The Story So Far...
Posted on Wednesday, 30 December 2020 - 5:34pm by Captain Barret Stillwater & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Lieutenant JG Adrianna Eberhardt
"Are we interrupting?”
With a Adrianna in tow, Lieutenant Kinglsey peered inside Commander Stillwater’s room to see if he was awake and alone. While he undoubtedly needed to be kept informed about what was happening, she didn’t want it to be at the expense of his recovery. Her blue eyes swept the room but it was otherwise empty, no medical staff and his husband appeared to be somewhere else for the time being.
“I thought you’d like to know about the trip to Venus and Petty Officer Baciami has uncovered some troubling information.”
Adrianna nodded, "Si, we need to act now but with very few involved or a fear we may lose a lot of people and a little democracy."
“First though,” Alex added, “how are you feeling? I imagine poisoning is not top of anyone’s to do list ...”
Stillwater managed a small chuckle. "No, I cannot say that it was on the top of my list," the man replied. "However, it is not a new experience for me. I've had more near death experiences and attempts made on my life than Rasputin. Needless to say, not my first poisoning."
"So don't come to you for dinner," Alex observed with a nod, "noted."
"I was an intelligence officer," replied Stillwater. "Mostly just analysing data and being privy to some things that are typically Captain's eyes only and above, but I made my fair share of enemies." Stillwater scoffed. "If you serve long enough regardless of Intel or not, you'll make enemies. I've been around for some of the Federation's more questionable decisions."
"Which brings us to our trip to Venus. Would you prefer the good news or the bad news first?" Alex asked.
"I had a bottle of poisoned wine for several years, I gifted it to the head of Starfleet Intelligence who is now dead because of it, and my past is resurfacing to bite me in the ass," replied Stillwater. "If you have worse news than that, by all means give it to me first."
Adrianna nodded in sympathy. She knew what it was to have the past creep up. She looked to Alex to explain.
Stillwater looked at Adrianna. "Visit with your family go as you expected, Petty Officer?" he asked before Kingsley briefed him with the bad news. Stillwater knew of the complexities of Adrianna Baciami's family, and he had suggested she poke around to see if they knew anything though he also knew it was possible that their hands were clean of everything at least of the inner turmoil of the Federation.
"A few near misses," the Italian groaned, "but it did bring up some interesting finds for the mission. Also managed to get some home comforts of which the Lieutenant has experienced."
“I still have the headache to prove it,” Alex confirmed with a rueful smile.
"Alright," replied Stillwater. "Lieutenant, what do have for me. I'll deal with that bit of news first. Then, I'd like to hear about your family visit, Petty Officer."
“Firstly, we were all in agreement that the storage facility on Venus? It is a disaster. We did eventually find everything we were searching for. The vials have been neutralised and we could account for all of the weapons but there was troubling news. The data relating to the project was accessed by someone else, within the last six months. The data was there but it was copied.
We pulled security logs and got a list of everyone who visited the facility during that time. I’ve brought the full list in case any jump out but one entry seems the most interesting. He visited alone, accessed the biological storage facility and was logged in for several hours. So far we haven’t been able to trace him even though he used valid credentials to get in the facility. But he seems to have disappeared into the abyss. It’s ... troubling.”
She handed him a copy of the visitor log, “his photo is on there, in case he looks familiar to you. Along with the others. Just in case.”
Stillwater examined the photo. His eyes studied it thoroughly, but he could not recognize the face. Something did stand out to him about the picture though. "I don't know who the hell that is, but I can tell you that is not their face."
The Standing Bear's Commanding Officer scoffed. "Too neat...too perfect. Unless our guy is a model, that face was surgically altered," explained Stillwater.
He handed the picture off and took a look at the log full of names. He skimmed it for several minutes. Then went down them one by one until he hit one that left a bitter taste in his mouth. "Ah," he said. "Nolan S.L. Ruther, now that is...interesting. Ladies, you have an anagram."
"For?" Alex prompted.
"Another name? A group? Standard isn't my first language," Adrianna offered, "Arthur L Nolan? Hunter Sloan? I'm out without pen and paper."
"You're not far off, Petty Officer," Stillwater replied to Adrianna. "An anagram for a man who is dead. Luther Sloane, and I have no reason to believe he's alive, but someone clearly found it amusing to leave this little breadcrumb."
Adrianna had to question, "Sir, if you had a gun to your head, having worked in Intel, would you be confident in saying they were alive, just out of interest."
"Honestly, I cannot say definitively. I didn't kill him myself, and the circumstances of his demise..." Stillwater shrugged. "Okay. He should be dead and given he hasn't surfaced in practically two decades, I doubt he's alive."
“And who is he?” Alex chimes in, certain Stillwater hadn’t mentioned him before.
"Former Starfleet Intelligence officer, an extremist who turned away from Starfleet and found a home in an organization that doesn't exist. I feel no need to say more on that matter, but wether Sloane is alive or if it is someone else, they have their hands on something that could exterminate the last of the Romulans."
Adrianna nodded," not only Romulan life, sir."
He nodded. "Vulcans as collateral damage," replied Stillwater. "Disgusting. We will need turn everything we have found over to Starfleet Security, Starfleet Intelligence, and the appropriate departments of the Federation."
“I’ll make sure everything is prepared,” Alex assured him.
Adrianna looked to the captain a moment. There were a few potentially incriminating things," everything?"
Stillwater looked at his Chief of Intelligence. "What can you tell me about it?" He was curious what she had to add.
Adrianna handed over her PaDD, "enough to know that there are a few leaks in Starfleet and main security for the president. I found plans at Baciami. Most of which for presidential assassination attempts. That said, there was also a list of bids. So the information would be going to the highest or most beneficial bidder."
"As if there's a shortage of those around," Stillwater replied shaking his head. "I'm not surprised by the leaks. Federation security was never on the same playing field as the Tal Shiar or Obsidian Order."
"It's a profitable business," Adrianna replied.
"Yes," replied Stillwater. "You said you found plans at the Baciami residence. How involved do you expect your family to be and on which end? Gathering the information, selling it, or purchasing it?"
"This would be Giovanni's first big thing since taking over. It could be any. I'd hope he wouldn't be stupid enough to take it on himself, but certainly gathering and buying with the intent of selling. Baciami isn't bankrupt, their storage of grappa told me that, so that means that they wouldn't be working under someone to get paid. Giovanni would be slaughtered if he did that anyway. I expect involvement but only on the information level, but I wouldn't put it past Giovanni to try something to give the wow factor as new Don." it was an honest response, albeit it a potentially not helpful one," he managed to get onto the jupiter station without question, so it wouldn't surprise me if he acquired the plans at the same time from someone in Starfleet."
"You are a Baciami, no offense. So, who does your family consider their best business? Who would he likely sell that information to?"
Adrianna shifted uncomfortably, and was silent a moment. She didn't want to say really. She reluctantly replied, "the last lot of information similar to this was sold to the Talshiar, just prior to events. Sold for three hundred and fifty million along with promise of favour. The larger extremist groups tend to pay the highest, but on occasion, you get smaller people who pay in favours and runs."
"Though there may not be a Star Empire any more, there are still minor fragmented factions. An avenue worth looking into. You know your family better than anyone else. Keep it subtle, but look into who they've been dealing with lately."
Adrianna’s face seemed to drain of colour and she gulped a little," that may be difficult."
Stillwater nodded. "I know," replied her Commanding Officer. "Thank you for the debriefing. You both are dismissed."
Adrianna whispered to Alex on the way out, "grappa?"
“Oh God, yes.”