<USS Banshee>

  • From: "Brad Ruder" <GroundZero@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ussbanshee@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 14 Oct 2002 17:59:56 -0700

by Lieutenant Joshua Asper

This log takes place directly before the simulation and my last line will be the first line that I speak in the sim on Thursday.

With Bloodshot eyes, Josh gazed into the abyss of passing numbers and files that littered his console monitor. On the bridge, which had a damper upon it due to the Captain?s absence, Josh?s newest task was to decode the signal to determine what exactly the Peregrine fighter?s occupants were searching for. He had some ideas, but nothing that proved to be good enough to help him decode the masterfully coded transmission.

The only lead that he had, which had proven successful compared to his other, more pitiful attempts, was that it most likely was a ship once employed and used by the Maquis. Even though the lead was substantially concrete, it still didn?t help that there were over one hundred Maquis encryption codes, many of which had never been broken by Starfleet Intelligence. Of course, given protocol, Josh had already used those that had successfully been solved ? of course, to no avail.

?I swear that we?re working against a computer. No known human, or android for that matter, could do such complicated encryption.? Josh?s fingers continually danced nimbly over the console, which amazed him being that they felt ready to fall off and slide off the station?s console. He had been at it for about an hour and he was apparently working in circle. He would fight against one subroutine and then end up battle an identical subroutine from the same relay intersection as he had started with.

?Try using a standard deviation of the Starfleet Intelligence decryption patterns.? Ensign Chaos walked up to Josh?s side; his head buried deep in an operation PADD.

?I did.?

?All of them?? Chaos looked up from his obvious busy work and took a deeper look at Josh?s work, or lack thereof. ?You mean to tell me that you?ve used all forty-seven deviations??

Josh smiled, ?Forty-nine. Starfleet Intelligence submitted a new one to Starfleet Command two months ago and it got accepted and sent to all ships. I used it and got the same pathetic results as I am getting while going at it manually.? Josh switched his head to another monitor as it deleted one of the files that he was working to decode.

?Hey, it looks like you got something.?

?No, it was a file that told me the sub-folder. I already know that they were rummaging around in the personnel files. Who they were looking for is another story.? Returning his gaze to the never-ending pile of files and subroutines, Josh could feel his optic nerves deteriorating under the glaring light of the console. His head had been spinning as of late. He was a little uneasy about who these ?mystery watchers,? as he called them, were and what they were looking for.

?Have you tried the Maquis desequencers? Chaos bumped Josh over a bit and started tapping a bit on the console. Josh, although thankful for the break, wanted to continue working so he didn?t lose his focus which he had worked so hard to attain and retain over the past hour.

?All standard desequencers didn?t have an effect.?

?What about the secondary relay inverters?? Chaos tapped a couple more buttons on the console keyboard and brought up an entirely new subroutine and decryption sequence. ?They sometimes work with Maquis systems. If they were implemented before the download began then you?d have to work backward through the files, rather than normally forward.?

Perking his eyebrow, Josh drew a more serious glance at Chaos. He knew a lot about Maquis systems and how to decode their messages. The Banshee was in orbit around Cardassia at the current time. That made it even more suspicious in his present display of knowledge and interaction. Was he trying to encrypt the files even more? Was he in league with the Cardassians, being that they were the major conflict with the Maquis besides the Federation?

Shaking away his misgivings about the lowly Ensign, Josh pushed Chaos away from the console. ?I?ve got things under control here, thanks though.?

?Are you sure? Decryption was one of my stronger skills at the Academy.?

?I?m positive, but thank you for your input. I?m sure that I can finish this before I?m too old and weak to stand up straight.? Josh laughed as he changed the settings back to the original and erased Chaos? attempted change in approach.

Chaos nodded and dove back into his PADD as he turned tail and walked away back across the bridge to his station. Josh, gazing after Chaos, turned his attention to the Commander. He sat motionless in the center chair, gazing out the viewscreen on the halted Cardassian freighter. Josh shook his head, and returned to his work.

Accessing more decryption subroutines and patterns that he though may have an effect on the coded signal, Josh realized that parts of the message had been decoded and were now visible. Tapping a couple of buttons, Josh accessed the accessible files and brought them up for viewing. His eyes pranced playfully around the files ? still somewhat coded ? and rested on the end of the document. In his head Josh slowly counted the number of files that had been viewed.


Only seven with a crew of one hundred and something? Josh saw this as unlikely and probably just part of what was accessed. After trying to find a backward path out of the accessed messages Josh found himself at the first problem he had encountered. After some deductive reasoning that allowed Josh to realize that that was all that was accessed, he went to decoding the messages that were viewed. The ranks were scrambled, the names had been encoded with an entirely new set of decryption codes, and the posts were even encoded. Whoever was searching through the Banshee?s bowels knew what they were doing and made it blatantly obvious that they didn?t want to be discovered.

The postings were easy to unscramble; the first one at least was easy to decode. A simple Maquis inverted subroutine scrambler was used and the twenty-seventh decryption sequence ? which Josh had conveniently programmed to continually attempt to decode the messages ? cleared things up quite nicely for him.

Assistant Security Officer.

Josh rubbed his eyes again as he returned his gaze into the console. An assistant security officer?huh? He thought that he had things under control, but with this new bit of information it didn?t make sense. There wasn?t an Assistant Security Officer on the ship that made a difference in ship function. If the Maquis, long disbanded after the rebellion ended, were looking for hostile takeover or imminent destruction they wouldn?t go after the low brow security officers. D?nalls, being the chief of the department, would be a likely subject to observe, but that didn?t make sense to go after an underling.

Continuing on his decryption sequences Josh realized that another one of the names on the list was similar in form to the first posting that he decoded. None of the normal patterns were working so he attacked it by hand. He first disabled the connecting subroutines, then he scanned for a resonance trace. Once that was attuned he tapped into the trace?s frequencies and slowly decoded the posting of the next person on the list.

Chief Security Officer.

?Oh, damn.? Josh let the phrase rest on his lips and resonate softly within his ?cubicle.? Now he was getting somewhere, but the question was whether or not he wanted to find out more. The positions were going to show a lot about what they ? whoever they are ?
are looking for. ?This is going to get uglier, I just know it is.?

The buttons had never been pressed so harshly or with such purpose before. Josh tapped the console with mercy and premeditation. It wasn?t like he was in a hurry, but he was intrigued and partially worried about the other five files that had been accessed. The files, which appeared to be less coded than the originals, easily gave way to his quickened pace and urgency. File after file was decoded, the positions popping up like mad on his screen.

Chief Science Officer.

Cyanah. Damn it. Josh tried to keep his composure for he was sure what the next one would be; the relationship between the four would be obvious. Chief Science Officer, combined with the Chief and Assistant Security Officer, were three-fourths of the away team that resided on the Cardassian surface. This was troubling. Although that the name appeared to have that direct relation it didn?t make up for the other three that were likely to remain after the next one was decoded. The away team was a topic of great interest to people of and not of the Federation?s rules and regulations. Secondly, anyone that wanted to destroy the possibility of Cardassian-Federation negotiation and alliances would definitely try and sabotage this mission.

For an instant, as though his track of mind drew him there, Josh?s mind and sight drifted across the bridge to Ensign Chaos. Josh shook the thoughts of a traitor serving on the bridge from his head. He wouldn?t let himself drop to the levels of accusations and hysteria. Chaos wasn?t a traitor and he wasn?t someone that would conspire against his own shipmates. Or...would he? Come to think about it, Josh thought, he didn?t know anything about the mysterious Ensign.

?Damn it, Josh, focus on the task at hand.? Josh strained and pulled his focus back to the console and the remaining encoded files that littered the screen. After breaking down the last barriers on the fourth file Josh felt his heart leap into his throat.

Commanding Officer.

That left three unidentifiable files. Surely they wouldn?t hold the punch that the first four had yielded. Josh struggled forward, more curious then scared about the contents of the last four. The crewmembers that were on the list would have to be of high importance to warrant the investigation of an unknown origin. The files seemed to be decoding themselves as another posting flew off the screen.

Chief Medical Officer.

Sara. Josh looked at the screen incredulously and fought to see how she would have anything to do, well, with anything. She was vital to the operation of the ship per say the helmsmen, but in other ways she was the most vital person on the ship. Fighting back the urge to call her at that very instant, Josh trudged forward as the two files still remained to taunt him. Josh scrambled and sorted the decoded files and looked at the remaining two. Reluctantly, as if to protect those names that were concealed, Josh tapped the button and opened the position ? being the only part of the message that was accessible.

Executive Officer.

Commander Andros. Josh let his gaze trail to the Commander; still inert with his glare fixed on the viewscreen. Obviously he would be a prime person to hone in on and examine. After all, the man was in charge of the entire ship while the Captain was engaged with business on the surface of Cardassia. Then again, wouldn?t the person or thing that was digging for stuff be more interested in the status and people of the away team?

Josh watched the remaining file had yet to be decoded. His heart pumped harder and harder as his eyes seemed unable to be torn from the monitor. He could feel himself beginning to sweat, even though he didn?t care what position was in that remaining file. Josh wiped his palms on his dress pants and then opened the last file. Again his heart leaped into his throat. His palms gripped the console for support. Something wasn?t right.

Chief Tactical Officer.

Reactivating the previous postings Josh realized that there was a bond between all of the positions that were decoded. Chief Tactical Officer, Chief Security Officer, Assistant Security Officer, Chief Medical Officer, Chief Science Officer, Executive Officer, and Commanding Officer ? they were all apart of the away team or the command staff onboard the ship. This was startling and that away team could be in great danger. Josh spun on his heels and faced Commander Andros.

?Commander, sir, we?ve got a big problem...?

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