Briefing Room- Intelligence Matters

Posted May 20, 2019, 11:15 a.m. by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) (James Sinclair)

Posted by Lieutenant Faye Calloway (Mission Specialist) in Briefing Room- Intelligence Matters

Posted by Warrant Officer Walker Darach (Chief Operations Officer) in Briefing Room- Intelligence Matters

Posted by Lieutenant Faye Calloway (Mission Specialist) in Briefing Room- Intelligence Matters

Posted by Warrant Officer Walker Darach (Chief Operations Officer) in Briefing Room- Intelligence Matters

Posted by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in Briefing Room- Intelligence Matters

Posted by Lieutenant Faye Calloway (Mission Specialist) in Briefing Room- Intelligence Matters

Posted by Captain Alexander Cochrane (Commanding Officer) in Briefing Room- Intelligence Matters

Posted by Warrant Officer Walker Darach (Chief Operations Officer) in Briefing Room- Intelligence Matters

(snip)

“Perfectly, Captain.” Max said simply. He was interested in what exactly was about to be revealed seeing as it couldn’t be something that affected the Engineering side of a ships operation. That information was always at the purview and sign off of the Chief Engineer no matter how high up or secret and that regulation couldn’t be broken without serious consequences for the people involved. No Chief Engineer in Starfleet would be brought up on any charges for protecting his ship against something that should have been disclosed properly no matter how classified, but it was curious that the organisation or people involved didn’t have their own ships in their pocket to use for this.

Lt Cmdr Wynter, CE

(snip)

Walker raised his eyebrow, definitely wouldn’t be the first time he had stepped over the line. “Absolutely Captain.” He had never been for a court marshal before, but there was always a first time.

WO Darach - COO

Cochrane looked at each and then said “Very well. Here is the situation in a nut shell, Lieutenant Calloway will go over specifics. She has been tasked with installing an experimental system designed to add increased protection to our computer framework and it’s associated peripheral systems. This was a directive given to her specifically. Mr. Wynter, before you get your Chief Engineer hackles up know this. No one else was informed about this. Not you, not me… no one. All I was told was that she was performing a classified experiment and to assist as needed. That’s it.” and he looked at both men seated at the table. “I know that flies in the face of every regulation, protocol, courtesy, and tradition we know; but that’s how it was done. Wasn’t the Lieutenant’s choice, she was following orders from her superiors… in Intel. Lieutenant Calloway is, or soon will be officially, a Senior Field Agent.” and Cochrane leaned back and took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. “Why the brass in spy-ville decided that was the best way to handle this, I have no idea. And we are not going to ask, gentlemen. As far as anyone outside this room is concerned, she is still the same wonderful Mission Specialist we all know, puttering around the ship doing who knows what. But we have seen how well that worked out. So…” and he paused a moment and looked at the three as a whole.

“We are now going to do this thing as it should have been done from the beginning. The three of you are going to work on the installation as a team. But just the four of us. No help, no assistants, and for the love of all that is holy no record of you two or me being involved. This way we get the project done, you both know what the hell is happening in your systems, and Calloway gets to get out from under the thumb of whoever thought up this cluster.” and he pause again. “Questions before the Lieutenant briefs us , gentlemen?”

Cochrane, CO

OOC: So, small change in plans. As discussed with the CO and XO, Faye’s title is Senior Field Agent. There are reasons for this and it will cause the story to shift, but only slightly. It doesn’t affect the implementation of this thread and the CO’s orders for them to help her. This thread is before the Senior Staff Meeting and also before the Xo talks to the CO about his own Intelligence status. I’ve changed her title above as discussed. Clear as mud? ~Linds

OOC: Thanks for the clarification, Linds. And thank you for being accommodating with your story. MUCH appreciated.

James

“Well, I have many questions, but I think it will be better to wait till after after the Lieutenant fills us in. A few of my questions might be answered.”

WO Darach - COO

“Very well.” and he looked at Faye. “Lieutenant, the floor is yours.”

Cochrane, CO

Faye gave a nod and gazed for a moment at Darach and Wynters. They held a part of her fate in her hands and it irked her, but she was also glad to be sharing some of this with others. It was getting a little circular in her head lately and Blue hadn’t been able to relieve her concerns much at all.

Stepping over to the display screen, she brought up the basic layout of the ship but there were many areas flashing. “For the last year, Intelligence has been revamping many of the data security protocols on ships across all fleets. It’s a slow process, understandably, but an important one. I’ve been currently doing so, but these changes are to the software only. And given the Manhattan’s mission, it’s not enough.”

She tapped the keypad a few times and the display changed to show a crippled ship. “This is the USS Odyssey. It was commissioned five years ago and sent on a deep space mission to explore the closer regions of the Delta Quadrant. This is, of course, before our little wormhole was discovered. The Oddyssey was expected to do two years and return to a base for regular maintenance. Half way on their way back to Federation space, Command lost contact. Several months later a freighter came across the ship and relayed the information back to Starfleet via a Federation registered freighter.” Faye exhaled in preparation for what she was about to show them.

She tapped a key and images began to slowly cycle. The ship was shown adrift, then interior shots showed the environmental systems were clearly non functional and the crew frozen, and in some spaces floating about, clearly dead. There were also signs of asphyxiation. It was grim and Faye held a somber gaze as she turned back to them. “From the information gathered and extrapolated, it appears the ship’s systems came in contact with a virus. We’re not entirely sure how, but it seemed to be an evolved bit of tech. We don’t know its origins, but it sweeps through a computer and takes over, trying to restructure things to its liking, as if there is some sort of outcome it’s searching for. The freighter captains reported a few rumours of similar incidents with other non-Federation ships. While I’m not entirely willing to concede the point, some of my colleagues at S.I. believe that this might be a part of some adaptive technology that the Borg assimilated at some point.” She grimaced. “It sounds too simplistic and straight forward of an answer and so I’m keeping an open mind as we go forward.” She was a scientist, after all. She needed more data points.

Walker let out a low whistle as he looked at the images on the screen.

Moving to the table, Calloway reached into her crate and pulled out the round device and held it up for them to see. “I know you are familiar with this and I also understand your curiosity about what it does. Thankfully for all of us, this thing survived the explosion because it may very well be the thing that stops this virus from infiltrating the ship. It’s designed to capture and dismantle foreign programs and isolate them entirely from the rest of the ship. And no, our current firewalls are not enough to stop this virus. We’ve tested several upgrades of them and based on what we know, it corrupts the programming in insidious ways. Standard system structures are the virus’ playground.”

She put the device back into the crate and took in the three men in turn. “I know you don’t like how any of this was set up and I get you being pissed that I’ve been going about the ship and seemingly doing whatever the hell I want, but”-she turned at the hips and briefly pointed to the image of the dead crew-“but if you believe nothing else, believe that I am trying to do everything I can to prevent that from happening to us. That virus is out there. It hasn’t made its way out of the Delta Quadrant yet, but it probably will. By the time that happens, we intend to have a way to shut it down entirely.”

~Faye Calloway, Data Specialist

Cochrane looked at the images for several long moments. “Sweet mother of…” he whispered. He took a deep breath. He then looked back at the three individuals before him. His face was rigid, as if he was trying to hold back either tears or rage. Extending an arm and pointing at the pictures of the Odyssey, he said “That does not happen here.” Lowering his arm, he clasped both hands before him on the table.

“Listen. All of you. There is not a single person at this table that likes the way this was handled. So we are going to put any resentment, any frustration, any animosity straight in the recycler and address this as a team… as shipmates. Our focus is to make sure that never repeats itself. Are we clear?”

Cochrane, CO

Walker nodded, his eyes still on the screen. “Question for you Lieutenant. If this virus is smart enough to take over the ships systems, and corrupt them that completely. How does your little device stop it? Why does the virus not just skip that system and take over the rest of the ship? Or even if a part of it is trapped by it, why does it then shut down the entire virus?”

WO Darach - COO

“Because all the system changes I’m doing are funnelling new input into specific key areas. There’s a whole system of triggered alerts at the firewall points that alert my new programming that changes are being made in the system,” Faye said, switching the screen away from the grisly images and back to the schematics. “Keep in mind that this thing moves quickly, and the only way to prevent it from taking over is to get ahead of it and throw up blocks that slow it down. I don’t expect those early measures to stop it, but it gives time and we will need time. Also, the virus’ goal is to take over the computer cores and at key points in front of that will be this device. I have one for each core. No more, no less. They are, as I pitched it R&D ‘miniature hackers’. They are hardware that holds software that imitates the way someone like me works against a system.” She couldn’t help but grin a little bit since, after all, this had been long in development and Faye herself had provided real life examples of that work in action.

“It’s not perfect, but the idea is that this virus is methodical and in that way, predictable. A hacker, a good one is unpredictable. They can adapt faster than the system they are working against. And, if the Manhattan’s computer is attacked and these measures are activated, I’ll know immediately and then I can jump in and add to countermeasures in real time. What’s more effective than one unpredictable force? Two.”

~Faye Calloway, Data Specialist

Walker wasn’t sure how well that would actually work. It sounded a bit like hope and prayers to him.

“How long is it between initial infection before the point of no return on the virus infesting the whole computer network?”

WO Darach - COO

“You have to remember that we don’t have records intact on the progression of the virus on the Odyssey, but through simulations analysis we’ve been able to narrow it down to a window of eighty-eight minutes to one hundred. It may seem like a lot, but that’s only after the counter measures are in place. Without them we’re looking at forty-five, and that’s only with someone like myself jumping in once we realize there’s a problem and you can imagine how that variable affects things.”

Faye moved over to the table, turned a chair around and sat down, folding her arms on the table. “The point really is to prevent infection in the first place. And since we don’t know how exactly the virus gets into the system, I’ve been working to secure all incoming data, as well as making sure that all outgoing data is safe too. There’s too much we don’t know, and we’re not going to be sitting at base forever. I was really close to being done with the upgrades and moving on to full system tests. But now we’ve got a whole section of the network to repair before I can wrap up the final install. And since I clearly can’t trust the competence of a random ensign who might be asked to do a simple power diversion, I could use help from people who know what the hell they are doing.” Faye was utterly serious and she could feel the edge of anger rising up in response to her own mention of yesterday’s incident.

~Faye Calloway, Data Specialist

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