Who you gonna call?
Operation: Crimson Kaleidoscope
Location: Science Lab
Upon discovering you had Vulcan ancestry in your veins, Lieutenant Connelly had discovered certain... assumptions were made. It was assumed, for example, that you possessed almost limitless patience, a solid grasp on your emotions and the ability to become sort of messiah when it came to computers and the art of extracting their deepest darkest secrets. Of these qualities, Ethan possessed virtually none. Just as he lacked the distinctive ears and eyebrows.
Following the briefing, while he kept a watchful eye upon the vast amounts of data the computer was analysing to locate the stollen shuttle, the temporary chief of the admittedly small science department had turned his attention to another matter.
The mention of it had caught him off guard and had he not just spent several months on Vulcan within the archives, he would not, perhaps have even recognised it. And yet it had apparently been something of interest to the missing lieutenant. He stood by what he had said in the briefing - no scientist would work without records. Perhaps not openly, especially if her interest was more personal in nature and concerned the ship's XO. Discretion would be key.
Within a day of arriving on the ship he had discovered Lt Kingsley had, indeed, kept meticulous records and while her office appeared somewhat chaotic he soon deciphered a system to it. A unique system, but definitely not unstructured chaos. And so he had gone hunting, scouring the science lab computers for any reference to Ithena Syndrome. Nothing. He had expanded his search, to the point where he poured over every file the lieutenant and created or amended in the last few weeks and months.
And there it was.
A subfolder just labelled as 'scheduling'. It wasn't the name that caught her attention, but the fact that the it was taking up a significant amount of data. He clicked into the folder and was met with a long list of file extensions which did - on closure inspection - seem to relate to duty schedules and rotations for staff to work in the labs etc. Except for one. It was just a stardate, just over a year ago. This, apparently, was the cause of so much storage space being utilised but when he clicked on it, access was well and truly denied.
For almost half an hour he tried with no success and then decided he needed help. While the crew wasn't large, he knew there would be someone aboard who could help. And he though he knew who.
"Lieutenant Connelly to Lt Eberhardht," the science officer began as he tapped his comm badge, " Sorry to disturb you but I think I need your expertise, could you join me in the Science Lab as soon as you are able?"
Adrianna looked to the baby in her arms. Her eyelids were almost closed. Bliss. "I'll be there in five," she whispered.
Almost true to her word, ten minutes later, Adrianna arrived. Rapping her knuckles on the open door frame, the woman offered a small smile. "You needed me?" she asked.
“I found an encrypted file,” he explained as he vacated his seat, gesturing for her to sit. “Maybe it’s nothing but …”
"Kingsley's file?" Adrianna clarified as she took a seat, "which do you need? This one?" she gestured to a file.
“Yes, well, at least the data pocket says she created it. Recently. I just don’t know why it would need encrypted. The file name just looks like a random number, maybe a date. But I’m guessing.”
Adrianna nodded and started fiddling with the file's security. "Strange that she'd encrypt something and not name it appropriately. I mean, she struck me as someone who's be meticulous in naming conventions." The woman was rhetorical as she spoke, obviously engrossed in the job at hand.
Adrianna sat back, "give the program a minute and - -" She nodded, "there you go. If it's nothing, I'm re-encrypting with an apology note though, or we just forget what we see and never speak of this."
“You can do the encryption and I’ll right the apology note,” Ethan offered as he watched the display shift showing a seemingly endless list of documents and files. “She’s been busy… that one… that is written in Vulcan. So is that. Maybe this is what she was working on? Those files are larger than the rest, can we open one?”
Adrianna hesitated, thinking, "we can, but I'm taking this offline first, just in case. File types like this aren't normally this big." A few taps and the document opened.
Once she said it, Ethan chided himself for not considering such a simple step - just in case. It did, however, reinforce his certainty that he’d called the right person to help. As he watched her opening the document he turned as the central workstation came to life, the holographic display casting a blue glow around the room. He edged closer to it, watching what appeared to be simulations - detailed ones at that. Walking around the display it took a few long seconds for him to realise what he was seeing.
“These are nano-probes,”he realised, leaning in and watching them ‘assimilate’ a series of cells. He glanced back, “did not expect that.”
"Kingsley likes probes," Adrianna commented, "they tend to go kamakazi though. All probes she sends, seem to never come back. I'd hate to be a probe."
Ethan shot her a quizzical look but simply said, “maybe I’ll look after them from now on.” He used the central console to skip through the simulation but on its own, it seemed to be insignificant. “This is a lot to look through. And why encrypt them? This file is not classified, it was part of a study published three months ago…”
He turned to Adrianna, “I think, Lieutenant, you may have helped me strike gold. Though I’ll need to go through all of it and annoy Dr. Rose …. Thank you!”
"If you need to annoy him, I suggest you take him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It'll help," Adrianna offered, "if you need anything else, please let me know. I doubt Kingsley would have encrypted something without reason. Perhaps check out if they were, in fact, used, and if so, the data they recovered. That is the only thing I can think of that would be worth encryption."
“I’ll call you if I need you, thanks again, no way I could have done that or so fast,” Ethan conceded. “And thanks for the tip. I’ll go in armed with the sandwich.”
"Any time," Adrianna smiled, getting up.
“May I ask…” Ethan ventured, “I know the crew have been through a lot but are senior staff meetings always like that? The engineer seems…”
He wasn’t sure of a diplomatic way of saying crazy.
Adrianna looked at the man knowingly, "only since the addition of the engineer. Off the record, they are someone in need of a kick to the ego and in the failure of that working, a kick out of an airlock. The captain is aware of... Issues that the engineer causes for the other senior staff, but not sure what good it will do."
“Ah,” Ethan nodded, “I have sadly come across similar personalities before. Thanks for the heads up. I do prefer the quieter life of not being a department head but we are where we are. Hopefully we get Lieutenant Kingsley back soon and I can live in astrometrics.”
"There's always one," Adrianna shrugged, "it never lasts long." She then nodded teasing slightly, "we'll get her back as soon as we can. That way, we can spare you from the paperwork and the head of department meetings."
Ethan ran a hand through his hair, looking distinctly green, “you mean I need to do paperwork too?!”
Maybe he should had stayed on Vulcan after all.