USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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I'm Not A Waiter

Posted on Tue Apr 25th, 2017 @ 12:43am by Lieutenant Commander Martha Cusack & Lieutenant Commander Gareth Tau

Mission: S1E5 - Unknown Territory
Location: Cargo Bay 2
Timeline: Mission Day 82; 14:10

Martha entered the cargo bay where the beacon was still sat behind its forcefield. It had come back clear but Martha wanted to be sure there wasn't any kind of hidden delay which triggered an detonators the scanners couldn't pick up - ten minutes had passed and it was clear the device was seemingly harmless.

=/\="Cusack to Ghatto. Please meet me in Cargo Bay 2 as soon as you can - and bring your decryption kit with you - we've got a nice computer for you to break into for us"=/\= Martha said.

=^=Ghatto here,=^= Cat responded. =^=On my way.=^= She closed the channel and grabbed her spycorder and a small PADD before she headed out of her office and for the cargo bay.

"Computer - deactivate forcefield. Authorisation Cusack-3-9-Alpha-Tango" Martha said.

With the forcefield deactivated Martha waited patiently for their colleague to arrive. She'd not spoken to Gareth before and felt quite nervous about initiating a conversation with him - although sooner or later it would have to happen because Claudia had instructed them to work together to work out where the beacon had originated from.

Gareth walked into the cargo bay at a brisk pace until he assessed a Tac/Sec officer standing over a probe that had not been disassembled yet.

"What am I doing here?" he asked abruptly. "If you expect me to pull this apart myself, then you're about to be disappointed. Get someone from Engineer down here on the double!"

Martha sighed. "I'm here to pull it apart - you're here to analyse the components with the Lieutenant from Intelligence when she arrives. Once it's all apart I will assist with the analysis of the other components whilst Ms Ghatto works on the computer"




Martha looked over to hear the doors open - glad for a more familiar face to be present to avoid the awkwardness of talking to Gareth. Once the first dialogue was over with it would be fine - hopefully it would come to her as the assignment progressed.

"I'm glad you could make it. We've beamed this on board as it was emitting an odd distress beacon but the warp signature it was emitting doesn't appear to be anything on our database. The Captain wants us to take it apart and report back to her at the briefing in an hour" Martha said.

Cat walked in with her PADD and spycorder and came to a stop when she saw the other personnel gathered around the probe as if it belonged to them. What made it worse was the fact that there was no forcefield around it. "What the hell!?" she exclaimed. "Computer, raise a level four containment forcefield around the probe in Cargo Bay Two!" she said before she looked at the others.

"What kind of idiot brought in an alien probe without quarantine procedures?" she asked as she looked at the others.

"If it was going to do something, then it would have already done it." Gareth's dry tone indicated he felt he was pointing out the obvious. "Might as well crack it open and see what we have. On the face of it, I see a Class-7 probe with about four-and-a-quarter trillion kilometer maximum range, which means it wasn't particularly designed for deep space. Its micro fusion engine is only good for about 3 to 4 months at best, as it powers significant stealth capability in addition to its long-range sensors and subspace transmitter." With his droll explanation out of the way, Gareth arched his eyebrows in speculation. "It's surprising that we stumbled across it, particularly with the signs of modification. Somebody is bound to come looking for it--or us."

"Is the subspace transmitter offline?" Cat asked as she approached it, ignoring the man's tone. "Is it transmitting or receiving? Are the sensors online? Have you received any telemetry from it? And if you're so certain that someone is going to come looking as you say,
how do you know it's not a trap and why the hell would you act as if it's harmless if it is?"

"From the condition it's in, I'd rather confidently say it's deactivated. It would help if we had someone to pop it open and take a look." Gareth crossed his arms and looked around. He left it without saying that it would not be him.

Cat suppressed the urge to roll her eyes as she began an aggressive scan with her spycorder, knowing that it had more options than standard tricorders. She looked at the small display and muttered under her breath before she switched to a different mode of scanning. Suddenly, she stopped and looked at Gareth. "It probably wasn't picked up by the scans, but there's traces of Thalmerite which is a highly explosive compound capable of destroying starships in sufficient quantities. The Klingon vessel IKS Toh'Kaht was destroyed by a thalmerite explosive device that Hon-Tihl placed near its reactor core shortly after its passage through the Bajoran wormhole."

"Interesting," Gareth said. Now that the examination had begun, he was all ears. "It could potentially serve as a guided bomb in that case. But if so then what was its target? There's nothing out here."

"My guess would be whoever was closest to intercept the beacon," Cat said as she continued to work her spycorder. "There doesn't seem to be enough Thalmerite here to cause an explosion big enough to take out the ship, but the probe would be destroyed. Do we have an explosive experts on board?"

Gareth shrugged and looked to Martha. "Who do you recommend, Commander?"

"I'll get Lieutenant Zuzan down to come and have a look at it - after all she's the best we have for this kind of thing" Martha replied.

=/\="Cusack to Zuzan. Please make your way to Cargo Bay 2 with some explosive disarmament apparatus. Make it as quick as you can please"=/\= Martha said.

Amber was in the armoury analysing the data from the latest security drills when the call for her presence came over the comm. Pausing from her analysis she tapped her commbadge to reply.

=/\="Coming Commander"=/\= Amber replied.

A few minutes later Amber arrived in the cargo bay placed the toolkit down on the floor next to the probe Amber looked at the trio who were already there.

"What do we have here?" Amber asked.

Gareth recited his litany for the probe's specs, much to everyone's bored chagrin. He also added Cat's assessment as an inconsequential addendum.

"What do you make of it?" Gareth asked, his tone indicating the expectation for immediate answers.

Amber looked at the probe before determining that although there were traces of explosives in it which the sensors had not picked up initially it would be harmless one she'd done what she had to with it.

"Alright...the Lieutenant's scan is correct and there's enough thalmerite
here to blow the a hole in the bulkhead but give me a few minutes and I'll have it nullified so you can continue with the analysis. With your permission Commander?" Amber asked.

Martha nodded to confirm she wanted Amber to go ahead with it.




With the thalmerite successfully nullified Amber stepped away and allowed the team to get on with analysing the beacon - whilst she took a sample away with her in a secure container to analyse for any possible traces of its origin.

"Alright let's get this thing open" Martha said.

Within a few minutes the beacon was in a sufficiently dismantled state where most of its parts could be accessed easily enough for them to be removed. The computer was still concealed by a few parts but it wouldn't take long to get the sensors, transceiver and propulsion units out of the way.

"So...it looks like we have quite an assortment of parts here. This isn't the standard internal configuration of a Class 7 probe" Martha commented.

"And the encryption on the databanks is off the charts," Gareth said after glaring at his tricorder. "I don't know if I'll be able to access anything--its route, its programming, anything!" His tone turned gruff and sarcastic. "This is just all I need today."

"Let me handle the encryption," Cat said. "It's what I'm best at. Go get a drink if it's bothering you that bad. If you sit here and grumble, it's going to take me three times as long to break it." She reached for her spycorder and PADD and sat down with a frown to begin her work.

"Works for me." Gareth left a PADD on the ground as he walked away. "Upload whatever you find and have it sent to my office."

"Erm...I don't think so. You were asked to assist both of us here - not in the luxury of your office. However as you're walking away you can go and get me a cup of tea if you'd be kind enough to do so" Martha commented.

"No," Gareth replied flatly. He crossed his arms and settled in to wait.

Martha then started to disassemble the beacon as quickly as she could without breaking anything. They'd already been at it for fifteen minutes and they had at best 30 minutes to complete the investigation and allow themselves time to get up to the observation lounge.

The tricorder at Gareth's hip began beeping.

"Finally. We're getting somewhere." The abrasive scientist retrieved his tricorder and began assessing the readings it was uploading from the probe.

"The launch codes are in Klingon, of all languages," Gareth mused. "Though I see fingerprints of Cardassian and Romulan as well. It would seem this probe has traded hands quite a bit through the black market." He lowered the tricorder to give Martha a level look. "What we can conclude is this was most definitely not sent by any lawful party."

Martha analysed the data and decided it would be best to send the components up with Amber for a more detailed analysis. The data on Gareth's tricorder was clear about its origin in terms of the species the technology belonged to but its exact origin was still unclear.

"Alright. I think we can assume whoever set this is trying to draw something or someone into a trap - I think we should take this to the briefing once I've had these components sent up to the strategic operations centre for analysis. I will speak to the First Officer after the briefing and arrange a meeting with Captain Ainscow to voice these concerns. And by the way - you owe me a large cup of tea seeing as you sat on your backside for most of the time you were supposed to be helping" Martha commented.

"I'm a scientist, not a waitress," Gareth grumbled. "Now don't we have a briefing at hand?"

Martha looked right at the man with a very unimpressed look on her face. Gareth hadn't endeared himself to her at all - his lack of help with disassembling the probe for one hadn't been appreciated - although Martha was willing to let it slide - this time.

"Oh I think you owe me a cup of tea and a piece of cake at the very least if you don't want me to tell the Captain how lazy you were during this analysis. I don't want to bore you any longer Gareth so you're free to go. Have a nice day" Martha said.

Gareth blinked at her, genuinely unable to tell whether or not she was serious.

"I don't care either way," he said as much to himself as to Martha. "Put it on my tab." He quickly left before anyone could make any more inane requests.

With that the Vindex's Third Officer turned around and walked back to the disassembled components and called Amber to come down to collect them with a security team to ensure they were securely transferred to the armoury. With that done and Catalina taking the computer unit away for analysis elsewhere Martha secured Cargo Bay 2 to ensure it couldn't be accessed by anyone that wasn't involved with the investigation of the beacon.

 

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