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Something Fishy

Posted on Thu Sep 7th, 2017 @ 3:36pm by Lieutenant Mindo & Lieutenant Kalin 'Shae' Brennan PhD

Mission: Into The Wild
Location: Pandora's Box restaurant
Timeline: current

Mindo walked into Pandora's Box still in uniform. He'd spent his whole shift thinking about how he was going to approach Shae. Eight hours of repairs and warp core inspections later, he had no idea what he was going to say. He looked around the restaurant and didn't see Shae there. So, he was early. He took a seat next to the nearest window and ordered his drink, then stared at the stars as he waited for Shae's arrival.

It would take a while for her arrive, and when she entered the Box, still in uniform like Mindo, she seemed more than a little flustered as her eyes sought out her friend. But then she found him and smiled, waving to him while she went to the bar to get a drink, then made her way over to the window where he sat.

"I am so sorry I'm late!" Shae said apologetically, taking a seat across from Mindo with a nice cup of tea before her. "I had been waiting for the better part of an hour for some projections to render and just as I'm about to leave the computer decided it was ready, and so I had to review the results and time just got away with me, I am so sorry to keep you waiting. But it was worth it, we've got a nice clear image of the dark matter field and I was able to outline a safe path for the Paletine to take when they come to resupply, and of course I had to transmit the map... But still, I should have let you know that I was going to be late, it was inexcusable," she rambled with faint blush. Then she cleared her throat, as if to start over. "So, how are repairs going?"

Mindo had been mid-sip of his drink when Shae came in and started her ramble, now he sat frozen in place, somewhat startled. At last, as if someone had flipped a switch within him, he lowered the drink and set the glass back on the table, clearing his throat.

"Things are going smoothly," he said. "I've got engines at ninety and a hull breach patched up. Things are... good. How are you?"

"Tired," Shae replied, rubbing the back of her neck. "Don't know how many more double shifts like this I can pull... I didn't even get a chance to see Aoife before she went to bed last night!" Shae sipped at her tea and sighed as she let the aromatic brew calm her. "Dark matter, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that the Expanse was made of dark matter..."

"What's Section 31?" Mindo blurted.

Shae sputtered and choked on her tea with such a blunt question, and she continued to cough for a moment as she returned her teacup to its saucer with a shaky hand.

"Excuse me?" she asked, her tone a little raspy from coughing.

Mindo looked down at the tablecloth and tried to figure out what he was going to say and how to say it. Since the cat was already out of the bag, he decided with the honest route.

"I haven't been entirely up front with you," he said. "I've run into my own problems with Starfleet Intelligence. It started on the USS Rhys, the ship I was on before Tornado. There was this horrible captain who abused me and framed me for some horrible things. He's dead now. Remember Greep? Greep killed him. Greep is Starfleet Intelligence. He's also on the Palatine right now headed for this ship. His handler was a man known as Vice Admiral Bradford Chase, a man I believe is connected to an organization within Starfleet called Section 31. Cailus came to me last night with the news. Now, I want to believe Greep is still a friend, but I won't really have any way to know that. I need to know what you know about Section 31, because I've seen what they can do and if Greep is one of them, it could mean danger to the whole ship."

As Shae listened, her expression grew saddened and pained, and when he explained his connection to Greep and the potential threat he represented, she nodded in reluctant acceptance and looked away.

"In the early days of the Federation before Starfleet had an active Intelligence section, there was Section 31. It was a small covert unit acting on orders directly from the Federation Council, citing Section 31 of the Federation charter, the gist of it being to protect the Federation by any means necessary. At first they were good people doing good things, then the Federation developed a legitimate Intel branch and Section 31 went dark, working independently of the Federation for the same goals. Most of the time, they... they do what no one else is willing to do to keep the Federation safe, and most of the time it's not a bad thing, sometimes they do what is necessary for the greater good, but just like with any organization without oversight, there are people who abuse their power..."

Shae looked back at Mindo with a heavy sigh. "During the War with the Dominion, I was taken by Section 31, and what they did to me was neither good nor necessary... I'm a shapeshifter and we were at war with shapeshifters, I can understand why they did it, but I was still so young and what they did to me haunts me even to this day. I was studied by a man who had no concept of ethics or morals and then trained to fight against the Founders and their Dominion, and Aoife... she was the result of their attempts to clone me, so they could have more of me, or at least a more compliant version of me, but even that backfired, although they were able to use her to make me complicit to their wishes and I did terrible things in her name. But all I ever knew of the organization was my handler, though I know he reported to someone else, I never knew who. And I've heard of Chase through my dealings with them, but I didn't know he was Section 31, and I've never heard of Greep so I can't speak of his motivations, whether he is good or bad, but I will watch him."

"I think Greep is good," said Mindo. "Cailus isn't sure. Or he just doesn't believe me. First I thought I was going to the Tornado to get away from all of it. Cailus dug it up, with your help, and I confessed. Greep also came forward with some things. After that, he disappeared. I haven't seen him in months."

"Cailus is a hard man to understand, he comes from a different time," Shae said in Cailus' defense. "And given my history with Section 31, I can't promise that I will be able to trust Greep either, but I trust you so I will try."

"I trust you too," said Mindo. "And I want you to be safe."

"Thank you," Shae said with a sad sort of smile. "I hope you're right about Greep, I really do, just keep in mind that there's little I wouldn't do to protect myself or Aoife from Section 31's machinations. Just trust your instincts; if it feels like you might be manipulated, please let me know, I want you to be safe too."

Mindo smiled. "OK." He picked up the menu PADD that had been in front of him all this time and said, "What's good here? I've been here before but I've only ever ordered a drink."

"The food is great," Shae said with a brighter smile. "I normally get a lot of salads and fruit, so I'm probably not the best to ask for dining opinions, but everything I've ordered here is top notch. Even the stuff that's replicated is good, higher grade replicator and they make the ingredients to cook with instead of just replicating the finished dish, gives it a more 'real' flair, it's very well done," she continued approvingly. But she put some real thought into recommendations of what to order. "Let's see, I once ordered this pasta dish with garlic chicken and this nice white sauce, it was fantastic."

Mindo had already found many things on the menu that sounded good. The menu was extremely diverse, with lots of different kinds of food. Having lived on a small island in Feseria, Mindo naturally loved seafood, of which he found plenty of items listed.

"Ooh!" he said, "Orange Roughy! One of my favorites from Earth. It's a kind of fish. Ever had it?"

"Can't say that I have," Shae replied. "I mean, I've had fish, I like fish, but that one is new to me," she continued with a hint of curiosity, tilting the menu in his hand so that she could read the entry (upside down) about the Orange Roughy and how it was prepared in this particular dish. "Hmm, sounds interesting, I think I'll give it a try."

 

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