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Darkness Stabbing - Part 1

Posted on Fri Nov 19th, 2021 @ 11:38pm by Captain Mrazak & Lieutenant Commander Finley Chu & Lieutenant Sophie Xiong & Ferrofax & Lieutenant Commander Leonora Wolf MD & Chief Petty Officer Reggie Hawthorn

Mission: S1E5: Symphony of Horror
Location: USS Phantom
Timeline: MD 2

"I don't care who they are or how much of the local infrastructure they subsidize!" Mrazak shouted at the holo-imager and the ethereal fleet captain it projected. "The INS Demeter stood idly by while a Federation starship came under fire, and our sensor logs suggest they aided and abetted the unknown Klingons on the destruction of their vessel. We came here, Fleet Captain Mulryan, in order to investigate the thalaron detonation which coincided with irregularities in bio-medical research, and this is what our investigation kicked up. I want a Security probe into everything now, executive agreements and contracts be damned!"

He deactivated the transmission between himself and Sector Commander Mulryan with a pound of his on the table before the fleet captain could respond. It was then the doors opened to admit the away team.

Fin looked haggard. Her long black hair was out its tight bun, her uniform top was soaked in sweat. When she entered the bridge she tossed their hard-earned price at Mrazak. "So how do we feel about the Mirror Universe?" she asked the Vulcan.

"If it means the Klingons are peaceful, I say we go now," muttered Sophie. Blood dripped from a cut on her cheek that she had no idea how she had gotten and she dabbed at it with the back of her sleeve.

Leonora stepped in next. "This the Klingon version of the OSI, sir. Worse off, I think the Klingon version of you. Theta, I mean. Did we detect any interphasic rifts, just to eliminate the Mirror Universe theory?"

"Mirror Universe?" Mrazak repeated incredulously. "You think that we're dealing intruders from a parallel dimension? What brought you to that conclusion? Our local imaging scans that exposed the cloaked Klingon vessel turned up no interphasic anomalies."

"Show him," Leah nodded at Fin.

"There are spikes of radiation that could be interpreted as interphasic anomalies, but nothing concrete. It completely depends on where that little gadget you're holding comes from."

Mrazak stared at the device, his eyes growing wide with an awful flashback. "Yet more technology that is outlawed in the Federation," Mrazak said. He removed his handy tricorder and began scanning the device, though he stop talking. "This device is used for invasive interrogations within Klingon space. Past crossovers between an alternate dimension codenamed Mirror Universe did reveal almost identical devices to be used by the Terran Empire, but reports indicate the 'Mirror Terrans' came into possession of this device after conquering the Klingon Empire. In either universe, this device originates as Klingon technology." The tricoder beeped. "Readings show its resonance matches the matter of our universe."

Setting his tricorder aside, Mrazak looked up at the ceiling. "Ferrofax, I need you to please begin datamining the disabled civilian vessel and report your findings as soon as possible."

"I'll put on my waders and rubber gloves," Ferrofax said dryly.

With that sorted, Mrazak looked back to Leah. "What is this 'Klingon Theta' of which you speak? Is a group with which you've had prior dealings in your Intelligence circles, Commander Cassandra?"

"I don't know if they exist as an official group within the KDF or apart from it." Leah offered, "however whispers have been around for years of a group of similar make as our OSI groups; Delphi, Theta, Cerunnos and the like. What we saw down there confirms that it's definitely not Klingon Intel however. They are not that capable in tech or skill and the KDF don't pull shit like this. So that leaves your counterparts, or a rogue group...My money is on the former." She said, looking over at Fin for her thoughts.

"Why is it that Starfleet Intelligence is continuing to withhold vital information such as the possible existence of a Klingon rival to this agency?" Mrazak asked before letting out a groan.

Leah shrugged. "I've just been seconded to you, I don't know what you do or don't know, Captain."

Was he really doing this? A commander of a Black Site team? Then Leah remembered his obvious social disabilities. Almost reminded her of someone. He would never blame others for something he should have really done himself or had his team do.

"I don't mean you personally, Doctor," Mrazak said. "I mean the grey-shirts who live to make my job difficult just so they can justify their own corner office." He rolled his eyes and scoffed. "Such narcissism on your part is unbecoming of a scientific researcher, you know. Please bear that in mind regarding any future criticisms of SFI." Taking a breath to calm himself, he moved on. "So does SFI actually know anything about this Klingon thieves guild or is it just so much chasing of shadows? Anything at all could be helpful from this point onward."

"Projecting much?" Leah thought to herself amusedly but didn't rise to his bait. Yeah, she definitely preferred the highly effective sociopath to what was amounting to be a narcissist of questionable effectiveness. Instead she deferred to Mrazak's actual Intelligence Liaison, Finley.

Fin considered the question. She had to consider the need-to-know of this information as it pertained to their mission. Without a word she stepped to one of the free consoles and entered several commands. The communications equipment on the Phantom accessed a numerically assigned black network.

It took a few moments of querying the systems before Fin found the information she needed. The security system would not allow her to copy the information to any system, not even the Phantom's high security core. "Right. They're called the Pegh qaw’ghach luH’wI’ joq’obe." Fin grimaced at the hard g-sounds in the name. "Or Pegh’obe for short is a secret group that supposedly predates the formation of the Empire. That's about half of what we know about them I'm afraid. We suspect they've been involved in a handful of operations within Federation territory, including one operation attempting to capture the CoE operation on the Jenolan Dyson Sphere. They're officially recorded as pirate actions, one of the Klingons involved in the Jenolan operation screamed 'Glory and honour to Kahless, may he witness our holiest mission' before killing himself and several CoE officers through the use of two photon grenades in a suicide action." Fin stopped, letting the information be absorbed. "This made SFI suspect that the Pegh’obe aren't a Imperial group, but something outside it."

"SFI suspects that a group of Klingon zealots has been stealing technology since before the Klingon Empire was formed?" Mrazak sneered with derision. "I'm almost sorry I asked! Assuming for the moment that this ridiculousness has any merit to it, what are these Pegh'obe Klingons doing out here? What would they be trying to steal?"

"It's not a deficiency in caution," Ferrofax said over the intercom. "Klingon data architecture is somewhat....simplistic, in a way, but every system on this ship has Klingon suicide code woven into it. Antimatter containment keeps trying to turn off, an airlock keeps cycling open both doors at the same time, and even the replicators are trying to fill the ship living spaces with chlorine gas. The entire ship is an information landmine that keeps bouncing down a flight of stairs. And more so, it keeps trying to spread out into the Phantom. Crewman Jetter is in sickbay after his combadge decided it was a good day to die and detonated its graphene battery pack. I'd suggest not opening any files on any personal devices until I've gone through everything with the digital equivalent of salt and lime."

Mrazak ran his fingers through the short hairs of his black head. "Are you...meaning to tell me...that Klingon infesting my ship?" The sound that came out of his throat was somewhere between a gurgle and a shriek. "Did it come from the destroyed Klingon ship's black box? How did that happen? Have we parsed the Demeter's computer system yet? I want answers, damn it!"

"It's in the Demeter, the Corvan civil data net, and the Corps of Starfleet Engineers ships. Inert in most cases unless you look for it intentionally, in which case it activates and makes your day very much more interesting than you want," Ferrofax said. "And I can't access the Demeter's data storage arrays, because they have been physically removed from the ship's computer core. The thing is running off of ROM's and portable arrays with the system OS loaded onto it, and that's only working out because INS buys top of the line portable computing equipment. I mean...if I had a drone body and the right authorisations I could go over there and ask them 'nicely' to hand them over with minimal ratio of lost limbs to lost lives."

"If the Gothic Voice is right, we could've caught it from any of a dozen sources. We're actively monitoring every data stream the sensors were able to catch and no sandbox is perfect. Just because Klingon data tech is less complicated than ours doesn't make it less deadly," Fin explained. "Ferrofax, the shuttle hasn't been online right? If we airgap it before we bring its computer core online we could sweep the Phantom's systems, right?"

"What shuttle?" Mrazak asked, then brightened as he remembered the shuttle bay. "The shuttle! Yes, we could use it to purge any malware from the main ship's systems and then use it to construct a secure virtual proxy network from which we can brute-force our way into one of the Demeter's portable ROMs...we'd have to isolate a vulnerability, possibly a physical one left open by a careless operator, but we have time to look while prepping the shuttle. If successful, we can cleanse the Phantom from Klingon filth and hack the Demeter in one fell swoop!" His mouth widened in his trademark wolfish grin. "Let's get started!"

"I'll need to get one of you to do some of the work on the shuttle manually. Any attempt for me to access it remotely will just provide a vector for infection. So which one of you will be my meat puppet?" Ferrofax asked.

"I'll be the Goth Goblin's hands," Fin volunteered.

"Wouldn't it make more sense for the engineer to handle the engineering?" put in Sophie, her tone way more annoyed than she actually was. That seemed to happen a lot, not that she noticed- or cared, for that matter.

"I am an engineer, Lieutenant," Fin replied with a sharp edge of kindness in her voice.

Mrazak groaned at the two of them. "Then do it together and get it done twice as fast."

Leonora listened to the exchanges with looks ranging from confused to bewildered to surprised to scratching her head at the female bickering. She also felt a bit useless. Her forte was pathology and virology, the living kind, rather than the digital kind.

Although they all worked on the same principle, the need for multiplication. It would have had to have come from something all sides would have every reason to access for it to spread as much as it did. The Corvan Congenital Erythropoietic Porphyria or the NOS-4-A2 data maybe? It was information most unique to this system. The plague and the cure of the Corvans.

"The Klingons dabbled with genetic manipulation, viral manipulation..." She muttered as Finley and Sophie headed for the door. "Nosferatu is used to control the savagery of the Corvans..."

Mrazak snapped to attention. "What are you thinking, Cassandra? Genetic manipulation is the culprit behind the failure of the NOS-4-A2 dialysis? To what end?" Slapping himself, it dawned on Mrazak almost immediately. "What am I saying? Biological warfare. The Klingons are attempting to weaponize..." The thought process dropped off as Mrazak hit a wall. "No, that doesn't work. Making Corvans resistant to treatment isn't a weapon against anyone. Unless..." He trailed off for a moment as the blood drained from his face. "We need to look inside the Demeter right now."

"For it to work they would need to make it jump species otherwise it's contained to Corvans only. For them to be doing experiments in Federation territory is a breach of the Khitomer Accords." Leah continued, "that would explain the Alucard explosion...eradicating any and all evidence of the experiments."

"Not to mention these Klingons don't seem so hidebound concerning honour as the rest of them. Enflaming a pandemic, and in the same act tarnishing the name of the people who made the's almost subtle. It's downright cunning considering the forehead ridges involved. I'm almost impressed," Ferrofax said. "And as I said, the Demeter's computer core is air-gapped. We'd have to get in there and access it directly."

"Then we transport whomever or whatever we must onto that ship," Mrazak said. "It is dire we rule out the worst case scenario. Figure out some kind of probe or computational payload, Ferrofax, that will deliver either yourself or one of your digital minions via the transporter. Everyone else needs to get that shuttle prepped for purging our own systems. One way or another, I want this mystery solved immediately!"

"Lieutenant Xiong, with me. Captain Mrazak, can you and Commander Wolf figure out a way onto the Demeter while we get this virus under control?" Fin offered while backing away from the conversation and to the door.

Sophie scowled- she didn't like people who had no business giving her orders bossing her around- but followed anyway.

At first Mrazak made a scowling face, but then it softened into a more pensive one. "I suppose since we already disabled their ship, there isn't much resistance the INS crew could mount against an invasive search and seizure." And then he visibly brightened, which was often the only warning the team gets before trouble brews. "Change of plans! I'll order Captain Mulryan to initiate an immediate inspection, at which point we will simply be observers along for the trip." He snapped his fingers as if ordering a wait staff around. "To the shuttle! Ferrofax, place the Phantom into a Level 1 full system diagnostic. All ship systems will be forced inactive for several hours, at the end of which we shall have purged the Klingon cyber rats from our decks. In the meantime, we have an inspection to conduct."

"Oh goodie, I get to house clean," Ferrofax sighed. "Well, at least you lot won't be here to make me work slower at least."


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