Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted May 15, 2019, 9:55 a.m. by Commander Ardashir "Jack" Creed (Executive Officer / CIO) (Steven Sigle)

Posted by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Commander Ardashir “Jack” Creed (Executive Officer / CIO) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Commander Ardashir “Jack” Creed (Executive Officer / CIO) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Commander Ardashir “Jack” Creed (Executive Officer / CIO) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Commander Ardashir “Jack” Creed (Executive Officer / CIO) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Commander Ardashir “Jack” Creed (Executive Officer / CIO) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Commander Ardashir “Jack” Creed (Executive Officer) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Commander Ardashir “Jack” Creed (Executive Officer) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk

Posted by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in Ready Room - Finally. A Chance To Talk
Cochrane had finally completed what he hoped were all the outstanding and priority needs he had in front of him since assuming command. And that meant the finally got to tick off the first item on his ‘To Do’ list that he had made on the trip to the ship… meet with the XO.

Activating the comms, he said =/\= Commander Creed. When you have a moment, would you please meet me in the Ready Room? Thank you. =/\=

He then went to the replicator and ordered a pot of hot black coffee and two mugs. He sat them on his desk, took a seat, and began reviewing the departmental reports as he waited for the XO to arrive.

Cochrane, CO

Ardashir’s Office

Looking at the file in front of him, Faye’s face staring at him as he felt his eyes squinting as he let his mind wander. This revelation could be nothing, but he couldn’t let it slide.

=/\= Commander Creed. When you have a moment, would you please meet me in the Ready Room? Thank you. =/\=

Jack felt himself snap out of the haze as he looked around, the message seemed to be to be at a perfect timing, which in and of itself made part of Jack feel a little paranoid. He monitored all comm traffic and knew that his connection was secure. Deep down he was certain this was all just coincidence but for the past six years ever since he started down this dual path he had trained himself to always be aware of things that seemed out of the ordinary.

=/\= Yes sir, I am on my way. =/\= Creed said as he got up from his chair, looking down at the screen he took a moment as he reached for a nearby PaDD as he began to sync the data up. If this ended up being a big deal he would need to go to the Captain first as it were. He couldn’t do this like some wild maverick.

Captain’s Ready Room

Five minutes later and Ardashir was paging the door, waiting for the Captain to bring him in. Jack let his mind wander for a few seconds before he heard the voice of the Captain, it always seemed a different approach every time he had these conversations.

Creed, XO

“Come in.” came the slightly accented voice of the new Commanding Officer. As the doors opened, Cochrane looked up and saw Creed. “Commander, thank you for coming.” he said and simply gestured to one of the empty seats before the desk.

“Sorry it took so long for us to finally have a chance to talk. No reflection on you, and I hope you don’t feel slighted.”

Cochrane, CO

“It’s alright sir, can’t say it’s been the easiest first few weeks since you came aboard. Between random beasts and Kazon we have had our fill of crazy. Welcome to the Delta Quadrant I guess.” Ardashir said with a wry smirk as he entered the office.

Their time so far in the quadrant had been wild to say the least, few Federation resources so far. It was truly a wild frontier. For decades the Alpha/Beta Quadrants had made contact with many from the Gamma Quadrant due to the Bajoran wormhole. That access point had made life interesting for the fringes of Federation/Cardassian territory. The technology they used now though, while not completely new, was new to them. Outside of Voyager they had little experience here. Even Voyager wasn’t quite sight seeing, much of it was a fight for survival to make it back home.

Still, Jack felt a sense of adventure few in Starfleet had had in such a long time. While new things could always be found in your backyard so to speak, out here was like Lewis and Clark. Much of the reason people join Starfleet was to either serve their Federation, or a chance to explore and experience life that they might not have on their home world. Jack had always been a mix of both, later years had forced him into a play that made him more rigid in his thinking with S.I. and his covert operations. Despite that, or maybe cause of it, Delta Quadrant held a mystique he couldn’t help but feel giddy about.

Taking the seat Jack kept the PaDD he held close. It would come up soon but he knew there was going to be a lot of storytelling, there always was. He often wondered if S.I. made the right choice to make his secondary assignment her a shadow one. Yes he had served in covert deep undercover but his duties didn’t differ too far from a regular XO/CIO. There was a on going assignment on top of the regular duties, a personal one at that, but it wasn’t like he was chasing it every second he could.

“How have you enjoyed yourself so far sir? You didn’t ask for this but… I imagine this has been memorable all the same.” Jack said, he always had a easy charm to him. His tan skin and dark hair to some gave off a mysterious look. Being born to a Persian family he didn’t look too far off everyone he grew up with in Tehran, but to most other humans he was always a bit hard to place. He often was teased for being too handsome by his best friend when he joined Starfleet. Isan always told him if he was going to make it he needed to be more bad ass than the rest, something Jack never fully thought was the case. Jack always found a nice medium, his sister would say it was the Libra in him but he didn’t quite believe in astrological signs.

Creed, XO

“Memorable… that’s definitely one word to describe it.” Cochrane said with an easy chuckle. “Not how I envisioned my first command, but ‘Ours is not to reason why…’, as the old saying goes.” and he settled in his seat a bit more, obviously preparing to dedicate some time to the discussion at hand. “So, Commander. Tell me a bit about yourself. I reviewed your record, but that just tells me where you’ve been. Not who you are. So let’s get to know each other better. We need at least some kind of foundation before we get into any.... let’s say difficult situations. Agreed?”

Cochrane, CO

“Well… I mean what do you want to know sir?” Jack said, he stopped to think a moment on what to talk about in this moment. He had been so focused on telling him the things he needed to hear he never thought about something along the lines of small talk. “I am not one to really to speak often of my life, but I don’t try to hide too much either. Maybe not an open book but a highly detailed notes page?” Jack said, it was his way of trying to be polite in saying he tended to be private. He knew what a Captain did and didn’t need to know, and in time when serving under a Captain he may even choose to become friends even. He though wasn’t sure just what kind of Captain Cochrane was a this time.

Creed, XO

Cochrane smiled warmly and said “Whatever you want to tell me, Mr. Creed. I just want to get to know you… and you to know me as well. I foresee that we may be serving together for some time; and to do that we will need to be a productive, efficient, and solid team. This quadrant is going to throw enough surprises at us to fill a library… I want us both to know who we are and how best to make our relationship work. And so here we are.” and he paused as a thought occurred to him. “Let’s take a different tack. What questions do you have for me? Anything you want to know about? And from this point on, XO, there is nothing off limits as long as it is you and I. You want a answer, ask me. I may not be able to answer, but I promise you this. I won’t ever lie to you.” he said. The last sentence was delivered with a singular look of complete honesty and intensity. Cochrane then simply looked at the XO to see what questions may be on the man’s mind.

Cochrane, CO

“I mean I was curious what made you want to accept this posting. I know Starfleet often gives people choices when they have a command open, sometimes it’s just go do this but other times the person is giving a chance to decide. I gather this was somewhat fast paced but what made you want here?” Jack asked, curious if this was indeed his choice to stay. He knew most Captains, they don’t stay if they don’t believe in the mission. So was there something that drew in the Captain? Jack would want to know the motives.

Creed, XO

Cochrane laughed slightly and looked down at the desk as he shook his head. “Accept is kind of a strong term to use, Mr. Creed. It was more like I was… ‘selected’.” and he looked up at Jack, a slight smile on his face. “I received orders while standing watch on the bridge of the Ark Angel, actually. Report to Starbase One immediately. So I did. I was walked into the Admiral’s office straight off the shuttle and was told I had been selected to take command of the Manhattan, currently stationed in the Delta Quadrant, and did I want the posting. I asked how long I could think about it and he set the box with pips on the desk and said ‘You just did.’.” and he laughed again. Shaking his head, he continued. “So I agreed, was promoted, read into the security clearances and briefed over the next week. Then off the station and here I am.”

“But don’t take that as me simply wanting the center chair, Commander. I was fascinated by the opportunity… hell, I am fascinated by the opportunity. The sheer possibilities of what we may encounter are endless. And that is exciting. At least it is to me. What about you? How did you come to be here?” he asked, his head tilted slightly to the side and watching the man seated across from him.

Cochrane, CO

“Well…” Jack paused as he thought about the question, the original posting had always been dual in nature which was part of what he needed to talk about just now. Yet there was the aspect of Jack that truly wanted to come here, someplace new away from the covert field. His new life wasn’t really his plan, he had been life longer agents who joined and got drafted into the ranks while in the Academy. That was never quite him, he took the courses as well as the command training cause he was curious, but until seven years ago he never even meet a member of Starfleet Intelligence, nor had he ever thought they would enlist him into their ranks.

“Could take awhile sir, it is part of the reason even felt that I needed to come to you today. I think this may have been a little late of a meeting but it’s better late than never I suppose.” he said as he looked down at the PaDD in his hands. “I came to this ship little over three years ago with both the blessing of Starfleet Command, and at the insistence of Starfleet Intelligence. Up until three years ago I had been… as you might be aware of, vacant from Starfleet. I had served in my earlier career as a Engineer and even Chief Engineer aboard the USS Asimov, even taking over for a brief period as XO aboard that ship. The absence wasn’t quite planned, but unlike my official record I wasn’t just on sabbatical as it currently says.” Jack paused as he glanced briefly to the his left, it wasn’t as hard to tell this story as it had been but he couldn’t deny the annoyance of constantly needing to go over it. The shadow aspect of the role had created a need he hadn’t liked but left his hands tied.

“My parents where… well they were in some circles revolutionaries others, not so much. My mom was a theoretical physicist, served at the Daystrum institute, father worked at the Utopia Plantia but created a tech firm. They invented and designed new technologies for both Starfleet and private. They though died around ten years ago, a trip they were taking to Risa ended in an ion storm taking them off course. I was just out of the academy for about a year then… it was hard but you have to move on. In time… things became less certain around their deaths.” Jack paused, looking down at his PaDD he began to bring up some information using his access credentials to bring up the briefing he had gotten seven years ago relating to their death. Handing the PaDD to the Captain Ardashir looked closely at the man and nodded.

Cochrane took the PaDD and began reading while listening to Jack.

“The rest of what I am about to tell you is top secret and classified, few Admirals even have this information so… you get the feel special. Trust me you’re not, I would live to not have knowledge like this sometimes.” Jack said, a sense of bitterness in his voice as he said that line. Most of what had happened in the seven years had been at great costs. “My parents tech I mentioned was state of the art in many ways, even now ten years after their deaths Starfleet figures the tech was 10-20 years more advanced than anything we have. They loved research, and they worked with the Federation to stabilize and bring these tech to the front but as with many things bureaucracy often would slow things down. Privatizing the tech made things far easier to work with the Federation.”

“Starfleet Intelligence approached me with this data, signs of the prototypes and technology my parents had been working on showing up in black markets over the quadrant. I had been part of many projects my parents had done over the years, knowing their signatures and information was asked to verify readings. I led a raid on a small planet in Tycho system, they had been making a forcefield that produced enough energy off of a nano generator that you could survive a ship explosion from inside the bubble. Tech like that could be reversed into many different fields both the field itself and the nano energy source. After my time with this I spent a year getting some extra training as I served as XO on the Asimov, only to be asked to tender my resignation and quit Starfleet… that wasn’t the case.” Jack put his hand out, asking for the PaDD back as he began to input some more data for the Captain to glance over.

Handing the PaDD back, Cochrane remained silent, but the scowl on his face spoke volumes.

“Orion, this became my life for the next three years. For security purposes the identity I used must stay a secret S.I. had found tons of weapons, generators, computer tech and all kinds of equipment that matched my parents specs we have on file being pumped out. Whoever had stolen it and killed my parents had the resources to reverse engineer all of it. There was nearly 10 petabytes of data the men took off that shuttle, enough to start a new Empire if you knew how. I was to pose as a tech dealer and infiltrate the underworld, find the men who had killed my parents and stop the production of these weapons. This is where I meet your CTO, Celina Rodriguez. She was a security officer on the planet, I confided in her but she only knew a fraction of the true mission. To her, I was just trying to catch my parents killers but there was always far more at stake than this.”

“After three years, we found all the data we needed to start sting operations to capture both the killers, and stop the operations. At first we thought the Orion Syndicate was running the operation but… we don’t believe that anymore. Someone else is pulling the strings, and uses people like Ferengi Emporium and Orion Syndicate and anyone else that has a shady background to funnel weapons, tech, credits and information. After closing down the operations on Orion, this… Shadow Syndicate, not their real title but we don’t have a real name so that was the highly unoriginal name Starfleet pegged them with, attacked a party I was holding. Killed a great many of my colleagues and friends… and almost killed Celina and myself. ” pausing Jack caught his breath as he did, this was harder as he went on for him since Celina came back. He never mentioned her to other Captains, she wasn’t a member of the crew back then. Now she was, and this left him with no choice.

“In the fight, I blew up the restaurant and pub we were celebrating in, falling through the sub basement as I took out the assailants. I was in a comma for three months, when I woke S.I. informed me that the Shadow Syndicate believed I was dead, and that my real identity was preserved. We had used facial scramblers on me at all times to try and prevent myself from being ID, and even purged all my data from Starfleet as I did the mission. With their believe I was save to go back to being Ardashir Creed… Jack by most friends, I took over as XO of the Manhattan. S.I. though had a secondary mission in play for me, one that continued my mission on Orion.” Jack said as he motioned for the PaDD one last time.

Pressing the information he unlocked the data that had made him Chief Intelligence Officer of the USS Manhattan, a shadow position as her served publicly as XO. “This became the new mission, to serve as XO and as CIO covertly with a primary goal to be front man in needs regarding the Shadow Syndicate. We haven’t had many dealings with them, or my fathers tech since I took over, only twice in three years have I needed to take a shore leave which… ended up not being shore leave. S.I. felt my serving a shadow role as CIO allowed me to stay off the radar of these group, as my experience with my parents tech was second to no one else Starfleet had access too… for the most part my job as CIO has been dull though. I give reports and I do my job but recently, things have started to get a bit more… interesting. Before we go farther than this though… do you have any questions sir?”

Creed, XO

Cochrane stared hard at the Executive Officer and, now apparently, Chief Intelligence Officer of his ship. He didn’t say anything for a several long moments, but his clenched jaw and posture said that he was not at all happy. Finally, he took a deep breath.

Mister Creed. Since my arrival on board I have been kept in the dark and outright ignored… and probably just bold-faced lied to… by Star Fleet Intelligence; as if this ship was their playground and those of us not privileged enough to be a part of their grand schemes were simple afterthoughts. That is not acceptable… and it stops now.” and he jabbed his index finger at the desk surface in emphasis. “Now, as you and I must work closely together for the duration of our tenures aboard this ship, I will give you no small amount of credit for coming and speaking to me so… candidly. But between you and Calloway, these surreptitious system modifications, and the fact that Intel didn’t think to tell the Commanding Officer of the ship any of this… well, I’m sure you can garner my impression of your esteemed Intelligence Group right now.” and he drummed his fingers on his desk.

“I understand that you have a vested interest in your non X-O related activities, I won’t fault you for that all. But I expect my second in command to be exactly that… the second in command. I will accept your dual role for the time being. But I will tell you honestly… I fully expect your role as Executive Officer to take priority over all else… Intel be damned. To that end, I will make you a promise. If we… not Intel, not just you and or Ms. Calloway… we… find anything having to do with your… situation… we will do whatever we can to investigate it. But this ship and her mission are not to be modified at the whim of a group who so far has shown no respect to this ship or it’s crew. You and I will discuss any needs that come up. And you and I will decide what is best for everyone involved. But this crew comes first, Mr. Creed. Before your investigation, before the desires of Intel… before anything. I won’t have it any other way. So before we continue, I have to ask you. Can you work within that framework?”

Cochrane, CO

OOC: Fixing typo.

“I can work within any framework and I understand all your concerns sir, I never picked this life and first and foremost I have always been an XO to this ship, S.I. has kept almost all dealings away from the ship to keep things secure and uninterrupted. With that said… something is right about this, you said Calloway sir?” Jack said looking intently at the man. Jack said, his voice was low and his face was concerned. “She isn’t part assigned here under me, there isn’t anyone else assigned to this ship but myself. ” Jack added, his eyes narrowing a bit as he let that part come to him.

“I came to you now wanting to bring you up to speed and talk about her, there is no record of her at all being assigned under S.I., I confirmed with the upper brass as much with this. She does have some clearance and worked with S.I. in the past, but as of right now no one from Intelligence has assigned her. She is a damn analyst for Christ sake they wouldn’t assign someone like that here.

Creed, XO

Cochrane smiled a wry smile. “Sounds like one hand isn’t particularly mindful of the other in the Intel world then, Commander. I might make a recommendation that you speak with the Lieutenant after you and I are finished here. If need be, you can bring me into the… conversation? But for now, I just have to know that you are here for this ship and her crew first and foremost. Which you say you are. And I have no reason to doubt you. I’d rather start off our time together on a positive note, anyway. So I guess we are in agreement on that particular point.”

“I always put this crew up first always, which… is why she is of concern. I took this up, I took this up to the highest parts of the group and even to other branches of Starfleet. That’s the point I am trying to inform you on sir, there simply is no mission. She is indeed a member of Starfleet, but she doesn’t have a mission related to anything intelligence here. S.I. isn’t one to play like Romulans or Cardassians, and the days of… some other branches… boogie men and such… they don’t exist as anymore for S.I. either. With that said, she does have official transfer papers as a mission specialist, but that is as far as the trail goes.” Jack paused, he wasn’t certain the Captain was catching the gravity of this. His loyalty to the ship also meant he had to take actions, even actions that could go against the Captain in certain situations of Starfleet’s security was in danger.

He paused for a moment and then said nonchalantly “Are you a drinking man, Mr. Creed.?”

Cochrane, CO

“Sir? Yes…” he said, it felt an odd pause but maybe it was good to take a step back. While he had to investigate Faye he didn’t have any evidence she was doing anything wrong yet, just that she shouldn’t be here at all under any S.I. pretense.

Creed, XO

Cochrane opened a drawer and pulled out two rocks glasses and a bottle of a dark amber liquid. Pulling the cork, he poured two fingers in each glass and set one in front of Creed. “Me too.” he said flatly. Picking up the other, he raised it to the XO and then took a small sip.

“So here is my confusion, Jack. May I call you Jack? I was told by Command she was on board before my arrival. I was told by Command she was conducting a classified experiment. I was told by Command that she was installing classified tech. And I saw orders from an Admiral Yi, Deputy Director of Star Fleet Intelligence, saying she is supposed to be here. And now my XO and CIO is telling me that isn’t the case. Ok. So as my XO, as the second in command of this ship, and as someone I am choosing to trust, I want you to tell me… who lied to me? And why? Because either someone lied… or someone really screwed up. Either way, my tolerance for all things Intel is rapidly running out.” Cochrane’s voice held no anger, no resentment, no frustration… he simply sounded a bit tired of the situation and was trying to find a solution.

Cochrane, CO

“There is a thing such as security breaches, it is why I am here. Her mission from Starfleet from what I can tell to install the tech right now is real. The rest, seems fabricated at best. Director Yi never signed off on any mission. That much I verified myself from him and a dozen other sources. I didn’t come with just a bad feeling I did as much research as I could in a short time. For now S.I. wants us to let her continue to think everything is okay but restrict access to the ship. I have already had her access beyond her basic duties restricted. The truth is we don’t know what is going on, but I need to find out more. This approach will limit damage she can do if the worst is true while I sift though her real motive” Jack said as he took the drink and out it back. Almost all instances of him doing his job in the last three years were operations outside the ship. He had never had to work with someone trying to infiltrate the ship itself.

“Once I have more sir I will find inform you of the findings and then you can decide what proceedings you think is best. It’s my job to protect the ship from foreign invaders that try to subvert. We will get to the bottom of this.”

Creed, XO

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