SIM:Zehn - First Duty
Kaedyn Zehn has been promoted to full Lieutenant and transferred to the Intelligence Department
- Kaedyn Zehn
- Commander Valeria Cornwell - Starfleet Intelligence and former protege to Reigan Zehn
- Reigan Zehn - Zehn's sixth host
This SIM represents Kaedyn's first day in the job of intelligence officer. There, he encounters an officer who had served under his previous host before the Dominion War. While now an intelligence officer and privy to many secrets, Kaedyn is determined not to become paranoid.
- Kaedyn Zehn looked at himself in the mirror with a concerned frown. In his newly replicated uniform, with its black turtle neck on which his new rank was pinned, he felt even less like the old Kaedyn he had been before Joining than ever. This, he knew, was healthy since he no longer was the old Kaedyn but it was still disconcerting. The logic of an intelligence service highlighting it's officers with a distinct uniform colour was lost on him but perhaps it was a way of Starfleet Intelligence demomstraing how mainstream it was in comparison with the shadowy, nefarious intelligence agencies throughout the galaxy.::
- With Eliaan still asleep, he quietly slipped out of their quarters and into the turbolift for what would be his first day in his new job. While excited at the prospect, he felt a knot of nerves in his stomach as the lift ascended to it's destination.::
- Arriving at the entrance to the command tower, which the station's intelligence department called home, Kaedyn took a deep breath. The Black Tower had gained a level of notoriety in the past, much of it based around events that he had not been authorised to know about and may never have actually happened for all he knew. Jilenna had spent some time there but as a marine counter-intel officer she was usually based with the other marines on the other side of the station.::
Computer: Access to this area is restricted. Authorisation required.
Zehn: Authorisation Zehn Lamda-Three-Two-Black
Computer: Authorisation accepted.
- The doors opened and despite the mental picture of secretive bunker that Kaedyn had always had of the area, it was just another Starfleet corridor and exactly as Jilenna had remembered it. In a large, deliberate step that seemed to mirror the metaphorical step in his life, he entered the Black Tower and the doors slid quietly closed behind him.::
- Ahead of him, a young man dressed in the black uniform of intelligence and with a single pip denoting his rank, stood waiting. Was he waiting for him?::
Ensign: Lieutenant Zehn
- He said it so it wasn't clear whether it was a question or a statement and for a moment, Kaedyn didn't know quite how to respond. When he did, he carefully so that the response could be intepretted either as a confirmation, if it were a question and a question if it were a statement.::
Ensign: Commander Cornwell wishes to speak to you.
- The name sounded familiar but then after seven lifetimes of memories, a lot of names sounded familiar. He was due to be briefed on current intelligence status but surely Starfleet wouldn't send a Commander to brief a Lieutenant.::
Zehn: Sorry, who?
Ensign: Commander Valerie Cornwell
- And from the depths of Zehn's memories, he immediately knew who she was...::
- Lieutenant Commander Reigan Zehn sat behind his desk, straight-backed and commanding, as the young Ensign entered his office. She looked, he noticed immediately, terrified in the way that all new ensigns looked on their first day of duty. Another chief might try to make her feel more at ease or pretend to be her friend but he had other ideas. Now, he believed, was the best opportunity to take a promising officer and mould her into his image of a good security officer.::
Zehn (Reigan): Ensign Valerie Cornwell service number four three two dash five five six dash seven one three. Class of 69. Graduated with honours, a major in Security and a minor in Operations.
- Standing at attention, she looked vaguely unsure as to whether to respond.::
Cornwell: Sir, that's me. Sir.
Zehn (Reigan): You didn't want to minor in Tactical? Most of the ensigns who major in security minor in tactical, and vice versa.
Cornwell: No, Sir. I did not.
Zehn (Reigan): Why not? Please, you may speak freely.
- She remained at attention.::
Cornwell: I am not interested in combat, sir. Most tactical officers are glory hunters, in my experience, Sir. I felt operations would give me a better understanding of Starships, which would help my role as a security officer.
- A small smile crossed the Trill's face, a rare occurance when he was on duty.::
Zehn (Reigan): Very good, Ensign. I am a Security/Operations graduate myself, for the very same reason.
- He indicated that she may sit down across from him and she did so, although she remained rigidly upright.::
Zehn (Reigan): I have reviewed your Academy record, Ensign Cornwell and I was sufficiently impressed to request you for my department.
Cornwell: Thank you, Commander. I appreciate that.
Zehn (Reigan): You have done well learning the theory of being a security officer. I will now teach you the practice.
Zehn: Commander Cornwell
- As he stepped into the temporary office, which indicated that Valerie Cornwell was not permanently assigned to the Starbase, he spotted the woman he had known so well two lifetimes before. Her hair was longer now and greying, where it had once been almost black, but the face was more or less the same. She smiled and waved him in.::
Cornwell: Come in, Kaedyn. It's great to meet you, well not exactly meet you but you know what I mean.
Zehn: I do, Commander. It's been... a long time.
- They had last met, or rather Reigan and Cornwell had last met, not too long before his death at the Second Battle of Chin'toka during the Dominion War. She had written to Jilenna several times but they had never actually met. Somehow, despite the fact that Zehn had experienced the death of two hosts, Cornwell looked as thought she had suffered through a more difficult time. She seemed weary and tired.::
Cornwell: I was sorry to hear about Jilenna
Zehn: Yeah, it was a tragic accident...
Cornwell: But, now, here you are. I must say, your new host is very attractive, if I were only twenty years younger...
- It was common, Kaedyn knew, for non-Trill to speak in such terms. It was almost as if they believed, given the nature of Joined Trill, that the host was little more than a shell, an outfit that could be changed.::
Zehn: You have barely changed since the day we first met, Commander.
- She eyed him with good humoured suspicion.::
Cornwell: Nonsense. I keep getting older and you keep getting younger... Boss.
- Reigan Zehn stood outside his office. He masked his impatience well behind a facade of stoicism but as the young Ensign approached it spilled out.::
Zehn (Reigan): You are late
Zehn: You were to report to me at oh five hundred hours
Cornwell: And here I am.
- He frowned.::
Zehn: Computer, time
Computer: The time is oh five hundred hours and two minutes
Cornwell: Two minutes? That's not really late
Zehn (Reigan): And what, may I ask, is the threshold for being "really" late? five minutes? ten minutes? fifteen minutes? How long does it take for an explosive device to go off or for someone to beam away from a crime scene? Timing is essential in the life of a security officer.
Cornwell: I understand, Boss. It won't happen again.
- He knew he was being tough on her but he knew she could handle it. He was always tough on new recruits, they picked things up quicker if he wouldn't let them away with anything. He was paticularly hard on Valerie because he knew she could be really good but also because he could tell she was developing a crush on him.::
- The last Zehn host, Tomen, had been a star athlete and an attractive man. Tomen had been used to that sort of attention, Janel thrived on it and Zhima had mourned the loss of the political power that had made him attractive to woman. For Reigan, that sort of attention was unexpected and unwelcome.::
- They began his morning ritual of patrolling the large Nebula-class starship. He liked the crew, and the civilians onboard, to see him around and to be a visible presence on the ship. It was a habit he was hoping to instil in the young Ensign Cornwell. He had a set route that he always took and usually
Zehn (Reigan): Did you hear about the wormhole? The first stable wormhole to the Gamma quadrant
Cornwell: Yes, it's exciting
- The Trill man's face remained stoic, obviously annoyed at her inability to think like a security officer.::
Zehn (Reigan): No it isn't. We have no idea who or what is on the other side of that wormhole and what sort of danger they pose to us.
Cornwell: I suppose.
Zehn (Reigan): I know that when arresting a Klingon I need to take backup; or when questioning a Betazoid be aware that they can read my mind or that an Orion woman has pheromones that make men go mad and to send female officers. I don't have that knowledge about these new races we might encounter and that make me nervous.
Cornwell: Of course but it isn't the point of Starfleet to explore the galaxy?
Zehn (Reigan): It is but I don't like uncertainty and neither should any good security officer. Danger lurks around every corner, nver forget that.
Cornwell: I'm not sure how well you've been briefed. I spoke to Savannah and she asked if I could speak to you about this...
- Kaedyn adjusted position in his chair. Surely, she knew he hadn't even had time to visit his office. She had sent someone to collect him from the lobby of the tower.::
Zehn: I haven't been briefed at all, yet.
Cornwell: How familiar are you with the Thracian Alliance situation?
- Open-ended questions. Was she using Reigan's interrogation techniques against him? Such a question led the person being asked into a situation where they couldn't quite be sure what was being asked. In that circumstance, people often gave away more than they planned as an attempt to find the answer to whatever the real question was.::
Zehn: I'd imagine I know as much as anyone of my previous rank and position on this station knows.
- She smiled at his equivocation.::
Cornwell: After a few years in Investigation, I have found myself in the deep end of intelligence. When the Thracian Alliance was established, I was sent here to establish links with them. That assignment has eneded and I am being pulled out. When Savannah informed me that you were taking over the Intel brief here, I was glad that someone I could trust would be involved.
Zehn: I'm not here to create intelligence networks.
Cornwell: Of course not.
Zehn: Then what?
- She leaned forward, placing her arms on her desk and interlocking her fingers.::
Cornwell: I'll be frank with you, Kaedyn. Thracia is a mess and it is my belief that it poses a risk to the Federation. The whole place is riddled with agents and double agents and probably triple agents...
Zehn: I had gathered as much.
Zehn: There are two groups of Romulans on opposite sides of the Thracian border and there's that old saying: when two Romulans are in a room, they are likely both spying on each other. Factor in the proximity of the Klingons who are better at intelligence that they may pretend to be; the fact that some of those who found themself in Thracian space will have loyalty to their previous governments and the number of alien traders and diplomats that have made a bee-line for the Alliance. I'd be surprised if
- She smiled, confident that the investigative capablity of Reigan was present in this recently promoted young officer. For his part, Kaedyn was a little suprised at how he was speaking.::
Cornwell: I am concerned that as a result, the Thracians will develop a Tal'Shiar style intelligence agency. If they do, it will be up to you to keep in contact with the fledgling networks that I have established and ensure that such spies don't wind up on SB118.
- He frowned.::
Zehn: Commander, I have been on this job for less than a day. Surely, someone with more experience would be better suited...
Cornwell: If anyone can do this, it would be Reigan Zehn
Zehn: ::frowning:: I'm not Reigan Zehn
Cornwell: You are the nearest I have to him and with Jilenna's counter-intel experience you are probably even better suited for it.
- He cleared his throat.::
Zehn: Commander, my position is within the Starbase chain of command...
Cornwell: That was not my decision, believe me.
Zehn: Regardless of whose decision it is, I get my orders from my commanding officer. I won't subvert the chain of command. Has this been cleared with Commander Nicholotti?
- A shadow briefly crossed her face and Kaedyn, acutely aware that this woman who had been his subordinate was now his superior by quite a bit, worried that he had stepped over the line. However, almost as quickly as it had appeared her expression softened again.::
Cornwell: Commander Nicholotti is your CO and I respect that. I also trust Nicholotti, which I can't say about a lot of people any more. This is simply a counter-intelligence assignment, which would be within your area of responsibility and Commander Nicholotti will certainly be kept in the loop.
Cornwell: It has been felt that since Kaedyn has no background in intelligence, you won't have shown up on anyone else's radar. In short, you won't be seen as much of a threat to the Thracians, Klingons or Romulans.
Zehn: Do you have any proof that the Thracians are planning anything like the organisation you are describing?
Cornwell: There are. I just know there are.
- The morning patrol of the ship had become an excellent opportunity for the Security Chief and his apprentice to discuss any questions she had and for him to impart his wisdom. He had even managed to accept the crush that she had on him, which did not appear to be going away anytime soon.::
Cornwell: Okay, what would you do if you know someone is guilty but we can't prove it.
- Nodding to a passing officer as they walked, he considered the question. It was one of the most difficult aspects of security work.::
Zehn (Reigan): We investigate using our gut instincts but that can only get us so far. Proof. Evidence. Facts. These are what we must strive for at all times
Cornwell: And what do we do if we can't find any proof?
Zehn (Reigan): Look harder. Turn over more stones. Go back and turn over the ones you'll already looked under. Speak to your witnesses again.
Cornwell: And then what?
- The Trill stopped and turned to face the young ensign.::
Zehn (Reigan): Then you may have to accept as justice is not served.
- She looked incredulous at the very notion of it, as if
Cornwell: You'd just give up?
Zehn (Reigan): Give up? Never. That's the key, we may have to watch as a criminal gets away or a crime goes unsolved but we never give up. We never give up.
Zehn: I will look over any information that you have and discuss this with the Commander.
- For the first time in their conversation, she visible bristled and regarded him as the subordinate that he was rather than the mentor he had been.::
Cornwell: I am not a new ensign, Lieutenant. I do not need you to check my work.
- He said nothing for a long time. She had been used to Reigan Zehn who, given the chance to lead an investigation like this, would have jumped at the chance. She had not reckoned with the stubborness of this new host.::
Zehn: Then until I am ordered otherwise, I cannot help you.
- Opening her mouth to respond, she closed it again and leaned back in her chair. After staring at him for a long time in silence, she lifted a PADD and tossed it across the desk at him.::
Cornwell: That doesn't leave the Tower. You have until tomorrow to get back to me. Speak to Nicholotti if you wish.
Zehn: Thank you.
Cornwell: Dismissed, Lieutenant.