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Posted on Thu Feb 11th, 2021 @ 5:24pm by Captain Jacob Kane & Maxwell Brand & Lieutenant P’rel M.D

Mission: The Shadow of Arachne
Location: Intelligence Office - USS Athena
Timeline: Post-Mission
1311 words - 2.6 OF Standard Post Measure

Athena's intelligence office seemed to be the place where Kane spent most of his time post-mission these days. Between work orders and structuring Athena's repairs, he'd been abruptly summoned by Lieutenant P'rel. Apparently it was urgent, given the tone of the message. But then he couldn't usually tell.

Walking into the room, Kane noted the quiet figure of Maxwell Brand, their SI liaison, standing nearby. He smiled politely, but gave nothing else away. Instead he deferred to the Vulcan.

"Lieutenant P'rel." Kane greeted the intelligence officer. "It would be remiss of me to ignore your assistance in returning the ship to normal space at the height of our difficulties. Good work." He moved on quickly, knowing she wouldn't dwell on it either. "I'm going to assume you've had a chance to review the logs regarding Mr Brill and the Breen connection?"

It had been a few days since the latest crisis had been nullified, and with Athena nearly at the Starbase the Vulcan officer had finally had chance to explore her concerns and misgivings about Lieutenant Commander Brill; two of whom still sat in the Athena brig. She had summoned Kane to discuss her findings, and was not looking forward to the conversation. "Indeed Captain" she began, pulling up her reporting data on the main display screen at the rear of the small room; not being one to pull any punches at the best of times she leaped right in - "As far as I can discern, the Breen have occupied the old Dominion cloning facility on Rondac, and that is where Mr. Brill comes from..." she scrolled through the biometric data for Kane to view, "...I believe we have the original in custody and the other two were clones"; P'rel moved the data across to the personnel transfer orders for the USS Pico. "Captain, I am convinced that Captain Munro deliberately placed Brill on the Pico. This is something we did not have time to continue discussing owing to...extraneous events...but I believe Captain Munro was involved somehow". She left the accusation in the air, waiting to see Kane's reaction; as certain as was in her logical deduction there was no good way for a Captain to hear that their friend and fellow Captain may be a traitor.

Kane didn't flinch too hard. He'd known Captain Munro a long time ago, but not more recently. People changed.

"This is valuable intel, Lieutenant," he agreed. "I expect you're compiling and cross-referencing the key players here. Munro, Brill, this Breen - Sen Tekk. There will be more."

"Lieutenant P'rel has a list of names. We're working on refining that list, Captain." Brand's trademark calm, smiling expression gave little else away.

"Good. I don't want us to get blind-sided again. On the contrary, it would be satisfying to be able to go on the offensive - root out some of these rotten elements and dish out some justice of our own," Kane said, thoughtfully tracing his beard.

P'rel eyed Brand sideways; she had no time for the spy. She didn't trust him. Here in the nondescript and ambiguous position of a liaison officer; that in itself part of her own role. She'd been around the Federation and Starfleet far too long to put anything past them; and the idea that Starfleet Command would place spies on high value assets like the Athena, and then hide them in plain sight, was amongst the very least of the Machiavellian things they would do.

"Indeed Captain, there may be an opportunity on the front" she started, preparing to lay out a logical trail for Captain Kane - a fine enough but distinctly illogical man. "You remember Commander Brill was reprimanded for dealing in stolen Jemonite, and that Intelligence already believes him to be the source of the bio-agent responsible for incapacitating the crew aboard Starbase 50" the Vulcan stated more than asked. P'rel continued, barely skipping a beat for breath; "It stands to reason that the Breen were exerting considerable influence over him". She recalled the interrogation of the original Brill, and the lie about his family which pushed him to breaking point, "I have reliable information that his family are unharmed, which largely leaves the influence of money". She loosened her collar a little, and brought up the index entry on Cardassian Jemonite, "this is valuable beyond imagination Captain" she started, "already a rarity before the war, but since the Dominion bombardment of Cardassia Prime finding any genuine samples are minor miracles". She looked to see if Kane was following her trail of thought.

"Almost as valuable as latinum - more so in some circles," Kane observed. "And definitely more beautiful. So Brill was likely involved in smuggling. Stands to reason Munro could have gotten wind of this and either wanted in or wanted to shut him down. Either way, he ended up dead at the hands of the Breen. Which in my mind suggests he was deliberately targeted - not just a convenient lure to bring us running." He thought on things for a moment. "Continue, Lieutenant. I suspect you're not telling me everything."

"Sir" P'rel acknowledged, pacing a little as she customarily placed her hands behind her back; "consider the resources required in putting together an operation like taking down a Starbase, or establishing a presence on Rondac..." she relayed a small element of the list formulating in her mind, "...transportation, raw materials, refined materials, power generation, medical supplies, biochemical agents..." she looked Kane in the eyes as she finished, "and most valuable of all sir, secrecy. There are huge gaps in our intelligence here, and our allies are no better off either so far as Mr. Brand and I can piece together. To keep such significant activity quiet takes a lot of...." she searched for the human phrase in her memory; "...hush money, I believe you'd say. And jemonite may only be the tip of it sir."

"Historically the best way to track down a group like this is to 'follow the money' as it were," Kane nodded thoughtfully. "It concerns me that there are gaps - particuarly on the Cardassian side of things. As though they maybe don't want to look too hard. I suppose the rebuilding process since the war has been long and difficult, and this sort of thing is more likely to happen than not." He shook his head. "Who'd have thought we'd be missing the Obsidian Order?"

P'rel tilted her head slightly in agreement; for as much as the Order were ruthless they were admirably efficient. She'd developed an appreciation for Cardassian society during her posting after the war, and had often concluded she'd had have made a good Cardassian. "I may be able to help there, sir" she began, thinking of her young protégé', Silnan, working on Cardassia IV still. "If you would permit me the use of a shuttlecraft, a few days and fewer questions, I believe I can fill in some of the gaps". She arched her brow, almost as if daring him to refuse her.

Kane held her gaze for a few moments. Silently, they both knew what she was asking for and what it entailed. Another Captain would baulk at the idea. He, on the other hand, was subtly impressed. Not only that she was forthright, but that she was of the same mind as he was. "Shore leave permission granted, Lieutenant," he replied meaningfully, a glint in his eye.

"Shore leave, sir" P'rel replied with a faux acknowledgement of her request being granted; "aye". She nodded politely, and turned on her heels to leave the suite. She had work to do before departure, which included finding the replication pattern for a most delicate flower and securing a micro containment unit for it. Both of which would need to be smuggled through Cardassian security checkpoints at least once.


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