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Think Like A Criminal

Posted on Thu Jul 15th, 2021 @ 1:51pm by Commander Arianna Frost & Calderon Jarsdel & Ensign Nandi Chakma

Mission: S1E5: Symphony of Horror
Location: various
Timeline: MD 2


As the inquest took another recess and everyone began piling out of the room, Arianna stepped over to Calderon Jarsdel. As an outsider to the group as well as a fellow investigator with unique insight into the mind of a wrong do-er, Frost felt she needed to pick his brain about this situation and the situation in general on the station.

Whilst they may have delayed the downfall, things were still...wrong, for the lack of a better word. The break in into her quarters, the young TLA agent, the malicious presence that Cal had felt, the way this whole inquest was set up - out in the open in a tactical, commerce and trade hub. Everything about this situation was wrong.

"Mister Jarsdel, d' ya have sometime to talk?" Ari asked, glancing over at the young Ensign...what was her name again, that seemed to stick to Jarsdel.

He noted her presence on a visceral level before she spoke, and readied himself with the merest sign of tension, but Cal's expression and tone were jovial and direct. He didn't look to the Ensign for permission, but offered an intrigued expression to the woman speaking his name. "All the time I have right now is yours," Cal said, simply. Blue eyes met green-gray and held as his mind passively reached out to delve into this fine female specimen.

Frost nodded, "win. I assume you're his chaperone, Ensign?" Arianna looked over at Nandi.

Looking at her senior officers who were dispersing within their own company, Nandi shrugged. "I guess so," she said with slight hesitation. "At least that was the arrangement last night." After saying so, her brown cheeks darkened in blushing as she realized how it might have sounded. "That is, I accompanied Mister... Cal to the Promenade last night. It was strictly professional."

Arianna chuckled, "I require no clarification, mate. I was wondering if we could have a chat? All three of us? Three heads are usually smarter than one, and well, a fresh set of eyes is hardly amiss."

"Yes, I would be happy to offer any help that I can," Nandi said with a shy, nervous laugh. "Admittedly I've felt a little useless the entire time I've been here."

Arianna nodded as she motioned for the two to follow her. "It can be real challenge participating for the first time in political war games." She said with a sigh. "So, tell me, what did you make of the whole thing? As someone outside looking in?" Ari asked of the young woman.

In silence, Cal fell in alongside them both, his amusement at Nandi's blush hidden behind a peaceful poker face. He listened to them talk, the to and fro of both women interacting and automatically recorded an internal baseline for Commander Frost. At least her current set of emotions, he reminded himself, no telling if these were genuine or not, but one could hope.

"The Admirals are as confusing as they are terrifying," Nandi said. "And you acquitted us all famously. Captain ben-Avram certainly proved his worth but you were a life-saver."

Frost shrugged at the compliment. "It was just facts and evidence, nothing special. Which is worrying actually. How did we crash and burn it so easily?"

"You thought that was easy?" Nandi asked, brow raised in surprise.

Frost nodded, "they had a month, two Admirals and a civilian to create an iron clad case. Here we are scrambling every time and yet..." She paused, "I would say we are that good, but they didn't get to where they are by doing nothing."

"So you think this is a setup for something else?" Nandi asked, deducing Ari's suspicion. "What could they possibly gain by a disingenuous inquest?"

Arianna glanced over at Cal then back at Nandi, "you're a scientist. What would you hypothesize?"

"Insufficient data." Nandi shrugged.

Arianna fought the urge to push the young woman to think harder. On one hand she seemed too Starfleet for the job she was doing, on the other, she just seemed too young.

"That's fair." Ari nodded, then looked over at Cal. "Your thoughts?"

Cal's gaze sought Ari's directly and held as long as she allowed it to. "I'd suspect that they're testing limits," he guesstimated. "Pushing to see what bends and what breaks, who comes out of the shadows and what evidence and argument rises to the surface both for and against. Best way to win a war is sometimes to throw a couple of minor battles in order to learn the opposition's strengths and weaknesses. Or perhaps," he smiled. "It's simply a distraction, a means to bring you all here out into the open while something else is done behind the scenes, or back at base."

"Do you think they're making changes at Overwatch Station while everybody is here or in the Theta-Corvus system?" Nandi asked.

Arianna shook her head, "doubtful. We'd know, or at least you'd know." She said, "I'm inclined to agree with the distraction. Still trying to figure out where the little TLA agent fits in. Or if he does and how? Or if we're dealing with separate events."

"TLA?" Nandi asked with a scrunched brow. "What's that?"

"A terrorist organization known as the Trill Liberation Army." Arianna said under breath, "them being present in this way is a mysterious piece on my board. It doesn't make sense."

Nandi's eyes widened in surprise. "Terrorists? Oh dear..."

Arianna leaned her head to the side a little and observed Nandi. "I did mention that when I told you all about the break in into my quarters and the chase."

"I didn't realize it was a terrorist group," Nandi confessed, a little bashful at missing such a pertinent detail. Her voice picked up in speed and pitch in reflection of her nervousness. "Diplomatic relations and interstellar history weren't my majors. Astrophysics, quantum mechanics, temporal theory, well, I imagine aren't much help presently..."

Arianna placed a hand on Nandi's shoulder, "you're young, you'll find your place. Besides, plenty of time to learn new things, eh?"

Listening to them both talk, Cal paid attention to those little details that passed between Frost and Chakma, and he let his mind simply wash over them both. Not deep-seeking data but simply testing to see what limits were in place now, outside of the courtroom. To his Lethean skillset it was a simple, unobtrusive task akin to studying someone's tone and facial expression to determine emotion. Nothing nefarious, only curiosity.

"I've not had much dealing with the TLA," he admitted. "And it's been a couple of years since I was up to date with the game-board. What's your thoughts on their agenda here? Or could this be more of a personal vendetta of some kind for your TLA friend?"

Arianna shook her head, "doubtful it's personal, I've not had dealings with the TLA myself directly or any of the ops that I've been on. Not that I know of. The problem is, I can't connect it or disconnect it from our current predicament and that worries me." Then she paused for a moment, looking over at Cal again, "you mentioned a malevolent presence earlier."

"I have the same sense with regards the malevolence," Cal answered with a double nod of his head. "A definite presence, but one I was unfortunately unable to pin down with any accuracy. There was a lot of interfering factors in that room. Someone was protecting themselves, and they did it well. Maybe there's another way to draw them out?"

"Maybe I'm overstepping here," Nandi said with a nervous chuckle, "but isn't that a question best suited for DS9 Security?"

Ari shook her head, "you're not overstepping. Security's been alerted, the station's security level has been raised." Frost then paused, thought for a moment. "Mister Jarsdel, do you know the rough time you started sensing that presence? And a rough location?"

"Do DS9 security scan people's minds too?" Cal asked, the question a genuine one, not a mockery of Nandi's own. He exhaled slowly and regarded Frost with a serious expression. "If I could pin it down to a person, or a group of people," he replied. "I'd have followed them and narrowed it down further."

"I've always heard that was illegal," Nandi offered, but then quickly added, "then again, my understanding of legalities has been stretched of late..."

Arianna shook her head, "naaw, it is illegal without proper paperwork and permissions. And no, DS9 doesn't have readers on retainer or any such nonsense. When Security arrested me and the kid, after I was released the Deputy Chief and I had a talk and he agreed to raise the alert level just to be on the safe side."

She'd lost track by now where they had walked to, wrapped up in the conversation as she was. "Malevolent presence, an official inquest out in public like this, b&a and a presence of an unexpected terrorist cell." Ari gestured with her hands to invisible boards as she spoke, "I don't like it. It's too convenient to be an accident. There is no such thing as an accident. Is it connected though?"

"Well, if they were, they would have a common connection, right?" Nandi asked. "What would that be?"

Arianna nodded, "I see three possible answers. Captain ben-Avram," one finger went up, "Memory Theta itself," another finger went up, "or me. Although the former two are more likely, I think."

"But it seems Memory Theta is the common denominator for all, right?" While she was out of her depth, Nandi could seldom resist a puzzle. "So assuming that, what connects the TLA to Memory Theta?"

This is where Arianna shrugged, "I don't know. From the files I had access to in my time there I didn't see any references to it."

It was hard for Arianna to admit that there were things she didn't know, both professionally and privately. Her life and her job revolved around exactly that. Knowing things. Knowing things and helping others act on that knowledge. Yet now at a seemingly crucial point...she didn't know.

What could have been an easy read of minds demanding their own protection was currently a locked-down puzzle for which he lacked enough pieces to complete.

"Gotta figure we're missing something we haven't seen or heard yet," Cal stated, with a shrug. "Sometimes you just have to wait and let things play a little longer. Not all the answers are straightforward, but sooner or later someone will play, fold, or call us out."

Nandi didn't mind idle waiting with Cal. She faced away from him at a slight angle, but her brown eyes fell on him all the same. "I suppose we should just bide our time, then..."

Arianna nodded, "you're right. Sometimes the board has to be played before we see the move. In the meantime. We might aswell get some rest eh?"

 

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