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A Burning Ring of Fire

Posted on Mon Jan 16th, 2023 @ 2:20pm by Staff Warrant Officer Conchobar Breathnacht

Mission: Season 1 Interlude II (E5.5)
Location: Fiddler's Green, Undisclosed
Timeline: Fall 2389, about two weeks after "High Black Water"

Con grumbled at the screen in front of him. The fucking copper-headed bitch would pull something like this. Two weeks ago she'd slid him a data chit and demanded he hand it over to whoever was in charge of the Rish enclave. He scoffed internally. Even if he'd been able to simply walk up to the head of the enclave and hand him something, he wouldn't. As far as he was concerned Sayuri had not shown the right mindset and pursuit of the right interests to expect him to just do what she wanted without question. So, instead, at the first opportunity, he'd grabbed a terminal and turned it into an air-gapped network to explore what she'd given him. Of course, as he probably should have expected, the chit was encrypted. He knew it was designed to attempt to patch into communications and send some sort of signal, but again, encryption. The Irishman wasn't going to leave it there, obviously. He had no hope of breaking encryption on his own, engineers and computer scientists were not equivalent domains, even if computer scientists were often part of Starfleet's engineering department. That was, of course, neither here nor there at the moment. It simply meant he'd had to get more creative to get the information he needed to make a decision.

Finding someone who could break the encryption, however, hadn't gone well. Finding a hacker wouldn't be an issue. As a proper hive of scum and villainy, Fiddler's Green had them around a dime a dozen. No, the real issue was he needed a VERY good one. Whatever else one might say, the Lagashi were experts at all things having to do with electronics and computers. Obviously, whatever encryption she'd used she expected it to be decipherable by SOMEONE, but had no idea who, and it didn't appear that it was one of the standard Federation suites, or if it was a standard Federation one, they'd changed them dramatically in the time since he'd left the fleet. Of course, there probably WAS someone good enough, but there was also the issue of finding one that was willing to work with him and take a risk. Without any idea whatsoever about who the message was intended for, or what it contained, there was a definite risk of pissing someone off powerful. Of course, blithely passing it one carried the same risk, but that risk was solely on him, whereas decrypting it brought an extra person into the potential ire. Finally, there was finding someone with enough discretion to not blab the contents loudly, especially if it could potentially get them ahead. After all, the Green was very much an every scum bag for himself kind of place.

All of which was to say that two weeks later, and he still had no idea what the damn thing was and wasn't any closer to figuring it out. It seemed it was going to require more desperate measures. By which he meant taking it to the powers that be and letting them deal with it. Of course, even that was easier said than done. Con didn't have the connections to simply demand access to the halls of power. No, a go-between even for that. That was, however, thankfully somewhat easier. He'd managed to set up getting rid of the chit into the hands of Dedeker's power apparatus. The only thing he had to do before that was to make a copy for himself to keep, just in case. Fortunately, at least, copying something encrypted didn't require breaking the encryption, just the much easier to circumvent copy protection. He'd set that up and was just waiting for it to finish up before setting out to make the transfer. It looked like it would take another minute or two. Then he'd secure it and set out. With any luck, this might just be the break needed to move up in the world. And, if not, at least it likely wouldn't send him any lower.


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