A Frustrating Fix - Part Two
S1-A1-Ep. 1: Spectrophobia
Location: USS Poseidon; Various Places
Timeline: Arrived at Betreka Nebula
"Mr Hirsch, follow me," the Captain ordered as he stood. He had just concluded a conversation on his commbadge with the ships Chief Engineering Officer. Apparently, there was a situation that warranted the ships Chief Security Officer and the Captain together in the Captain's Ready Room. Briskly Franklin stood and in one fluid movement began to step toward the foyer, expecting Mr Hirsch to follow him.
Calvin nodded at Captain Johnson, following the Officer to his ready room. Hirsch was curious, as it was one of his first interactions between other Officers and security matters deemed such discussion.
Just as both Calvin and Franklin almost disappeared into the foyer, Kana stepped out onto the Bridge and headed directly for the conn, only flashing them a brief look after she had taken the time to assess the situation in front of her. "Keep shields on rotation and the ship at a steady pace. Check all systems to ensure optimal energy usage..."
The Executive Officer began giving out a firm list of orders to the bridge crew as she settled in, all of the following on dutifully and with little hesitation. Until she had any indication otherwise, she would not seek to raise any general alarm amongst the crew. She trusted that whatever was going on, Sharpe would be able to handle it. Though she was curious as to what required Hirsch's involvement, she had no doubt she would discover why in due time. For now, she had her own job to do.
As Paul was heading to the nearest turbo lift he stopped and took out a scanner and scanned the Iso chip the device only confirmed his suspicions "Dammit, I thought this looked familiar!" he griped to himself, at this time he dispensed with the fact that he was a bit dirty, after all, he had been crawling around in the Jefferies tube, he hoped he would not get into trouble, he passed a reflective surface and saw that it was not that bad, he straightened up his tunic and entered the nearest turbo lift and when the doors had closed "CRR" this would bring him to the rear of the bridge but on the other side, the Miranda class had a small access hatch, which he used. When he finally arrived on the deck he made his way to this location and entered, he had to stop and he knocked on the small rarely used hatch loudly, probably startling those in the room.
Franklin jumped at the sound of the knock, blinking as he glanced at Hirsch before heading to the hatch. It was the original Jefferies tube hatch from the lower deck. Curious, he opened it, revealing the rather dirty face of his CEO. Franklin helped Sharpe up, offering a hand to straighten his uniform and clean excess grime off of it.
"Mr Sharpe, a rather unexpected and unorthodox way to announce one's arrival!" the Captain offered, a slight smile on his face. "What is so important you couldn't spend the time going on the decks?"
Hirsch heeded the uniqueness of the moment. As a security officer, he had cocked his head to the side, almost weighing the thoughts in his mind. Either the Officer was a unique personality in his own right, or this was an appropriate circumstance using the access hatch. As far as he knew, the functioning of the Poseidon's turbo lifts was operating effectively. Hirsch watched Captain Johnson and Commander Sharpe, curiously awaiting information at hand.
Taking the offered help Sharpe stood up "OW!" he said "I am getting too old for this" he added stretching he looked back at the hatch as he closed it "I was less than clean so I did not feel right coming onto the bridge the normal way Captain, as for there that leads" he said pointing at the hatch "that is the shortest tube ever, it leads out onto a narrow deck leading to the back of the CRR, you might want to remember it is there should you need it Captain" Sharpe said with a smile as he walked the room to stretch his legs "I will be leaving the normal way, if I never see another Jefferies tube again it will be too damn soon!" he complained straight-faced.
Then he noticed who he assumed was the Security Chief he stopped next to him and held his hand out "hello Lieutenant, I am Lieutenant Commander Paul Sharpe Chief Engineer, pleased to meet you" he said.
The Captain stepped out of the way so the two could acquaint. He gave a small chuckle as a response to his CEO's complaints. Jefferies tubes were not something to be celebrated. They were nasty, dirty, and hurt to crawl through. You were literally taking shortcuts through the ship in what amounted to half the size necessary for an average human to pass through. The Captain admired anyone who did it often enough.
“Commander, Pleasure to meet you, Chief.” He gave a nod and a solid and hearty handshake. He was still questioning his reason for being in the meeting and was going to ask. However, it was the Captain’s place to ask first, so Hirsch resigned himself for the moment.
When the introductions were done Sharpe subconsciously relaxed his hands behind his back as if he was at Parade rest and he began to pace "before I get to why I asked for this meeting, I am going to give you a little background on my Lieutenant Hirsch, just so as you know that I am not some Engineer trying to play Security Officer" he said and paused. "Before I came to serve on the Poseidon as her Chief Engineer I spent most of my Starfleet career mainly as a Security Officer and later on Security Chief on other assignments, with only a few deviations into other departments by the first deviation was into engineering, I think I even tried Marines for a bit, but I returned to security" he pauses he pacing and looks up at the Security Chief "stick with what you know right!" He said and it was not meant to be a question.
*inhales and exhales*
"Now you know I am no wannabe Security nut, I will get to why I am here and give a bit of background on how I recognised what I found" he paused again as he held out the Iso chip to the pair, he had since paused in a spot where he could address both officers still holding the chip. "Now either we have a spy on board and you Lieutenant Hirsch have a large hole in your security structure, or when this ship was at the Shipyard it had a large Security hole in its defences. Either way, it is not good" he paused handing the chip to the Captain first "I would like both of you to have a look at it, that is not a standard Isolinear chip, it is the reason for the power outages, I re-routed the power and pulled it, this solved the immediate problem I will still have to replace it with a new one from stores. Now before I continue with how I recognised it has either of you any questions?" Sharpe asked.
The Captain took the chip, looking at it with a very serious expression. There were several instances in the dock where someone could have done this. After all, they had been through and seen, this was a high indication that validated their concerns.
"Is there any way you can check for more of these?" was all the Captain asked, his jovial expression gone and replaced with a grim one.
“Captain Johnson, Commander Sharpe,” Hirsch had spoken after a moment. “I can run an open-access link within the security buffers of the main computer, then re-list the command prompts with a security encoding update as if we were at Utopia Planitia. In theory, this should run up anything being mimicked in the systems." Hirsch shook his head puzzled at the magnitude of the chipset. "I will complete a full investigation of everyone who had clearance and access to the area where the subversive chip was placed. Between the last time, the Engineering panel was accessed and when it was found.”
“As you know, Chief” Hirsch had narrowed his eyes recalling “Federation LCAR chip manufacturing is highly scrutinized, regulated for accuracy and security. Engineering chips alone are highly redundant with security encoding for safety purposes where warp cores and energy plasma is programmed.” Hirsch, let out a small inaudible breath and then slowly moistened his dry mouth. “This chip though visually different would have a federation encoding that was breached during manufacturing as well if this is the case.” But of course, Calvin had to verify this assumption with evidence.
The Captain was the next to speak, though he was hesitant to do so. He watched as his Chief of Security began his visual inspection of the chip, his mind wandering on the implications that were presented before him. He didn't like it one bit. This situation had escalated from something minor to something extremely major, something that required the attention of the Commodore - later, if possible. A slow nod as he gave a visual cue that he followed along and understood.
"We have had incidents such as this in the past," Franklin said. "Before our initial shakedown, we had an incident where a foreign agent had put something on board. It was similar to the methods used by the pirate boarders that we encountered in the Battle of the Bright Nebula. They infected our system up in the torpedo stores with a virus that nearly detonated the entire magazine. The chip that was in the device they used is similar to that if my mind serves well."
He nodded, "now as to how I recognise that," he said pointing at the chip "Back when I was a fourth-year Cadet I went on my first undercover mission as my specialist field was computers I was selected, I cannot speak much on it as it is still securely locked, but after six months my cover was blown by a botched Intelligence operation, so they pulled me out and I completed my Cadet training with orders to speak nothing of it. That style of Iso chip was first pioneered by the Tal'Shiar and modified by the Orion Syndicate. That chip Lieutenant Hirsch is of Syndicate make and if you adjust all scanners and systems to the signature of this chip and if there are any more they should show up, I will take a look at other systems that use these type of chips, but there is a security breach and I do not like such things" Sharpe responded.
“Syndicate.” Hirsch thought to himself. “Perhaps the crime firm was hired to monitor the Poseidon systems.” Again it was just a thought. “I’ll have a check on what you stated, Commander.” Hirsch agreed with an acknowledged nod.
Turning to Captain Johnson, Hirsch requested. “Captain, I request that this information remains here. Albeit, the XO be informed. As it is, the chip being removed may have sent out a warning to whoever placed it.”
Franklin looked at both men sternly for a moment, then nodded firmly. "I concur. This information will be between us and the XO. Any individual dispensing of this information will be done on an as-needed basis. I need to get with the Commodore soon and discuss with him what has transpired."
"Chief," the Captain said as he turned to Sharpe, "I want you to work with Mr Hirsch in finding the rest of these damn things and cleaning my ship. Both of you are assigned this task, to be completed by the weeks end if possible. We'll also need to keep a clear eye in our vicinity for any cloaking devices tailing us."
"That," the Captain continued as he turned to Calvin, "is where you come in. I want you to come with me later this evening for a meeting with the Commodore and myself. We'll provide a full debrief on the situation and any as needed information. Additionally, I need your eyes and those who take your watch to keep an eye out for a specific signature that's in our system. It's the same that tailed us before and in the Battle of the Bright Nebula."
Turning his head to both his department heads, he gave a nod. "Are we clear on what we need to do?" Franklin asked.
Sharpe nods in response, "I will brief the First Officer, I have yet to meet him so I will bring him up to date on this, the Lieutenant has the signature to look for any more from his end, I will check the computer systems and other areas that use this type of chip as I am sure that there may be more in key areas" Sharpe said and looked at Hirsch "If you locate any in computer systems let me know personally and I will be there to sort it" Sharpe added.
"Very good," Franklin replied. "And it's her, just to point out."
Hirsch looked down for a moment at the ready room carpet as he stifled a slight chuckle. The Commander of the Poseidon was indeed a ‘her.’
“Commander. I will keep you updated on my progress. You will be notified as soon as anything suspicious is found.” Hirsch stated to Sharpe with a nod.
Sharpe looked up at Johnson "her!" He said then realised to whom the Captain was referring to "okay her" he said with a smile and then looked at Hirsch "excellent, I will look from my end too, well if we are done here I will go brief the First Officer" Sharpe added and took the chip back so he could show the First Officer.
The Captain smiled and shook his head slightly in amusement at the pair. It was these brief moments that usually defined what experience the crew would have together, and so far Franklin liked what he saw.
Hirsch had grinned at Sharpe.
With a final nod to the pair, Sharpe left the Ready Room and entered the bridge...
Captain Franklin Johnson
Lieutenant Commander Paul Sharpe
Chief Engineering Officer
Lieutenant Lazarus Kord
Lieutenant Calvin Hirsch
Chief Security Officer