(( Bridge, USS Astraeus, minutes before arrival at the Bajor system. ))
::She hadn’t been on the bridge all that long. All that damned paperwork and her brief visit to Engineering had taken up nearly the whole hour since the briefing. She'd wanted to spend a bit of time around their newest additions--the Quantum Slipstream Drive and the Warp XV engine. When she had a bit more free time, she planned to read everything she could get her hands on about the two projects. The latter certainly had her the most excited.::
::It was an entirely new technology still in its infancy and she wished she would be the one to help iron out the kinks. But that was Lieutenant Harkrow’s job. The best she could hope for was to live vicariously through his reports. With the newness of it, she prayed they didn’t experience any major malfunctions, especially in an already-risky situation.::
::There’d been reports of other ships in the fleet dealing with those kinds of issues. Her attention was drawn back to the present by the mild shudder of the deck as the Astraeus dropped out of warp. They were close. In the next moment, the impulse drive kicked in as the ship continued the rest of the way to Bajor. Though she knew there was a good chance they wouldn’t actually visit Deep Space 9, the thought of even being in the same vicinity had her excited.::
::Beside her, Mei was studying a PADD, though she couldn’t see the contents very well from this angle. A series of chirps from Hamasaki’s console in front of them and Lael looked in the woman’s direction, her brow furrowing.::
Mei’konda: Somethiing unusual, Lieutenant?
Hamasaki: We've received a data-burst from a buoy within a half million kilometers from us. It's already self destructed. The burst has Cardassian file markers, and I'm running it through the security check routines.. it's a bunch of dossiers and documents. Appears to be related to Cardassian building, movement records, and a lot of data on careers. A note is attached to it that states that we should find this fascinating, and to pay attention to the fact a lot of former hardliners seem to have been concentrated in several places. ::deadpan:: I think we've been handed a horse, but I still think we should look it in the mouth.
::Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Mei rise from his chair. Her brow furrowed. Handed a horse? It made Lael wonder who was behind it. Surely they hadn’t gotten that damned lucky. She agreed with Tiria. As helpful as the information could prove to be, they had to question where it came from and its legitimacy. It could just as easily be a trap. God only knew what was in the data burst.::
Mei’konda: A buoy? That close to our arrivaal point? Why diidn’t we detect it prior to our entry to the system?
Rosek: ::frowns:: It’s not likely someone could have dropped it in front of us without sensors picking up the ship that did it.
Hamasaki: The buoy was laying dormant until it detected our warp field nearby, from what I can tell. ::Tiria is working the panel rapidly:: And the archive is of such size that I don't think any cursory examination would work. I just want to know who to forward it to for more in-depth analysis.
::Laid dormant? It wasn’t impossible for inactive technology to evade their sensors. All of this was one hell of a coincidence. It made her wonder if the Bajorans had set up the probe for longe-range intelligence gathering. With all of the stink they were raising over the still missing prisoners, it was possible they were spying on the Cardassians in hopes of finding evidence that they were right.::
Riley: I would suggest the security department? I would be willing to work with Lieutenant Shin on looking it over.
Rosek: ::nods:: I would recommend having Lieutenant Greyson or someone in Engineering scanning for hidden subroutines and coding before you open it up much further.
Mei’konda: Good idea, Mister Riley. Lieutenant Hamasaki, contact Lieutenant Harkrow as well. I’d liike to have engineering beam aboard what’s left of that buoy and see if they can traack down where it came from. As for the data itself, Lieutenant, send it along to securiity. Mister Shin can work on it - the computer systems reseaarch laboratoriies on deck thirteen can help them, if they need it. Do you thiink they’ll be aable to verify this data to your satisfaaction?
Mei’konda: Very well. Proceed with your best judgment, Lieutenant.
Hamasaki: Aye, aye. ::wryly, as she forwarded the data:: Well, it looks like some help has arrived in our laps. Just.. who? And why? Between this and the killed agents, I almost feel like there's some kind of hidden game of shadows somewhere that we're being dragged into.
::Lael nodded. It was her concern as well. The Bajorans seemed in a big hurry to point fingers at the Cardassians, which made her wonder if they weren’t up to something they didn’t want Starfleet to know about. There was a lot of tension between the two species, after all. Both were paying a cost for what had happened during both the Occupation and the Dominion War. She liked to think that they would be doing their utmost to stay on good terms with the Federation. However, she believed that every species had its radical groups that resorted to sneaking to get their way.::
Mei’konda: Questiions that are going to need answers. We’ll fiind them.
Mei’konda: Lieutenant Hamasaki, contact Deep Space Nine traffic control and get us docked as soon as possible. Haave them alert our final crew additions that they will be expected to begin boarding and reportiing to their department heads.
Mei’konda: Lieutenant Riley, Commander Rosek, I’d liike you both with me when we greet the minister in the airlock. Dress whites, please.
Riley: Yes, sir.
::She shifted slightly, the fidgety behavior betraying her discomfort. Diplomacy was still new to her and meeting a Bajoran dignitary made her a bit nervous. She knew a bit about him having researched when she’d gotten a spare moment...enough to know the cultural taboos, a touch of his background and the basic social niceties Bajorans liked to see observed.::
Rosek: ::nods and breathes:: Aye, sir.
::Lael followed as Mei left the bridge, intending to stop by her quarters and freshen up so she looked sharp greeting the minister. How she kept herself was the first impression he’d get of her and she was damned sure going to make sure he got a good one.::
Mei’konda: The Bridge is yours, Lieutenant Hamasaki.
Hamasaki / Any: Responses