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Post-mission reviewing findings

Posted on Mon Sep 6th, 2021 @ 10:35am by Lieutenant P’rel M.D & Captain Jacob Kane

Mission: By Artemis' Bow
Location: Intelligence Offices
1782 words - 3.6 OF Standard Post Measure

ON:

The rumours circulating some of the staff from the shuttlebay were almost too outlandish to believe. The usually were, Kane noted, but in this case it was a pretty consistent story regarding the return of the shuttlecraft and the state the Vulcan had arrived in. Although barely amused by such shenanigans, he was more interested in the fact that she had been at least partially successful in her assigned mission.

Arriving at the intelligence officer's briefing antechamber, which had been partially converted with some lab equipment, nothing seemed amiss and Lt P'rel had obviously cleaned up in the intervening hours. He was more grateful than anything that the distraction of her state of dress wasn't there.

"Lieutenant. Have you had a chance to review the samples you obtained?" he asked, almost immediately. She'd probably prefer him to be straight to the point, anyway. "What can you tell me?"

“Captain” she acknowledged curtly in her usual manner, wondering if the Captain was avoiding the so called elephant in the room to spare her any embarrassment or if he just didn’t care either way. Perhaps, she mused, he didn’t dare bring it up - though that was unlikely given Kane’s general disposition. She flicked away a stray piece of debris clinging to an errant hair in front of her eyes, and then motioned to the master display on the rear wall. “A great deal.”

“Mr Tolbar has completed his analysis of the....samples....we recovered. There is no doubt. The substances on board the foreign shuttlecraft are examples of pilgrim carcass in varying stages of refinement, almost as if it were an ore. The final suspension can be converted into any number of further substances for a variety of uses, such as narcotics and an extremely stable and highly versatile biomemetic compound.”

"Biomemetic compound," Kane repeated. "I feel like I have been hearing that a lot lately." He held out a PADD. "Findings from the Cavalier. It transpires that Commander Jeron was in fact another cloned Starfleet officer, likely working to facilitate someone's affairs in this system."

Nodding thoughtfully she briefly eyed the PADD data; “unsurprising” she commented. She took a nervous breath inwards, subtle to herself but for a Vulcan probably noticeable, though she hoped Kane hadn’t. “Sir. Before we get into whose affairs we might be discussing...there’s something else you should know...”. P’rel switched the open applications on the main screen and brought up the complex DNA strand she had spotted only hours earlier when going over Silnan’s analysis with him. “From the war...what do you know of Operation Norpin Falcon?”

"From the war? I was barely a Lieutenant by the time it ended. Never really privvy to that level of information." Kane eyed the DNA strands. Coming from a distinctly non-scientific background, he wouldn't have recognised anything there even if he wanted to. "You've formed a connection?"

Nodding grimly, the Vulcan considered her own path for a moment; she too had been a Lieutenant during the war and yet stood here still a Lieutenant, in front of a man who had followed a path which led him to the Captaincy. She didn't have any interest in embodying the hypocrisy of Starfleet and the Federation as a command officer, but nonetheless Kane was an interesting paradox in that moment. She sat, perched moreso, on one of the stools by the main display; "Norpin Falon during the war was a program is decimate the Jem'Hadar's ability to function by using Ketracel White. I, similarly, was a Lieutenant and it has taken some years to become aware of all of the interwoven operations...".

She took a deep breath in; "you're aware from my service record that I served in a research post as a biological counter warfare officer. The research I was part of, was part of Norpin Falcon. The most well known part of this is something now quite infamous; when the command staff from the captured Starbase in the Bajoran Sector went behind enemy lines in a captured Dominion ship and destroyed a Ketracel facility. You'll have heard of that operation, I'm sure?" she stated, more than asked.

Kane just nodded wordlessly, absorbing the information as she presented it.

"What is not known, and indeed remains classified at the highest levels, is that there was a second part to the mission. Starfleet Tactical was tasked with the destruction of the facility, to wipe out the majority of the supply of white; Starfleet Medical was tasked with finding a way to make the Jem'Hadar hyper-addicted to the White." The guilt which had followed her for decades, now finally taking form; words she had never spoken to anyone. "I was a willing participant in a policy of genocide..."

Kane glanced around the room somewhat sternly. His intelligence officer had just admitted to war crimes, on board his ship and within his earshot. He was duty-bound as well as ethically-bound to report it. Yet...with everything that was going on, this couldn't spread further than the room they were standing in.

"In war, people do things that they are not proud of, Lieutenant." He pondered carefully his next words. "I...cannot condone your actions or willing participation in this. And while I ought to have you arrested, this is not the time nor the place. I sense that we are on the precipice of something far more sinister, and your experience in this operation could more than make up for those actions."

Shaking her head, P’rel looked at Kane in disbelief. She had never taken him for naive, not once, not until now; he surely didn’t believe that she wasn’t acting as part of official policy. “Sir...there would be nobody to arrest me...” she began, sure that he had misunderstood her; “our working group was a sanctioned plan from the highest levels of the admiralty. The tactical element went ahead as planned...” she recalled how the Jem’Hadar ship never did actually make it back, from what she’d subsequently learned, and the mission took casualties. Despite the cost, it had been successful and even generated a Vorta POW. “...Our issue is that we could never devise a successful delivery mechanism for the genetic code.”

Having barely been commissioned at the time she was referring to, he couldn't be sure exactly how the admiralty would get that sort of sanction through. It was a question for another time - not necessarily one he would fully disapprove of, and certainly those were darker days. "It would have had to be done at the source," he noted, considering her last words. "Hard to pin down where the Jem'Hadar were being produced...not something so easily done." He sighed. "Is any of this helpful in formulating a means of easily tracking down any more of those cloned officers?"

"Of course" she replied, unimpressed that the supposedly eminent Captain was stating the obvious. "Exactly" she corrected, to a somewhat more polite tone given that Kane, apparently as naïve as she was fearing, was the Captain nonetheless. Gesturing to the screen, she zoomed in on a comparative DNA fragment analysis; "the same DNA strand was present in the final stages of the refined compound. If any of this material is being used in the clones - and I suspect that's the only logical conclusion - then the clones are extremely addicted to something; so too would be the users of whatever narcotic substance is being produced, if one is at all. Again, that seems a logical conclusion." She studied Kane's face as the combat veteran digested her words, she could almost sense where his thoughts might be going, as if he were trying to cling to some shred of benevolence in all of this, not ready to accept the crueller natures of people. "There is no way this occurred naturally sir. The piligrim's biological makeup makes them easy to implant and foster this DNA, but there is no doubt that it was introduced by someone with intimate knowledge of Norpin Falcon. That was classified to the highest levels of Starfleet, and of course those who worked within the program as well".

"Well, someone dug out that project and has turned it on Starfleet itself. War is war, but this is treason. It goes against everything the Federation is supposed to stand for." He glanced at P'rel, knowing that her own ethical and moral compass, although sometimes aligned with his, probably felt disdain at his idealism. "This almost certainly leads us back to Rondac, Lieutenant. But I can't just walk into Cardassian space without an invite, and I certainly can't go poking around facilities that are politically sensitive." Perhaps he could, he supposed, but it wouldn't do anyone's career or life expectancy any good. "I've got some trusted senior contacts in the fleet. I'll speak with them and get a steer on the wider situation. Should we somehow find our way into a neighbouring sector, however...there's no reason we can't find ourselves a scenic route home."

Much as she was ready to deride the younger man's innocence about 'what the Federation is supposed to stand for', now was not the time. Age would temper him, she believed, and perhaps one day he would understand that the Federation really only stood for it's own self preservation; no different in any way to the Cardassians, Romulans, Tholians nor any of the other races who were simply more overt and less duplicitous about it. Returning her thoughts to the matter at hand, she offered "particularly with a civilian stealth shuttle on board...". She opened the next set of data, ready to move on and continue her report.

"For now. I'm not sure how long we can keep that one under the radar..." Kane muttered. "All right Lieutenant. As always I trust your discretion in this matter. Inform me when we have a reliable means of tracking down the clones. Rondac will have to wait."

Tilting her head she momentarily had to recall what radar was to understand the captain’s phrase; upon remembering P’rel acknowledged him with a simple acknowledging noise. She followed with “Captain”, to acknowledge the rest in plain terms. Returning to her console, she begun to compile a fuller report for the young man, perhaps the time and writing space would benefit her to the effect of organising her thoughts and proposed strategies. As the door closed behind Kane, she looked to them as if they were a diagnostic board of Kane himself. “So human...” she muttered, considering his fascinating qualities, his weaknesses, and how they contradicted rather than complemented each other.

 

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