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Small beeps startling smaller mice

Posted on Sun May 2nd, 2021 @ 10:15am by Ensign Khaiel D'hikatsi & Lieutenant Commander Finley Chu

Mission: S1E5: Symphony of Horror
Timeline: Before leaving on the mission

For the last few hours Fin had been pulling whatever files she could on the new situation she had been dropped into. She learned quite a few interesting facts. For one, her security clearance and authorisation codes had been upgraded substantially. She had tried accessing files that she knew should be locked down, only to find them nearly redaction-free. What wasn't redaction-free were most personnel files. She was able to learn a little bit about one of her command partners, Captain ben-Avram. Colonel Garlake's files were more accessible.

But then she tried reading Captain Mrazak's files. It existed, that was clear. It even contained his name, age, race, and heritage. Finally it stated he went to Starfleet Academy, served on Outpost 99, and then simply ended.

A popup presented itself over the files Fin was reading. A minor security breach of the internal firewalls had occurred. Someone had physically accessed some data ports they shouldn't. Data ports that connected to the SFI-particular areas of the Theta Secure Network. She keyed the notification, reading the location. She then transferred it to a PADD, locked her terminal, and rose from her desk. From a small arms locker she retrieved a phaser and set out to traverse the station in search of a mouse gnawing at data it shouldn't.

It didn't take long for the Commander to find the Computer Lab where Khaiel was working. As she entered the room, he looked up, startled by the intrusion.

"Good afternoon, Commander," he said with a glance at her rank. His fingers moved over the panel, tapping a command that hid the screen he was looking at. "How can I help you?"

"Ensign..." Fin said with a weary tone in her voice. "You can help me by stepping away from the console and keeping your hands away from anything I could interpret as a weapon." She looked at the man, well a boy more like. Handsome, with those darn pointy ears. "What's your name and position?"

Khaiel slowly stood, holding his hands up. "Khaiel D'hikatsi, I'm a computer science specialist," he said, his voice shaking with nerves. "Have I done something wrong?"

"You have accessed a network you shouldn't have been able to, and that's a problem." Fin replied, looking at the computer terminal the young man was working on. "So why don't you tell me what you were doing before I came in here?"

"There's a breach in our firewalls," Khaiel simply stated.

"That's what my monitoring software told me as well. But here's my problem ensign, from where I'm standing it looks like you are the breach in the firewalls. So what we're going to do is you're going to unlock your terminal and show me exactly what you've been doing." Fin explained as she nodded to the workstation. "And if I determine you are my little hacker, I'm dragging you to Captain ben-Avram. Understood?"

With another nod, this one nervous and quick, Khaiel slid back into his chair. "I'm not surprised that you saw me digging around, but I assure you, I'm trying to deal with an issue that's already there." He pulled up the screen he was working with. Lines of code were splayed across the screen. "If you look here," he said, pointing to a specific area, "there's a backdoor. I'm not sure how it got there or when, as I've only just joined the team, but it's there. And it's been used quite a bit. I'm trying to see if I can follow the uplink to determine where it's coming from before I close the backdoor."

"I'm not a security tech, but if I'm reading this right it isn't trying to patch into the external comm array." Fin agreed, "It looks like it is dumping it to an external storage container. That could mean it could it be literally anywhere on the station."

Khaiel nodded, "That's what I just found, actually. I'm running a tracer through the door to see if I can find where it is." The young man frowned, "Unfortunately, it's being routed through a lot of systems to try and hide their tracks. It's taking a while."

"If it is an active downlink we could plug in a dummy file with a call-home command containing its location?" Fin suggested.

"I tried that already," Khaiel said. "The file was identified and neutralized en route. Whoever set this up was smart."

"Can you kill the process? Data security overrides identification in this situation." Fin decided.

Khaiel shook his head, "Not with my current access. My credentials are still being processed through Starfleet Intel."

Fin nudged Khaiel aside and brought up command interface. She keyed her own authorisation in, allowing access to a wider set of commands. "Try it now."

Walking to the next panel over, Khaiel logged into the LCARS system. "Seems I've been upgraded," he said with a slight smile. "I'm pulling up the data interface processes now... I should get confirmation in a couple of-" His words were cut off by an affirmative bleep from the Computer system. "It's done. The process has been terminated. I'm going to try sending a tracing packet back through the system and see if it's able to get to the destination. Shouldn't take more than a couple of hours based on my last attempt."

"Contact me as soon as you've found anything." Fin instructed as she added a few other notes to Khaiel's authorisation codes for her own use. "Not any supervisors first, straight to me combadge."

Khaiel nodded as the woman started to walk away. It was going to be a while, and they both knew that. Even once the packet reached its destination, it would need to gather information over time before they really had any evidence.


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