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Green Rabbit Project

Posted on Thursday February 23rd, 2017 @ 10:18pm by Commander Magnus Sterling & Ensign Mirenna Ral

Mission: Enemies Closer
Location: Intelligence Center, USS Excelsior
Timeline: MD 4 1155 Hours

Excelsior's Intelligence Center was much exactly as Sterling had left it earlier that day, an enormous amount of data processed through this facility's terminals, intelligence officers combing the data streams for useful or insightful clues regarding all manners of avenues of interest. This time he found Ensign Mirenna Ral engrossed in her research at one of the sit-down stations, and he spotted the Chief Intelligence Officer reviewing information from the master display.

Sterling chose to hold off on receiving an update on Ral's progress for the time being, and instead wanted to get to know Ral's supervisor. With hands clasped behind his back, Sterling casually stepped down into the Pit, as it was called, beside the tall vulcanoid woman. "Any intergalactic incidents of note, commander? Any civil strife? Nascent social upheavals? Incipient political turmoil? Perhaps a minor military action?" While Sterling spoke in jest, he knew that any of these developments could well destabilize the geopolitical climate in the region even further. Anticipating and, in some cases, neutralizing them was the responsibility of the intelligence department.

He waited for any kind of response and received none. Ignored, Sterling felt perhaps he had offended the woman, who was obviously deeply engrossed in her work. However, her unwillingness to give Sterling any kind of acknowledgement or update will be something to discuss with Captain Gardner later.

"Carry on, then," he muttered and moved back towards Ensign Ral whom he had originally come to see. Stepping up to the raised station, Sterling noted he had already caught Ral's attention.

"The commander is," Ral seemed to search for tactful words, "a secretive woman. Useful for an intelligence officer, don't you think?"

Sterling nodded grimly, "Perhaps, but it's no excuse for discourtesy."

Ral shrugged sheepishly.

"Anyway, progress report, ensign." Sterling ordered.

Ral returned to her station and pulled up two screens. "The overall search is still running as you can see, but the real exciting news is in the Leighter search. When you told me to look for a marine, I actually found one whose file had been sanitized shortly after Leighter reported for duty on Starbase 900."

The second screen pulled up the personnel record for a Major Zeleny Novacek. His portrait showed a fierce man with hard lines on his clean shaven face, a strong jaw and cold, hard, piercing eyes. Before even glancing at the major's service record, Sterling pegged him as a Dominion War veteran.

"Because his file is sanitized, we can't take any of the information at face value, but I cross-referenced his service postings, mission logs, after action reports, and his superior officers' logs and reports. It doesn't appear the contents of his service history have been altered significantly. I can confirm that while he has engineering experience, he doesn't have the skillset to pull off the intrusion we saw. And get this: he's a former Excelsior officer."

Sterling nodded. "Interesting. Probably explains how he knew to contact Meyers here. Our cyber-intruder piggy-backed that subspace transmission signal, so it's likely he's working with someone who does have the requisite skillset."

"Exactly," Ral said. "I traced the sanitation date of Novacek's file and ran a search for similarly sanitized files on that same stardate." She tapped her console and four more files appeared on the screen. "I haven't had time to cross-reference these yet."

Sterling frowned when reading the files. "Two more Starfleet officers, Commander Jaxcen Elhaym and Lieutenant Colonel Midori Kiryu. If their files also weren't significantly altered, then they don't have the skillset either. What about these other two? They aren't personnel files."

The ensign gestured to the next file. "This one is an intelligence briefing regarding a Klingon officer. General R'Kal of the House Ko'Ral. Last year House Ko'Ral was involved in some sort of scandal and dishonored. Ko'Ral was removed from the High Council, his son R'Kal was stripped of his rank and command, and the family's fleets and assets seized by the Chancellor.

"And the next file?"

"Criminal Dossier, this file has been heavily sanitized, there's nothing of much use here. Shakira Zidal, human female from New Morocco colony. A list of minor offenses across a half dozen Federation worlds, last seen last year on Starbase 911. This level of redaction suggests to me that Zidal is a person of interest to Starfleet Intelligence, but beyond that there's very little to cross-reference."

Sterling studied the dossier. There didn't seem to be a common thread that brought these different individuals together, but that could very well be the information sanitized from the files to begin with. "Leighter brought these people together for a reason. Novacek was an Excelsior officer, you said? Would Excelsior retain any unaltered personal logs from his tour?"

Ral picked up on Sterling's train of thought instantly and began inputting commands into the terminal. "Most likely, yes. Logs are store in protected memory. I can cross reference his logs against mention of these other individuals." Data began scrolling across the screen, an index of personal and mission logs recorded by Major Novacek. The list paused and a single entry was highlighted. "One."

"Play it, on my authority." Sterling ordered and input his command code into the terminal. Personal logs were, just that, personal. They weren't meant to be a public resource. However, on occasion an investigation warranted the invasion of privacy.

Zeleny Novacek's face appeared on the screen, apparently in his quarters aboard Excelsior. In stark contrast to his profile image, Novacek sported a full beard and unkempt hair style. His countenance was also different, wearied perhaps.

"Personal Log, Stardate 63217.1. Thanks, in no small part, to Commander Yubari, I have successfully returned to Excelsior from Starfleet Intelligence's detention center on Earth. The past two months have been, well, incredibly trying." The marine shifted uncomfortably. "I'm sure I can't speak about what happened, or why; Starfleet Intelligence likes obfuscating inconvenient truths.

"I met some people, good people, bad people, some were somewhere in between. Some came to trust me. Some came to fear me. Some tried to kill me. In the end, I betrayed them all. And now I must trust Starfleet will take into consideration their contributions to our mission. Above all, Shakira Zidal. Her implant rejection syndrome is severe. She needs proper medical treatment, not to rot in a black hole of a cell under the purview of sector security. I made Leighter promise. And if he reneges, I will personally see to it he suffers worse than her."

Novacek chuckled sardonically. "That's something Sascha Kalinin would say. But starting today I am no longer Starfleet fugitive Sascha Kalinin, I can reclaim my previous identity as Starfleet marine Zeleny Novacek. But before I can face this crew again," he rubbed at his beard. "I need a shower and a shave. End personal log."

Ral and Sterling stared at the blank screen for a moment to process the information. "Sounds like Novacek has gone undercover before." Ral finally said.

Sterling nodded. "Whatever happened left a bad taste in his mouth regarding Starfleet Intelligence. And that's also how Zidal got involved. I'd like to know more about what happened. See what you can dig up."

"It'll take some time." Ral admitted. "It's likely to be pretty well buried if anything is available at all."

"You've done good work so far. I know it might not take us where we want to go but for now let's see how deep this rabbit hole goes. Keep me updated."

"Yes, sir."

 

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