SD242008.08 - JL - CO, CIO - "Bad News"
The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Location: Security department/CO's Office
At the knock on the door surround, Finchley looked up. Standing in the doorway was his desk officer, Jack.
"Sir, you have a visitor" Jack said.
"Did they give you a name Jack?" Finchley asked.
"The Queen of Sheba" a voice said from behind Jack.
"Who's there?" Finchley asked, now standing up.
"The ghost of Christmas past" the voice then replied.
Now slightly annoyed, Finchley looked at Jack and said "Ok, enough is enough, bring whoever it is in here now!"
"Oh shut up you tart and stop sounding like a woos!" the person said, now stepping out from behind Jack.
The surprised look on Finchley's face turned to delight as he shouted "Karadis!", then moved around his desk and gave his friend and colleague a big hug.
"Ok...ok...ok, enough" Karadis said, trying to pull back from the bear hug so she could breathe.
"I didn't realise we were to be this far into the mission so soon, I thought it was still two weeks before you would be here?" Finchley said.
"Everything was moved up suddenly, but I didn't get the whole picture or reason as to why" Karadis said "but what I do know is that their organisation ramped up their plans and put things in place to come to the Starbase quicker."
"I take it he's here?" Finchley asked.
"Yes, I'm part of his detail now that I'm trusted, well, trusted to an extent" Karadis answered.
"How did you manage to get him to do that?" Finchley asked.
"I had to take care of some business, let's just leave it at that." Karadis said.
Finchley held up his hands in a surrender motion and didn't ask anything else. He turned round and walked back to his seat behind the desk. Looking at Jack he said "Close the door Jack, see we're not disturbed by anyone, I don't care who they are or how urgent they make it sound, ok?"
"Got it Sir" Jack said, stepping away from the door and closing them via the sequence pad on the wall.
"Computer, seal the room, visual and voice recording off, authorisation Kerr six six Alpha Irani two eight" Finchley said.
==^^==Room sealed, visual and voice recording cancelled==^^== the computer reported.
"I need you to tell me what you do know in regards to what they've got planned on this Starbase and when Shr'Nesh" Finchley said.
"Before I do that Sir, the Principal killed someone in the outer ring of Yellow sector, it was the person who organised Security passes to get him and his people inside"
"We found the body and it's been reported. Now, what do you know?" Finchley answered.
"I did overhear part of a conversation, though the Principal didn't say who it was they were talking about, just referred to 'them', saying once everything was in place and things were settled, the targets will be removed and phase two would be implemented. That in turn would bring about the old days and the Federation would once again be a power to be reckoned with" Karadis replied.
"Was there a time frame you heard?" Finchley asked.
"No Sir, but if they're moving up their plans, I recon it must be something pretty big that's happening here on the Starbase" Karadis replied.
Finchley's mind raced as he tried to calculate what the reason could be for the sudden acceleration of the plans Karadis spoke of.
"I've got to take this to the CO" Finchley said "you need to tell him what you told me."
"If you think that's what's required, you know I'll back you all the way" Karadis said.
Finchley nodded the said "Computer, re-establish visual and sound recording and unseal the room."
==^^==Room unsealed, visual and sound recording re-established==^^==
"Let's go" Finchley said, rising from his seat and heading out of his office. Karadis followed right behind him, and as they passed the desk Finchley said "We're heading out, hold the fort Jack."
"Aye Sir" Jack replied.
Stopping outside the CO's office, Finchley turned to Karadis and said "Relay what you said to me to the CO, we'll then take it from there."
Karadis nodded in understanding but didn't reply. Finchley took a deep breath, reached out and pressed the chime to the CO's office.
"Come!" barked the General's voice.
The twin doors hissed quickly open, surprising the people in Ops who had grown accustomed to them getting stuck, fusing shut, rapidly opening and closing, or simply falling out of their frame altogether.
An engineer on the inside of the office secured a panel by the door and gave the General a thumbs-up. Grabbing his gear, the Bolian gave the CSEC an amiable nod and rushed off to his next appointment, leaving the General to his business.
"Take a seat. Tea?" he asked, gesturing to the replicator. One of the few still receiving power, this replicator had been disconnected and dragged out of the General's old office by the man himself. For some reason, the machine's edges bore the tell-tale scorch marks of phaser fire, and a few droopy, melted connectors protruded from the sides.
Nodding in return to the Bolian Engineer, Finchley stepped into the Generals office, followed by Karadis. At the offer of a seat and a cup of tea, Finchley replied as he sat down "Thank you, but I'm fine, Karadis?"
Karadis sat down as well and as she did she said "Yes please Sir, Oolong tea if it's in the replicator database, if not, whatever you recommend, thank you."
Finchley didn't wait for anymore pleasantries, there really wasn't the time so he got directly to the point."
"General, I....well we really" he said, gesticulating between Karadis and himself "....need to give you a Security update, plus fill you in on another situation. Six months ago, whilst I was still serving in Starfleet Intelligence, both Karadis and I were given orders to infiltrate a smuggling syndicate, one that had ties to the outlawed Tal Shiar splinter group known as 'Laehval craeul', best known for their hatred of the Federation and, well, basically anyone who's not Romulan and also for their vow to do whatever it takes to bring down the Federation. The head of Intel wanted us to find out if the syndicate were gun running and if they were, what those ties to 'Laehval craeul' were and how the operation worked plus who was involved. We got a lucky break, one of the syndicate operatives got left behind in a botched raid on a Starfleet Security holding, I think those who were with him thought he was dead, lucky for us he wasn't. Anyway, we....manipulated information regarding who'd sent them, and got a couple of name's. Long story short, it took three months for the both of us to wriggle into the periphery of the syndicate, and another 3 months for Karadis to get right inside the main syndicate. That syndicate had plans to come here to Versailles, but we don't know why" he finished.
"What I did find out though Sir" Karadis said, taking up the next point "is that the plans were suddenly accelerated, brought up faster than had been planned. This is a big operation they're aiming to put in place, and they have people on the inside of Versailles. I arrived last night with their principal operator, and when we got Security passes to get into the outer part of Yellow sector, the principal killed the person who'd got the passes, they want no witnesses. As Commander Kerr has said, we have no idea what their plan is, but it must be something big if the plans have been brought forward so quickly" she finished.
Listening quietly, the General keyed commands into the replicator. The gentle humm wasn't loud enough to cover up the briefing, so it took him a moment to realise that an Oolong tea was now sitting in the replicator.
The china cup was lifted by the little plate underneath it, and steam trailed behind it as the General carefully stepped over to his guests. It took all of his focus to keep from spilling tea as the second person, whose name appeared to be Karadis, supplied her half of the lengthy talk.
Once the briefing was complete, the General passed Karadis her Oolong tea and walked slowly around his desk, deep in thought. This was a lot of information to absorb, and he regretted not being able to take notes.
"Makes sense." he replied, eventually. "Versailles has always been a power nexus. Trade, information, diplomatic favours. Now's a good time to slip past security and get established. Give us a few months to fix things, and getting inside becomes a harder ask. Killing a person draws attention though. Sloppy. Stupid, even. These syndicate types seem stupid to you?"
"On the contrary Sir" Karadis replied "this is the syndicates calling card to anyone who thinks they can be an opposition to them or think they can compete. Sirius De Jong...that's the Principals name, believes that if you create fear you also create harmony because everyone who afraid will fall into line with anything his syndicate wants to do or make happen. I've seen him at work, and I've seen what his people do to those who oppose him and his syndicate. An example being what happened here, and another example is what happened about a month ago. He wanted a shipment of Erecassian dust, the psychotropic drug, brought from Mars to Earth but the pilot chickened out on the approach to Earth and dumped the load. When the syndicate caught up with him he was brought to De Jong. It took four days for the pilot to die and in the end he had one arm left attached to his body.... but no fingers. The pilots body was taken back to Mars and left on the launch pad for everyone to see. There was no note, no sign, every pilot knew who had done it and knew that if they took the syndicates money, they followed through with the job, err they end up the same way. De Jong has no fear Sir, he's a psycho, a whack job, looney tunes, a few cards short of a full deck...and that's what keeps everyone else in check, including his own people."
"So he's vicious and he's smart enough not to get caught." observed the General, sitting down in his chair. "But you didn't ask to meet me just to tell me how cool this guy is. What's your plan to catch him?"
"How cool he is?" Finchley replied questioningly, "The last thing we think is how cool he is Sir. How much of a psycho he is yes, cool, never. In regards to how to catch him and break his syndicate, firstly we need to work out why they moved their plans to come here up by two weeks. Is there anything going to be happening here soon, some...situation that would be a big draw for them to want to come here earlier than they were originally going to be doing?" he finished.
"...You're right. This man doesn't sound cool at all." said the General, deciding that this wasn't the time nor the audience for his usual brand of dark humour. "As for why they're here ahead of schedule, well, between the riots and the black hole, security has been at an all-time-low recently. The longer the syndicate waits, the longer we have to seal any gaps, making their infiltration that much harder. Also, I recently met with the civilian community leaders. Part of the deal I struck will end up helping smaller groups of civilian security coordinate with each other; which, again, makes life harder for folks trying to sneak in. Any other theories?"
"There's something very specific about this Starbase Sir" Karadis said "It's not anything to do with the riots, they were never mentioned when I was there during discussions or plans to come here, and they never mentioned the black hole either. They gave the impression this was more to do with meeting someone or some organisation...it was something big, something significant that's going to be happening here" she finished.
"Nobody springs to mind." replied the General. "All the major players on the station that I know about are busy playing nice until we get out of this mess. Though," he added, nodding, "I'd be a fool not to suspect them of plotting a profit further down the road. As for special events, I'm drawing a blank there too. Until we have something to go on, all we know is that there's an evil man on this station."
Here, the General pushed a button on his desk, causing his terminal screen to rise up. Tapping a few commands, he read the resulting reports, and cross-referenced it with a spreadsheet in a separate file.
"So," he announced, eventually, "you've convinced me that this man is a threat to the station. I have a little over forty marines just about to wrap up some downtime, and some heavy armour in storage. Any chance we can nip this fellow in the bud?"
Finchley looked at Karadis to answer the question. In turn she replied "In the time De Jong's been here General, he's basically built a fortified position. You could send in the Marines with their heavy armour, but I'd calculate you'd loose at least half, is not more, of them before you got to the principal target. The syndicate aren't foolish Sir, they know there's a chance they'll be discovered before that can carry out whatever they're there for, but at the same time they've also chosen to take out as many people who'd come against them and they'll go down fighting. In short Sir, in all but name, this is a syndicate suicide squad. My best solution is to continue working from the inside..."
"...but at the same time Sir" Finchley took up "we need to know if anything of significance is happening, or going to be happening, on or with the station itself. This syndicate will possibly lie dormant, but my guess is that they'll try and build a web of informants, in all spheres of operation on the station, civilian, Starfleet and military. If that happens, all opportunity of surprise on our part is gone for good. This is why we asked if anything significant was happening or going to be happening on the station."
"You have access to the same reports I do." replied the General, shortly. Surprised and unhappy at the news that forty heavily-armoured marines wasn't enough to take this guy out, he idly debated turning the station's own weapons on that sector and just melting this little syndicate bug's stolen fiefdom into a big puddle.
Probably best not to, he decided. He needed the station as intact as possible for the tow, and besides, melting a few dozen homes was liable to cause more paperwork.
Speaking of paperwork, one of the padds on his desk caught his eye.
"The only new event is something that I've only just finished negotiating with the key players." he told them, picking up the padd and poking through its contents. "I'll be going through this in more detail in a few minutes, as part of the senior staff briefing, but you should know that the general plan is to coordinate a mixed fleet as they tow us away from the black hole." he told them, flipping the padd to show them the animated picture of Civilian, Klingon, Romulan, and Starfleet ships towing the station out of danger.
Finchley heard the sharpness in the CO's reply, so he stood up and gestured for Karadis to do the same.
"Thank you for seeing us General, we'll hear more about the towing of the station by the vessels you mentioned in the staff briefing. We'll take out leave of you just now so you can gather your things for the briefing" he finished.
Though not a custom that many officers of Starfleet itself carried out, Finchley and Karadis were still active service officers of Starfleet Intelligence, so they both stood to attention, stiffly saluted the Senior Officer, about turned together and made their way to, and out of, the exit.
=^= End of Log =^=
Brigadier General Jonathan Grey
Lieutenant Commander Finchley Kerr
Chief of Security
Lt Shr'Nesh Karadis
Assistant Chief of Security