Science & Tactical Briefing
Splinter Faction And Assisting
Location: USS Independence
Chuck's voice cam across the ship's intercom. "CAPT Ellis and CDR O'Connell, could you join me in the wardroom, please?"
Chuck was going over his briefing for the Captain and First Officer. He and ENS Devroe were pacing a bit as they posted information on the monitor.
Jamie made his way to the wardroom "Commander, Ensign" he acknowledged as he entered and took a seat waiting for the Captain to arrive "Hope you have some good news for us."
Mystery walked into the wardroom just in time to hear Jamie's comment "As do I," Mystery said taking a seat. "Commander, Ensign what have you found out?"
"Mr. Lance will be joining us shortly with his report," Chuck began. He gestured to the monitor. "Captain, Commander, this is what we know so far. Tactical recovered three pieces of physical evidence from the Jefferies tube - a tuft of fur, a rank pip, and a piece of technologically advanced fabric.
"Ensign Devroe completed the DNA analysis in the fur. She confirmed the fur was Astran, but the sample did not belong to any members of the diplomatic party. The DNA was also not present on the bridge."
The view screen changed from the fur to the rank pip. Chuck continued. "Analysis concludes it does not belong to any member of the crew. It is my opinion the pip was left behind intentionally."
The screen changed again to the swatch of fabric. "The EMF fabric, as we have been calling it, appears to be a practical, personal cloaking device. It renders the wearer invisible in the visible electromagnetic spectrum. Analysis revealed it is visible in the UV range of the spectrum. Mr. Lance is using that information to track the saboteur's movements aboard the ship.
"Ensign Devroe also discovered how the saboteur boarded the ship. Ensign?" Chuck motioned to Devroe.
Heather brought up the data on the screen "Captain Ellis, Commander O'Connell; the saboteur beamed aboard the Ship when the Astran Delegation beamed aboard to meet with Commander O'Connell in Cargo Bay 12. Somehow the saboteur managed to beam aboard at the exact same time that the Asrtans beamed aboard and 'piggybacked' it's transporter lock on top of one of their locks thereby remaining undetectable. The only way it was discovered was by having the Computer apply filters to the raw data. This appears to be quite advanced technology." the Ensign concluded.
"Can you tell who that rank pip could have belonged to?" Mystery asked "If this saboteur was able to piggy back a transporter beam then they had to be very close, possibly beneath or above us. It's possible too that they're able to monitor our transmissions. Any chance they're still aboard?"
"Lieutenant Lance will have to address most of your questions" Heather replied then continued "As far as the saboteur being on board, the answer in no. It beamed off the Ship right after the explosions took place as the data shows."
"Agreed, Ensign," Chuck replied. "As to where the transporter beam originated from, sensors don't show an unknown vessel in the vicinity. We will work with Engineering to nail down the specific location. Commander O'Connell's input is welcome on this subject. also.
O'Connell sat listening to the data being presented not really too eager to jump into the conversation himself. After Gillespie's comment he figured he should probably say something "After we're done here I'll contact Ensign T'Sol and have him go to Transporter Room and do a physical inspection of the hardware and also the Transporter Buffers. If they were tampered with or given a new instruction set, he should be able to tell" Jamie replied.
"Thank you, sir," Chuck replied. "As far as our transmissions being monitored, that is certainly a possibility. My hypothesis is our adversary is using knowledge of Starfleet standard operating procedures against us. They are also presenting a front of superior technology - the EMF fabric, piggybacking the transporter beam, and the personal shields observed by the Marine recon team."
"It's possible he or she is former or current Starfleet with a grudge," Mystery said "Did they get to the bridge?"
"No, ma'am," Chuck said confidently. "It is unlikely the saboteur is Starfleet, given the Astran DNA. However, that does not rule out current or former Starfleet accomplices." He checked his PADD for a moment. "There is an item in the Marine Recon report. The team leader, Sergeant Hunt, reported seeing a non-Astran humanoid leading the raiding party."
"Does the report say what humanoid was leading the raiding part and what else does the marine report say?" Mystery asked.
Chuck double checked his PADD. "SGT Hunt observed the raid from a distance and didn't get tricorder readings. Mr. Lance and Captain Kim requested an analysis of the weapons used. They are comparable to our hand phasers, although slightly less powerful than ours. Of particular interest is what appeared a personal shield, similar in concept to a Borg drone. It gave the Astrans in the raiding party the appearance of invulnerability. Both the EMF fabric and the shields are beyond the technology level of the Astrans."
Chuck tapped his comm badge. "Mr. Lance, we are ready for you in the wardroom."
"Yes, sir," Kevin replied, "I am down in the security offices reviewing the recording of the ship's monitors for the movements of the saboteur. I am on my way and will be there in five."
"Acknowledged," Chuck said. He addressed Mystery and Jamie. "Any questions at this point? May I get anyone coffee?"
Jamie looked over at the Captain then turned to Chuck "No, I've had enough coffee already. I just want to say Commander you and the Ensign have done an outstanding job here gathering all of the Intel as well as organizing it. No questions from me; you have presented a clear and concise report. My only comment" Jamie paused for a moment "Is that there seems to be something else at play here.....and my conclusion is that there must be a third party involved; especially considering that this technology is beyond the Astran's capability and no doubt also the Triangularans as well" he concluded.
"I'm in agreement, question is who and what do they want or hope to gain from this," Mystery replied "I saw a report where something was slashing others and it was pretty horrific. We need to find out what or who is doing this and what they want."
Chuck went to the replicator for a beverage. "Indeed. I have a thought I'd like to put forward for consideration once we've heard Mr. Lance's report." He took a drink from the mug and took his seat.
The intercom chimed. "Captain Ellis," came the voice of the command Yeoman over the intercom, "Lieutenant Lance and Ensign Ferron are here."
Tapping the com button "Send them in," Mystery said
Lieutenant Lance entered the wardoom followed by Ensign Ferron. He positioned himself to the left of Commander O'Connell. "Captain, Commanders," Kevin acknowledged as Ensign Ferron came to a stop to his left side.
O'Connell turned and looked at Kevin and sort of glanced towards the Ensign "Lieutenant, Ensign Ferron...I sure hope you have some information that will fill in the gaps about what we know concerning the saboteur" Jamie commented, then continued "We need to figure this out so the peace talks can commence."
Meanwhile Ensign Devroe glanced over towards Ensign Ferron for a brief moment, not wanting to be conspicuous, thinking to herself "Well she is very pretty...I can see why Jamie was attracted to her....but she seems all business and not a very happy person" then Devroe turned her attention back to the business at hand; although she wondered why the Lieutenant had not addressed her when he greeted the others...oh well...no big deal; she was better than that.
Kevin shifted uncomfortably, "Captain, I am afraid that we still have not been able to ascertain who committed the sabotage nor the specific motive for the attack. Using the information provided by Ensign Devroe," he nodded an acknowledgement to the science officer, "we have determined that the saboteur was not on the ship's bridge. By applying ultraviolet enhancement to the computer recordings, we have determined that the saboteur entered the ship's Jefferies tubes from the shuttlebay. So far, we have not found evidence of the saboteur on any other recordings. That, coupled with a series of logical to physical errors in several safety hatches, suggests that the saboteur moved through the ship using the Jefferies tube systems, manually cycling safety hatches along the way." Turn to Chuck, Kevin asked, "Has the Science Department completed the analysis of the tuft of fur found at the site of the explosion, sir? Is it a match for the DNA found on the engineering panel by Ensign Devroe?"
"It is, Lieutenant," Chuck stated.
O'Connell sat listening to the Lieutenant and the Commander very carefully, then he verbalized what he was thinking as he looked to those present in the room "It seems that we are chasing our tails on the current situation, sort to speak. We may never have the answers to our questions from the data that we have" then he turned to the Mystery "Captain, with your permission, perhaps it's time that I had a face to face with Commander Zot on Astra; maybe if I present her with the data she can help shed some light on what's has happened. I think it's worth a try; maybe we'll get lucky" Jamie concluded.
"Captain, if I may?" Ensign Ferron interrupted, "At the same time as the explosion, Lieutenant Lance received a great deal of information on upcoming Astran operations, indicating their intention to continue prosecuting the war against the Triangularians. The Strategic Operations Department," she still couldn't bring herself to call it her department, "conducted an analysis and concludes that the information does not match the current situation and is erroneous. However, a section of malicious code sent the information from Lieutenant Lance's PADD to the Triangular high command. I doubt that they will be as...circumspect in reviewing the information."
Mystery had taken the information and had weighed the reports, leaning back in her seat she steepled her fingers and looked at her officers "Commander O'Connell permission granted for you to speak to Commander Zot, I think that's a good idea. I'm beginning to wonder if these people really want a treaty. All evidence says otherwise. I want to know what the Astrans are up to as well as the Triangularans. They both say they want peace but action does prove otherwise. Unless there is another faction trying to undermine this. One thing is certain I'll not put this ship at risk until we know who the saboteur is. Between the saboteur getting aboard, going undetected due to some fabric and the reports of fur. There are a lot of unanswered questions. So yes Lieutenant Lance you have my permission to go to Astra and find out what is going on. Lieutenant Lance have the marines head to both planets again but this time undercover. See if anything has changed."
"Captain since it seems customary with the Astrans to have someone at your side when talking to them, I would like Ensign Devroe to accompany me. She has first hand knowledge of the Science and also being of the female persuasion it would seem beneficial; if Commander Gillespie doesn't mind that I borrow the Ensign for a little while" Jamie reasoned.
"Certainly, Commander," Chuck replied. Turning to Mystery, he asked, "Captain, may I offer my hypothesis before we move forward?"
"Of course commander," Mystery asked.
"Captain, I believe we are being led down a very specific path, laid out for us by the saboteur or their allies. The only two pieces of evidence we weren't meant to find are the fur and the EMF fabric. I also believe we are meant to react in a particular way. Confronting Commander Zot may be what we are intended to do, and it may end badly for us and the Federation.
"I have very little evidence to offer in support of this hypothesis. Simply bad form for a Science Officer. I have a knot in my belly over this, though."
Mystery nodded "I know and it does have me concerned. Or confronting Commander Zot is something we're not supposed to do." Looking at her officers "Besides confronting Commander Zot what other choices do we have? Someone has to have answers and we need them. We need to know exactly who or what we're dealing with. Is Commander Zot the one to question?"
Chuck replied, "I believe the best place to get answers is with the Marines. I also believe we should follow 'standard operating procedures' in a post-attack environment, as well as interview Commander Zot instead of confront. The breadcrumbs we've been given are meant to sow suspicion and mistrust. We need to assure Commander Zot we are on the side of peace."
The room was silent for a few minutes, then O'Connell spoke up "The Commander certainly has a valid concern; matter of fact that very hypothesis had crossed my mind a few times" choosing his next words very carefully "However we have been on the defensive ever since we've arrived; we need to go on the offensive if we ever expect to negotiate a peace treaty between these two worlds. Commander Zot seems to be the logical place to at least start."
"Agreed, but your to take security along and I'm going to want you to keep in contact with the ship at all times," Mystery said
"As you wish Captain" Jamie replied looking at Mystery "I'll take one security person with Ensign Devroe and I. After our meeting I'll contact Commander Zot and let her know who I will be bringing with me to put her at ease. Also we'll use Transporter Room Three and I'll instruct the Operator to keep a lock on the three of us at all times. If there should be any trouble we'll beam out right away. Lieutenant Lance I'll need an experienced security person."
"Yes, sir," Kevin replied as he began typing on his PADD.
"Good enough," Mystery replied "I am nervous but we need to follow through on this. Get with the marines and have them go back down undercover and see if anything has changed."
"Captain, a question." A puzzled look came across Chuck's face. "Please correct me if I'm wrong, but we haven't had contact with the Triangularians, yes?"
"I have been in contact with them. I've tried to hail them again and with no luck. They're not answering my hails," Mystery said
O'Connell let out a long quiet sigh "This seems to be getting more complicated as time goes on" Jamie commented.
"Indeed," Chuck replied. "I hoped we were able to be perceived as what we really are - neutral arbitrators." He looked to Mystery. "One last question, ma'am. In the initial brief, you stated each side wanted something the other side had. Do you know what those objectives are?"
"Triangular is not sure about having the talks aboard ship. I have guest quarters ready for both sides on two different decks. Ambassador Keelfex warn that if the people of Astoria beam up and spend anytime here we'll be food. He wants them to stop hunting and eating the people of Triangular and to find a planet that they can hunt on," Mystery said.
"I see," Chuck said. "For some reason, I thought we knew what each side wanted to gain in the conflict. Thank you, ma'am." He addressed the group. "Any other questions for myself or Mr. Lance?"
"I'll get in touch again with the ambassador and narrow down more details. I have a gut feeling there is more going on here," Mystery commented "As for you and Lieutenant Lance we're good here. Keep me posted on things and we're good to go for now."
Chuck stood and addressed his superiors. "Thank you for your time, Captain, Commander." He turned to Jamie and Heather. "Good luck!"