Skip to main content
Topic: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.] (Read 5187 times) previous topic - next topic
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

CHAPTER 01: "The Intelligence Officer"

[ USS Theurgy | Captain's Ready Room | Deck 01 | 1000 hrs. ] Attn: CanadianVet

Having visited Sickbay and learned about the Asurian, Jien had also been given the treatment plan for Sarresh Morali. Reading it, it was hard to not let one's thought go to who these hidden people were, and wonder if they would ever become a part of the Federation once the enemy had been overthrown.

The door chimed.

"Enter," said the female form of Captain Jien Ives where she sat behind her desk, her dark hair tied behind her head and large brown eyes reading the PADD in her hand. Then again, it would be erroneous to say that her hair was actually "tied" thus, since it was merely a choice as to how she had manipulated her appearance in order to keep her hair out of her eyes. Lifting her gaze to the arrived Lieutenant Commander, who was a rather rare addition to the crew, Jien smiled very faintly to him and lowered her tablet. Yeoman Henshaw had scheduled the appointment earlier, and judging from the silence from her Ready Room area towards the aft, she was not present - her new duties having taken her elsewhere.

"Welcome to the USS Theurgy," she said with her much-faded Japanese accent. She rose from her chair and put the PADD away - eyes taking in the state and appearance of the human with bionic limbs.

"As you already know, my name is Jien Ives, and since Security has cleared you, I am now your Commanding Officer. Pleasure to meet you, Lieutenant Commander Carrigan Trent." Another faint smile touching the - by human standards - middle-aged Chameloid, Jien put her hands on her hips. "Before we attend the matter of your commission here aboard the Theurgy, I want to reassure you that your efforts to bring us valuable information has not been in vain. All affected departments are processing the data in the cubes as we speak, and when we rendezvous with the Harbinger, Captain Vasser and I will be weighing in your intel into the tactical decisions we will be making for the voyage to come. Well done, and if we'd not had the phasing cloak we are currently using, we would likely all have been dead if it weren't for the computer virus you created. Had we known what you were up to, we may not have had to break the Treaty of Algeron. Wishful thinking aside, I can only apologise for having to keep you in a holding cell overnight."

She paused there, a frown creasing the area between her eyebrows. "I hope Deputy zh'Wann did not treat you too poorly. I heard from my Yeoman she... stunned you and Commander Wenn in order to determine that you were not like Ensign Acreth. Care to expand upon that? I have not had the time to follow up on the report besides meeting with you."

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #1
Once the Vulcan doctor had left, Carrigan Trent wasted little time in climbing to his feet and putting his jacket back on and to gather up his rolled-up coat before leaving the cell. The Brig staff had proven remarkably helpful, first retrieving his bag and escorting him first to the Quartermaster's office and then to his assigned quarters. In fact, the experience was downright pleasant, complete with the QM staff assigning him replicator rations and an extra amount to get settled in as it was obvious the duffel bag he carried was the entirety of his worldly goods.

To say things ran surprisingly smoothly after this would be an understatement. After a real shower, a shave and a change of uniform, Trent found a message directing him to Ives' Ready Room for a meeting at 1000, giving him a more than civilized amount of time to find breakfast and take a look around.

At precisely 1000, having made his way to the Captain's Ready Room via the Bridge, Trent rang the chime.

Carrigan had not had much time to get a good look at Ives female form back in the hangar. However, in the far less stressful environment of her office, he did. Just like her make shape, Jien was a presence to be reckoned with, exuding a veritable aura of leadership and confidence. How much of it was real, how much affected? It was hard to tell but Trent found it easy to believe all of it was genuine.

And there was the matter of her looks. Exotic was a great way to describe her overall appearance, something that only further added a depth to Jien Ives that no file could capture.

When greeted, Carrigan returned the courtesy. "A pleasure to meet you under these better circumstances, Captain." There was a slight hesitation when Trent used Ives' rank, obviously unsure of what mode of address he should use.

When the woman spoke, the Intelligence officer stood easily, his weight mostly on his synthetic leg and his hands down, the light glinting off his artificial left hand. So there was value to his data. Granted, a lot of it was just raw information that had yet to be analyzed and rendered into actionable intelligence but the Starfleet data was already self-explanatory.

However, the matter he replied to was pertaining to the hospitality thus far. "Thank you. All in all, your security personnel was extremely professional and courteous, all things considered. And yes, she did stun us and then used a hypospray to bring me back around. I have to admit, I was less than pleased to get shot when I offered no resistance or made no attempt to escape, but the Deputy made a compelling case."

Taking a breath, Carrigan continued. "If anything, zh'Wann's analysis of previous events led her to devise an effective though crude field-expedient test. Without having access to your data and only her reports of the incidents with Acreth, I might go so far as saying she devised the first reliable way to uncover the imposter."

A faint smile graced Trent's narrow mouth and then be made good on the offer he'd made the Andorian. "I promised the Deputy I would put in a good word with you regarding our treatment, as arbitrarily opening fire might be construed as going against your assurance of fair treatment and not being harmed. And to her credit, zh'Wann displayed excellent leadership when she fired herself instead of ordering a subordinate to do so, thus making all blame, if any, hers alone."

Then, the faint smile turned somewhat awkward. "I have to admit, I find your ability to change your shape somewhat... confusing. Do you have a specific mode of address you prefer or should I stick with the neutral 'Captain'?"

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #2
At first, when Trent began speaking of what Deputy zh'Wann had done in the Brig, Jien had thought it would be under orderly circumstances with due warning given, but it seemed the report - half-read as it was since the situation in Sickbay continued to take up the majority of her time - had not let Jien understand that the two new passengers had been shot under quite other circumstances.

For as the explanation wore on, Captain Ives did... not precisely get angry or frustrated with the Andorian ex-Imperial Guard that served as Acting Chief of Security. At least not openly. Yet the many incidents in which zh'Wann has showed poor judgement did cause her face to harden until the it became plain that Trent had no objections to make. Instead, he illustrated praise to the Andorian, and Jien nodded slowly in acceptance to his standpoint on the matter.

"I see," she said and took a deep breath, folding her arms, "I will make sure to speak with her either way. As pleased as I am she would take the fall for her actions, a less 'Guardsman' standpoint of hers would have been to ask my permission to do what she did. Judging from the report, she did bring Chief Counsellor O'Connor with her to let a professional check the readings instead of acting all on her own, so I'll let it go for the time being. Still, I'd say I owe you an apology, so I hope this coming time will show you that we do try to uphold Starfleet regulations as best as we might."

Being shorter than the Lieutenant Commander in her current form, Jien looked up at him under her eyelashes when the common topic of her unique abilities were brought up. It was a conversation she'd held many times before, but she understood the necessity and never tried to avoid it because of of that. "I am usually addressed as 'ma'am' when in this form, and 'sir' when in the other, but 'Captain' works just as well if that's your preference. Can I get you anything?"

She walked over to her replicator, expecting more questions about her nature as a Chameloid. Yet if the Intelligence Officer prefered to speak of other matters, she'd oblige him just as readily. Given what Ida had done, she wanted him to feel that he had done the right thing in coming aboard and branding himself a traitor. Letting him see that they were just as much a part of Starfleet now as they were before they left Earth. Perhaps even more so, all things considered.

OOC: I made some slight updates and improvements to the starting post since it was written in haste. Nothing consequential though.

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #3
As Ives once again apologized for his treatment, Trent raised his synthetic hand in a conciliary manner. There was little more to say on the subject at this point. Would the Deputy face repercussions? Perhaps. However, the Intelligence officer had done his part to put in a good word. There was little more he could so at this point, so instead he focused in further matters.

The Captain's answer to his question about modes of address appeared, to Carrigan, to convey a certain albeit faint air of exasperation. And that he could understand quite well. After all, despite the necessary nature of this query in order to foster a more harmonious professional relationship, it was likely one that the Chameloid had fielded nearly as many times as she'd had hot meals. But then again, shapeshifters were still fairly rare and they had always posed a bit of an enigma to Trent, particularly as to how they would be able to forge a true sense of identity when they were bound by neither appearance, species or gender, all the building blocks of anyone's core self.

When asked if he could use a refreshment, Trent did offer a more confident smile. "A strong black coffee, please." Coffee, a staple for so many, was one of Carrigan's interests. Especially how no two ships replicators would generate the same blends and roasts and how they compared to the real thing. And besides, for an analyst who was also a respected published researcher, it was a staple of his daily diet.

However, he returned his attention to this first real interview with his new commanding officer. The pleasantries were most welcome. Indeed, back on the Archeron and going back as far as when he'd first noticed the impostors in Starfleet, Trent had not been able to hold a true conversation with anyone in the uniform, not without tipping his hand or putting them in great danger. To be back in the presence of honest folks was refreshing, to say the least.

"Captain, I have to say, it is good to be able to finally speak freely, without the threat of our enemy overhearing. They say it is the name of the game in SI, but really even the most deep cover operatives have at least one person they could talk to about anything and everything. I haven't had that benefit... in a long time."

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #4
"Black coffe, strong," said Jien Ives after she laid a ration in her replicator. While she waited for the beverage to materialise, she listened to the human speak of his time of loneliness among people he could not fully trust, and she could respect how difficult it must have been.

"When I was newly graduated from the Academy," she said and returned to Trent with his cup, handing it over slowly so that nothing may be spilled as the cup passed between their hands, "I was recruited by Starfleet Intelligence and taken to one of their hidden training camps, and once I had been trained for as long as they deemed necessary, they sent me on an infiltration mission to Aldea, exploiting my ability to shift form in order to learn the secrets behind Aldeans scientific success and their education system. I spent six years - between 2365 and 2371 - undercover, without proper chance to be or speak like I should - reverting to my Chosen Forms in the middle of the night far out in the countryside. It was, what they would say, a successful mission, but indeed, it takes a toll on you to not be able to be yourself and speak freely with someone. I sympathise, Lieutenant Commander."

Walking over to her desk, Jien leaned against the edge of it with her hands behind herself, realising that the man may have need to speak more before they discussed his future board. "If it is talk you want, I am all ears. I suppose you have submitted anything of tactical interest in your data cubes, but if you have any personal reflections upon the situation, here or back when you were on the Archeron or Earth, then you are free to speak of them now."

Pausing, Jien frowned on his behalf. "I realise it must have been tough on you, and especially so after what happened to you on the Harrier."

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #5
"And I thought I had it tough," was the only response Trent could muster when Ives recounted her experiences as an undercover asset. Granted, the reports in that part of the Chameloid's file were less than plentiful, but the Intelligence officer had assumed there would be regular contact with a handler, if only to pass reports and see a friendly face.

Only then did Carrigan take a sip from the coffee he had been offered. It was strong all right, an Ethiopian bean if he was any judge and with fewer of the off notes that were the norm with replicated coffee.

However, Trent did not follow up on the topic of isolation. Nor did he have a chance to speak to the topic of the data he'd provided the Theurgy despite a few tidbits that could be of immediate use. He was considering that response when the Captain brought up the topic of the Harrier. And he visibly shuddered, scalding hot coffee spilling onto his synthetic hand, which did not even cause a flinch.

"That's funny you mention the Harrier Ma'am. The topic of the Dominion War came up with that Vulcan physician of yours when she treated my head. I would say she needs a few more lessons in dealing with war veterans left worse for wear from their... experiences."

Once more, Carrigan drew a pull from his mug, which he then cradled in both his hands, drawing warmth into his remaining good fingers. The Dominion War and his one and only starship command were tough subjects to him, there was no doubting that. And there was little this loss had done for him save the opportunity Starfleet Intelligence had extended him. Never had he been prepared for this rot within Starfleet.

"Some people would have said the Harrier was unrecoverable without a full change of crew complement when I took command. And getting her back to her fighting trim was probably my biggest challenge as a commander. And look what I did with that. Rushed headlong into an ambush, got my ship destroyed and I got thirty seven good people killed."

However, something Trent did not say was that the trap he had fallen into was a most cunningly planned one and, just as the board of inquiry convened to investigate the loss of the Harrier concluded, was impossible to predict or avoid. Also, something even Carrigan wouldn't admit to himself, was that he had managed to keep the Harrier into the fight for over six of the eight and a quarter minutes of the engagement and to destroy one Jem'Hadar fighter and cripple another two before being overwhelmed in the end.

"I lost my edge, Ma'am, same time I got my people killed. I don't think I'll ever figure out how I managed to gather up the nerve to act like I just did."

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #6
The reaction upon the mentioning of the Harrier caught Ives' attention, yet she said nothing.

Then, hearing Carrigan Trent speak of his shortcomings as a commander despite evidence to the contrary - since the Starfleet Command had plainly freed him on all suspicions of misconduct and did not court martial him - it made Jien fall back on her past as a Counsellor. A time that seemed a lifetime ago given current events and obligations laid upon her. The role as a Counsellor was rightfully not hers anymore. She had her own shortcomings to deal with, Romulus being one of them. The Niga Incident another. If she were to speak like she once had, she would be the blind leading the blind. At least she thought so, scarred as she felt from what had befallen her to do. The cost of duty highest for her as she led her crew in battle against their loved ones - pleading for understanding and the acceptance of the truth. Knowing this toll, and having read his file, she saw many questions being answered in the reaction to the name of the battle he had lost.

His last comment gave her something worthwhile to say to him, though, without the risk of making any graver mistakes in terms of counsel. "Understanding your own capacity to act in times of great need... is secondary to actually do what is necessary," she said, a faint smile touching her features as she looked towards the floor - a bang of hair falling forth to frame her jaw. "Understanding or not, you did have the nerves to compile your virus for weeks aboard the Archeron, risking discovery by the enemy every day. I would say you do not only have the nerves to accomplish great feats when they are needed, but you have indeed the capability to understand the immediate consequences of your actions."

She pushed away from her desk and slowly paced away. When she spoke again, her tone turned more grave - back towards him. "Yes, you led people into battle back on the Harrier. Yet did you get them killed because you - particularly you - were in command? Would anyone have done better that day? Are are you saying you are equally accountable to the number of deaths as the Jem'Hadar commanders?" She looked out though the viewscreen upon the KNZ when she reached it, speaking not only of Trent at that point... but her own guilt. "No. Ask yourself the right questions. The valid ones. For we are not the enemy, Commander Trent. We never are. We do what we might - what we can - to react upon acts of war and hostility towards the Federation. We may all act poorly, be lesser commanders some day or another, yet when it comes to you... you were not. Not that day..."

Turning around to face Trent, Jien's look was grim in the light from a blue nebula outside the ship - casting the severe stance of her female form in stark luminescence. "Your only failure was that you could not return to command and lead more men and women to battle after you got your new limbs. That you did not stop feeling sorry for yourself and accepted the truth about your actions on that day. To command is not only to understand... but to accept the consequences of your orders just as much as to give them when you need to. We all fail. What difference is the capacity to rise from the dirt when we fall."

If the man before her was to serve the mission to the best of his ability, she reckoned that she had to be frank with her expectations upon him. "You should ask yourself the harder questions," she said, her oaken brown eyes completely still, "only then can you be the man you were. The questions are the obvious: How many lives could you have saved in the end of the Dominion War if you had stopped feeling sorry for yourself sooner? If you had moved on... and honoured the crew you lost by continuing the fight? Were the sacrifice of your people not enough to motivate your earliest possible recovery? Did they have to die in vain for a commander that turned out too weak, who could not honour their surviving families in the field of battle?"

Slowly, Jien stepped back to face Trent squarely, her stance relaxed and yet appearing to detonate in brutal movement any moment. The sudden tension was tangible in the air, yet not visible to the eye.

"I do not know what your physician may have told you, but if your self-pity do not cease right now, and put the Dominion War behind you, that might not be the last time you'll bite the hand that feeds you. You do not have that right anymore. In fact, you never did. Do I make myself clear, Lieutenant Commander?"

No, she was definitely no Counsellor anymore...

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #7
One thing Trent had not expected when he admitted his glaring shortcomings as a commander was to be so utterly chewed out. Ives did try to tell him what he'd already heard dozens of times from several counselors, that it was not he who destroyed the Harrier and killed her crew but the Jem'Hadar. As the commanding officer, ship and crew are his responsibility and despite being cleared by the board of inquiry, there was no shaking that heavy guilt.

"Captain, I started out on a science ship. I wrote my first paper because I learned a great deal about sensors and their use. I was part of the crew of a listening post before I was given command for six months. If there is something I know, it is how to use a sensor array." Carrigan spoke quietly, and there was conviction in his voice despite the fact it was somewhat unsteady.

"I should have been able to tell something was off, or ordered more detailed scans when I convinced my task force commander to allow me to pursue an apparent scout. I should have at least expected a trap, like a better captain would have. I blew it, Ma'am. And thirty-seven better people than me paid the price for it."

The Lieutenant Commander's guilt was becoming more and more obvious in his voice as he went on. A guilt the weight of three dozen lives and a starship. 

"You want me to ask the valid questions, but in turn allow me to ask one of you. A crew of sixty trusted me with their lives and I failed them, miserably. That knowledge is out there for all to see. How can I expect any crew to follow me, Captain? How can I ask anyone to trust me with their lives and lead them into battle? Who would follow a commander with my history?"

Still, Carrigan's voice remained low. He was obvious a man who did not raise his voice often. Not that his natural inflections and tone would yield themselves well to effective shouting in the first place.

"So of course I own the truth of that day. And you will understand why I requested my demotion and took the offer of Starfleet Intelligence. I failed one crew. I honour their deaths by not leading more men into battle so I will not be responsible for the loss of another crew. As an Intelligence Officer, I can advise my commanders to the best of my abilities. But I will not put lives at risk by ordering anyone to follow me."

If there was anything now transporting from the man, it was the utter shattering of his confidence in himself under the weight of this one defeat. That, and a terrible fear that was practically oozing from his pores.

It was the fear to fail again.

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #8
Facing Trent in the centre of the room, Captain Ives tilted her head somewhat after he spoke - watching him and seeing the effects of that faithful day still linger in his soul. Perhaps he had been too young for command. Perhaps he had not been prepared, and now, he might never be. Yet Jien was not about to give up on this resourceful man that had come to them in their most dire of times. He had shown himself capable of greatness, and there was still hope to restore the man's faith in his own abilities again - regardless how many years had passed between the Dominion War and their current crisis.

"You own the truth, do you?" she said quietly, but not about to mock him in his convictions. Remaining where she stood, she regarded him for a moment before speaking again, words not cutting, but quite firm. "Tell me, how do you honour the dead by making yourself self-righteously craven? Is it truly - your obvious fear of failure aside - better to never chance saving countless civilian lives in battle against Federation enemies because you happen to have commanded a starship that was ambushed? Is it better to never fly again because you happen to crash a shuttle? Is it true that it is better to never walk again because you happen to stumble and hit your head?"

Jien let that linger as she stepped away, contiuing to speak with her back towards the Lieutenant Commander. "No one truly owns the truth, Mr. Trent. What you perceive; your observations, your feelings, interpretations... These are all your truth. Your truth is important, aye, I can sympathise with that. Yet you do not own it, for is not The Truth. There is, perhaps, no such thing."

A philosophical matter. Subject to debate, of course. Jien turned around to face the Intelligence Officer. "Fact of this particular matter is this," casually pointing towards him, "You can't undo anything you've already done. What you can do, is to face up to it. Deal with it. The answer to your question, as to 'how you could expect anyone to follow you now', is simple. Respect is earned, and by giving up - by not dealing with your bloody issues and feeling sorry for yourself instead - you now lack the confidence to lead a crew into battle. Yet mark my words, Lieutenant Commander, your track record matters naught. I have lost battles too. My orders have killed innocent people - now and during the War - but you do not see me faltering, do you? Do not my crew still follow me, despite what has happened to them under my command?"

Granted, it was hard. Unimaginably hard. Yet somehow, Jien kept it all together. At least she thought she did. Counsellor O'Connor might not be entirely convinced... for as opposed to Trent, Jien could not afford to yield; to feel the pain.

"What happened," she said next, bringing to mind the file on Carrigan Trent that Cameron Henshaw had provided him, "has nothing to do with your capabilities with a sensor array. Any commander may have decided to follow that scout, me included. What you did do, as a fact, was to hold off a half-dozen Jem'Hadar ships. With the Harrier or all starships, which was - if you forgive me saying so - not the heaviest of war cruisers. You lasted for, what was it? Six full minutes? Against that kind of opposition? More seasoned commanders than you would have been obliterated in a couple of seconds. Others might have set their own warp core to detonate and try to take as many of the enemy ships as possible with them into whatever afterlife they believed in - killing everyone aboard. The only thing that stands between you and the officer you once were... is you. So like I said, get over yourself. We need you more than you need to wallow in some self-made purgatory."

Pausing there, Jien stepped back towards Trent and she changed... into his male form - also changing the topic. "I have high demands to lay upon you if you are to serve aboard my ship, perhaps not with your own staff initially, yet it may be required that you do take responsibility for others than yourself again," he said, now of roughly the same height as the Intelligence Officer - his brown eyes remaining the same. A trait for his species, as far as he knew. "So either you step up... or you can drink away your sorrows in Below Decks for the remainder of our voyage. Chose now, for I have neither time nor patience to wait for you to start living in the present."

Ives held the man's gaze steadily, his calloused hands loose fists at his sides.

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #9
Jien Ives had once been a counselor. Trent knew that much from the Captain's file and part of him did expect this sort of talk from the Chameloid. He had heard it all before and he could almost predict what any therapist would say when dealing with his post-traumatic stress disorder. But she was also a seasoned commander and she had definitely been through the crucible of battle while in the command chair.

And while a great deal of what she said had been done to death, this time it carried a greater weight than ever. There was a painfully simple reason for this: unlike every other counselor and therapist, she knew the burden of commanding a ship and everything that came with it.

And for the first time, Carrigan Trent revisited the events that led to the loss of the Harrier in a different light.

"Helm, pursuit course," were the words out of Commander Trent's mouth as he settled back into the USS Harrier's command chair. He has just been given clearance to break from his position in the security screen for the evacuation of a mining outpost to chase a single Jem'Hadar fighter found snooping on their operation. Yes, the Harrier was small, only Saber-class, but she was well-crewed and well-commanded and she was one of the uprated examples of the class that had been retrofitted primarily for combat. A single fighter would be outmatched with little effort.

However, once the Harrier reached weapons range, another five of these light warships broke from behind the cover of a nearby gas giant's rings and radiation belt and made to engage the Federation vessel. A message requesting reinforcements was sent the moment the trap was sprung, and unable to escape, Trent instead have the order to make a fight of it.

The Harrier benefited of its superior maneuverability and managed to keep most of the opposition from engaging him by fouling their shots using their consorts but there was only so much such a diminutive starship could accomplish in the face of such grievous odds. However, it did not mean this small vessel did not get her licks in. The scout, the bait really, was the first Dominion vessel to be fired upon and it was the one that got destroyed, courtesy of the Harrier's captain making great use of his research in shield geometry and vulnerabilities. Another two were crippled as well, taken out of the fight with blistering and devilishly accurate fire from their victim. And when the Harrier's shields failed, Carrigan found himself in an untenable position.

"Tactical, set all weapons to auto-fire. Helm, initiate automated evasive maneuvers. All hands, abandon ship!" At this point, casualty reports had already started to stream in along with he damage reports and it was clear the Harrier would not survive this engagement. As such, Trent had to do the one thing he could to save as many of his crew as possible, as much as it pained him to lose his first and only starship command.

Trent barely had time to consider his reply to Ives' assessment of the battle when the Captain switched forms and laid out painfully simple terms: to run and hide or to make good on the offer he had made upon disembarking from a stolen runabout. Parts of the Intelligence officer wanted nothing more than to crawl back into bottles of medications and alcohol but something deeper, something faint and he could not readily identify, won out.

"I can't promise you the officer I might have once been, Sir, but I will give you everything I've got."

No one in any command position had ever given him half the talk he had just received from Jien Ives. Let alone showed any sort off faith in him. Perhaps that was why he was never removed from Sankolov's staff after he had been compromised; indeed, despite his intellect and considerable skills as an Intelligence officer, such a broken man would be extremely unlikely to cause any real trouble.

And he would repay this faith the Captain was putting into him the best way he could think of.

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #10
"That will suffice, for the time being," said Jien, and finally let a faint smile surface in his face - like moonlight passing over dark cliff. The gravely matters of discussion had been dealt with.

"Commander Rez is my First Officer, having proven herself very resourceful over the time of our voyage. Before that, upon her pardon for having spied upon us in our midst, she was our Intelligence Officer aboard. Therefore, given your belonging to Starfleet Intelligence and your fortitude when it comes to various fields of electronic surveillance and warfare, I mean to name you her successor in her old position aboard the Theurgy. You will be support staff on the Bridge when called for, and likely be summoned to attend to all Senior Staff meetings given the nature of your expertise and our mission."

Having said this, Jien stepped away from Trent and seated himself behind his desk, gesturing for the man to sit with his cup of coffee if he wanted to.

"You have already been given quarters, correct? You will need a workplace, I am sure, and not the ordinary kind either," Jien continued, one hand resting on the desktop while he spoke, "For reasons too long to explain, our prototype Ship A.I. holographic interface - Thea - has been partially untethered. I believe you are familiar with the project in its original form. In any case, our Main Computer Core was fitted with workplaces for the computer scientists that worked to manually grant the A.I. the access she needed in areas where she was not trusted. Among other things, they calibrated her sub-routines according to new input from her experiences, washing unwanted such from her memory banks, and they predicted event-scenarios and pre-arranged her reactions and subsequent actions. They also upheld restrictions in her overall performance that the Science Division people in San Francisco believed important, and analysed the results. Now, these work places are empty, leaving an overall abandoned area that has no usage in regard to our A.I. The access to the processing power of the core is, however, still there."

Gesturing towards Trent, Jien added the obvious. "This area would, in my regard, be ideal for your kind of work. Over time, you might not have to work there alone either." Leaning back a little, Jien was finished with his assignment in regard to 'where' and 'how', and waited a bit with 'what' Carrigan Trent would be doing. "Do you have any questions so far?"

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #11
The change in Ives' expression was not lost on Trent. And truth be told, the Intelligence officer was filled with a certain gladness himself. It had taken the Captain's combination of toughness and praise to pry past years of self-deprecation and doubt and to allow a glimpse of his self-worth to shine through.

When Jien outlined what would be expected of him, Carrigan offered a simple nod. "Yes Sir." So that is what had happened with Edena Rez. Trent had wondered how the Trill had gone from an undercover intelligence asset to her current position as the Executive Officer, via a cell in the brig. Strangely, Trent's own path on the Theurgy was a fairly close mirror of the Commander's so far.

Once enjoined to sit, the Lieutenant Commander did so and once again drew from his cooling coffee. So he was assigned a workspace and that was a great start. And in the absence of a dedicated intelligence centre, a computer core was a great alternative. A quiet and secure area with plenty of console space and a direct access to the whole might of Theurgy's computing power. And without the time-consuming process of repurposing another space and setting up new data pathways.

And when he was asked if he had any questions, the intelligence expert broke through the broken man. "Only one, Sir. What is my priority of work?"

The specifics did not need to be voiced. Trent could think of several things that would need his attention. Of course he had a few months' worth of logs and reports to catch up on to get himself up to speed with Theurgy's current situation and he'd have to analyze those as well. There was also the mass of Starfleet data that would bear closer scrutiny to predict future operations, the raw data from his investigation to turn into actual intelligence products and coming up with a way to re-connect the ship with Starfleet's communications, computer and sensor networks without risking exposing themselves.

And that was just off the top of his head...

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #12
Recognising the pragmatic approach towards his new role and duties aboard, Jien was glad that the man seemed to have kept his wits about him despite having faced his demons only a minute ago. He smiled quietly and inclined his head at the question, but his face turned serious quickly as he presented the tactical situation.

"I know Deputy zh'Wann gave you a quick briefing. We are right now being hunted by a starship from the future, deployed by the enemy through means unknown yet the indications of pervious engagements seem to suggest a source in the Temporal Cold War of the 29th century. This Calamity-class ship has a purely holographic crew, and its Ship A.I. - Cala - is our true adversary aboard it.  The USS Calamity left just before Task Force Archeron arrived in the Acamar System, having bombarded us from orbit while we underwent repairs from our last engagement with her. Or immediate need is to find whatever initial blueprints Starfleet have available. Thea has suggested that in our current year, the Cerebrus-class is just at the theoretical planning stage, and that it is based on our own ship design. Our subspace link to Federation databases are - as you might guess - offline, leaving us with a out-dated resources when it comes to our databases."

Leaning forward on his arms, calloused hands clasped on the table, Jien continued once Lieutenant Commander Trent had taken in the situation. "If there are blueprints, however rudimentary, we need them if we are to defeat her. Hell, if you can find an image of a scribled napkin from a some unofficial meeting about the Calamity-class design, it would be better than we got right now. Sensors do not allow us to map the interior, much less the full capacity of this hunter. Your top priority is to provide us with whatever you can find, and we'll go from there to augment our current battle plans for a third engagemet with her."

Remaining where he was seated, Jien looked towards the vista of the nebulae outside the ship. "Secondly, we are still on the run from present-year Starfleet, and the data cubes you have provided us with contain plenty of unrefined intel that we need you to refine if we are to plot a potential course back towards the Sol System. We have launched probes to determine the accuracy of your data, and the first indications have already come in - none showing any discrepancies so far. Therefore, it is vital that we act on the intel before it is no longer valid and Starfleet change its search patterns."

Looking back towards Trent, Jien shurgged. "Thirdly, you have people to meet, faces to learn, and to find your way about the ship. Try to meet with the Senior Staff and build a functional rapport with them. Try also to find the time to review our mission logs, even if the present situation remains your priority. Furthemore, try to familiarise yourself with Thea, since she is the prototype model for Cala, and there may be ways we can make use of what we know about our own Ship A.I. if we are to do battle with her 'daughter'."

A faint smile coming to him, Jien leaned back a little. "Lastly... I would like you to set aside time to visit our lounge tonight, for sake of encouragement. I hear there will be a show of some sort in effort to raise crew morale, and it would be a good opportunity to unwind now that you are finally among enlightened people - not having to hide what you've learned any more."

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #13
Apparently, Ives seemed to prefer the direct approach. There was little need to waste time with some if the administrative matters since Trent already knew where he would reside and where he would work. All he really needed to know was where he should focus the bulk of his efforts in the immediate.

When the Captain started to further explain the tactical situation, Carrigan's mind automatically started to process the information given to him, beginning to form courses of action, lines of analysis and several more concepts. That ship, the Calamity, she was a threat. And one that would prove quite difficult to find a weakness in. Not to mention the fact that up until the initial encounter with the Theurgy, their hunter knew everything there was to know about them.

But at least, there was something he could do, in the immediate about trying to find some early information on the Calamity, and that he voiced. "Well Sir, with what we have, I could tie us into Starfleet's Subspace network, at least for a short time. And since there's no way Sankolov and his fleet have recovered from my parting gift yet, my SI clearance and overrides are still good and could get me in right through the front door, so to speak.  After they recover, well, I'll have to try and carve me a back door in their databases while I can"

But to the rest, Trent said nothing until the very end, when a request to go and mingle was made. A point was made, that he could now speak freely and not risk exposing his dangerous knowledge and the consequences sharing it would bring to himself and his interlocutors. It was strange, that a recommendation to go and relax while then were between a nightmare ship from the future hunting them, the vast majority of Starfleet hot on their heels and the Klingons.

"I will see if I can attend. I expect I'll be a while crunching information. But as you said, I need to get settled in and at least know your senior staff."

With this said, Trent finished his coffee and set the empty cup on Ives' desk and say back into his chair. "And as for an immediate course of action, I would recommend visiting one of the maintenance depots around here. A few are on minimal or even zero manning levels. I imagine the torpedoes magazines are getting rather empty, same with our supplies of spare parts and tools."

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #14
Nodding, Captain Ives was glad to hear that Trent agreed with the suggested priorities. When he finally spoke of the maintenance depots, Jien grunted.

"Indeed," he said quietly in agreement, "because so far, our voyage has yet to take us to such a depot, having skirted the denser asteroid belts of the KNZ for weeks after we left the Borderlands - only passing close to Nimbus III to make use of an industrial replicator we knew were hidden there. When we finally closed the distance to the Hromi Cluster was the same time that the Harbinger and the Calamity appeared and we fought the latter together - barely surviving the surprise assault. We fled to the Acamar System for repairs directly afterwards, and here we are - heading into the KNZ again with no maintenance depots between us and the rendezvous point with the Harbinger. Once together again, I do agree that we need to reach a depot, hoping that we can take what we need without strife. It all depends on whether or not she finds us before that, since we cannot travel by impulse speed forever and need to drop our cloaks to make Warp velocity."

Setting his hands on the table, Jien stood up and changed... to her female form - the transition from sitting to standing made shorter because of her womanly form being of more diminutive stature. "Yet we are not even sure the phasing cloaks might help us against the Calamity to begin with," she confessed, sighing as she walked around the desk and leaned against it, standing right next to where Trent was seated. "Since she comes from the future, our tactics and means to victory in direct combat has to be reassessed - unknown as it is whether or not she has anticipated our every move already. She had access to our shield harmonics, so why not assume she knows the rest as well? Perhaps there is a way to see right through our cloaks in the year she comes from. She might even have more spies aboard... like Sonja Acreth on the Harbinger."

Grim situation as it was, Jien grimaced and pushed away - clapping her hand down upon Trent's shoulder as she did. "One hour at the time, one more day to keep the truth alive, and eventually, we will have more allies," she smiled faintly to the man, extending her free hand to shake his,  "Hope springs eternal, Lieutenant Commander. Thank you for finding your way aboard and thus making our odds a tad bit better. Good luck with the computer core and I will see you soon."

She let the man stand, hoping he felt as welcome as he could feel on their unfortunate ship.

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #15
Despite the slightly rocky start, it seemed as though both Captain and newly-assigned Intelligence Officer really were on the same page. But then again, Trent's background was in the world of tactics and commend and if roles were reversed, he would most likely follow a similar course of action. However, from Carrigan's point of view, the Calamity was an unknown variable. Starfleet, even compromised as it was, would be fairly predictable; the Klingons could definitely be relied on for being extremely suspicious and unwelcoming at best and downright violent at the worst.

This future vessel would be a fearsome opponent. And that meant Trent would make finding her weaknesses his priority the moment he would set up shop, making mental notes to bring up the reports and logs pertaining to the engagements they had already been through and all of the sensor data that had been acquired as well as grilling everyone who would have an insight into the Calamity as early as he could. It was not the same as being there, but it was a start to finding vulnerabilities to be exploited. One thing for sure, he would have to make sure to upload his research, equations and algorithms into the ship's computers.

"Then Captain, I would suggest we assume the cloak is ineffective against the Calamity. And while temporal dynamics aren't my strongest suit, my quick assessment is the enemy tried to alter the timeline when they sent that ship into the past. So at the time of the start of Calamity's mission, the Theurgy and possibly her legacy were a major thorn in their side and tired to prevent that. The information they had when they travelled through time would have been reliable up until the first attack, at which point factors like weapon frequencies and shield harmonics and geometry would have been changed, along with the various changes in manning, me included. So at this point, I believe it is safe to say we are on an even standing in terms of prior knowledge and their only real advantage now is their superior technology and finding soft spots is something I do extremely well."

While time travel and all the associated conundrums were something Trent could never completely wrap his head around, if not to say they tended to give him some fierce headaches, his assessment was spoken with the confidence of someone with a keen understanding of the changing nature of tactical situations. And while he ascribes to the school of thought that assumes the enemy has every strength and knows of all of the Theurgy's weaknesses, he could temper this grim outlook with logical arguments as to their relative strengths.

The latest change in Ives' form did not surprise Trent nearly as much as the precious ones, but what did was when her small hand landed on his shoulder. The appendage was surprisingly strong for appearing so delicate in comparison with her male form's. And the contact was nearly electric, firing every nerve ending beneath his uniform. And when he stood and shook the Captain's hand, Carrigan found himself wanting to keep this contact going. In fact, part of him wanted more and, just like a raw Cadet or newly-minted Ensign, he found himself wondering what he would find under Jien's uniform, how the rest of her would look and feel. But for the time being, he simply basked in this moment of openness.

When was the last time he had enjoyed a fully sincere handshake? The last moment he felt he truly belonged where he stood was when the Harrier was validated as ready for front-line duty after the long weeks following his appointment as her captain. And now, that long period of uncertainty was over.

Despite this interview having obviously drawn to a close, Carrigan offered the customary courtesy of asking for his leave. "If you will excuse me, Ma'am, I will make my way to the Computer Core and set up shop. If all goes well, I think I can be online and have access to Starfleet's databases in the next six hours and I'll try to have an analysis of the Calamity ready by this time tomorrow."

Re: CHAPTER 01: The Intelligence Officer [1000 hrs.]

Reply #16
Trent's thoughts on the tactical situation in regards to the Calamity were sound, and Jien had not been able to do more than nod in agreement. Hopefully, with the Lieutenant Commander's understanding of what they were up against and his access to Starfleet Intelligence's servers, they might know a bit more than they knew when they first fought her outside the Hromi Cluster.

"Sounds good, Mister Trent," she said and let go of his hand - speaking while facing him. She put her open hands on her hips as she looked up upon him. "If there is anything you need when you set things up in the computer core, you should ask Thea for help. She can either help you herself or ask for engineers to assist you with access to systems she might be hard-wired to not be able to touch."

Having said this, Jien walked around her desk and seated herself again. "Consider yourself excused for now, but indeed, Commander Rez and I would like to know what prospects your research can yield to us as soon as you are ready. Best of luck, Lieutenant Commander."

Then, Jien picked up a couple of reports and began to read them one at the time... Yet her thoughts somewhat remained on the new officer aboard for some time afterwards.

- Fin

OOC: Not sure how much after this you want to write about, but I put a "Fin" note here for the time being.

Simple Audio Video Embedder