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Part of USS Norway: Spectre

The Investigator

Starfleet Headquarters, Earth
November 2399
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Commander Brendt sighed as he tossed another PADD onto the mounting pile of reports that sat on his desk. Though the role of an investigator was that which he had deliberately sought out, he found himself increasingly tied to his desk reading intelligence reports rather than conducting investigations himself. Now he oversaw the work of others and while there was no doubt that those he oversaw were more than competent in their role it left him wishing that someone would make a mistake, at least that would give him cause to leave his office.

Brendt rose from his chair straightening his uniform as he did so.

“Coffee, black.” he commanded, walking towards the replicator that sat on the wall to the right of the office.

The replicator hummed and a black and silver coffee mug materialised in a swirl of light. Picking it up, Brendt turned and walked to the window at the rear of his office. At least the view was decent, he thought to himself, something to break up the monotony. But even that was starting to become all too familiar. 

Brendt raised the mug and took a sip. Replicated coffee wasn’t the same as the real thing, synthesized carbohydrates and reconstituted proteins… It tasted close enough, but it was always lacking something. Authenticity? Perhaps. Everything had become too artificial in his view, we had lost something in our relentless pursuit to better our lives he thought.

Returning to his desk he sat the mug down on the glass desk and picked up the PADD he had tossed aside earlier. Another mission report, several crossed his desk each day, forwarded on to him for his attention by his staff after they were filed by the reporting officer. His department was responsible for scrutinising mission reports that involved significant loss or damage to ships or equipment. Unfortunately they were also responsible for investigating incidents that resulted in loss of life.

“Mission report, Devron Fleet Yards, Dean Matthews, Stardate…” he read aloud and then began to mumble the rest to himself. As he read the report, a look of concern fell over his face. This was one of those reports, the kind that nobody looked forward to reading. A serving officer was missing following an unexplained incident during a routine runabout mission.

Brendt sat down at his desk and continued to read the report in silence. It didn’t add up, he thought. Where was the associated sensor data from the runabout? Why was the report so incomplete when it dealt with such a serious matter? These were the questions that warranted further investigation, and indeed, they were questions that could not sit unanswered.

“Computer, display service record and biographical data for Dean Matthews.” he said placing the PADD down.

The computer chirped in acknowledgement of his request and a holographic display appeared from the emitter embedded in his desk displaying the service record of Matthews. Brendt scrolled through it, nothing out of the ordinary he thought. No reprimands or disciplinary actions, nothing to suggest why the report filed would be so incomplete. 

“Computer, display all mission reports filed by Dean Matthews and query for any reports flagged to this department previously,” Brendt said, raising his hand to his chin and rubbing his short beard. 

“No previous reports by this officer have been flagged for review,” the computer responded bluntly.

“Hmm,” he said softly as he tapped the controls of the small interface on his desk. Brendt pressed the intercom with his finger causing it to sound a soft double tone indicating the channel was open.

“T’Prim,” he said, speaking to his personal assistant who sat at a desk outside of his office, “recall all level 2 investigators and schedule a meeting in 30 minutes”

“Yes sir,” the disembodied voice replied through the intercom, “what is the nature of the meeting?” his assistant enquired.

“I will explain that in the briefing.” Brendt replied, “I’m sending you a report, please ensure it is disseminated to those attending.” he continued, tapping the controls of his interface once more and sending the report through to T’Prim.

“Acknowledged.” T’Prim replied.

“Thank you,” Brendt said, terminating the call.

Picking up the PADD containing Matthew’s mission report, Brendt stood up and walked over to the LCARS display on the wall of his office. He tapped on the controls and as he did so an overview of the flight plan filed by Matthews appeared. It showed that the runabout was to travel from Devron Fleet Yards to a subspace relay and then return one day later along the same route. Tapping the controls again a second map was overlaid, showing the runabouts actual route and the location it was found adrift.

“Three light years. A three light year deviation,” Brendt said aloud to himself, “How did you get there?”

Brendt tapped his PADD and the maps displayed cascaded closed and the LCARS display locked, displaying the United Federation of Planets emblem. He then turned and walked towards the door of his office and exited out into the small adjacent waiting area. Nodding to T’Prim he exited into the corridor and walked towards the turbolift.

The corridor was busy, officers coming and going all occupied with their own tasks, their own investigations, their own questions. Brendt entered the empty turbolift at the end of the corridor.

“Reception.” He commanded as the turbolift doors slid closed. 

Exiting into the large open reception area, Brendt made his way past the security checkpoint.

“Commander,” one of the security officers nodded in recognition of Brendt.

“Gregg,” Brendt said as he walked past “kids well?” he enquired. Brendt made a point to be approachable and to get to know the people he saw daily, regardless of their role. It was this approachability that made Brendt well liked among his subordinates.

“Doing well sir, softball on Saturday. Are you able to make it?” Ensign Gregg Burr replied.

“Pencil me in.” Brendt replied, chuckling as he continued walking towards the large glass doors of the exit.

Burr smiled and nodded, resuming his duties.

The large glass doors slid open and Brendt walked outside into the quad, it was a clear day, like every other day in San Francisco. Brendt continued along the footpath which was flanked on either side by open grass areas and water features.

Directly opposite the security complex was the Starfleet Intelligence building. It shared much of its appearance and layout with the security complex however it’s entrance was flanked on either side by two security officers. 

Brendt approached them and handed over his PADD.

“Commander Jacob Brendt to see Captain August Remmington.” he said in a matter of fact tone.

The older of the two security officers took hold of the PADD and examined it’s content.

“Yes sir. Level 4, use the Turbolift on the right of reception.” replied the officer.

“Yes, I am aware, I have been here before Lieutenant.” Brendt replied bluntly collecting his PADD that the officer handed back.

The doors slid open and Brendt walked through, turning right as instructed and entering the turbolift.

Exiting on level 4 Brendt made his way down the corridor towards Captain Remmington’s office at the end of the hallway. Unlike his own offices, which were a hive of activity, the hallways and corridors of intelligence were much quieter.

On entering Remmington’s office, Brendt was greeted by Remmington’s assistant. 

“He’s expecting you. Go on through.” The assistant said, gesturing towards the door on his right.

Brendt nodded and walked through to Remmington’s office.

“Jacob,” Captain Remmington said welcomingly, “What brings you by? Have a seat.” he said as he motioned towards the chair opposite his desk.

Sitting down Brendt handed Remmington his PADD“Bill,” he said with a concerned look on his face, “we have a problem.”

“What kind of problem?” Remmington replied, taking the PADD in his hand and looking through its contents.

“The four.” Brendt paused. “They’re back.”

Remmington stopped reading and look up at Brendt.

“Are you certain?” he queried, his demeanor changing instantly to concern.

“Yes,” Brendt responded, “I’m certain.”

“Who else knows?” asked Remmington, placing the PADD down on his desk.

“At this point, you and I. That officer’s superiors are going to have questions though” Brendt said, pointing at the PADD. “They’ve lost one of their own. If that were me, I wouldn’t stop digging until I found answers.”

“Go to Devron, make sure any answers they find are the ones we want them to. We can’t have this getting out.” Remmington said. “Speak to this… Matthews. Dress it up as a misconduct investigation if you have to. Find out what he knows and then erase any record of it.”

“Yes sir.” Brendt nodded.