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Christmas Concerns

Posted on Tue Sep 7th, 2021 @ 7:49pm by Captain Jacob Kane

Mission: By Artemis' Bow
Location: Starbase 47
Timeline: 2396 - Post Mission
1195 words - 2.4 OF Standard Post Measure

The whole idea of bringing his concerns to a Commodore didn't really sit all that well with Kane. With everything he and his crew had been through over the last few months, meeting with a senior fleet officer felt like the right thing to do. And yet he was still concerned about trust; whoever was behind the strange events they'd witnessed had been capable of advanced cloning. That meant there was a chance that anyone he met could be a duplicate or fake.

Having arranged for the meeting in private, he'd made sure that P'rel and Brand had secured the conference room. Having two trusted intelligence officers prepare things gave him a little bit of comfort. The rest, he had to put to faith in the Commodore.

Ehestri was surprised by the request to speak. She was not his Task Group Commander or even in his Task Force anymore but she could not deny a request like that. The woman walked in dressed for an event that she had been invited to with a long ball gown and her hair up in a delicate hairdo. "Good Evening Captain." She smiling brightly as she held out her hand to shake.

He felt strange shaking her hand; like he should have been more relaxed than he was. She looked and sounded the same as the last time they'd met (the dress aside).

"Commodore...if you don't mind me asking before we get started," he almost didn't want to ask, but he needed to have a little bit of reassurance. "Do you remember when we last met? And what happened?"

"Starbase 621." She said pulling her hand back looking at him concerned. "It was a Terrorist attack and I am pretty sure I still have not recovered from the lack of sleep of that event. Is everything okay Jacob?" She wondered genuinely concerned as she indicated the seat at the end of the conference table.

He winced at her use of his first name, but maybe that was one thing that would help confirm her identity. Assuming she hadn't been replaced before that...

"I want to believe everything is okay, Commodore. I truly do. But there have been things that have happened in recent months that I can't ignore." He considered his next words a little cautiously. "My crew and I have discovered an alarming sequence of events all linking back to a former Dominion cloning facility in the Rondac system, deep in Cardassian space. Officially, it was destroyed during the war. However, we have encountered at least half a dozen clones actively operating in Starfleet, in various guises." He let that one sink in for a moment. "Along with artificial lifeforms, there are strict rules around cloning in the Federation - specifically that it is completely outlawed."

"It is completely outlawed, but interesting that you bring this up after events on a mining colony nearby." Ledeya mused what he had said for a moment. She looked at the blank wall as her thoughts went inwards, connecting the dots and dashes of events. It was not something simple to clone someone, it was hard work and cost credits. "Do you know who these clones are?" She wondered delicately seeing now for the first time why he looked so nervous. He was suspicious of her and the fact she could be a clone.

"We've met at least one. A Bolian. Commander Brill. He was serving on the USS Pico when we first encountered him...before three more of his exact copies tried to blow up my ship." Kane felt a little annoyed by that memory. "The evidence is there of others; a Bajoran Commander on the Cavalier for one. What bothers me is that they seem to be working with other major powers. We've seen evidence of Breen and Tzenkethi involvement along the way. I can't help but feel as though there's something else going on that we're not seeing." He took a frustrated sigh. "It's like someone has taken a Dominion playbook and is rewriting the rules."

"How.. peculiar," Ledeya commented on rising to go to the replicator."There are never rules in war," Ledeya said softly wondering if that was what they were heading towards. Were the clones a prelude trying to work out how Starfleet worked for a war that no one was prepared for again? "Drink?" She demanded.

"No." He replied abruptly, still deep into his concerns, before he quickly added, "thank you." He let her order, his uncharacteristic impatience almost getting the better of him. But he held his tongue until she returned. "I didn't realise we were at war, Commodore." It would make this whole thing a damn sight easier, he added silently.

Ledeya cocked her head to one side, then another as if she was looking for something in him. "The universe is always at war Captain. We lesser mortals just never realise until it is beyond our power to strike first." She commented taking a deep sip of the amber liquid in her larger than normal glass. She needed some dutch courage for this conversation and for the even she still needed to attend after this.

He was a little surprised that she'd said that. It almost sounded like something he himself might say, under normal circumstances. Perhaps she was suggesting beneath that phrase that she was approving of him 'striking first', but he said nothing on that. Plausible deniability for later. "If I can ask one last question?" he said. "Have you come across any Starfleet project going by the name 'Operation Midnight'?"

Ehestri pursed her lips. “Nothing springs to mind but I was medical until a few years ago. I do know a lady that you could talk to.” She mused thoughtfully thinking of Agrax and her checkered past.

"I'll bear that in mind," Kane nodded sharply. "Maybe it's's been a long few months. Thank you for your time, Commodore."

"I am always here for you Captain. Do you have plans for the Christmas period?" She wondered quickly not allowing him to escape her just yet. She was worried about him, she knew just how events like he was currently dealing with went.

Kane cringed on the inside, though kept it away from his face. "No," he simply replied. It looked from her dress that she was already enjoying the festivities. He wasn't the type to. "We ship out in the morning, and I still have a new XO to meet."

"What a pity. I thought to invite you to the party tonight so I do not have to suffer alone, but meeting ones new executive officer would take precedent over that even for me." She said rising to her feet shooting back the last of the liquid in her glass returning it to the replicator.

"The thought is welcomed." Kane didn't particularly welcome the idea of being social with the Commodore or her crew, but that was his personal preference and he wasn't about to be rude. "Thank you again, Commodore. Enjoy your evening."

With that he made for the exit. He didn't necessarily have answers, but at least he wasn't coming away with even more questions.


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