The Down and Dirty
Shore Leave - An Internal Affair
Location: Starbase 34: Science Labs
R'Tan was trying to calmly sit in the science labs while everyone did there work. Two days ago, he had brought one of the devices to the crew of the Starbase to do some research. He was hoping they could shed some light on the situation. When they asked for two days, he felt it was reasonable. However, he has been doing nothing but thinking about this since he left.
A tall, slender man with thinning hair and glasses walked into the room with a PaDD. A slight grin pulled at the corners of his mouth as he saw R'Tan, "Back again, Lieutenant Commander?" He asked with a playful lilt in his voice. "I don't think I've ever met someone from Intel so interested in the sciences department," He teased, knowing good and well why the Romulan was there.
R'Tan smiled back in a sarcastic way. "You know how it is Doctor. When it comes to information, sometimes you have to have your hands in everything."
"Well met, sir," He said with a smile. "I've got the information you asked for... but... unfortunately, it's probably not as much as you'd have liked," He explained. "The devices themselves are readily available at any pharmacy or shopping center. They're not anything special, generally used to temporarily relieve pain or help with mobility. These, however, were hacked into and given additional code to override neural synapses and allow remote control of the people they're attached to," He explained. "That bit of code was... crude, but effective. We're assuming it's a dark net coder that's doing it for them, but we don't know who. I've got my cyber ops team looking for code that may be using the same syntax or algorithms to see if we can get a lead there, but unfortunately that is a needle in a haystack," He explained.
"We thought we might be able to trace the radio frequency, but apparently there's a kill switch in the code that fries the antenna and purges all coms logs. There's nothing to even try to data recover. That part was well coded, unlike the neural override scripts. That's what resulted in the colonists untimely demise with the stun blasts, by the way," He added. "The stun blasts overload the synapses to drop the person targeted, but the neural override didn't know how to compensate for that, so it kept trying to fire data into the overloaded nerves... well... you've seen the results from the field cams, I'm sure," He said, his tone dark.
"I did, yes. It was not pretty. Is there any luck with speaking to the survivors? Did we have any luck probing their memories?
Nim had made her way to the science labs where she was told she would be able to find R'Tan. Having caught the last part of the conversation she sighed softly. "Almost all of the survivors reported memory loss almost from the moment the neural devices were attached. There is little, if anything, that they will be able to tell you. It is possible there is some subconscious memory that they are repressing but given their fragile states it's likely that trying to probe may cause extensive mental trauma." She shook her head slightly. "Commander R'Tan, I received a request for access to your medical files. I assume that that is somehow linked to this..." she paused, motioning around the room momentarily. "This madness?"
R'Tan looked a little guilty. "Ah, yes Doctor. I am sorry. After our last conversation, I did not want to involve you in any further investigation. I assure you, I was not trying to go around you, just trying to respect your boundaries and not involve you."
"We... actually did have one of the survivors... a... Mitchum Franks? Who has agreed to a mindmeld," The doctor said, before giving Nimeeh a smile, "Apologies, I'm Dr. Johnathan Ackles, chief medical liaison to the Science department here aboard the station," He said, offering her a hand to shake.
Taking the hand, Nim smiled slightly. "Lieutenant Nimeeh Vixil, Chief Medical Officer from the Asger," she offered in return. "I'll be honest, I'm not keen on anything to do with these devices. But it seems I'm alone in that camp. Who ever your test subject is, you'll need to make sure you have a constant neural monitor during the mind meld, as well as continual monitoring of all vitals. I would also recommend making sure that your neural monitoring includes comprehensive brain wave patterns to look for any spikes or anomalies. Unfortunately with these people having been so recently liberated there is no telling what kind of side effects may be suffered at this point."
Ackles waved her off, "No no. I'm sorry, there won't be any testing of the devices like that. We'll be attaching the devices to neural probes to monitor effects. The Asger's Captain was very clear on that point... but even if he hadn't been, I wouldn't condone attaching the devices to anyone. We're just talking about undergoing a therapeutic mind meld with one of our Vulcan counselors," He explained. "Our testing of the neural inhibitors will be purely lab related."
"Believe me Doctor," R'Tan said to Nim. "I have already had a long discussion with the Captain about this. I didn't want to put it on one of them if I could help it." He then turned to Doctor Ackles. "However, if you feel it might be helpful information, I would be willing to allow you to attach it to me. I'm sure we could get some great data that way. We could also ask a Betazed to monitor my mind as well. I would however, request to be restrained, so I do not hurt someone. And the second things get dicey, do what you have to to remove the device. Doctor Vixil discovered a relatively reliable tactic."
"Your CO mentioned you might say that," Ackles said with a grin. "I'm afraid that's a no as well," He said, raising a hand to ward off any objections, "And it would be a no even if I hadn't spoken to your Captain. The risk factor there is too high and it's not worth it. We can get sufficient information from our simulators, and there's no indication from the programming that there'd be any sort of two way feed you'd be aware of," He explained.
R'Tan nodded his head in defeated acceptance. "I understand Doctor. You also mentioned some code was crude and some was well written. Is that because it is the work of two separate coders? Why would a coder write one section well, and then do a poor job on another section?"
"Wykes," Ackles called over his shoulder, "Wykes, come here for a second," He requested. He turned back to R'Tan, a moment commander. I just got the report, Lieutenant Wykes can answer more on that topic," He explained as a young, fit man approached, smiling, his bright teeth in contrast with his ebony skin.
"How can I help?" He asked.
"The Commander here was asking about the coding on the Neural inhibitor, why part of it was crude and the other part was good. Can you clarify that? Was it two different people?" He asked.
"No, no, it seemed to be the same coder to me. Same syntax, same style... it was like... for part of it, he knew what he was doing it, but for the other part, he was winging it. He was smart enough to figure it out, but I'd hate to see the people he tested on along the way, if you know what I mean," He explained.
"Interesting. Just to cover my bases. We do know that the pirates were also being controlled to a point. Do you believe this code was 'winged' because it was new code, or do you think it may have been 'winged' because he was forced to write it? Obviously he couldn't be wearing an inhibitor that controlled him while he was writing code to make it so they can control you. But maybe some other form of forced coercion."
Ackles looked to Wykes, who shrugged, "I mean... that'd be pure conjecture on my part. All I know is that section of code wasn't as skillful as the rest. Could have been for any number of reasons," He admitted.
"OK, Thank you. I would like to work with Mr. Franks, and see how the Mind Meld goes." He looked at Nim. "Doctor, would you care to join us so you can keep an eye on the patient?"
Nim nodded slightly. "You said it was Mitchum Franks, yes?" she asked quietly. "I'd like to review the medical history before anything happens if that's possible? I'd like to make sure we're thoroughly prepared before you begin, just in case something goes wrong."
"I'd appreciate the second set of eyes, Doctor," Ackles replied, smiling brightly. "I'm eager to see what we can find as well. Shall we?" He asked, stepping aside and gesturing for them to follow deeper into the science labs.