Literary Challenge #14 : Facility 4028
Hello and welcome to another edition of our writers' challenges! :cool:
Today we start the two-week run of the fourteenth Literary Challenge: Facility 4028
After visiting Facility 4028, you are tasked with writing a security report to Starfleet Command/ Klingon Intelligence. Explain the incidents of the past weekend, why you think the fail-proof systems failed, and propose a solution.
This is the writer's thread -- only entries should be made here.
The Discussion Thread can be found HERE.
We also have an Index of previous challenges HERE.
The rules may change from one challenge to another, but I'd like to remind everyone what the base rules are. These may grow as we move on, so also feel free to give feedback!
Security Report 448721-C
Punch, B. Vice Admiral, CO U.S.S Harmony NCC 93651
To: Nogura, L, Fleet Admiral, Starfleet Intelligence
CC: Quinn, J, Admiral, Starbase 01
After Action Report, Facility 4028, Stardate 89787.87
As per orders, the U.S.S Harmony escorted a Dominion representative to Facility 4028 to exchange the female founder held there in return for Dominion assistance in resolving the situation at Deep Space Nine. While in the facility, Jem'Hadar forces loyal to Kar'Ukan boarded the facility and sabotaged the facility's computer core, disabling all interior and exterior defences and releasing the prisoners held there.
With the assistance of Dominion forces who had also boarded the station without detection, the majority of the inmates were returned to their cells and the female founder was kept safe from harm.
With the assistance of a task force led by Captain Shon, the Harmony and the Dominion vessel were able to escape the area safely.
However, while repairing the facility's computer core, Commander Kover was seriously injured.
While the objective was achived, these events have shown that the security measures in place in Facility 4028, and other such facilities, are insufficent for their purpose. Appended below are the analyses and recommendations of the officers involved in the incident at Facility 4028.
Addendum 1: Asesi, T. Lieutenant commander, security chief U.S.S Harmony.
At first sight, the defences of Facility 4028 are impressive. Photonic security teams, fixed turret emplacements and multiple security fields.
Yet, while the photonic security force is a good counter to the risk posed by telepathic inmates, their reliance on the central computer core is a critical weakness. Likewise, without the I.S.I.S core operational, the turrets failed to activate. The security fields did, however, function adequately.
Another glaring weakness was the inability of the facility's sensors to detect multiple Jem'Hadar boarding parties. Countermeasures for detecting cloaked or shrouded individuals need to be implemented, such as small scale tachyon detection grids at major intersections and doorways.
While the photonic security detail perform their duties adequately, their reliance on the I.S.I.S core has proven to be an exploitable weakness. If these security teams are provided with mobile emitters, they will be able to function when the core is disabled. Likewise, the turrets should be given independant power supplies and targeting computers.
Addendum 2: Hipis, N. Commander, XO U.S.S Harmony
A Jem'Hadar strike team was able to completely disable Facility 4028's defences. If it wasn't for a second group of Jem'Hadar who had boarded the station without detection, as well as the presence of Admiral Punch and Commander Asesi, then the inmates would have gained complete control of the facility with little or no opposition. It has repeatedly been shown that relying solely upon on computer or individual or device never works, so why did Starfleet think it was a good idea to make sure that all security would fail if the computer core was disabled?
Either the photonic security needs to be removed from mainframe control and given independant power supplies, or they need to be replaced by live officers trained to resist mental influences. Or both. In a place this sensitive, there need to be redundancies.
Addendum 3: Kolaht'Takar, Ensgin (provisional), security U.S.S Harmony
The defences at the facility were pathetic. Jem'Hadar teams can easily bypass sensors and infiltrate. The computer core is unguarded and unprotected. There are no emergency failsafes and the prisoners can easily be used as hostages or encouraged to attack any personnel present.
Armed teams should be posted at every intersection in the facility and the core should constantly be under heavy guard. In the event of system failure, the facility's power core should trigger an autodestruct sequence. Better for the soldiers stationed there to die than for a prisoner to be allowed escape.
Addendum 4: Punch, B. Vice Admiral, CO U.S.S Harmony.
I've done all the formal writing, so this time I'm going to be honest. If I meet the idiot who designed what I laughingly call the security on the facility, I am going to kick him in the face. Tie everything into a single computer that isn't even particularly well guarded? And I understand that biological security teams are a liability when you're holding Letheasn, Orion and Undine prisoners. But having a security force that you can just switch off by presing a button is no better!
I agree with my officers - this facility needs redundancies. Back ups. And some way to detect Jem'Hadar other than getting shot by them!
I understand that engineer Kover will be given a medical discharge when he gets the last of the prosthetics fitted. Whoever designed this place has cost me - and the Federation - a damn good officer. Oh, and his stupid design let Taris escape. Well done.
Oh, and I nearly forgot. As terrible as the interior security was, at least it existed at all, which seems to be more than can be said about the exterior defences. A Dominion attack squadron managed to reach the facility apparently undetected and unchecked. Do I really need to remind you why this shouldn't be possible? A facility as sensitive as this needs some kind of force on call! A starship or defensive satellites. Fighter patrols, even. Just something so that we can do something to stop hostile vessels!
Federation Facility 4208 Report
Post Mission Debriefing KDF-MR-4208B Stardate: 89789.17
Location: Regulus Block/Kassae Sector/Ayala System: Federation Prison Facility 4208
MEMORANDUM TO KLINGON INTELLIGENCE
Sir. Short version; The facility is ripe for the taking. Assets held there can be acquired for intelligence purposes with little to no prep time. Points to consider
1-Primary security tied to one core system dubbed ISIS. Disabling said system takes all holographic security offline due to lack of mobile holo emitters. There are ZERO back up systems for this. A simple device will enable immediate and unimpeded infiltration
2- Complete lack of Dominion technology safeguards. During mission, multiple Dominion forces beamed in, remained cloaked in wait. KDF methods for eliminating said forces are effective. Priority for acquiring Dominion cloaks is Critical as facility 2408 security monitoring systems is currently unable to adapt or detect.
2a- External threats in regard to Dominion fleets of ships approaching station are handled as well as internal. NO security is available to halt incoming ships to the station. Suggest Cloaking Devices on ALL ships used to infiltrate station.
3- Conclusion: Lack of Security and suitable back ups in primary security system in conjunction with complete inability to detect dominion technology identifies Facility 4208 as a critical target listing for KDF Intelligence to acquire assets. The Federations lack of Operational Security, as well as the pompous way they flaunt their neutrality will lead to the easy acquisition of the Intelligence assets held here
For the Empire
Lt Gen Tisiphone Pantheons
House of the Honored Fallen
In the Harsh Spotlight Part 1
Krovennan stood motionless on the stand, he was at Starfleet Academy, in the Academy Courtroom, ordinarily, such a court would only be used to settle disputes inside the Academy, but with the lack of courtrooms available within the Federation, they were forced to make do.
Standing next to Krovennan was the Warden of Facility 4028, his program having been copied and sent to the holo-emitters of the courtroom. He had been asked to be present as Krovennan was to testify on the state of 4028's security pending an investigation into the facility's security measures after the Dominion attack. Though to Krovennan, it almost felt as if he was being set up to take the fall...again.
Standing behind the two was the Vorta who had accompanied Krovennan to 4028, Eraun, who had requested to be present, whether through sheer curiosity, spying for the Dominion, or simply wishing to see the man who killed him before suffer was anyone's guess. Krovennan cared little, he would not give Eraun the satisfaction of seeing him flinch.
Apart from the trio, behind them was the senior staff from Krovennan's ship, who were also being investigated for alleged negligence to detect the Dominion Fleet with their own sensors. Also floating around Eraun's head was a camera drone, according to Eraun, the Founder wished to view the proceedings herself, but due to seciurity reasons, she was confined to her ship. Eraun, being the loyal follower he was, arranged the drone for her.
The Judge, a middle-aged Human, eyed the preliminary reports before placing them to one side and facing the court, Krovennan knew this would not be easy.
"Vice Admiral, according to your reports, Facility 4028 was ill-equipped to deal with the task at hand and as such, your advised course of action is a complete review of the measures there. The Warden's counter-claim is that you and your crew should have been able to detect the ship on your own, and as such, you share any such blame, what do you say to these allegations?"
"I find these allegations ridiculous, the Warden is attempting to cover his own failures by throwing the blame onto myself. I would argue that my ship is not a maximum security prison, and as such, we should not be constantly looking for shrouded fleets. Facility 4028 however, being such a prison, and holding a prisoner of unprecedented value to the Dominion, should be on maximum readiness when a crucial space station is overrun by Dominion renegades."
The Warden flinched slightly, he was obviously not happy in hearing his facility be slandered in such a manner, but he soon regained composure as the Judge spoke again.
"Very well Vice Admiral, do you have anyone you would liie to call to the witness stand?"
"Indeed, I'd like to call the officer who accompanied me to the facility, my Chief Medical Officer, Drehera Hipon."
Drehera, who had been seated between Tallasa and Dorryd stood up and approached the witness stand. With the lack of religion, she did not have to swear to tell the truth, instead, she was attached to a lie detector, which Gyzit and an Engineer from Starfleet Academy had both chedk, both conluded the machine was not tampered with.
"Commander Drehera Hipon, you accompanied the Vice Admiral to the facility, correct?"
"Yes, I am a Betazoid, Vice Admiral Darksabre believed my empathic abilities would be useful in discerning any hint of an impending riot or any treahcery from Eraun."
Krovennan could almost feel Eraun wince at the matter-of-fact way Drehera denounced the Vorta's honesty, he could not deny feeling a little twinge of enjoyment from the Vorta's discomfort.
"So the Vice Admiral expected an attack?"
"He expected an attack from within, no-one was expecting Kar'ukan to attack the facility and put a Founder in jeopardy."
The Judge was about to ask more questions when the Warden suddenly interrupted.
"Hang on, the Blacksabre-E is a deep-space warship, correct?"
"Yes, the vessel was constructed as a potenial link between the Federation and the Vilscaran Empire, as such, it is fitted with many experimental systems, some of which Vilscaran in design."
"I see, if I have read the reocrds correctly, the Blacksabre-E is equipped with an experimental Sensor Array system, correct? Could you tell me more about this, what did you call it? Tactics Grid?"
"The technology you are referring to is the Tactical Grid, the Blacksabre can connect to the sensor stations within the current Sector and display them in a holographic grid from anywhere on the ship though the holo-emitters."
"Tell me, how far reaching is this system?"
"The Grid can accurately expand to the entire sector, and can focus on any listed vessel, enemy or friend, in the system, as long as the sensors detect them."
"Then I have to ask, why did this grid not detect the Jem'Hadar ships?"
"The Grid was deactivated at the time of our visit to Facility 4028."
"Hmm, Your Honour, that sounds like a grievous oversight, if the Tactical Grid was not activated, then the crew did not do all they could have done to search for Dominion fleets."
"That is true Warden, Vice Admiral, have you anything to say in your defence?"
"The Tactical Grid is voice-activated, only I can activate the Grid, and I was in the facility at that time."
"Why did you simply not activate it before you left?"
"The Grid cannot function without a Vice Admiral or higher on board the Blacksabre, it is important technology and as such cannot be left in the hands of anyone who is not of a high enough rank to activate such a sensitive piece of equipment."
"Very well, Commander Hipon, you may step down. Now Vice Admiral, I believe you have a claim of your own?"
"Indeed I do, I claim that the facility's security measures are grievously flawed, as evidenced by the events surrounding the Founder's release. It is my wish to instigate a full-scale investigation into the security measures of Facility 4028, and for changes to be made as necessary."
"Very well, firstly, explain to me what happened when Kar'ukan first boarded Facility 4028, as details are vague in these reports."
"Aye, as holo-recordings show before the power was cut, the Founder had been escorted from it's cell, and wa-"
"I object your honour! The Founder is a god, she will not be addressed as an 'it' in my presence!"
"Eraun, you have not been called to the stand, you will remain silent in this court, do you understand?"
"But your honour, surely I must be allowed to state my-"
"Eraun, you are a guest in this courtroom because we saw little harm in it, however, if you disrupt my testimony again, I will have Kri'gak personally escort you to the Blacksabre's Brig, and not even the entire Link could save you in there, am I clear?"
Eraun nodded to the Vice Admiral and was immediately silent, this was a different Eraun to the one that had been killed on the Rapier, but as usual, he was nothing with his Jem'Hadar stuck on a ship they could not transport out of. Anderson had made sure of that with a disruption field over the Jem'Hadar ship.
"Now, as I was saying, the Founder was preparing to leave when Kar'ukan entered, this is when the holo-records end as I'm sure you are aware, he proceeded to proclaim his service to the Founder in the capture of DS9, still under the illusion the Dominion War was still underway, the Founder expressed her disappointment in Kar'ukan's failure to arrive on time, claiming that had he arrived when intended, they would have won.
After this, Kar'ukan, in an action I find unusual of a Jem'Hadar I must say, made excuses to the Founder of being diverted, as if he had simply detoured around some kind of accident on the road. The Founder was displeased and made comments about how she would not allow Kar'ukan to fail her again, I can only imagine an end to his military career, and as such, his life.
Kar'ukan flew into a rage, proceeding to order the death of everyone on the facility except the Founder. It was as this point the I.S.I.S core was shut down, rendering all Photonic entities and automated defenses offline instantly."
In the Harsh Spotlight Part 2
The Judge was silent, obviously mulling over the situation in his head, it was agony until he turned to the Warden at last.
"Warden, the Vice Admiral is insinuating that the defenses on your facility are easily circumnavigated, what do you say in your defence?"
"The Vice Admiral is correct that systems did go offline Your Honour, however, the I.S.I.S system is designed to incorporate a secondary core in such events tha-"
"Warden, the secondary core is a moot point. Your Honour, i should bring it to the court's attention that the secondary core was taken offline at the same time as the primary core, the facility was unprepared for an attack on both cores."
"I see Vice Admiral, so you're saying Kar'ukan knew of the locations of these generators and how to disable them to incapactiate the Warden and others?"
"Considering his efficiency in disabling both of them, and the lack of detection he enjoyed, it is impossible to ascertain for certain exactly how long he has been gathering intelligence on Facility 4028, it would honestly not suprise me if he had sent cloaked ships to spy on the facility since whatever point in time he discovered it's location, which could be any time since he first set foot on DS9."
"I see, continue please."
"With base defences all but gone, the prisoners staged a riot, undoubtedly another Jem'Hadar tactic, and began to gather around influential individuals, these individuals rallied groups of prisoners at choke points in the facility, making our egress difficult.
Before Kar'ukan left the scene, which is again uncharacteristic of usual Jem'Hadar, I attempted to charge him with my Manna'gahr, hoping to deliver enough of a blow to disable him, however, Kar'ukan's size is an understatement, he seems to have more strength per muscle mass than usual Jem'Hadar. Loathe as I am to admit it, I was matched for strength, even with my Vilscaran physiology, and was forced to break combat as his troops closed in, giving him time to return to his ship.
The prisoners we fought were all defeated using non-lethal methods, Drehera keeping a pistol to the Founder's head seemed to rein in the Jem'Hadar, even a Founder cannot survive enough shots to it's mass. We were able to avoid any fatalities.
We were eventually stopped by the final prisoner, a Singh Augment I helped capture long ago, you may remember him. Anyway, I was able to negotiate with this prisoner in order for him to return peacefully, in return, I have sent notes on his research to Starfleet for evaluation."
"That seems like a wise decision Vice Admi-"
"Your honour, the prisoner he is referring to is dangerous, the only reason he knew the Vice Admiral was on was because I had to assign him to talk to him, if the mission had been given to a different officer, then it is likely Starfleet would not have to deal with this Augment's notes at all."
"Warden, I would remind you not to interrupt me in my own courtroom, your objection is overruled, I believe Vice Admiral Darksabre worked well under the circumstances, and on a personal note, I doubt most officers could have done better than the Vice Admiral under similar circumstances."
The Warden slunk back slightly, still keeping in range of the holo-emitter, Krovennan continued, well aware of Eraun's pleasure at seeing Federation officers fight one another in such a manner.
"By the time we had reached the core and reestablished power, most of the prisoners still on the facility had been subdued. Unfortunately, with the lack of power and the confusion of the riot, several prisoners managed to escape, one with disturbing transporter signals in their wake.
The Dominion renegades had called for reinforcements and had surrounded my ship and Eraun's, until a taskforce arrived to distract the renegades, this task force was lead by the U.S.S. Belfast, captained by Captain Shon, this ship was destroyed, no survivors. I believe the BElfast and her crew would be with us if the facility had any exterior defences of any kind, which it does not.
In conclusion, i stand by my claim, a full investigation into the woeful security measures at Facility 4028, as well as permission to hunt down the missing prisoners once the DS9 situation is resolved."
The Warden seemed sure in his decision as to who was in the wrong, the Warden was now panicking in a visible, and if he could, he would be sweating.
"I have come to a verdict, in light of the Warden's lack of ability to defend his own facility, I judge in favour of Vice Admiral Darksabre and grant him all claims, this session is adjourned, all parties are dismissed."
As the Judge left the courtroom, Krovennan turned to see the Warden scowling as the holo-emitter was deactivated, Krovennan could almost hear the collective groans of exasperation of every Photonic guard on the facility.
Eraun seemed disappointed, obviously hoping for a more balanced and heated debate, but Krovennan had little time for such things, he directed Eraun to the shuttle bay, where he would be flown to the grounded ship and then be escorted to Deep Space Nine to convince Loriss to release her grip on the station. Krovennan's crew immediately set to work, beaming up in groups and preparing the ship for immediate departure.
Krovennan entered his Quarters in the dead of night, the ship having set off seven hours ago. Krovennan thought back as to how Loriss refused to believe any evidence given to her during the communication with her when they were on Bajor, and Kar'ukan's willingness to kill everyone in his sight to maintain control. Krovennan did not see peace happening, indeed, he had already ordered level 1 diagnostics of all combat systems...
To: Starfleet Inteligence, Commanding Officer Tsuki Futagami
From: Commanding Officer Lost Fleet of the Valkyrie, USS Ta-Sardar-Gor, Admiral De'Liah
CC: Jennifer Winicott, SI Consultant; Office of Special Inteligence, Depatment of Corrections.
Briefing of events: The Ta-Sardar-Gor was dispatched to oversee the release and transfer of the Female Founder who orchestrated the Dominion War from this side of the Wormhole over 30 years ago and transfer her into the custody of the Vorta, Eraun.
What should have been a simple transfer quickly became a mad scramble for survival as Kar'ukan appeared with a cadre of warriors to steal the Founder from us in some foolish attempt at currying her favor. Imagine my surprise as another Cadre of Jem'Hadar materialized at Eraun's order to protect the founder. If that was not enough facility's primary computer shut down, and every prisoner between us and the tansporter room was freed!
We escaped wit our lives thanks in part to Earun's guards but not without severe injuries and the sacrifice of three ships from the relief force including the USS Belfast.
How, by Khales, did this happen! Facility 4028 was regarded by it holographic warden as the most secure prison in the entire Federation. How then was it so easily and quickly infiltrated bu Kar'ukan and the other Jem'Hadar! How did a Jem'Hadar task force make it unmolested and undetected from DS9 to the facility THREE SECTORS AWAY!
This is unsatisfactory! We have every listening post from Defera to K7 trained on the station and they don't see a large ship movement of that great an area?
This was not a single-point failure. This was a colossal loss of control that cost the lives of good officers.
Summary of failures:
Loss of information control: The primary failure of this mission was its secrecy. Somehow information leaked about our objective to Kar'ukan. Had there been no leak, we would not have infiltrated.
Loss of tactical control:
Kar'ukan's ships traversed the distance between DS9 and Fac 4028 without being discovered. Further, the facility itself did not realize Earun's ship, who preceded us, was there until after we hailed them.
Complete failure of internal security:
For all of the facilitiy's precautions the Jem'Hadar's shroud was not included or it failed miserably. Not one, but two teams of Jem'Hadar warriors infiltrated the facility without a single alarm sounding until Kar'ukan himself stood within two meeters of me!
Lack of redundancies:
I will admit the benefits of a all holographic security staff. Immune to persuation or infiltration. However they were of no use once ISIS went offline. Whats worse, the guard's arms were then available to any freed prisoner to use against us. I took a phaser beam to the left thigh and my First officer was nearly killed.
If this is how we handle security it is a wonder we are still in the fight. Te KDF's intelligence service is not to be underestimated and the Orions are well known for their skills at infiltration and intelligence gathering. If that facility were a Klingon station the people in charge would have been executed.
I plan on visiting Facility 4028 again soon to reinspect it and ensure the leaks are patched. It is my recommendation that additional security be put in place temporarily to include more flesh and blood assets to oversee the holographic staff.
I also recommend we shore up the border with the Klingon Empire. I know my people, they will see this incident as an example of weakness. I guarantee that they will strike and soon.
Fleet Admiral De'Liah,
Commanding Officer USS Ta-Sardar-Gor, Lost Fleet of the Valkyrie.
U.S.S. Trombe, Captain: Amuro Ray
After Action Report, De-classified
Location: Facility 4028
Objective: Acquire/secure Changeling for escort to DS9
The op was successful, but the price was high.
RV'd with cooperating Dominion vessel in orbit of facility, beamed down to secure pickup of target with warden.
All was quiet.
Upon releasing Changling from incarceration, ambushed by hostile Jem'hadar ground troops.
CSO informs that Dominion transporter capability still able to breach our best shields, have advised readings sent to SCE for analysis.
Security measures shut down prison guard and lockdown achieved. Advise that guards should not be shut down in future, as outcome would be far messier without personnel to calm situation.
Both cores shut down, required reboot to lift lockdown. Smart design required all inmates must be secured before reinitialisation.
The Trombe was in a pinch situation upon beam-out. If not for timely intervention by the Belfast, the Trombe, and our allies in the Dominion, would have been surely destroyed. Belfast destroyed in ensuing battle, enabling strategic withdrawal from system to RV with fleet.
Long range scanners indicate lifepods launched, intact, and ignored by Jem'hadar vessels, advise priority one rescue op carried out asap.
Recommend commendations for all crew of the Belfast.
"Computer, end recording." Amuro turns to Zazhid "She was a fine ship, godspeed to her crew."
"You need rest, sir."
"Is that an order from my CMO? Or concern from a loved one?"
Zazhid and Amuro share a warm embrace, Zazhid motions to the door, "C'mon, I'll get Jelun to whip up some haggis, and pull out the whisky. Six will get that report sent soon as."
"Y'know, I don't know how I ever managed without you" Amuro lets out a smile, the first in weeks of tense engagements.
"This old bird is due for an overhaul, what do you say I try to get us all some decent leave" Amuro chuckled.
Zazhid shook her head "You won't stop til I meet your parents, will you?"
"Not a chance!" He said with a twinkle in his eye "Computer, lights off."
Shall Set You Free Pt 1
"From the moment we beamed down, it felt like we were being held hostage. I sort of felt like a mouse in a maze. It was just a gut feeling. Even for a building full of holograms, it was too calm and orderly. Maybe that was it: Who staffs a maximum security prison facility with just holograms?
"Everything seemed far too convenient, so I wasn't terribly surprised when the holographic security officers disappeared, or the Jem'Hadar magically beamed through all the security forcefields, nor was it a surprise that several of the key prisoners are missing. Especially Taris."
"You think she had something to do with it."
Vice Admiral Kim Sharp turned a cold, cobalt blue eye at Admiral Zot Olio who sat at the head of the long, obsidian colored conference table, underneath the dim lamps of the Amy Wycleff Room at Starfleet Command. He was one of the deputy directors of Starfleet Intelligence, the venerable Captain of the USS Triumphant, and Ziri's father.
She had been waiting for this ever since she and the Stellar Drift had been called back to San Francisco following the incident at Deep Space Nine. She adjusted her posture. Her left knee was still sore from her fight with Kar'ukan, and the soles of her feet had begun to ache since it had been years since she had stood at attention this long.
Vice Admiral Retchelle Alvarez suppressed a small smile and turned to Zot. "At ease, Kim." She said with a comforting tone, the melodious lilt of her Spanish accent echoing off the stale walls.
She watched a look of relief cross the blonde haired woman's face, and relaxed to parade rest.
"Of course I do, but Admiral, she couldn't have gotten out of there without help. You know what's funny? For the first time in my life I find myself wishing I could just talk to Sela. I'm beginning to wonder if I had her all wrong. Perhaps...I've been on the wrong side...."
Kim's voice trailed off and she looked somberly at the burgundy colored carpet.
"Do you believe the Dominion had something to do with it?" Zot asked.
The human female turned her attention back to the older Bolian man and younger human woman.
"Possibly. If they are, I'd say they're likely only puppets on a larger stage, and I'd wager if a Romulan or a Klingon officer tried anything, they would be more likely to be shot on sight. I think first and foremost, we need to look internally.
"Why was it that Singh knew how to manipulate the main computer? How was it that the holograms were so easily manipulated? Granted, if we go by the lessons from Isaac Asimov, complex automatons are often the easiest to coerce even without changing the programming, but it would still have to take a lot of work and exposure to them."
Kim paused, and turned her eyes to the Starfleet seal on the front of the table, and then glanced at the woman to Zot's right.
"How long have you known Taris was an Iconian collaborator?"
"Thank you, Admiral, but we will ask the questions here." Vice Admiral Alvarez said cooly, leaning forward. The JAG officer typed into a keypad and then took a sip of her chai tea.
"Fine then." Kim shot the young woman an icy glare.
"Do you suspect anyone in particular, Admiral Sharp?" A voice from the shadows startled Kim a little. She turned to her right and noted a figure walking into the light of the conference room.
Instantly, she recognized the dark haired Vulcan, dressed in a V'Shar Colonel's uniform. A flood of emotions threatened to overwhelm her as she looked over Sevak, her slender, athletic frame seeming small under the pale light.
Sevak paused a few paces away from Kim, noting the change in her expression from mild shock to one of disappointment.
"No, Colonel Sharp, I suspect no one." She replied coldly.
Kim allowed herself to look directly into the soft emerald eyes of her beloved wife, searching her for answers. Sevak had been a member for the V'Shar for a long time, and served with them throughout the Dominion War.
However, when she came aboard the Stellar Drift as Chief of Security, her orders listed her as Starfleet. Even when questioning Admiral Olio about her assignment, he insisted that she had resigned from the V'Shar to pursue a career in Starfleet. Confronted with this, and the realization that she had been unknowingly made a traitor to the Romulan people was a lot for one person. It was all she could do to keep her composure.
Shall Set You Free Pt 2
Admiral Olio paused, glancing first between Kim and her First Officer, and then at the two MACO officers standing on either side of the flags near the doorway. He could tell both their eyes were on the Admiral and the Colonel.
A jumble of emotions swirled inside Sevak's head as she stared at her wife, her vision becoming blurry with tears. When she had first been given this assignment she thought nothing of it. Her relationship with Admiral Sharp had been platonic at the time, bordering on disdain. She would do her job as aboard the Stellar Drift, and her job with the V'Shar and that would be it. She never counted on falling in love with Kim, or becoming something more than just a minor department head. She could see Kim, aside from her anger, questioning her, wondering about her loyalty.
A lot had happened in the past 72 hours. Not only had she found that she had been unknowingly aiding an Iconian collaborator for the better part of a decade; but her late wife had also perhaps been an Iconian conspirator, and had Sela framed for her own assassination; but the woman she loved the most had been spying on her as a member of the V'Shar for the past four years.
"It wasn't my intention to hurt you, Kim." Sevak said softly, bringing her hand quickly to her face and wiping the tears with the cuff of her sleeve.
"Colonel Sevak was given this assignment the moment you arrived back into the Federation. It wasn't personal, but you did live on Romulus for six years. We had to make sure what side you were on." Admiral Olio said.
"Respectfully, Admiral, please refer to me as Colonel Sharp. If Admiral Sharp has no objections." Sevak said with a hint of cautiousness.
Kim remained quiet, her eyes still fixed on the raven haired V'Shar officer, trying not to let her emotions get the best of her. A lifetime of trust. Even when the two of them seemed to hate each other there was that level of respect between them. She had crossed paths a few times with Sevak during the war, but not many since Sevak was mostly a ground commando, and she a starship officer. She knew Sevak to be honorable, dedicated, and put her loyalties to Vulcan and its allies above anything and everyone else. That was even before her selection for First Squad. Her V'Shar training had only gone to further reinforce that philosophy.
She also knew that as much as it would hurt Sevak to betray a friend or even someone she loved, she would do so if it meant preserving the greater good. "The needs of the many", as the Vulcans liked to say. She was but a single person, insignificant in even in Sevak's world. At least that's how it had been for the forty years the two had known each other.
"We'll talk later." Kim said in an even tone that was calm enough that Sevak felt a cold chill through her core.
"We didn't find out about Taris until recently." Zot said. "Originally, Sevak was to have been recalled, but in light of the new evidence against Taris we needed to know everything you knew."
"Which isn't much." Kim quipped.
Admiral Olio nodded. "So we discovered. There was also a small problem that after the operation was over, she refused to return to Vulcan when we ordered her."
"Obviously, since you still retain your commission, your ship and even been promoted several times we don't view you as any kind of threat." Admiral Alvarez said. "In fact, you aren't here as any sort of punishment at all."
Admiral Olio leaned back in his chair and stared for a moment at the glass of water in front of him.
"The security breeches at the facility were also not your fault, nor is it your responsibility to correct them. That would be mine. The job of retrieving the people that escaped will fall on Colonel Sevak. Sevak is in command of the esteemed First Squad--I believe you are familiar with them." He said.
Kim nodded, feeling numb. "They were one of the most highly decorated ground units during the Dominion War. I served alongside them during the Liberation of Betazed.
"However, Sir, the facility is outside Vulcan space. The V'Shar has no jurisdiction."
Shall Set You Free Pt 3
Admiral Olio couldn't help a smile. "I can't speak on an official note as to the Federation Council's, or the Vulcan High Command's decisions to involve them.
"Off the record, I personally agree with your assessment that someone within Starfleet must be involved. It also makes sense to me personally, that we involve the V'Shar. They're highly skilled, and they aren't so easily manipulated. Keep in mind, we are after some of the most dangerous people in the galaxy. They are to assist in the apprehension of the escaped convicts in addition to other duties that concern both the Federation and Vulcan.
"In addition, we must note that your service with Starfleet, Admiral Sharp, has been nothing short of exemplary. Instead of allowing your personal feelings toward the Dominion cloud your judgment, you acted justly and diffused the situation as well as could be expected. Four years ago, or even two years ago, I don't think it would have come out the same way.
"The Stellar Drift is a credit to the fleet, and has become a celebrated vessel. I must admit to questioning your qualifications to command a science vessel when you were given the assignment even on such short notice, but I don't think I can imagine you commanding anything else.
"Which is why it pains me to do this: Effective Immediately, you are to be transferred from command of the USS Stellar Drift, NCC-92883 to the field division of Starfleet Intelligence. You will report to your new field office at Starbase 23 in exactly one week. I believe Captain Suari is headed that way. You may hitch a ride with her."
Kim stood aghast for a moment.
"I know it's a lot to fathom. Admiral Alvarez will also be joining you. You will be working directly with members of the Tal'Shiar in your next assignment. I am not at liberty to discuss it here, however. You will receive your orders when you arrive at Starbase 23. As for the Stellar Drift, we have chosen Captain Anja Tailo to command, and Lieutenant Commander Thol will take over as First Officer."
Kim raised a brow questioningly, and looked from her wife to Admiral Alvarez.
"You want me to work with the Tal'Shiar? With all do respect, Sir, if you want to just kill me there are better ways of doing it."
"Calm down." Sevak said. "You won't be killed."
"Oh, easy for you to say." Kim said, her voice dripping in sarcasm. "What is it with you green-blooded, pointy-eared people trying to take advantage of me?!"
"We green-blooded, pointy-eared people can't resist charming, gullible human personalities." Sevak rebuffed, which caused Kim to roll her eyes.
"Everything will be fine, Kim." Admiral Olio said.
"Are you so sure? Regardless of my innocence, I belong to a Romulan house that allied itself with Taris for over a decade, and she escaped from prison under my watch. To them, I am not just a traitor, but I am the kind that you shoot on sight."
"Commander Tovara has assured me that nothing of the sort will occur. Besides, the Hvalli house was condemned when Vaihuu tried to kill Empress Sela, and you've made plenty of trips to the Empire since then. If they wanted you dead, you would be."
Kim frowned and grasped her hands in front of her.
"Respectfully, Sir. What about the security at 4028? Obviously, we have serious holes we need to correct there, too, and I am personally not comfortable leaving it under the care of a bunch of holograms that can be turned off or manipulated. If personally suggest at least leaving a garrison of MACOs, or something. Heck, I will post security officers from the Stellar Drift, or perhaps leave the USS Sparrow in orbit."
"Colonel Sevak will be assisting me with that, and we will come up with something. I promise you." Admiral Olio said, rising to his feet. "If there is nothing further, I will leave you to your ship and your next assignment. Good luck, Admiral. Dismissed."
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