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Ghost in the Shell

Posted on 16 Jan 2016 @ 9:32pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Senior Chief Petty Officer Mila Rasputin

Mission: Rude Awakening
Location: Operations
Timeline: MD 9 || 1330 Hours

Mila left the Captain's Ready Room with pep in her step and headed to Operations. She was a woman on a mission and she had a feeling that the Captain wasn't the type to give assignments out lightly that he had given her. She wondered what had transpired in the man's life, other than the current business of the Consortium, that had turned him into an officer who clearly had trust issues with his own crew. Of course, it could simply be a matter of him needing the the time to get to know new personnel before he trusted them enough without having to elaborate on an order or he could simply be one of those Captain's who trusted only his own council.

When she entered Operations, she input her Security and Data Access clearance and headed into a Clean Room. Normally, such places were restricted to special duties, experimentation and implementation of new technologies and restricted access. She smiled as she went to a cabinet , opened it and retrieved a small briefcase that would have the tools that she wanted. There were times when it would have been easier simply to use the main computer, but when it came to cases like the isolinear chip she had been given, she wanted seclusion and isolation from the rest of the ship.

Mila took a seat a workstation and pulled the isolinear chip from her right sleeve but didn't set it down. Whatever was on the chip had the Captain worried and she didn't want to contaminate it in the event that it contained sensitive information. It was unlikely that it could get corrupted by setting it on the workstation surface, but she had never been one to take chances.

She pressed her thumb to the interface on the briefcase and tapped in her data access and Security clearance code once more before it opened. Inside was a modified PADD which contained a wide variety of programs which would assist her in her work, a reader for isolinear chips, a monocle device for in depth examination of surfaces and a small tool kit for taking items apart.

Mila set up the PADD one-handed and entered her authentication once more and then inserted the isolinear chip into the reader after making sure there were no obstructions in it that could damage the chip or cause false readings. After she connected the reader to the PADD, she decided to see what was on the surface layers of the chip before she began to examine it in other ways.

It seemed to be a log from the last convoy that passed through, which had also attacked by the O'Carroll detailing massive damage and casualties. Mila shook her head; no, that couldn't be everything that the isolinear chip contained, especially if the Captain had entrusted it to her care and had shown so much concern over it.

She bit her bottom lip unconsciously and began to run a level three diagnostic on the chip while she watched the readouts on the PADD. Everything seemed to be standard according to the diagnostic, but there was a minor discrepancy that almost seemed to be a ghost. Perhaps the isolinear chip was old and had been used several times, but with the availability of chips in any ship or starbase inventory, it wouldn't make sense to write over an old one. Especially not with a log that detailed casualties after an attack.

"What have we here, Mila Anastasiya?" She asked herself. She knew that Starfleet codes were made up of encryption algorithms and every encryption key had an implementation date, the time and date it was to be used. She also knew that each isolinear chip could hold two point five kiloquads of data, so again the question, why use one twice or overwrite information on one? She began to search for the frequency that would reveal the encryption while she prepared a couple decryption programs. "It is just a matter of time before we pull the ghost from the shell," she murmured as she worked.

A short time later, she discovered an encryption circuit that contained hardwired security codes and smiled. She was grateful for her level seven clearance and hoped that whoever had made it didn't think to check as deeply as she had looked. Entering in her authentication code while she initiated the decryption programs, she waited for the results to become available her. Another prompt came up on the PADD and she entered her Beta One Data Access code into it as the programs decrypted the ghost she had found on the chip.

For something that had been written over, someone had done their best to make sure no one else could find out what it was. "Ah, but I am not no one," Mila said with a smirk. "I am Mila Anastasiya Rasputin and the secrets of Czars flows through my veins."

When the decryption program finished, she looked at the display on the PADD and gasped at what she saw. The log that was revealed showed that no one had been hurt in the attack on the first convoy, but the O'Carroll did disable, board, and confiscate cargo for medical supplies. replicators and materials, heavy weapons. In essence, everything that would be needed to supply a colony and make sure it was well secured.

Mila got up after she copied the information to the PADD and retrieved a encrypted isolinear chip which she placed in the second slot and transferred the contents of the true log to it. After she retrieved the original isolinear chip and the encrypted one and hid both chips in her sleeves. She got up and disposed of the PADD in the recycler and pulled another out of inventory to put in the briefcase. They were single-use items, and she had no intention of letting a Consortium agent find what she had been doing. She put the items back in the briefcase and back into the cabinet, then left the room.

"Captain Geisler is not going to be happy," she said to no one, her Russian accent stronger now. "But is better to be unhappy than to be played for fool." She shook her head and left the clean room and headed for the bridge once more.

Once on the bridge, Mila immediately approached the Captain. "I have what you were looking for, Captain," she said, her Russian accent thick with concern.

Harvey stood near the Mission Operations station studying the sensor readouts on the O'Carroll, judging Dicon's handiwork from afar. He glanced over to the yeoman, somewhat concerned she'd willingly mention the serious matter he'd reluctantly assigned to her. That was neither here nor there, so Harvey nodded to Lieutenant Carmichael to assume command of the bridge for the time being. With that, he led Rasputin to the ready room.

As soon as the doors were closed, he tapped a button on his desk to raise a forcefield on his side of the doors. "What do you have, Chief?"

Mila twisted her left hand and the original isolinear chip appeared in it before she handed it to him. She tilted her head to the side and looked just behind him. "Is cheap trick. Captain's always look for something that is not there."

Harvey accepted the chip and gave it a quick look over in his hands before gripping it with his index finger and thumb and tapping it in the palm of his other hand. "So... it's real then?"

"No," she said as another chip seemed to materialize in her hand. "This, unfortunately, is real."

Harvey's eyes instantly fixated on the new chip. Part of him wanted to snatch it and watch it immediately. The other part hesitated knowing that in this instant truth would be revealed, and it would be a truth that he didn't want to believe.

Mila extended the chip to him, wishing that she could do a real magic trick and make it all part of an act. "I am sorry, Captain."

With hesitation, Harvey took the chip. He set it on top of the other he held and simply stared at it for a couple moments. "Thank you, Chief," he muttered.

"Is there anything else you wish me to do, Sir?" she asked.

"No," he said softly. He closed his fist around the chip, knowing she'd already seen what it contained. Despite his every hesitation, Harvey fully intended to review the unaltered contents, though he wanted to do this in private. "That will be all, Chief."

Mila nodded. "Of course, Captain," she said before she turned and left the Ready Room, knowing that the man would definitely need some time alone after he reviewed the chip.

Now alone in the Ready Room, Harvey sauntered over to his desk and sat down. He set the original chip on the desk and pushed it forward so that it rested near the other logs from the previous convoys. The unaltered log chip remained in his hand. Harvey stared at it for a moment before inserting it into his terminal and played it.

He watched the log five times before turning off the terminal. Harvey leaned back in his chair. Jillian's claims didn't seem so far fetched any more, but he now had more questions. Why arm Gavara secretly? What was really going on?

Harvey rose from his chair and walked over to the window to gaze out at the convoy once more, wondering why someone would falsify or alter casualty lists. A thought struck him, and he suddenly turned back to the darkened monitor. What if the casualty lists weren't just altered to say that people had died during the boarding raids?

How, then, were they killed? What foul play was really at work here?

And, in that moment, Harvey officially began to question everything. Jillian. The O'Carroll. Starfleet. The Consortium.

Am I really on the right side here?

Only an inspection of the convoy would confirm that...


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