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Mid Noon Intelligence

Posted on Tue Apr 30th, 2019 @ 1:20pm by Isabella Cerin & Lieutenant Asahi Kita

Mission: Snow Birds
Location: Chief Intelligence Officer's Office

Making it a mission to know more than one whole person on the whole ship, Asahi decided upon ideas to meet each of the senior staff. Some were easier to find than others to pin down and introduce himself to, but others were smaller than he was, and he would have to resort to alternative methods to introduce himself.

The only senior staff member he wanted to make a better impression on than the others was the Diplomatic Officer. He knew her only by name and race, and whatever fiction the book made her out to be. But, after a call made out to a friend and a few collaboratory messages later, Asahi had whipped up a luncheon dish fit for a Bajoran, or so he assumed. If it did not quite meet the standards of Isabella Cerin, he could always throw the replicator under the proverbial bus.

He had arranged an appropriate time for them to meet in his office, setting his desk up as a makeshift table. It may not have been as comfortable, but until he determined exactly how he wanted his office to look, it would have to do. Upon the table, he had moved the console off and replaced it with a myriad of dishes full of food, the main dish being that of a fusion sevala creation he whipped up, topped with a tomato sauce he had found in the replicator system. It seemed to be the closest he could find based on the description he asked for. He had also made a point of sending Hojo off to go find something else to do for little interruption. All he needed now was his guest.

Izzy keyed the chime to the door, hand smoothing over her blazer out of habit as she considered things: Her access to the man's personnel files directly had been limited to the version available to anyone on the Vesta network; a fairly basic collection of information; and she'd limited any further inquiries beyond that under the table based on the suspicion that given the lieutenant's line of work, they were likely to get back to him. Better to risk making mistakes from going in cold than to risk starting things off wrong by poking around too deeply.

So far, given the slim nature of the data in public records overall, the most potentially useful piece of information Izzy had at the moment was simply the way he'd gone about this meeting itself: Taking the initiative in doing so implied potentially good things about his openness to a decent working relationship with her, and/or a prior knowledge of the use of such in a general sense between their respective professions. Though since it place the meeting in his office, it also possibly speak to a desire to maintain some level of control over the encounter, or to place himself in familiar surroundings while throwing her off balance. Or not. She filed it all away in the back of her mind, accessible but in the background, so as to avoid prejudicing any observations going forward, schooling her face into an appropriate professional smile as the door sprung open.

"Lieutenant Kita?" Izzy offered a hand to shake. "I'm Isabella Cerin."

Despite Asahi's careful planning and desire to make a good impression, the immediate moment the door slid open, he broke into a wide smile that directly contrasted Izzy's professionalism. After closing the distance between them, he eagerly shook her hand, before gesturing toward one of the seats at the desk-turned dining table. "I hope you're hungry. I may have gone a little overboard with what to replicate."

"I'm sure it will certainly beat my usual lunch; peanut butter and jelly sandwich in one hand while writing reports." Izzy let her own smile brighten a bit in response to the man's seemingly good mood, and flicked her eyes around the office, but so far there was nothing beyond the standard equipment; probably not unexpected given the recent arrival.

Unconcerned with her examination of his office and likely of himself, Asahi turned to the set up in front of them. "I'm starving myself, and can't wait to see what these replicators are capable of. I can't imagine they're much better or worse than what I'm used to, but one can always hope, right?" He waited for her to take her seat, lingering around the one at the head of the desk, before snapping his fingers. "Crap, sorry. It's Asahi by the way, you don't have to get all formal here. Unless that's some unspoken Vesta rule I should watch out for."

"An unspoken rule? Only when there's representatives of other governments aboard. Or senior officials, council members, and reporters..." She grimaced at the thought as she took her seat. "Which might be even worse. Otherwise, you can call me Izzy."

"What do I call you when we're being official?" Asahi asked in half jest as he took his own seat. He continued to make gestures, this time for Izzy to take her pick of the food. "Most of the diplomats I've interacted with ended up being Starfleet officials, or they went by things like Lord, Queen, Grand Poobah... there was one time where I was calling a bunch of Cardassians Gul, but I'll be perfectly honest, they all scowled the same and didn't bother introducing themselves so I started numbering them. Gul 1, Gul 2, Gul Grumpy Face, Gul Made a Face When I Ate Taspar..." He frowned. "My diplomatic standing isn't as high. Engineers don't get out much."

"Ms. Cerin will be fine." A corner of Izzy's mouth twitched at the derisive Cardassian nicknames, as if she was fighting laughter at them. "I'm not entirely sure that at least half the Vesta senior staff isn't all former engineers...Still, engineer to intelligence is rather a more unique transition than engineer to command. Decided you wanted to play with information instead of machines for awhile?"

"Pretty sure the Commodore's had an Intel stint too, or had a big enough hand in the development of some good tech that he's pretty popular at the Intel base I was at. I mentioned which ship I was on to one of my trainers and he happened to know the guy from somewhere. Or knew a guy who knew a guy. Couldn't tell." Asahi's brow rose, as if he suddenly had a lot to say, but kept himself curt. "As for me, engineering was my Academy focus, but I had a time as a flight controller before really getting into Intel. I just like making myself more marketable for a potential promotion. Or at least more adaptable if I end up trapped in a room with a scientist and a doctor." He paused, thoughts revisiting a point. "Gul's a military rank for a Cardassian. That's why I was calling them all that. It makes sense now."

"Yes, I suppose I always assumed he likely got pulled into the intelligence field for some need of his technical skills and then..." Her voice trailed off as Asahi continued and then she blinked, hard, several times, at the Cardassian revelation; looking around the room expecting to see evidence of the aftermath of the sort of caffeine overdose that might cause such a statement in such a manner. "....Yes. Yes it is. A rather senior one in fact. Generally Cardassians who reach it tend to like to preen quite a bit."

"Oh." He paused, deep in thought on the matter. "... Why were they all Guls if they were serving on the same ship? I wonder if that's why they kept looking at me like I had three heads..." He seemed to muse aloud more to himself than to Izzy, eyes narrowing as if trying to recall a moment. In the next instant, he was animatedly talking once again. "But I didn't call you here to go on about my very limited - and probably inaccurate - diplomatic adventures. I wanted to get to know you more, seeing as we're probably going to be working together quite a bit. It's better to know people before a pressing mission comes up as far as I'm concerned."

"Definitely." Izzy nodded. "Though I can't really give anyone too much grief on bouncing around unrelated fields, actually; I'm close to the diplomatic equivalent: Never did settle and develop a particular specialization in a given sector, empire, or quadrant. Did time at headquarters twice, plus stints on Qo'nous, Romulus, Ferenginar, and a less than successful attempt to talk to the Tzenkethi. Ended up on Vesta when she was still assigned to the Delta quadrant. I'm assuming you know how that trip ended." She rolled her eyes at the reference. "Though I like to think I gave at least as good as I got in my temporal investigations interview afterwards...I get the feeling most of the people they interview don't have past experience in conference-table-style-combat, so to speak, and they have no idea how to handle someone who isn't intimidated." She grinned slightly at the memory of turning the tables on the DTI agents and using them to request briefing materials.

"DTI is inexperienced." Asahi scoffed at Starfleet's idea of time agents. He had enough grievances with them himself. "They ask all the wrong questions and think they're in charge when in reality they truly aren't. There's only so much anyone can do. Thinking that they can control the fabric of something that has already occurred is foolish." He seemed wholly serious, a stark contrast from what Izzy had met moments prior, but like most of Asahi's moods, that too changed. He gave her a helpful smile. "I'm at least familiar enough to know that they don't know what the heck to make of the situation the Vesta was in. Rest assured, they're still puzzled by you."

This last drew a more frank grin for a moment from Izzy; as a contrast of her own to how the topic of DTI and the like had brought out the seriousness in Asahi, the statement that to this day she somewhat puzzled them seemed to thrill her. "So what's on the menu?" She seemed reluctant, perhaps, to start in on things first before her host; but clearly curious about the spread before them.

"Sevala." Asahi resolved, "With a tomato-based sauce. I also have some shrimp as an appetizer, with what I think are the closest approximation to Bajoran spices. I think. The salad is similarly seasoned via the vinegar-based dressing. Oh, and I didn't want to go all out on the drinks, but I saw a recipe for kava-ade and thought it'd be fun to try. Hopefully I didn't screw it up all that badly. Go ahead, dig in."

Izzy reached for the glass nearest to her and took a sip, smiling. "Mmm. That's great, actually. And don't worry about the authenticity so much...I was raised on Luna and was 16 before the Cardassian occupation ended; so I didn't really have "real" Bajoran cuisine till then when my grandma could go home again. Until then there was a lot of...fusion cuisine attempts, shall we say...in the household. Honestly I still have a soft spot for such; call it the best of both worlds as a Bajoran/Human mix: Order my recipe for hasperat-spiced french fries from the replicator sometime." She reached out next to delicately spear one of shrimp and crunch it; then a mouthful of salad. "So I have to admit, I'm curious...Have you worked with many diplomats before?"

"... I'd definitely like to pick your brain for all that." Asahi noted. "And I'm always in the mood for fries." Talk of fusion junk food aside, he seemed pleased that Izzy wasn't at least running in terror at his potentially awful concoctions. As for her question... "That depends on what qualifies someone as a diplomat. I've worked closely with a couple of Commanding Officers who fancied themselves diplomats, and a couple who actually were. You're not the first person in purple I've encountered, but you're the first one I'm going to work with closely. I've gone to a couple of balls and dinners... unless you count any time before the Academy. Turns out a circus is a good place to take Denobulan diplomats who are more interested in 'alternative' forms of human culture."

"...Because why not take the old term 'dog and pony show' for events you use for that sort of thing, and add in a few elephants?" Izzy quipped. "Protocol around who gets an invite to things where Denobulans are involved can get pretty complex; around the start of my career there was a Denobulan ambassador who showed up with all three of her spouses; but also a variety of her spouses' other spouses..."

"And stars forbid their kids, and if they're old enough, their kids' spouses..." Asahi continued, before finally caving and dishing out some salad for himself. "I guess it made it easy to purchase half the circus tickets and pile them all into the bleachers. If we ever end up in a situation like that, I'll have to get in contact with my mother to see how she dealt with shuffling all that." As he passed the giant bowl of salad over, he smirked. "So what about you? How many Intel types have you worked with?"

"Counting or not counting the ones masquerading as colleagues of mine for official cover?" She smirked in return. "I was posted on Romulus for a few years, after all....But overall, a few here and there but not quite this directly. The Vesta is a different breed of assignment from most of my prior ones. In more ways than one."

"Sometimes different makes for better stories." Asahi pointed out. "Granted, not all of them are fact. Romulus must have been an interesting assignment. I've never worked with anyone in the Empire, but I've heard plenty of horror stories about security clearances and trust issues, not that I blame them in the slightest... Well, there was this one counselor who I think was Romulan? Or some part of him was... Probably not a good idea to throw me into a situation with Romulans till I can figure out the difference without offending someone."

“Let’s just say that if you’ve ever heard the rumor that before the destruction of Romulus, personnel at our embassy there were instructed to take nothing there they weren’t willing to abandon or destroy at the end of the assignment...That it’s mostly accurate. The level of screening required to be mostly certain the Tal Shiar hadn’t done something to things or planted something was intensive enough that you basically got a small allowance of items to be able to put through it. And none of them could be electronics--those were suspect as hell. You kind of just assumed everything there was bugged. And yes, the Romulans have very...complex...social rules. Though given our patrol area, if you were going to focus on getting down the basics of a set of those; I’d recommend the Cardassians.”

"I think I've got Cardassians, mostly. Except the Gul thing. I just need to brush up on the military structure. Wasn't something they taught in Academy, not to the engineering types. A little in flight control training, but not enough for anything proper. Granted, casually forgetting might be a little more convenient for us." Asahi chuckled at the thought. "I'm less worried about known races. That I can review on as we keep through the Quadrant. I'm more worried about experiences with races we haven't encountered yet. I've had enough run ins with races outside of the Federation and races being covered by Federation politicians to know I'm not as adaptable as I think I am, and if we end up front lines to get some intel on new races... I think that's where I'm going to need to work at, if that makes sense."

"Have you had a chance to go over the information and tapes on our recent encounter with the Qoird, then? I'm waiting to get back a xenocultural analysis on them; I'm sure there were things in play we missed during those interactions...And also sure this won't be the last time the Federation encounters them, or possibly other species of the 'Chorus', given our apparent shared borders."

"I skimmed it. Haven't had a chance to look over it in full just yet. I had more pressing matters once the Intelligence staff found out they had a department head to interact with. There likely were, not on anyone's fault, especially with a clump of staff missing, but I've got people working on background intelligence on any signs of the races belong to or with the Chorus, just in case we have another run in." Asahi's brow furrowed. "Which sort of leads me to another matter. When's the last time the diplomatic files were safeguarded? I'm sure the chief of security and the chief of operations both have a better idea of the ship's firewalls and procedures, but I noticed there wasn't a lot of back and forth between our departments with whoever my predecessor was. I was hoping you wouldn't mind if I took a look at what was there, to see if there were enough safeguards, or if they weren't... well, then we could work to make sure there are."

"I mean, technically they're safeguarded on a daily basis, or Kairi and I should be fired." Izzy smirked slightly. "As to something more...design oriented rather than just daily compliance? There were a couple DSS folks up here when were were back around Earth after the...time travel incident. Took a look at physical and cyber security angles and such, made some noise about making sure our network in here has some separation and safeguards versus the Vesta and Starfleet networks aboard. Inasmuch as is possible and still be able to interface with them. Made sure the safe only opens for Kairishana and I, installed some weird stuff they claimed would interfere with trying to spy on us through the ship's systems, and the like. Since then, nothing. I pretty much rely on Vesta security, engineering, and ops for day to day support, since I don't have dedicated security or IT staff here."

"... So I take it that's something you'd be interested in then." Asahi's question was more a statement to Izzy as she mused it aloud. "I can't imagine the Vesta's whole computer systems aren't overly-safeguarded for obvious reasons. A flagship without proper security is just plain crazy." He dragged a PaDD out from his desk, notating the conversation they were having. "But if I can get in, then I can easily suss out any flaws. Looking at it from another angle can't hurt anyone."

"That would be great, actually. Considering that the types I'm most concerned with gaining access are your counterparts." Izzy drained the last of her glass of kava-ade. "Though if you somehow manage to penetrate any of the headquarters systems and not just my local files and drives, either there will be an angry call from our headquarters to Starfleet's; or an offer to hire you away from them. Or both."

"They'd have to go through Intelligence for that." Asahi said with a cough. A mental note was made to transfer over those who were much better than he was at breaking codes and encryption, just to hide behind if something of the such came up. Attention was not what he was after, merely the safeguard. "That being said, if I manage to get into any of those HQ files by any stretch, I'd rather make them mad and tell them how to fix it than the other option. Now I wanna try, see what I can break into... I should probably alert security I'm doing this beforehand though, just in case something goes sideways."

"Yeah I'd be shocked if you were able to get into the their stuff, really; safeguards are undoubtedly similar level to Starfleet Command. You'll be on the inside of the Vesta though, so for the local stuff you'll already be past some of the stuff that might stop you." She grimaced slightly, then stood and rolled her shoulders, her plate empty. "Much like the Bynar was. Got to hand it to whoever hacked him, in a horrifying sense--they got around a lot of the defenses that way. So, when do you want to try this?"

"I'll have to read that report too, because I'm sure there are more safeguards from inside as well as outside." Asahi trailed off. "After shore leave. Considering how long it'll take me, I'd be keeping at least myself and one of the poor Intel guys I'll be dragging in over shore leave on the ship, and I'd like to at least try to enjoy myself in a cold, arctic tundra. But after that, we'll set up a time?"

"Sounds good. I admit, as leave destinations go, this one is definitely more to Kairishana's tastes than mine." She reached out a hand for a parting shake. "I look forward to working with you."

 

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