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Day 31 [0800 hrs.] Drinks and dossiers

Lt. JG Dantius Thi Anh-Le | Below Decks lounge | Deck 28 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Attn: @chXinya

"Cà phê sữa đá, coconut topping," Anh-Le ordered from the replicator.  There was a beep and a hum as the iced coffee materialized. 

They really need to figure out how to make replicated coffee that doesn't taste like shit, the Orion thought to herself as she took herself, her drink, and her PADD back to her seat off to the starboard side of the lounge.  She squinted at the screen through tired eyes; she'd stayed up far too late reading up on what meager intelligence was available on the parasite enemy, but it was worth it. 

Anh-Le scanned the room for Provisional Warrant Officer Ravenholm, who she'd asked last night to meet her in the lounge to get some breakfast and then get to work on researching and writing dossiers on known infected Admirals.  Anh-Le herself was a minute or so early, just in case, and adjusted the collar of her uniform, trying to work out a crease that didn't seem to want to go away. 

She'd heard that Ravenholm was a cyborg from her personnel file; would that provide some sort of protection from the parasites?  We still know so little about these things.  They certainly seem hostile, but I don't understand why .  Are they working for somebody, maybe?  Is this another case of the Q screwing around with us?  No, they tend to be more small-scale, at least on the surface...  Maybe if the Intelligence department could coordinate with Medical and Engineering to live-capture and interrogate or vivisect one of the parasites, they could get some kind of advantage to bring to bear and stall for time while they figured out how best to proceed...

Anh-Le looked up from her musings as another person walked in to the lounge...
Really enjoying writing a halfway stable character for once...

Re: Day 31 [0800 hrs] Drinks and dossiers

Reply #1
[Selena Ravenholm | Below Decks Lounge | Deck 28 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: @GroundPetrel

Which unfortunately was not the person she had been waiting on.  Quite possibly one of the largest Zakdorns ever to serve in Starfleet (barely fit into his uniform) strolled in from the port side and went straight to the counter.  Moments later, a far more lithe figure slipped in through the starboard side, small thermos in one synthetic hand, a couple of PADDs gripped tightly in the other.  Easily spotting her new green-skinned friend, Selena quickly bounded over and claimed a seat at the same table.  “Morning Lieutenant.” the cyborg beamed, clearly already firing on all cylinders.  “Sorry I couldn’t meet up with you last night, had some things that I needed to finish compiling.”  Taking a quick sniff of the air around them, her pink nose wrinkled and her gaze turned to the coffee mug on the table.  “Don’t tell me you got that from the replicator?”

Selena set her things on the table, but while the PADDs were why they were there, her hands were locked on the thermos for now.  Quickly popping the top off she poured a few mouthfuls of dark liquid into it and pushed to over to Dantius.  “Aldean replicator tech doesn’t mesh well with ours when it comes to anything that’s not actually Aldean.  We’ve been trying to purge their subroutines out of the system but it’s been slow going. ‘Not a priority.’ engineering says, but we know they don’t eat or drink anything but stem bolts and warp coolant so what do they know about proper food, right?” Selena gives her companion a wink then grabs the first PADD.  "So what have you found out on your own so far?"

Re: Day 31 [0800 hrs] Drinks and dossiers

Reply #2
Lt. JG Dantius Thi Anh-Le | Below Decks lounge | Deck 28 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Attn: @chXinya

Alright, I like this one.  "Yeah, I did, Warrant Officer," Anh-Le grinned.  "Not like I have many other options."  The other woman was attractive, with an impressive suite of very visibly cybernetic limbs.  Doesn't give a shit about needing them.  So either a remarkably good attitude, a camouflaged bad one, or she never had working limbs to replace.  The Orion took an experimental sip of her coffee.  "I've had worse.

That statement, however, didn't stop her from accepting the thermos.  "Thanks.  As you presumably already figured out, I'm Lieutenant Dantius.  Commander Fisher wants everything we can get on the infected Admirals.  If we can figure out their routines, we have a good shot at figuring out how they got infected, and it'll be a lot easier to capture one so we can figure out how to safely extract a parasite for interrogation.  Given your  skill set, Commander Fisher thought that you'd be a good partner for figuring this out."  She took a drink of the coffee.  "Ahh, that's the stuff.  Anyway, I think we can start with C-in-C, then work our way down.  Get their schedules, figure out if anyone working near them has had odd behavioral changes or other suspicious signs in the last few years, et cetera.  Heck, we might even figure out what happened to President Zife if we're lucky.
Really enjoying writing a halfway stable character for once...

Re: Day 31 [0800 hrs] Drinks and dossiers

Reply #3
[Selena Ravenholm | Below Decks Lounge | Deck 28 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: @GroundPetrel

Pouring her own cup from the thermos Selena worked the PADD with her inordinately dextrous thumb at the same time, not even looking at it.  The cup hid a small frown, this green woman was annoyingly formal.  “Just Selena.” she insisted, biting hard to keep a sudden bout of caffeine-fueled twitches of nervous energy in check.  “Top brass tend not to have a lot of activity routines beyond the required meetings sadly.” she observed immediately, glancing at a FNN-sourced accounting of Admiral Bordson’s known travels over the past month.  There were a lot of holes of course, there was no way the Starfleet C-in-C was ever going to have all his movements available to the press.  Maybe it was time to call in a few favors with the Cardassians…

“But I like your idea of checking the aides.” It was an open secret that the little people that scurried under admirals’s feet were more than happy to let tidbits of news slip.  A hotel name, a ship, a captain, hang around them long enough and those holes will patch up nicely.  Assuming you can find out what to treat the aides with of course.  “His top aide will be just as elusive of course, but what do you have on the lower ones?  My list is a few months out of date.”  Under the table, Selena folded her legs underneath her, toes wagging in the air as they peek out from under her hamstrings.

Re: Day 31 [0800 hrs] Drinks and dossiers

Reply #4
Lt. JG Dantius Thi Anh-Le | Below Decks lounge | Deck 28 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Attn: @chXinya

"...if you're sure, uh, Selena."  Anh-Le wasn't used to being so informal while on duty, but she would do what she could to make the cyborg comfortable.  "We should probably get the rest of the admiralty, too.  Admiral Ross was my first thought when I was told there were infiltrators in Command; I used to do some work for Admiral Anderson on tracking down an ultranationalist terror group that did something, I wasn't cleared to know what, that put the Romulan alliance at risk during the Dominion War, and Ross was our most likely suspect for their contact in the Fleet.  No proof, but let's just
 say that I wouldn't be surprised if he were an infiltrator secretly backing rogue groups to sabotage us from within.  And of course we know that Sankolov is compromised, too.
"  She took another sip of her coffee.  "Here, here's what I can remember of who works for which Admiral."  She passed over a PADD with a list of names on it. 

"If you have any contacts who you trust, of course, go ahead and use those, if you can get a secure comm line."  Was the other woman vibratingShe must be even more of a caffeine addict than me...oh, boy...

"Hey, is it alright if I ask a personal question?" Anh-Le asked, fingers rapping on her coffee mug. 
Really enjoying writing a halfway stable character for once...

Re: Day 31 [0800 hrs] Drinks and dossiers

Reply #5
[Selena Ravenholm | Below Decks Lounge | Deck 28 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: @GroundPetrel

Selena immediately took up the PADD Ahn-Le slid across the table and absorbed the names on it.  It would appear that several of the admirals she’d been tasked with following back in her FNN days were gone, retired, reassigned, or promoted, and almost none of the aides were still around either.  That didn’t mean much of course, it had been the better part of a year since she last had any real contact with the outside world so of course the scene in San Francisco would have changed.  While she did this Selena kept one ear on what the Orion was saying, sips of coffee hiding her reactions.  The mug couldn’t hide the almost Vulcan way her black eyebrow rose at the stated suspicions though.  Selena had never thought of Ross as an infiltrator, but he was definitely linked into some shady dealings, that much was certain.  Anyone who looked into his record during the War would see that pretty much wherever the human went, no matter how delicate the situation, it always came out in the Federation’s favor.  No one was that lucky.  Ever.  But this didn’t smack of parasites to her, they may play the long game, get the pieces in place for a brutal and sudden endgame, but Ross just doesn’t quite ring true to Selena.

“I’m not sure Ross is infested, inordinately lucky, sure.  Too well connected with all the right people, open and shadow? Clearly.  But his work is pretty well leaning towards helping the Federation at all costs, not necessarily to sow chaos.”  Selena’s foot continued to bounce under her leg, this was the beginning of a fun challenge and her energy was already ramping up.  “On a good note....” a quick finger swiped highlighted a name before sliding the PADD back, “I know this guy, Lt. Valdeux Ro-Fendrevii, we shared a few classes at the Academy.  If you look up “brown-noser” in the dictionary you’ll see his face.  He was always looking for the next big star and would latch onto their coat tails until he found someone better.  Still, with the right encouragement he’d be willing to let some information slip.”

The foot bouncing stopped a moment later, something just came to mind.  “Or would that make him a prime candidate for infestation as well?  Always around, hears all but the most classified of material, and is already trusted.”  Selena looked straight at Ahn-le with a new look of concern, “And that fits the pattern as well, they infested an Ensign on the Harbringer, not to mention our own Dr. Nicander.  What if a number of the Admirals we’re suspicious of are actually just pawns of their own aides?”

Re: Day 31 [0800 hrs] Drinks and dossiers

Reply #6
Lt. JG Dantius Thi Anh-Le | Below Decks lounge | Deck 28 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Attn: @chXinya

"Now you've gotten to the crux of just how fucked we are," Anh-Le noted.  "Is Ross just in bed with ultranat splinter cells like some of us in Intel think?  Is he an enemy infiltrator?  A red herring?  How do we even tell?  We know so little about the enemy that they could be anywhere, anyone."  She shook her head.  "I'm going to talk to Commander Fisher about interrogating Doctor Nicander for everything he knows on the parasites.  For all we know, they could've suborned Anderson already and this is all their game of 3-D chess.

But that might be reaching too far, to be fair.  Anh-Le tossed back her head and chugged the iced coffee in five seconds flat.  "Sorry.  I've been freaking out ever since I read the docs on the intel we have so far.  I'm reasonably certain that this only goes a couple of layers deep--like, careful behavior monitoring should be able to find an infected individual, they don't have unlimited numbers, they need some hook to infect people, they can't uphold multiple masquerades, that sort of thing.  Hence why they infected a bunch of powerful officials, but also some doctor and a random Ensign--they have some kind of limits.  But the paranoid part of me is just scared shitless looking at the data and thinking they might not have limits and they're just fucking with us."  Everything she read made her more anxious about this mission. Whatever the enemy were, however they operated, Starfleet was deep in a hole, probably deeper than anyone ever had been before.  And this problem wasn't one that could be solved by a dramatic speech or a shirtless man punching out a giant lizard. 

The Orion shook her head.  "What a mess.  Start with Ro-Fendrevii, but use some kind of workaround, like...pretend to be Internal Affairs or something, I'm sure you know the best way to get to him without tipping him off if he's infected.  Priority is the daily routines of known infected to see if we can pin down any connections they might have, secondary objective is sniffing out other enemy agents.  As always, maintaining operational security is paramount--nobody wants to see you get picked off for some minor oversight.  Send me literally everything you can get, I'll sift through the raw data and report the results to Commander Fisher.  OK?
Really enjoying writing a halfway stable character for once...

Re: Day 31 [0800 hrs] Drinks and dossiers

Reply #7
[Selena Ravenholm | Below Decks Lounge | Deck 28 | Vector 3 | USS Theurgy] attn: @GroundPetrel

Selena sat in silence as Anh-Le went on about her fears and theories.  They weren’t anything knew, she’d seen and heard the same reactions out of just about everyone when they first learn about the parasites.  The small handful of group sessions she’s seen the Captain and a few other senior officers give always had the full gamut of faces: shocked, disbelieving, incredulous, even humored.  But unlike those people, she and her new Orion friend in Intelligence had to get down to the brass tacks.  Who was Infected, how do they prove it, and just what can they do about it?

Selena didn’t require Anh-Le’s permission to reach out to people back at Headquarters of course, but it was always a good thing to be on the same page as everyone else.  “We got a bit lucky that he’s still there, doesn’t take a lot to get Ro-Fendrevii talking.  Always needed little more than an ego-stroke that one, what a freaking lightweight.  If you ask me it’s surprising that he’s managed to hold onto his security clearance this long.  That said…”  They cyborg’s face switched to a more serious look, though her eyes retained her playfulness.  Reaching out to take one of the Orion’s hands she tried to be reassuring.  “Don’t think too deep about what they are and what they’re doing.  These parasites want us to be paranoid, second guessing everything we do or even think about.  They have the time to set up all sorts of red herrings, false trails, and traps, but no matter how good they are there are always ways to tell.  And if we don’t, we’ll find a way to turn it to our advantage.  We’ve done it before, we’ll do it again.”

Selena’s mind immediately flashed back to Starbase 84 and the absolute colossal disaster their  broadcast was, and that wasn’t even the fault of the parasites!  She’ll always kick herself in the ass over not double-checking the file before beaming over, but at the very least they got out of there with their skin intact.  Coming back to the here and now, she gave Dantius a small smile and a gentle squeeze before letting go. “As soon as I get the scoops I’ll pass it up to you and Fisher.  And no, you probably won’t want to ask where I got it.” she adds with a wink.

Re: Day 31 [0800 hrs] Drinks and dossiers

Reply #8
Lt. JG Dantius Thi Anh-Le | Below Decks lounge | Deck 28 | Vector 03 | USS Theurgy | Attn: @chXinya

Anh-Le shrugged, but squeezed the offered hand anyway.  "Thinking too deep's part of my job, and I kind of have to second-guess everything, just in case.  And if we figure them out, figure out their inner workings?  Then we can deconstruct them in practice.  Don't worry too much about me, though, I pull all-nighters all the time, and if I really have to I can get a therapist's appointment, or let off steam on the holodeck with a workout program or that X-rated Captain Proton mod my old roommate got me for one of the holidays, or something else to relax.  Thanks for the concern, though--and right back at you, please let me or Commander Fisher know immediately if you need to take some personal time for whatever you need to keep yourself going.

The Orion sat back.  "Anyway.  We have a good plan, then, thanks to you.  Go after Ro-Fendrevii, gather intel, then dismantle their organization.  Commander Fisher should have some of us work on counters to other possibly enemy retaliation or interference, too, though that's more my problem."  Ravenholm had a point that the bastards were wily--and the briefings on the failed mission to warn the Federation at large had made it quite clear that internal disputes were a risk, too--but Anh-Le believed that there was only one way to get this mission done.  Trust each other, verify any suspicious behaviors, keep vital information close to the chest...but above all, trust each other until it's proven misplaced. 

Even if the enemy could seemingly nab people at any time without any warning or way of stopping them. 

And wasn't that nightmare fuel. 

"Nothing in this game is ever easy, and overplanning's worse than having no plan," Anh-Le mused.  "All we can do is be wary, be adaptable, and be smart.  Everything else is down to who's got better skills.  On the plus side, I think this plan is about as good a foundation as we're going to get.  Let's collect what intel we can and go from there.

Bare-bones, but wars had been won with less. 

- FIN
Really enjoying writing a halfway stable character for once...

 
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