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[2370-2373] | Deep Space 18: Starfleet Intelligence is an Oxymoron Right?

[Security Office | 2370 | USS Augusta]

"I'm sorry, you want me to do what?" Katherine MacFarlane's voice cracked like lightning in the security office where she had been summoned and told, rather stiffly, that she was to report to Deep Space 18.

"You heard me just fine, MacFarlane," the Chief of Security of the USS Augusta said dryly. "And it isn't me, it's Intelligence asking for you."

"Yeah, but... I'm not even... I'm just a grunt," Kath retorted. Yeah, okay, so she was rather good at firing a weapon and had gone above and beyond on her cadet cruise, to say nothing of the Federation-Cardassian War but. Intelligence? Starfleet Intelligence? They couldn't possibly be serious about recruiting her.

"Be that as it may, you can't turn down the assignment. Your runabout is waiting for you in Docking Bay 3. I suggest you not be late, it takes off in ten minutes with or without you."

Her father's advice to always have a bug-out bag packed mockingly echoed in her head. Ten minutes to pack? Good thing most of her stuff was things she could send for later if not things she would just say to recycle.

"Yes, sir," she said, defeated.

"Good luck," her commanding officer of four years said to her retreating back.

"Hardly fair to give me such a short amount of time," she muttered under her breath. Just enough time to grab her bag and then hoof it to the runabout. She made it there with a minute and a half to spare. The positives of always being on alert for a sudden move.

[Starfleet Intelligence Office | Deep Space 18]

"Lieutenant MacFarlane. Quite prompt. Good start," the commanding officer in charge of DS18's SFI branch said as soon as Kath stepped foot inside.

"Did my father put you up to this? Because, I swear, I didn't want--" Kath began, not even putting her bag down first. Her whole career had been spent worrying that her father being posted at Starfleet Headquarters mattered more to people than her own abilities as an officer.

"Your father? Oh. No. Captain MacFarlane has nothing to do with this. In fact, you're not cleared to talk about your posting while you're here. From this point on, you are an analyst for Starfleet Intelligence but your cover is working as a guard for the munitions room," the woman, Commander Pavlichenko, said.

Talk about pretending to be demoted to a simple guard of a room.

"Please, sit. We have more to discuss about your specific duties as an analyst here on Deep Space 18," Pavlichenko said after Kath had a moment to process the news.

Carefully Kath took a seat, as if afraid it would disappear out from under her or otherwise attack her.

"While you're here, we need your linguistics skills and decryption skills for monitoring our former allies of the F-C War," Pavlichenko explained. She walked to her replicator nearby and ordered up two coffees. She handed one to Kath. The young lieutenant took it automatically, still trying to chew on 'monitoring our former allies'.

"I'm sorry, you want me to... spy on... who exactly?"

"The Betazoids, the Klingons, the Romulans, whoever pops up on your feed."

She shouldn't be surprised that Starfleet Intelligence was well aware of her fluency in Klingonese.

"Why not the Trill, too?" she couldn't help snarking.

Pavlichenko fixed her with a look that told her that her humor was unappreciated. Whoops. Not a good start with her new boss. Her excuse was being so damn thrown by the idea of suddenly being Starfleet Intelligence property.

"You will report on movements in this sector and any chatter that could give us an edge. If you're in doubt of the importance, write it down anyway. Your gut will likely be right."

An edge? Was Starfleet somehow planning to strike first for no reason? Her brows furrowed. Was she going to end up feeling so dirty that no shower would make her feel clean again?

"I assume I can't say 'no'?" she asked, knowing the answer already.

"We both know you aren't someone who says 'no' to protecting the best interests of the Federation," Pavlichenko replied, exactly how Kath had predicted.

What really pissed her off was the older woman was right.
"And you know this how?" "I'm a spy, remember?"
Lt. Katherine “Darkstar Foxtrot” MacFarlane, Asst. Chief Tactical Officer, USS Theurgy (Vector 3)

Re: 2370 | Starfleet Intelligence is an Oxymoron Right?

Reply #1
[Analyst Quarters | 2370 | Deep Space 18]

Kath was woken up two hours before her next shift, her partner's eyes wide.

"Valkyrie, wake the fuck up. Something big is going down in Cardassian space!" Alryn Cooke, a half-Vulcan hissed. She had learned very quickly the man embraced his human side a lot more than his Vulcan side.

She squinted sleepily at him for a moment. A pointy-eared man with an edge of fear in his eyes was disquieting.

"What is it? Are we even supposed to be monitoring Cardassian Space?" she asked through a yawn. She still kinda hated his nickname for her. She did not know that she would 'grow into it' soon enough.

He shook his head then snorted before backing up to give her room to sit up and roll out of bed.

"We aren't. The Klingons are concerned about it. So are the Romulans. Apparently some group called the Maquis has started harrying the Cardassians."

Kath stifled another yawn as she padded to the replicator to get a cup of coffee-and-chicory.

"Good for them. The Cardies deserve it," she said before taking a sip of her perfectly hot drink.

"The Maquis is made up of a lot of Starfleet deserters," Alryn pointed out. That got Kath's attention.

"Fucking-- Are you sure?"

"Of course I am! One of them is Chakotay!"

Katherine quaffed the rest of her coffee at that news. She had met him during ATT, but he hadn't been her instructor. Things had to be complicated for him to hang up his commission.

"Have you told Pav?" she asked, ordering a refill of her drink from the replicator as she pulled on her uniform jacket.

"Who do you think told me to wake you? There are a bunch of Bajorans in the Maquis, too. You're on deck."

Fun. At least her brain would be getting a workout soon.

"Alright. Alright. Let's go," she assented, grabbing her refilled mug from the replicator then following out of the room on Alryn's heels, her uniform jacket not fully zipped up.
"And you know this how?" "I'm a spy, remember?"
Lt. Katherine “Darkstar Foxtrot” MacFarlane, Asst. Chief Tactical Officer, USS Theurgy (Vector 3)

Re: [2370-2373] | Deep Space 18: Starfleet Intelligence is an Oxymoron Right?

Reply #2
[Analyst Office | 2371 | Deep Space 18]

"What the fuck do you mean it disappeared!?" Pavlichenko's voice carried really well for someone who had a job requiring discretion.

"What's up?" Kath asked as she stepped closer to Alryn.

"We lost an Intrepid-class, brand new, in the Badlands. But it wasn't destroyed," Alryn answered in a whisper.

"New... y'mean Voyager? We lost Voyager?"

"It was docked at Deep Space 9 and then it went chasing a Maquis ship into the Badlands. Both it and the Maquis ship have disappeared with no trace."

Kath watched as Pavlichenko kicked a desk in frustration. It had been Deep Space Nine's responsibility to keep track of the USS Voyager.

"What was the name of the Maquis ship?"

"Val Jean. Apparently Chakotay's ship."

Damn. There had been some chatter about the Val Jean she remembered in a bulletin but that had been DS9's purview not DS18's. And Voyager was indeed brand new, captained by a decorated officer-- Kathryn Janeway, also a Federation-Cardassian war veteran.

"How do we just... lose track of two ships in the Badlands?" Kath asked as she watched Pavlichenko storm into her smaller office attached to the analyst bullpen. Which really only consisted of Kath and Alryn during the Gamma Shift.

Alryn shrugged. "Voyager had one of its officers on the Val Jean as well. A Tuvok."

"Sounds Vulcan."

Alryn gave a thin smile. "Yep. Scuttlebutt is that the ship had at least 3 people with a connection to Starfleet."

"So, Chakotay, Tuvok and...?"

"A B'Elanna Torres. Academy dropout."

Must have been after Kath because she would have recognized a woman with a Klingon given name at the Academy.

"The Cardies also seem to have been keeping an eye on the Maquis ship. Not sure why, though," Alryn added as he looked back at his console and tapped a couple of keys on the LCARS.

"Beyond being Maquis, you mean?"

"Yeah. They seemed a little panicked."

Huh. Intriguing. Too bad Cardassian versus Maquis wasn't for Deep Space 18 to keep track of, that was Deep Space Nine's job. But intel like this tended to ripple through SFI. Eighteen got the honor of worrying more about Romulans and Klingons.

"You were in the F-C War. Did you ever hear of a Janeway?" Alryn suddenly asked.

Kath rarely if ever was asked about her time in the War. Everyone her age and older had served in some capacity unless they were deep space vessels. (Although her father denied being a veteran. He 'just happened to be in Starfleet at the time'. He was stationed at Headquarters so never saw any action. He always demurred when asked and pointed out only one MacFarlane was an F-C veteran and that was his daughter.) At the memory of the war, she discretely rubbed her hip where one of her scars sat. Alryn was four years her junior, just young enough to have missed being in the war but old enough to remember it vividly. He hadn't even been in the Academy yet since Kath had joined at sixteen. He had gone in at seventeen and so was in the Acadamy a year after she graduated.

"No. But then, I only had a few months at the ass end of it. Plenty of heroes to choose from for that time," Kath admitted after thinking about it. The woman had her name just spelled differently. Kath found it amusing.

"MacFarlane!" Pavlichenko suddenly barked from the doorway of her office, startling both analysts. Kath twisted around.

"Sir?" Kath asked.

"Get back on the Klingon desk!"

Kath flinched. Oops. No more time for gossip.

Kath and Alryn shared a wry smile before Kath moved to the opposite end of the bullpen to settle at the desk.

[Analyst Office | 2371 | Deep Space 18]

"So, it turns out we didn't just lose Voyager in the Badlands," Alryn said, handing Kath a cup of coffee-and-chicory.

"I'm starting to think there's a good reason it is called the Badlands," Kath said dryly.

"We also lost the Equinox. No one thought much of it at the time but after Voyager and the Val Jean both pulled a disappearing act, our siblings on Deep Space Nine did research," another fellow Analyst, a Bajoran, explained as she walked over from her place at the Romulan desk. Alryn was in charge of the Cardassian despite being on the other side of the quadrant. Intelligence didn't think it was wise having a Bajoran look after the Cardassian or Bajoran desk.

"Toba. Nice to see you again," Kath greeted the Bajoran woman.

By Toba's own admission she actually didn't speak Cardassian at all anyway and had escaped the Occupation as a child thanks to a special operation by the Bajoran Resistance, much like Operation Baby Lift in Earth history.

"Valkyrie. Likewise. There has been talk of setting up a way to block access to the Badlands. It seems the danger of the area itself isn't enough to warn vessels away. Not so long as the Maquis uses it exactly for the danger," Toba said, sipping a raktajino.

"Heh. Good luck with that one!" Kath said with a snort. She was getting used to being referred to as Valkyrie. But her career was still not at that point where it made a lot of sense yet.

"No kidding. But you couldn't pay me enough latinum to get anywhere near there," Toba laughed.

Kath smirked. But then it was easy to say that when they lived on Deep Space Eighteen and weren't on the run.

"What's new at the Romulan desk?" Kath asked.

"There has been some chatter about the Defiant and how the Romulan Star Empire is owed a bunch of intel about the Gamma Quadrant on the other side of the Bajoran wormhole. And if they aren't given it they will steal it," Toba answered.

Technically they weren't supposed to swap intel from their desks with each other but of course it was very hard to keep the analysts from gossiping.

"Oh, right. Cause the Defiant has Romulan cloaking tech," Kath said after thinking a moment on why the Romulans would be owed anything in relation to the ship.

"Holy shit," Alryn suddenly said from his desk. Kath and Toba both glanced over.

"What's up, buttercup?" Toba asked, her usual way of asking for a sitrep.

"There's suddenly talk of the Cardassians and Bajorans signing a treaty," Alryn said after hesitating.

"Why now?" Kath asked after glancing at Toba to see if she was okay with the news.

Alryn shook his head. "Something about the Dominion I guess?"

The Dominion were a new threat that DS9 was keeping a close eye on. Eighteen was too far to worry too much about it. So far.

Toba whistled low in awe. "If you were to ask my father, as you humans say, porcupines should be flying."

"Pigs. We say pigs," Kath corrected gently.

"Hey, kids, brought you all presents! New badges!" Pavlichenko announced. She was already sporting her new one.

Pavlichenko handed Kath her new one and the analyst looked at the name and Starfleet Service Number (SSN) on the back of it to be sure the information was correct. Once verified, she removed her current badge and replaced it.

"I'm not sure I like it," Alryn said as he glared at his.

"Kiddo, you hate changes to your appearance in general," Kath pointed out, gently teasing.

Toba giggled before making her way back to her desk after replacing her own badge.

Alryn playfully turned his glare to Kath and made a shooing gesture with a hand. Snickering, Kath returned to her desk, just in time to see a transmission that worried about Martok, though the worry was rather vague.
"And you know this how?" "I'm a spy, remember?"
Lt. Katherine “Darkstar Foxtrot” MacFarlane, Asst. Chief Tactical Officer, USS Theurgy (Vector 3)

Re: [2370-2373] | Deep Space 18: Starfleet Intelligence is an Oxymoron Right?

Reply #3
[Analyst Office | 2372 | Deep Space 18]

Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!

"Son of a fucking bitch!" Kath finally swore aloud, tripping over her own damn feet to hurry into her CO's office. When the door hissed open, Kath saw that Pavlichenko was having a meeting on her viewscreen. At least it wasn't secret, otherwise the door would have been locked.

"Commander!" Kath said.

"Can't you see I'm in a meeting? What is it?" Pavlichenko demanded as she glanced over at her flustered Klingon analyst.

"Sorry, hoss. But there's been an explosion of chatter from the Klingons. There's a real and present danger of invasion of the Cardassian sector by the Klingon Empire!"

Kath watched as a woman even more calm and collected than she was turn much too pale. Pavlichenko knew by now that if Kath looked this panicked, there was something well and truly wrong.

"Submit it in wri--"

"Already did. It needs to go up the chain immediately," Kath interrupted. Normally she wouldn't cut people off but this was hideously important.

"Reasoning for the invasion?" asked Captain Cohen, Pavlichenko's immediate boss, still on the viewscreen.

"Something about Changelings. They aren't talking about it much over comms, even their new encrypted channels."

She watched as Cohen slowly rubbed his forehead. Just what the galaxy needed. Another war involving the Cardassians and the Klingons.

"Alright. Thank you, Lieutenant. Keep monitoring the situation. I'll get in contact with our outposts closer to Klingon space," Cohen said after a few moments of tense silence.

"Yes, sir."

Kath left the office, her hands still shaking from the adrenaline.

Of course, all her prayers for not another war were left unanswered. The Klingons invaded Cardassian space less than a week later. When Starfleet objected, the Klingon Empire withdrew from the Khitomer Accords and went full steam ahead with their war against Cardassia. All because a Changeling said so, claiming it was the Cardassians who had been infiltrated by Changelings at the government level.

Some time later it was Toba's turn to be panicked. She learned before Kath did about the Klingons going after numerous Romulan outposts. Just what the galaxy needed, more chaos and a possible 3-sided war.

It was thanks to her father that Katherine then learned about Admiral Leyton staging a damn coup on Earth, tightening security and taking advantage of the panic over the Dominion threat to try to seize power. Starfleet Intelligence had been mostly blindsided by this move.

"So, wait. What happened?" Kath asked her father over a secure line in her quarters.

"Worldwide power failure. Everyone lost their minds in terror. Your mother got trapped in her office at the university until they could open it manually. Everyone at HQ is on edge," Alec answered.

"So, state of emergency?"

"Yep. Got your bug-out bag packed. squirt?"

"Of course, Papi. I always do."

She didn't voice the fact that if she was being sent somewhere, then things were really bad. She was an analyst now, not security. But he also didn't know that she was SFI. For all he knew she really was a guard on Deep Space Eighteen.

"How's Charlie?" Kath found herself asking.

"He has decided to take leave of the hospital to be with Sandra during the state of emergency, in case she needs help evac'ing," Alec replied.

Kath smiled a little. She could always count on her cousin to help before she even had to really ask.

"I'll try calling them next. But even getting in touch with you was a bitch and a half," Kath said, sighing softly. She put her elbows on her desk and laced her fingers together to rest her chin on.

"I'll let them know you've been trying to reach them," Alec assured her.

"Gracias. Tell mami I love and miss her," Kath said, checking her chronometer.

"I always do, kiddo. Love you."

"Love you, too. Be safe."

Kath watched as her father's face disappeared. The screen then changed to only show the United Federation of Planets logo. She sighed and rubbed her face. Things were getting way too out of hand.

By the time the Klingons annexed the Archanis Sector, Kath was working twelve hours a day and coordinating with all the other Klingon desks in Intelligence. She luckily had a fellow analyst to take up the other twelve hours. If only they had enough to run three shifts, because Kath was being run ragged for most of the Federation-Klingon 'war'. And would never receive recognition of her work because it was never formally called a war.

OOC: 'Hoss' is on purpose, not a typo. The definition is "A big, strong and respected or dependable person, usually a man".
"And you know this how?" "I'm a spy, remember?"
Lt. Katherine “Darkstar Foxtrot” MacFarlane, Asst. Chief Tactical Officer, USS Theurgy (Vector 3)


Re: [2370-2373] | Deep Space 18: Starfleet Intelligence is an Oxymoron Right?

Reply #4
[ CLASSIFIED | 2373 | Klingon Empire Perimeter]

<He's not the real Martok!>

It was a clarion call, and Katherine MacFarlane had answered it. Here it was, the only almost-wet work she would truly do while part of Starfleet Intelligence. A mission she would never be able to talk about to anyone. Training since the Klingon Empire first attacked the Federation.

She of course would never meet the real Martok on this mission. But she would get oh so close to getting rid of the fake.

<Dishonor! You follow a fake! A Changeling!

Her contact in the Empire had tried so hard. But Klingons do not like the idea that they couldn't tell their most celebrated general from a fake. So her contact had been ignored. And he had sent a distress call. One that normally Kath would not be answering. They had perfectly fine field agents to do the thing. She did recon, not... possible assassination.

Oh, but Katherine MacFarlane is fluent in Klingonese. Oh, but Katherine MacFarlane is a literal marksman. Oh, but Katherine MacFarlane can blend. She had theoretical knowledge of Klingon culture (she would not have practical until almost 10 years later).

<Gowron is a fool! We must have a ceasefire!>

Katherine MacFarlane was not an expert on Klingon politics. But she knew enough. Knew that words alone would never convince the Klingon government to stop calling for Federation blood.

Deep Space Nine essentially led the charge. Everything was concentrated there. Which allowed Kath to do what spooks should do well: slip in and out unnoticed.

Her phaser rifle should by all accounts never leave her back. She should not go weapons hot. But just in case. But no plan survives contact with the enemy.

She found her contact. Her contact who had proof it was Martok, not Gowron who was the Changeling. Her contact who was doing the same thing Captain Sisko and his crew were doing on the other side of the quadrant. But you can never have too much evidence.

Her contact who made an agreement to become a citizen of the Federation for his work in the quote en quote Federation-Klingon War. And yet no one would really ever say it was a real full war. And no one would ever know that Katherine MacFarlane went behind 'enemy lines' and lived to tell the tale.

Kath's ankle hurt. She had gotten a bad angle on her kick to the guard keeping her from her contact. But she still moved almost as fast as she did when her legs were perfectly fine. She had added a support to her ankle and kept going. She was on a timeline.

<Changelings are everywhere! You could be living with one!>

A d'k tagh barely missed skewering her. She skewered her opponent instead with his own. damn. knife. No new scars from a mission that never actually happened.

It was just too bad that her contact was bait. Too fucking bad. It took a lot of literal scrambling for Kath to get away. But she had the evidence. Thanks to a mission that never actually happened.

And when she got home and her ankle healed, she was given a brand new uniform design in yellow. Told to report to the USS Hamburg. Her stint with SFI was done, though it wasn't a punishment for having lost her contact. Even if she felt like it was. She went back to Security instead of Intelligence. And if things got hot with the Dominion, her skill as a sharpshooter may be far more necessary than her encryption. But she would always be eligible to be dragged right back into The Black. A veteran of a war that never really happened.
"And you know this how?" "I'm a spy, remember?"
Lt. Katherine “Darkstar Foxtrot” MacFarlane, Asst. Chief Tactical Officer, USS Theurgy (Vector 3)

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