like a footnote in the ship, even though you were smack dab in the middle. But with nothing but computer cores and an impulse engine to keep you company, the people who bothered coming to Deck Thirteen were few and far between.
Looking around the room, Shara understood her daughter all too well- they were so much alike, though Faye’s mind was brilliant in a way few people truly realized. She sat at the desk and began to pull up the needed areas where she would lay the background monitoring program. This much she could do very well and help with- the rest would be up to Cochrane and the others. She had to trust them to save her daughter, and trust Faye to save herself.
One word. This all would come down to the one code word Cochrane had set up and apparently conveyed to Faye. I hope you know what you’re doing, Captain. She didn’t like that so much rested on so little, and on Faye being in a position and frame of mind to act as needed. After all, they were only guessing that her handler was the issue. It might be someone else entirely. But then what? How would they even figure that much out. Well, she would get some answers from Blue if needed.
Commander Leroy Strickland. She brought up his file and refreshed her memory on the man who had been her daughter’s handler since they first trained Faye for that assignment in Romulan space. If there was one thing that stood out to her it was that Strickland was a man who genuinely learned from his mistakes. He was thoughtful, insightful and compassionate. The perfect handler. He made mistakes, yes, but he wasn’t too arrogant to ignore them. He was someone Faye could trust. Faye didn’t have to tell them just how important this man was and how vital that trusting relationship had been. And now what? Shara didn’t have to be a psychology expert to know that if Strickland proved to be a traitor in any way, Faye was going to take that hard. And personally.
Faye. Her beautiful daughter. It had been excruciating in that ready room to remain professional that she had adopted her usual aloof manner. S.I. all but bred it into their field agents as a protection. But in that moment that Faye stepped into the room, it had nearly crumbled. Her mind had once again drifted back to the moment on Voyager where they had first learned about the Dominion and them helping the Cardassians take down the Maquis once and for all. She herself had been one of the last to find out, but word had spread quick that day through the Maquis contingent on the ship. She had heard the news, almost like gossip on the periphery of her hearing.
The world spun. Crashed. Collapsed.
Concerned friends sat with her on the deck as the reality sank in. The Maquis were gone. Sure, okay. But if they were gone, all gone, then that meant Edward and Faye were too. And she hadn’t been there. Later they would learn more details and she would rail and scream at the universe. Was this her punishment? Had she misstepped so badly that this was the only option? For many years it certainly felt that way.
Her regular therapy since Faye’s return to the Federation had brought a lot of those old feelings to the forefront and for the first time in her life Shara had been forced to wrestle with all of it. It had nearly been her undoing. But then it slowly got better and she got this new assignment. A puzzle. She liked puzzles. And recently she had been told about Faye’s ‘list’ and her own position on that list. Almost hourly aboard the Manhattan Shara Calloway had to remind her of her goal. Her duty. Yes, to Starfleet and the truth, but also to her daughter, to the one thing that Faye had been promised: the knowledge about what happened to her mother. Not just a neat and tidy story, but the real truth.
She had done her duty and she could only hope that she hadn’t done more damage than good.
With a deep breath, Shara gazed at the data and began to compile the needed program. It was time to get to work. She would root out this traitor or traitors if it killed her. Not just for Faye, but for both of them.
~Commander Shara Calloway, Starfleet Intelligence
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