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Uncovered Correlations

Posted on Tue Jun 15th, 2021 @ 10:34pm by Lieutenant Finnley Keating VII & Captain Jacob Kane & Lieutenant P’rel M.D & Ensign Kateyo Fenn

Mission: By Artemis' Bow
Location: Engineering Lab
Timeline: MD-03
2502 words - 5 OF Standard Post Measure

Although she would have loved to stay and watch the Administrator squirm as the away party did their inspections on the trader outpost, Finn's skills were required back on the ship. She materialized on the Athena's transporter pad with P'rel on the opposite side. How did she always get the unfortunate pleasure of working with the ice queen? She wondered.

Finn tapped her combadge. "Ensign Fenn, please meet me in the engineering support lab." With Paxton on the Cavalier, she'd need someone else to assist with filtering through the data. This seemed like an opportune time for the Ensign to show some of that skill he spoke of.

She then turned to face P'rel. "I'm going to go and review the data that I transferred to the ship, you're welcome to join if you'd like," Finn offered the opportunity to the Vulcan. Although on the surface she had stated that she was just transferring the logs, she had acquired much more than just that. Where would the fun be in just piecing together corrupted logs that were so obviously altered on purpose? Perhaps the additional information would shed more light on what was going on, Finn thought.

Data analysis hardly being her preferred work activity, the Vulcan simply responded with a nonplussed shrug, and barely a shrug at that. "I assume you took the opportunity to procure more than just obviously bogus logs Miss Keating?" P'rel asked, not hopeful that her colleague had used any initiative, and compounding her lack of faith in the officer.

"I may have transferred over a few extra files." It wasn't a lie, but it was just vague enough that perhaps the Vulcan wouldn't think it was worth her time and would leave Finn to get the work done without her. "I can also have the files sent to your office if you'd prefer to rifle through them on your own." Finn shrugged and then swiftly headed towards the door.

"You know how to reach me if you want a copy transferred," Finn said without looking back to see if P'rel had decided to follow. There was no sense wasting more time with banter, she wanted to get her hands on that data.

P'rel was momentarily taken aback, was the engineer avoiding her? Since her promotion, P'rel no longer outranked her colleague, save for a short period of seniority, and this irked the Vulcan to a slight degree. "Perhaps, a combined analysis might yield better results, Lieutenant". P'rel had considered that with the engineers supposed technical knowledge, and her own broader picture on the recent activities in the sector, that the pair of them might find some clue to link things together.

With a raised eyebrow, Finn looked back at P'rel's last statement, somewhat surprised that the Vulcan had chosen to tag along. They walked in silence towards the engineering lab and Finn wondered what the intelligence officer was going to think of Ensign Fenn. As they neared the doors, she just prayed that the Ensign had made it to the lab as she had requested. The last thing she wanted was for P'rel to think that her entire staff was negligent or incompetent.

Teyo walked into what he thought was the Engineering Support Lab and was greeted by several officers, all in black and blue uniforms. He stood momentarily in the doorway as all eyes fell on him. "This isn't the engineering support lab is it?" He asked, already knowing the answer.

"Science lab," one of them answered, a little condescendingly.

Teyo was given directions to the correct room and arrived a few minutes later. As he walked into the room he saw Lieutenant Finn and a Vulcan stood near one of the control panels. "You asked for me Lieutenant?" He said as he eyed the Vulcan suspiciously. She wasn't in a gold uniform and so her presence peaked his interest.

Finn was already busily typing away, pulling up pieces of information from the file grab. "Help me sift through this data," she pointed to the console next to her and gave Fenn a 'dont' screw this up' look. "It's a variety of logs, transactions, scans, and anything else I could grab. We're looking for anything unusual or files that were tampered with."

She then looked over at P'Rel as she finished setting up the files to be viewed at multiple consoles. "You can access the same data from that console over there," she pointed to a third console just a few feet away. "If you feel like being useful that is," Finn added the verbal jab, unable to hold back after all of the smug remarks she'd had to endure in the past from the intelligence officer.

"Uselessness is not something I am accustomed to Lieutenant" the Vulcan countered, eyeing the newcomer with about as much regard as she had for Keating. Accessing the console as suggested, P'rel began scrolling through the data; cargo manifests were hardly of interest to her nor was she particularly adept at understanding what it all meant, though her Vulcan brain was excellent at spotting patterns, and by extension, deviations of patterns. A few minutes of quiet searching between the three officers, and she spoke up; "Lieutenant Keating; please look at this. There is a serial number of a component which appears numerous times; a consignment of self sealing stem bolts..." she run a code search for the item only to find it appear several dozen times across numerous databases, in no logical order nor place. "It appears this exact item has arrived at the outpost, and been shipped, and been stored, all at the same time on various stardates..." she isolated the reference number and fifty or so rounded square tags all flashed on her console screen; "'s as if the same innocuous item as been copied, and then pasted in to fill a deleted shipment in the logs...".

Teyo stayed at his station while the two women discussed the manifest files. This wasn't the kind of assignment he thought he would be working on with Lieutenant Keating, he expected something a bit more challenging, or at the very least, something much more interesting that looking through hundreds of files from power consumption ratings, to replicator uses. Though, the fact that the Lieutenant has asked for him specially probably meant something, maybe? It was obvious that she didn't like the Vulcan much, the Vulcan who had barely registered his existence. She might have more friends if she showed an inch of politeness.

"Maybe they really like self sealing stem bolts," Teyo said, trying to add humour to a rather boring task. "I mean, who doesn't? Am I right?"

Finn looked at Fenn and tried to silently communicate to hold off on the humor. The one time I actually wished I worked with a telepath, she thought as she doubted that Fenn had gotten the hint.

"Liking self sealing stem bolts is one thing, but the occurrences are suspicious. I noticed it too," Finn turned her attention back to the Vulcan and then down to the console. "I've been looking through the docking logs on corresponding dates. There are logs for two ships that always occur on the same stardate as our mysterious bolts. Some of the logs have been modified to change the docking time, but the couple that I've restored have times that match up with the self sealing stem bolt logs." She pulled up the information she had found for her two counterparts to inspect as well.

P’rel glared at the junior Officer, as if conveying every ounce of conviction that Finnley and her staff were barely adequate. Noticing Keating’s swift deflection, she slowly shifted her glare to the senior of the two engineers; “Clearly both ships simply enjoy stem bolts...” she said with derision; “ I right?”

Finn interjected before her engineering counterpart could interject another smart remark. "If one of the ship's signatures didn't just happen to match the alien vessel in our shuttle bay right now I might agree with you." She said, having dug up the additional interesting piece of information hidden in the log. She turned to look at the Vulcan, who was also aware of the ship and its contents. "And we both know that vessel doesn't have a single cargo container of self sealing stem bolts."

Nodding thoughtfully, P’rel stepped back and began to slowly pace as she formulated hypotheses; “the very ship which Silnan and I were placed on unwillingly, has already been to this station...and now it sits in our shuttlebay. We are clearly being given pieces of a puzzle, but why - and by whom?”

"Ensign," Keating looked to her fellow engineer. "Help me go through these files. They pertain specifically to the two ships that are always docked when there's movement of a shipment of self sealing stem bolts. Maybe we can find some sort of pattern, or a clue to help fill in the puzzle." Finn looked back down at her console, there had to be something else here. The missing piece had to be in these files somewhere.

Teyo nodded and pulled up the information on his console. He didn't have to be a Betazoid to know that this wasn't the time and place to be making jokes, not that the time and place ever existed when there was a Vulcan in the midsts. He cycled through the files trying to find some pattern or behavior that would pull all of this together. He would like nothing more than to solve this riddle and wipe the smirk from the Vulcan's face. But the truth was, he was bored. He couldn't focus his brain enough to find the required information. Give him a toolbox and he would fix the shit out of anything, but give him mundane paperwork and then it was game over. He thought that Keating had understood that about him but maybe she hadn't. Or maybe she was giving him a chance to grow and become a better engineer. If that was the case, she was going about it all wrong, as far as he was concerned. So he shifted through the files and waited until someone reached the conclusion so he could go back to the warp core and fix things again.

It didn't take long for Finnley to figure out the pattern, but she held off for a few minutes hoping that Fenn would spot the same thing. When she looked over at his console, it seemed like he wasn't even trying. Finn tried to recall the work he said he enjoyed: challenging and exciting. Trying to find a pattern through corrupted data was nothing if not challenging and it's not a task she would've trusted with a lower caliber engineer. Maybe he wasn't as talented as he seemed to think? She wondered.

Disappointed that the Ensign wasn't able to identify anything after a while, Keating spoke up. "Here, the ship that matches the signature of the one in our bay always corresponds with an arrival or storage of self-sealing stem bolts. The other always corresponds with a shipment. So it would seem to me that the ship we have is poaching and the other is picking up the goods and must be selling or distributing elsewhere. Which lines up with what we discovered stored on the vessel we have."

The Vulcan nodded thoughtfully as she compiled the presenting information; “So what we are missing, is a second ship” she concluded aloud. She stepped back from the console and turned slightly, as if it would somehow give her comm badge a clearer signal as she tapped it. “ =/\=Lieutenant P’rel to Captain Kane, Lieutenant Keating and I” - she began, deliberately leaving out the Ensign as she glared ruefully at him - “have analysed the data from the outpost, please report to the engineering support lab =/\=“.

Teyo looked at the data that the Lieutenant had managed to pull together, had he spotted that already? No, he didn't think so. Though the details of the second ship did ring some sort of alarm in his head. He went through a couple of files before he found what he was looking for. "I think I have a partial transponder code for the second vessel, the distributing one. I'm trying to recover the full thing but the data may be corrupted."

=/\="This is Kane. I'll be there shortly."=/\= came the response.

Looking at the young engineer, who had somewhat begun to redeem himself, P’rel nodded and offered a barely enthusiastic “good work”, as she turned her attention to the codes on the screen. Her ears proverbially pricked up when she noticed the partial code, and a moment of recognition coupled with apprehension crept from her stomach. “You may not need to...” she said, nudging the engineer aside as she took over the operation of the console. “Computer, display transponder code ID for USS Cavalier, authorisation P’rel two two echo green”. A large body of random alphanumerics appeared on the screen, and P’rel accessed the operating system display to place the partial code, and the security scrambled Cavalier code, side by side. “Descramble for USS Cavalier and match”. A moment later and the console chirped, the text now emboldened in red font in places on both sets of ID codes, they flashed in unison indicating identical code elements, with a readout below stating “88.6% probable match”. Kane wasn’t going to like this. With more sincerity this time, she turned again to the ensign, stepping aside to give him console access again; “well done. See if you can unpick the remaining transponder code, we need to be absolutely certain of this before informing the Captain...”.

"No..." Keating whispered under her breath as she watched over the Vulcan's shoulder. "You don't actually think? But why?" Questions streamed through her mind as she stared at the unexpected data on the screen. How could any Starfleet vessel be playing a part in such a horrific operation? She shook her head and focused, returning to her own console to help Fenn pick through the data. She wanted to be sure, and if it was true, she wanted them to pay.

Teyo watched the Vulcan after he was unceremoniously thrown from his station. He didn't know the Intelligence officer's history but he remind Teyo more of a Romulan than a Vulcan; the arrogance, the God complex, in fact everything about her. He couldn't help but wonder if anyone had ran a DNA sequence on her to prove she actually what she claimed to be. In normal circumstances he would have talked up, but he had promised the Lieutenant that he would try and he was determined to keep his promise to her, at least for a few days.

The Trill claimed his station and continued to run the algorithm that would reveal the rest of the code. "It may take a while," Teyo said, in a rather stiff voice.


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