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Part of USS Olympic: Mission 1 – Uneasy Alliance and USS Mackenzie: The Mackenzie Squadron – The Uneasy Alliance

14 – Journal Interrupted

USS Olympic
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“What do you mean our accreditation’s been suspended?”  Persefoni Hargraves stared at the representative from the Federation Academic and Scientific Journal Consortium, who gulped as the Editor in Chief of the Olympic Journal stared at him through the video screen, demanding an answer.

“I mean to say that everyone’s accreditation has been suspended, Dr. Hargraves.  All journal activity has been paused due to some…dubious claims made by multiple journals in recent days.  The Board of Directors met in executive session last night, and the decision was made public this morning.  All network access has been temporarily deactivated while the board assigns a Task Force of specialized reviewers to investigate the claims and ensure future publications meet the standards of the Consortium.”

In shocked silence, Hargraves stared at the man for a full minute before she found her words again, “This is highly irregular.  You must know I will file an official protest and grievance.”

His answer was shrug, and her eyes bored into him like a Ferengi witnessing someone stealing their latinum.  She smiled as he flinched.  He cleared his throat, “You are well within your rights to do so, Doctor Hargraves.  We will file it and address it in time.  Thank you.”  He closed the channel abruptly.

Persefoni leaned back in her chair, amused.  She met the gaze of her Academic Studies Editor. “Isi, that sound like a pile of Borg shit to you?” Isidor Sokolov steepled his fingers on the other side of the desk, deep in thought.  She’d grown to trust his contemplations over the years.

His deep voice rumbled, “Such a thing as a mass suspension of accreditation has not occurred in recent memory – this beggars belief.  I have heard similar conversations occurring among the staff of other journals.  There is some worry that our journalistic betters are being, at best, diverted from the story…or, at worst, censored.”

Hargraves leaned forward, her eyes squinting as if to see the truth somewhere in the air around them, “Someone doesn’t want the message getting out.  Someone wants to keep the universe in the dark.”  She growled, “This pisses me off.”

Sokolov poured a shot of whiskey into his glass, “To be fair, Doctor, that list is quite long.”  She gave him a long look, and he chuckled, “You cannot refute it.”

They were friends and, in the past, had dallied with crossing lines with each other on occasion.  It was part of why she had asked him to join her team.  He was also very good at his job.  He was one of the few people on board who could openly challenge her and smile as he did it.  “I can’t.  I have a reputation to uphold.”  She accepted a pour in her glass and sipped slowly, “I can’t work around them, Isi.  They’ll have done the same thing with the other journal groups.  There’s something else.”  She slipped a PADD across the table to him.  

He raised his eyebrows and began to read.  A frown deepened until he looked up, disbelief set in his rough features.  “They sent someone to board this civilian ship…to capture the data they had?  I wasn’t aware the Federation had that kind of power.”

She tapped the table, “I don’t think it’s the Federation, Isi.  I think some nasty people have taken up residence in the house…and they’re pulling some of the strings. Not enough to raise a yellow or even a red alert.  Enough to make people cock their heads to the side and frown.  Whatever is happening, it was enough to get the Fourth Fleet in a lather and throw their entire fleet at it.”

Sokolov raised his refilled glass, “To Remar and Dahlgren – may they save us from ourselves.” She returned the toast, and they sipped silently, reflecting on their years and memories.   He wondered, “What are we going to do, Per?  We cannot hope to take on these…bad actors.  We don’t know who they are, what they are, or why they are doing this.  The path would be littered with multi-kinetic neutronic mines.”  He set the glass down, “Hopefully, they are metaphorical mines and not literal ones.  That would be bad.”

Persefoni filled her glass one last time and ruminated as she sipped to the last drop, “They did not forbid us from doing our research and writing what we find, hear, and see.  If we are to honor the long tradition of this journal, we must be the guardians of the truth, Isi…wherever that may take us.”  She tapped at her PADD as she slipped the bottle into a desk drawer, “Call a staff meeting.  We may not be able to publish, but we can certainly write the story of Janoor III.”