Episode 3: Foxes and Henhouses
Location: Diplomatic Center, Starbase Arcadia
Timeline: MD 2, Evening (Immediately after "A Way to End the War"
The diplomatic hall was buzzing with activity again as guests intermingled. A few more skeptical looking captains stood by the large windows, gazing down at the Indomitable and trying to make their minds up about the way they felt.
The Artemis and Defiant duos hung close to the far side of the building, to avoid their discussions being heard. However, it was only a few minutes in when Charlotte interrupted them urgently. "Heads up. We have company."
Brigadier General Rebecca Javier was striding right toward their little group. "Ah. Captain James, a pleasure to see you again!"
"General," Chris replied, bowing his head slightly in deference. He had to at least attempt civility. "Congratulations on the promotion. And new command."
"Why thank you. I've devoted a lot of time and effort to it," Javier replied. The self congratulatory tone at the end of the sentence almost immediately gave way toward a cloaked hostility, though her tone remained jovial.
"And I see you're still playing his lapdog," the general continued, her eyes locking on to Summer's. "Taking it a bit literally too, from what I hear."
Summer flashed a way too sweet sugary smile. "Ah general so nice to see you again, always such a pleasure." She let her gaze sweep the general almost insulting as she spoke. "Sleeping ones way to the top doesn't pay what it used too I see... though I never picked you to like girls..." she paused "How are your men doing by the way, I hear some were in hospital for a long while after they ran into me."
Rebecca’s face grimaced for a second, not entirely sure how to reply. Summer had just thrown her innuendo back at her. “Childish wordplay and projection are beneath you, Gallagher.”
Summer yawned at her.
The general swept her gaze to the blonde to their right. “Ah, Miss Reynolds. I’d advise hanging around with a better crowd. These people might dredge up some old bad habits of yours. Unless you’re in on the party as well.”
Charlotte laugher exaggeratedly. “Wow! You are a strikingly unpleasant person. I’ve known you for 15 seconds and I already know where they’re coming from.”
“I can only give you advice, Miss Reynolds. You’re the one-“
“Captain,” Charlotte interrupted.
“I’m sorry?” Javier squinted.
“I can only give you advice, Captain Reynolds.” Charlotte corrected. “And I think I’ll take my chances. I’m a little less worried about this crowd committing a war crime.”
The general didn’t seem put off by her comment. Instead she just turned to Maralen. “I’d advise a transfer. Defiant’s reputation hasn’t marred you yet. Get out before they drag you in.”
Maralen had observed the interplay between the other officers, his analytical mind studying all of them, but especially the general. She, it seemed, was going to be... problematic. He was actually surprised, given her reputation among these officers at least as a xenophobe, that she would even deign to speak to him much less give him what she obviously perceived as kind advice.
Putting on his best Representative guise, he smiled warmly at the woman -- it was genuine in the sense that it was his natural warmth, but it was affected rather than truly felt. "I am grateful for your concern, General Javier. I will give it the consideration it is due." he said very politely, giving no indication to the woman of falsity. She obviously had old grievances with the pair in command of the Artemis, but he wanted to keep things as professional as he could between himself, Charlotte and her for as long as he could. One never knew who might later become a valuable resource, after all.
The general seemed almost taken aback by his lack of a snippy reply. Instead she simply nodded and proceeded along further into the crowd. "Ah Ambassador, so great to see you."
Charlotte looked on as the marine returned to her cordial interactions. "She's definitely going to be a problem. But I think we have a larger problem. That ship is too big and too close to completion to have been constructed in the mere months the war has lasted. There are dedicated ship yards that are still only partly through constructing vessels that were ordered for this war. Even at the speeds this station
can build a ship, this thing would have needed to be under construction a few months before that."
"I agree," Captain James spoke up. "I think there is a chance that it was under construction before hostilities even built up along the border. And given what we know about the parasites infiltration of Klingon leadership, there's a chance that these parasites didn't take advantage of the war. There's a chance that..."
Maralen was easily following the man's logic and knew where that sentence ended, but he did not finish it for them. He did not need to. He could see in their eyes that they had followed as well. And sadly, he had to agree with the man. Either they started the war or someone here wanted one. Sadly, where there was one xenophobe, there were usually a good number more. "That is a possibility, Captain." he acknowledged Captain James' thought. "It is also possible that their infiltration and manipulation coincided with the desires and intentions of some within the command structure." He did not like that possibility, that some of their own already had this plan; but it could not be ignored as a possibility either.
"I think we need more information," Charlotte pitched in. "The Dreadnought class is powerful, but one ship can't take down the whole Klingon fleet. Hell, Defiant is running some of the modified systems that were pioneered on the Vengeance. I am not convinced they haven't scheduled our baryon purge for that very reason. And if we'd be a threat, I'm sure the entire Klingon fleet would be one too. There needs to be more to their plan."
Maralen frowned, thinking about her words. He had to admit, she was sharp. He liked that sharp mind of hers and, to himself only, admitted that the Realm would have loved to have an asset like her. But he pushed that back into the recesses of his mind and focused on the current situation.
"I agree. There must be more than one ship, or more to that ship. Most likely both." He lowered his voice even more so that no one would overhear. "We do need more information... on what they are building in the R&D section for starters. Perhaps someone should ... try to get close to the general. She is in this up to her ears, and she likely has access to that section." Besides, being such an interactive public fgure, she was the easiest to get to. "And while she did not react badly to me here and now, I am likely not the one for this task." Even though he had infiltration training, he knew this was not the situation for it. Though he would if asked.
“Yeah, I agree. I think she went easy on you, Maralen, because the other three people inspired more anger than a non-human.” Charlotte thought it over for a minute. “Summer, could you and Kenna get together and prep her for an infiltration. She’s probably Defiant’s best option and her StratOps position would fit in perfectly.”
Summer nodded. "I can do that, no issue" She said her gaze watching the general.
Charlotte nodded. “Good. We need to know more about what’s going on.”