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DL | CIO, NPC | LCDR Stacker, WO Parsuv (NPC) | “Brielle, Pt. 3"

Posted on Fri Apr 13th, 2018 @ 4:44pm by Commander James Stacker & Warrant Officer Parsuv

Mission: Lacuna
Location: Intelligence Holodeck No. 1 | Deck 680 | Cold Station Theta
Timeline: The Present.

The early morning hours had never been James' favorite time of day. In his experience, that was when bad things happened - with a few notable exceptions. A warm memory of one caused a ghost of a smile to flit around the corners of his mouth, now. Just as soon, the memory was gone. He couldn't hold on it for long, much as he might want to try. For one thing it brought back memories now souring with tinges of rising anxiety. And there was ... well ... he glanced around, surveying the damage that surrounded him, armed with little more than coffee to stave off a troublesome night of sleep and early-morning call to the holodeck.


"Warrant." The tone was ... grim. There was life in him. Enough to reassure that the department head was still functional, even if the voice was flat and weary. He may be breaking at the seams, shedding pieces much like a starship limped into drydock at the end of a combat mission, but he was still here and holding it together. Somehow. Sooner or later the shovel was going to hit bedrock, and that would be the end of that.

The Kelpien had, meanwhile, stopped dead just inside the doorway and was busy surveying the chaos. Someone had put this apartment - and it was an apartment - through the wringer. Desk drawers were hanging from their rails and were busted out, broken to pieces, and scattered across the floor. Stuffing from a couch was blossoming out of a seat cushion, and the back seams bore a nasty-looking incision from top to bottom. Everywhere one looked there were papers, PADDs, and wood fragments. "I believe the human expression is a 'Kansas twister', although I do not know the origin of the phrase."

In response, he was beckoned into the kitchen. Here there were smashed dishes and dents in the countertop. There was also a body on the floor. Scorch marks on the back made it clear just what the weapon-of-choice had been. "Meet Robert van Beusen." The tone was final and pronounced. It left little doubt as to whether this individual had survived.

A short pause, followed by a dawning light of recognition. "The case agent from Brielle."

"The local constabulary has a reciprocal-sharing agreement with the Federation. This was sent our way," the chief intelligence officer said as he walked around the body. He stopped walking long enough to take another drink of his coffee. It helped him focus his thoughts. "Agent van Beusen was found in his apartment about a week after his death. He lived alone, no immediate neighbors to speak of - the apartments to the side and below were vacant. The superintendent came around to collect the rent, and found this."

Another pause while damage was surveyed and assessed. Parsuv walked back out into the combined living space and living room. His words were disembodied by distance, however short it was. "This is a remarkable level of searching. They were clearly after something." A long leg came into sight first, and then he stepped more fully into view, head turning this way and that. "Was anything missing?"

"Not that we know of. I've retasked several analysts to looking at this, but I wanted to show you it now."

The alien gave a slow nod. On him, it came off half-stilted. Kelpien were able to copy many human gestures, but some of them didn't quite come off as intended. That threatened to pull James down another path, this one more humorous than the circumstances in which he found himself. It wasn't difficult to resist the temptation for indulgence. He - the Ghost - was getting better at that.

The two of them were still there, talking and looking around, when the analysts arrived. There were three of them in total, each armed with a complete inventory of the room's contents as assessed, documented, and notated by the local constabulary. James and Parsuv helped. The latter because it was 'the right' thing to do. The former because ... because deep down, he knew that if he left the holodeck he'd be sitting in his office inside five minutes, staring out at the starscape. And he'd be no good to anyone there, caught up as he'd be in speculation, alternating between rage and misery, and in general being unproductive.

It would be a fine thing to say that hours passed, but in truth by the chronometer it was only 41 minutes before one of the analysts gave a little sound that indicated thoughtfulness. Parsuv was the first to hear it. He coughed meaningfully - another sound that Kelpiens didn't quite replicate accurately, as it came out as something akin to a cargo hopper doing a belly landing on deck plating - and darted his eyes to the analyst. The woman was kneeling down, turning over another piece of holographic paper.

"Something of interest?" the lieutenant commander asked from across the room, making his way in her direction. He trode where others had, through a clear lane between the papers, careful to minimize his disturbance of the scene even though there was some unconscious knowledge in the back of his mind that it could be quickly reset. It was a holograph, after all.

To her credit, the technician gave him a look that mixed uncertainty and a tantalizing hint of possibility in equal measure. "I'm not sure sir. It seems Agent van Beusen had an interest in asteroid colonies. This must be the seventh or eighth sales flyer I've found for equipment for asteroid operations. All of it local, made on good ol' Brielle."

"What was the agent's brief?"

"Certainly not asteroid colonies," James replied as his brow furrowed in thought and confusion. Eyes alight with newfound interest eyed nearby paperwork, as if it'd suddenly start speaking to him and producing all the answers in the world. "He was running a network of six agents, all working in small shipping firms." A boot came out, sliding under a page and turning it over. Blank, unfortunately.

"Sir, I've got another flyer over here."


"What did the local authorities make of it?"

The analyst closest to him checked her PADD. "Agent van Beusen's cover was as a dealer in engineering components for deep-space operations. Nothing about colony equipment, though. They wrote it off as close enough of a similarity to be discounted." Her tone made clear just what she thought of the locals' efficiency. James had to agree. By Starfleet standards this was fairly shoddy work. It had taken over a month to get this recording, alone, pried out of the locals' clutches, even after identification of the agent as a Federation citizen.

His lips parted and a tongue worked his teeth as he thought. Somewhere deep inside his mind there was a light flashing, and he knew he had to press this particular point home. "But how many flyers does that make? Ten?" Several nods from faces looking at him. "Ten. van Beusen was the case officer for -"

That stopped James dead in his tracks, and somewhere in his mind gears whirred to life. Deina Rosesabeina had worked for a small shipping firm: one that was small enough to attract little attention from Federation authorities. Yet he had bolted and left a small fortune - to say nothing of family - behind, scared so badly that he went to the first place he thought of that might render protection. Protection sympathetic to his interests. Why not the Stenellis, he asked aloud. They had far better capability to protect a -

The same answer occurred to Parsuv at the same time. It was evident just from facial expression alone. Another thing about Kelpiens: they had the stone-cold look down pat. "Warrant, with me. We're going to have a chat with Commander Archer about criminal groups and asteroid colonies."

=/\= End Log =/\=

Lieutenant Commander James Stacker
Chief Intelligence Officer
Cold Station Theta, SB-1170

Warrant Officer Parsuv (NPC)
Intelligence Officer
Cold Station Theta, SB-1170


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