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A chance meeting

Posted on Sat Sep 13th, 2014 @ 9:52am by Chief Warrant Officer Akina Jrez

Mission: Trouble on the frontier
Location: Between Science Lab 2 and Storage Bay Alpha 5

The way from the Science Labs to the main storage areas and that from the docking facilities to the central areas of Deep Space 12 intersected at more than one point. There were many variations to the route which could be chosen but, perhaps by luck, Chief Warrant Officer Akina Jrez happened to be approaching an intersection when the new Chief Security Officer crossed from another direction.

“Lieutenant Svardberg!” he called out.

Tori turned to her left, all the way around until she saw a Trill who looked about her age, maybe a little older, wearing teal and a Chief Warrant Officer's insignia. "Yes?" This was the first person she hasn't had to introduce herself to aside from the Captain.

He hurried up to the waiting officer. “Lieutenant, I wonder if I might offer some assistance?”

"I wasn't aware that I needed assistance, Chief. What are you referring to?" Svardberg asked, stiffening up slightly. Was this guy medical?

“You will be conducting an investigation into the death of your predecessor, Commander Durrow,” he said.

Tori raised an eyebrow, but her body relaxed a little. "Chief, you know I can't discuss details of ongoing investigations. Unless you have something pertinent, all I can tell you is that there is a formal investigation into the cause of death." She said with a tone like she had said that many times.

“Actually, Lieutenant, there is more to it than that. Below decks is awash with rumours that the Commander was not a victim of the plague.”

Tori listened, rumors were better than the great deal of nothing she had been getting.

“I am the Command Chief; I make it my business to listen to rumours,” said without rancour. The Command Chief was not responsible for crew discipline but he was a link between the crew and the officer staff. The Executive Officer had his own channels for keeping abreast of how the crew was operating so Jrez chose a less formal means of gathering information. “They tell me a lot about crew morale and crew reactions to command decisions. There is often more than a grain of truth behind rumours. I must say that some of the current batch are rather fanciful,” he added with a sly grin. “They range from Romulan assassins, through disgruntled lovers to passed over rivals as the potential evil-doers. Be that as it may, talk like this can fester. I don’t want the crew thinking there is a killer loose in our midst. On top of what they’ve recently faced, they do not need that as well.”

Tori nodded, "Scuttlebutt is always going on in the lower decks. On one of my old ships there was a fierce rumor that our CO couldn't sleep without a teddy bear. But I understand that controlling the rumor mill is important, so your assistance in that would be greatly appreciated." Tori said, "Tell them there is an investigation going, and if this is anything other than the plague, it will be fully investigated."

“Actually, Lieutenant, that was not the assistance I was going to propose. Our Klingon Master-at-Arms, Petty Officer Vartog is somewhat of a hologram genius. I know images were taken of the Commander’s quarters; that much is standard procedure. Vartog would be able to use those images to recreate those quarters in a holosuite, complete with the deceased’s body. It might help in your investigation.”

It was hard to hide a distinct frown when Klingon and Master-at-Arms were mentioned in the same breath. She had read Vartog's official dossier and had sworn she would give him a fair chance, but Klingons bothered her. Now someone was recommending she ask him for help. Great. "Yes, that might help the investigation. Most of the scene of the crime has already been cleaned, that might help give me a better feel for it."

“His position is Brig Guard but for the past year or more he has been assigned to the Klingon Ambassador, Madame Haqtaj, as her Federation Aide.”

Tori's eye twitched visibly. "Ambassador Haqtaj's aide? That does not inspire great confidence in being impartial."

“Actually, he’s the most impartial person I could imagine for the job. He brings to it all his sense of Klingon honour plus the responsibilities and duties of a member of Starfleet. He treats Klingon and Starfleet – and civilians, for that matter – with equal respect and attention. However,” he added quickly, realising he was sounding like a walking advertisement for the man, “I suggest you do not take my word for it. You must, of course, form your own judgement.”

Tori raised an eyebrow. "For all that praise...isn't he the one that contaminated a crime scene by vomiting everywhere?"

“Ah, yes.... That’s true,” Jrez admitted, somewhat sheepishly. “But he is....” He cut himself short. There was no point in continuing. Vartog had disgraced himself; there was not getting around it. Svardberg would make her own judgements and anything Jrez said might just make matters worse.

Tori nodded, "I will give him a fair chance, Chief. Don't worry about that. Even if he is a Klingon."

“Thank you, Lieutenant. Vartog is a good petty officer and a credit to Starfleet. Now, I must be off. I have some gel packs to return to stores.”


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