NCC - 81102
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Getting to the Bottom of It

Posted on Fri Oct 8th, 2021 @ 9:21am by Commander Tavis Inahri & Lieutenant Commander Kazyah Linn & Lieutenant Commander Bear Jasper & Commander Magnus Hawkins

Mission: Mission 1: Dirty Little Secret
Location: Captain's Ready Room - USS Odyssey
Timeline: Mission Day 39 - 1824 hours

"So...quite an interesting situation we have here," Tavis said, looking past his desk at Kazyah Linn who sat in front of him. Just behind the target stood his two most senior officers, Commanders Hawkins and Jasper. "I'm sure you can understand that we have a lot of questions for you."

Kaz nodded, though didn't say anything.

Tavis rolled his eyes. Typical Kaz. Silent until he deemed it worthy to speak. But it wasn't going to fly now. "Kaz, we need to know what's going on. We were sent to capture you with very little information as to why. I think we at least deserve answers as to why you defected. And why you killed one of my officers."

"She wasn't one of your officers," the man said, finally. "She was an agent, under the guise of Starfleet Intelligence but actually a part of something far more sinister. She was sent to capture me at all costs."

"Proof." The demand shot out of Hawk's mouth without a hint of delay.

Kaz looked up at Magnus, though his unseeing eyes did not focus. "She shot one of your officers, Commander. Do you think a member of Starfleet would do that?"

"Stating X does not prove Y," Hawk said, "but continue."

"You're getting distracted, Magnus," noted Bear, his gaze and his tone coloured with his currently dark mood. None of that was specifically directed at those present, but it bled from him into the room nonetheless. "Proof," he scoffed, "is unlikely to happen. What we need is Kaz here's take on things. Why he fled, what information he has that led 'Thorn' to try and steal him from us." Bear looked to Linn. "As Tavis asked, I'm asking. What do you know that made you run from Starfleet?"

Kaz glanced over to Bear, but turned his head back to Tavis. "Everything in Starfleet Intelligence is not quite going as smoothly as people would like to believe. I doubt you've heard of a facility known as Memory Theta. That's a conversation for another day. But during one of our missions, we took down the head of a clandestine organization known as Section 31."

Kaz stood, eliciting a hesitant response from the Command team, but no one stopped him as he began to pace around the room. "Section 31 is a terrible shadow organization within Starfleet. There to clean up messes and fix things in whatever way they deem fit. Some see them as protectors of the Federation, others as outlaws living within our ranks. Whatever your take on the group is, it no longer exists."

The blind man stopped and looked at Tavis, "At least that's what we thought."

He began to pace again. "I was approached by an agent who claimed to be on mission from a person known as the Director. This person is attempting to pull together the remnants of Section 31 into a new organization. A better organization. I declined the offer, of course. I don't want to be a part of such a group. But they're...relentless in their offers."

Kaz stepped back to his seat, sitting down gently. "I investigated the organization as best I could, through my contacts. And the information I have is very slim. This Director appears to be a high-ranking official in Starfleet, trying to utilize the void from Section 31 to gain power. Unfortunately, I don't know much. So I couldn't trust Intelligence or Starfleet, at least not until I figure out what's going on. So I had no choice but to leave."

"You would have us to believe that you defected from Starfleet because you are in possession of information that puts your life in danger," Hawk summarized. There was a ring of truth to it, but the Starfleet true believer that was Hawk wasn't ready to accept it at face value. "Yet your intel is insufficient to verify your claim. Just how incriminating could it be? How do we know this shadow group is the bad guy and you aren't just feeding us a line to save your own skin?"

"If I'm the bad guy, and Admiral Tau wants me brought it, why would one of your Officers try and capture or kill me in the Brig?" Kaz asked. "Wasn't I exactly where you wanted me to be?"

"We're asking the questions," Hawk snapped. "What exactly did you find? Don't give me anything vague. Tell me exactly what you found that led you to believe a fifth column is in the works. This 'Director' wouldn't be sending people to silence you if all you had was conjecture."

"As I mentioned, they aren't trying to silence me at all," Kaz responded. "They want me to join them. With my position within Starfleet Intelligence, and my access to Memory Theta, I'm a prime candidate to join their ranks. And they aren't taking no for an answer."

Hawk crossed his arms. "What I'm hearing is that if we want any proof of your claims, then we need to hold you up as bait for someone from this Director's network to come and snatch you out from our grasp again." His right brow arched into his forehead. "Are you sure you've got nothing else?"

Bear exhaled. This all sounded crazy, and yet he didn't doubt it was possible. He screwed up his face in frustrated confusion and looked from Tavis to Hawk to Kaz, stopping off to examine each man's demeanour.

"'Starfleet does terrible things' isn't such a big leap of information," Bear spat the words. He more than most understood that dicotomy of moral judgement and unfortunate casualities. "If you're already part of this Theta organisation, what makes you better than those who are hunting you down?" He paused for a moment, then added. "Doesn't the fact you've already run from both Starfleet and this other group make you sort useless to both at this point?"

Kaz looked up at Bear. "My time in Starfleet Intelligence has afforded me many opportunities. I have amassed quite a network of informants across multiple quadrants and within many notable empire's governments. The information I know, and the information I have access to, makes me quite valuable. Which is why both Starfleet and the Director want me. And neither will stop until they have me."

"Put yourself in our shoes," Hawk said. "Would you believe a word of what's coming out of your mouth right now?" Hawk held a hint of derisive skepticism in his scowl. "While you get points for originality, I'm still not hearing anything other than the desperate lying of a master manipulator."

Kaz nodded to Magnus. "Your concerns are valid, I wouldn't want to tell you that you're wrong to be skeptical," he said. Looking at the Captain, he asked. "Am I lying?"

Tavis looked at the man, staring in silence for a few moments as he was easily able to read his mind with little effort. "No, he's not," he said, his voice sounding disappointed with the answer. "In fact, there's more he's not telling us. It seems that Lieutenant Thorne was more than just an Intelligence agent, wasn't she?"

Another nod from their captive.

Tavis continued. "Seems she was a part of a secret group within Intel, which our friend here was also a part of. A project to protect us from an entity known as the Black Nagus."

"The Black Nagus is a formidable foe with arms reaching farther than anyone could imagine. I've long suspected that this Director may be a part of his network, though I have yet to find any evidence to support that," Kaz stated.

"I want to be clear about something," the man said. "I'm not asking you to let me go, nor am I asking you not to turn me over to Admiral Tau. Frankly, if I were in your shoes, I'd probably complete my mission and pretend none of what I'm saying is true." Kaz looked between the three of them. "But what I'm telling you is true. And I have a duty to Starfleet to protect it from threats. And while Section 31 has existed for quite some time, I do deem them a threat to the Federation. And this new organization will be much worse."

At the mention of the Black Nagus, Hawk felt his eyes narrow. There were only three times in his career that he had seen a tac-team from SFI, and two of those involved seditious or mutinous offers who had taken Starfleet assets to the highest bidder. The Black Nagus had been mentioned in hushed whispers that he'd been ordered to forget. That Kaz invoked the name now in connection with Section 31 and its alleged successor made his ears perk up.

"What about you?" Hawk snapped. "Have you had any dealings with this Black Nagus?"

"I have," was Kaz's simple answer. "As a member of Memory Theta, we've been dealing with the Black Nagus for some time. He's even gone so far as to directly attack us and members of our team."

"But if you're asking if I've ever been involved with the person, I have not," Kaz stated. "I'd never work with someone so villainous."

"So you knew the moment you saw Ca... Lt 'Thorne'..." Bear said, the quotation marks around the woman's last name audible in his tone. He was processing all of this information, emotion and the consequences of such, following a few mental steps behind Tavis and Hawkins at each point. "And you said nothing." He didn't sigh, shrug or exhale dramatically, but simply moved on from that to his next concern. "Are we supposed to believe that this - Memory Theta - is any better an ally to rely on? You shadow-dwelling intel types are all smoke, mirrors, twists of truth and trickery. Lies are merely a matter of personal opinion in the world you all inhabit."

Hawk nodded his agreement but said nothing. He merely crossed his arms again and waited for Kaz to answer.

Kaz nodded, "I knew who she was, yes," he stated. "I knew she was an undercover agent and I knew she was Starfleet Intel. But what I didn't expect was her involvement with the Director. And I'm quite frustrated that I wasn't able to discern that." Kaz shifted in his seat. "As for Memory Theta, I would not recommend trusting them. They're an Intelligence facility that houses some of the most dangerous and important artifacts of the Federation's history. But if Thorne was compromised, I don't know how I could trust anyone at Theta. Except..."

The man sat there for a moment. "Akiva ben Avram. Commander of Memory Theta. He was a...friend as well as a fellow officer. I would trust him with my life, though I had to keep him in the dark of everything that's happened. For his own safety. I would ask that you continue to keep him in the dark, as I would be very upset if anything happened to him or his wife. But if the need is dire, and we are desperate, he would assist us in any way possible. He is a man of honor and would protect the Federation from all threats. His battle against the Black Nagus has been ongoing. I don't fear the possibility of him being compromised."

"You've given us quite a lot to think about." Despite Hawk's skeptical disposition, there were fractures beginning to form behind his eyes in his inner mind. "Do you have anything to add before we decide whether to send you back to the brig or throw you out the nearest airlock?"

"Trust no one," stated Bear, with audible derision in his tone. "Great. Real helpful. Though you put this 'Avram' fella at risk simply by naming him, surely? How do we know for sure that there aren't more 'Thornes' on the Oddy? And if your own advice towards your fate is for us to hand you over to Tau..." He let that thought trail and looked from Hawk to Tavis. "Seems to me the best option we have is to keep hold of our popular friend and see who comes hunting him down. Faster than trying to find them ourselves." And likely more dangerous.

"You bring up a good point, Bear," Tavis said as he looked at their prisoner. "You've left us with a lot to think about, Kaz. Why don't we have Bear take you back to the Brig and we'll discuss and determine what's to happen next." Tavis nodded at Bear, giving him the order.

Bear muttered something incoherent that was likely just general dissention to the obvious next step. His exodus and a Tavis/Hawkins discussion. "Yes, Captain," he said, crisply and without bothering to hide that underlying emotion. He'd been shot by the woman he'd begun to have feeling for. Magnus had nearly been destroyed. And Tavis, Bear's friend, was now caught up in the complicated old romance and secret squirrel presence of Kazyah Linn.

"Let's go," Bear told Kaz, not quite angry enough to shove the blind spy, but emanating enough bad mood to be tangible.


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