Author Topic: '...sometimes there's no choice but to make a stand..' (UNS Marauder)  (Read 1121 times)

Offline Azazel

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ADM John A. McCabe
Fighting the good fight


Admiral John Andrew McCabe grit his teeth as he paced back and forth behind his desk, his jaw’s muscles hurting a little at the strain he’d been putting them under, a by-product to his mandible being clenched for a long time. The fluid, short steps he took, one after the other, were somewhat reminiscent of a lion that’s not grown accustomed to the idea of living behind bars. He couldn’t help himself from acting that way ever since receiving news of the attack.

The Admiral’d made his way to his quarters onboard the UNS Marauder a short while earlier, painfully aware that there was nothing for him to do at the ship’s bridge and knowing that the communication officer on duty at the bridge could patch any incoming secure communication to his quarters. That would afford him more privacy than the Marauder’s command centre could. That was a good thing, given the station and the kind of exchange he’d been having with most people that’d contacted him during the last couple hours.

That hadn’t kept his time inside his quarters from being almost excruciatingly difficult to bear, though. It was proving really hard for the Admiral not to pick up the voice module sitting on top of his desk and demand updates on the situation every few minutes, but he knew better than caving into that and actually doing so. His best people were working on it while he did his best to iron things out, get them intel from everywhere he could. His people needed time to do their jobs, and they would contact him as soon as he was needed, or even better, made a breakthrough.

“Any new leads?” he asked from the green-haired Captain as she knocked on the door and stepped into his quarters’ office. He stopped his pacing, yet didn’t turn around so he could look at the attractive woman that stood there after offering him a sharp salute.

“I’m sorry to say that this is just more of an update than anything else, sir.” She offered him a low smile that John could see reflected on the surface to his side, but he did not acknowledge the expression on her face. There was just too much in his mind at the moment. “Based on the outpost’s security footage, our analysis department has confirmed that the raiding party was indeed donning NX-5s. However, all of the manufacturer’s prototypes have been accounted for and there is no evidence that they’ve gone black-book on us, as was suspected earlier. We believe that whoever that was behind the attack came into possession of the NX-5’s blueprints and schematics through espionage, even if there is no evidence of anyone tampering with RED’s database prior to the attack as of yet. The company claims that the security on their servers hasn’t been breached either, but I’ve dispatched an IT team to their headquarters as you requested, sir. They should be on site in a couple hours.“
The green-haired Captain glanced down at the small personal data assistant she was holding as it vibrated, letting her know of new developments in the midst of the unholy mess they were in. She took a few seconds to read the information on its screen prior to continuing.

The NX-5. Admiral McCabe scoffed inwardly. The very first design in body armour that went beyond offering physical protection to the wearer, the one he’d hoped would become standard within the armed forces’ infantry within the next couple years or so had been stolen, reverse-engineered and manufactured somewhere in the galaxy. Not to mention that someone had turned it against its creator, a modern version of Mary Shelley’s man-made monster.

RED, the cutting edge computer system that managed, stored and distributed almost all data concerning the Spacy’s R&D projects, was being blamed for allowing… whoever it was to weasel their way into the military network. From what he’d been told, the hacker’d ignored its databases and the secrets it held, creating some sort of bridge between RED and the main network that allowed him (or her) an uplink as an authorized user. An uplink that, according to the people in charge of the network access protocols, wasn’t possible for anyone to establish without ringing any bells in the process.
 
Not twenty minutes earlier, John’d received a call from Admiral Washburn, the Spacy Intel ‘Czar’ if one was to use the old, 20th century acronyms. He certainly wasn’t a happy man at the time and seemed more than intent on dumping the political consequences to the computer hack on McCabe’s lap. That very call had left no doubt that he’d been turned into the official scapegoat for the incident and while he was almost certain that the computer breach alone wouldn’t be enough to force him to resign his commission or retire, should any of his peers find out that one of his pet, black-on-black projects had been leaked and most likely sold to an unknown faction, he’d be finished for sure. JAG was likely to add some jail time to it. After all, he hadn’t moved so far up the chain of command as quickly as he had without making enemies. 
 
The circumstances were forcing him to scrap the project in its present form, bury it so deep that no one would ever be able to link the gear the terrorists had donned during their little field trip to the division under his command without the original NX-5 design files. The fact that the terrorists had attacked a facility under his command was the only upside to one hell of a tight spot. No one outside his command crew had access to the station’s security footage, and the only copy in existence would remain within R&D until he made a deal with the company that’d been helping with the NX-5’s development.

“The interrogation of chosen civilian and Spacy R&D personnel will start within the hour, sir. Intel’s been asking questions about why are we assembling them here, but they seem to have bought your story in regards to our needing to analyze the amoured suits and gear the terrorists wore during their run, so they’re laying still for the time being. Most of the shuttles loaded with those summoned here have already folded out into the vicinity and have checked in with the CIC.” The green-haired woman shifted her weight uncomfortably prior to continuing to speak. She wasn’t used to speaking her mind freely and she’d never seen the Admiral so angry before, but she knew that he would appreciate an honest, no BS opinion on things. “Whoever it is that did this sir, I think that you’re correct. Everything points at the assailants being outsiders. As you ordered, I’ve done a bit of discreet snooping around, and there’s nothing anywhere that indicates this being a hop with links to any of the other directorates. I personally believe them to be ‘pros’, either self-employed or running an errand for some other entity. We’re running all the names on Spacy personnel lists, both past and present against those on all the employee and manifest records we’ve managed to get our hands on, sir.”

The Admiral turned to admire the blackness of space that was on display on the room’s walls and ceiling through the aide of digital displays mounted against those for a moment. He usually enjoyed the sight of open space, deeming it a lot more relaxing than the usual dullness of grey-coloured bulkheads found within a starship, but the auburn-haired man looked at those as if he was trying to figure out just who was it that’d chosen to launch a surgical strike against a UN outpost by looking at the large liquid-crystal screens.

“Narrow the search a little to focus on people with Spec Ops combat experience, plus those proficient with Spacy encryption systems, programming and the works. I’ll be getting a list of known black hats within the hour, so you cross that one against our corporate friends too.” he said. In his mind, and that of a whole lot of people as well, there was a lot of difference between a bunch of rogue Zentradi that were just looking to entertain themselves by attacking any ‘live’ facility on sight and a bunch of commandoes that’d made their way into a UN military outpost so they could hack their way into the military network and download God-knew-what through the research and development database Admiral McCabe was responsible for.

The Admiral clasped his arms behind his back, a posture that he’d adopted a few years earlier without much in the way of conscious thought. He spoke again. “Activate Alessa and her team. I want them prepped and ready to act within a moment’s notice. Have them on standby and tell her to start doing a little snooping around on her own with her mercenary contacts. Should one of those terrorist SOBs poke their head out of whatever hole they’re hiding in, I want her and her guys waiting for them with a black bag and a tranq shot. This’ll be a search and extract hop and no one is to find out that we’ve been there. Ever. Tell Alessa that I want the bastards alive and kicking. Body bags don’t answer questions. They are to be delivered to this ship.”

“Yes sir.”


- TO BE CONTINUED -