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Cmdr Waterhouse & Ens Barnes || The Clone Conspiracy

Posted on 2016-02-19 19:51 by Captain Amelia Waterhouse & Lieutenant JG Catalina Barnes

Mission: Bonsai

Rocky gathered the latest reports that she had collated from monitoring in the various Romulan frequencies, including some of those that she had managed to get from the Romulan Senators who had been chattering about the assassination attempt. When Lieutenant Khan had dropped by to tell her about Shinzon, she had started various searches on that and learned that Shinzon had been a clone, which cross-referenced with the incomplete cloning information that she had gleaned from Taris' computers previously.

Suddenly she sat up and tapped her combadge "Barnes to Commander Waterhouse!"

"Waterhouse here," Amelia answered, after setting down her chopsticks and bowl of fried rice so she could tap her combadge. The mess hall was empty, surprisingly, so the page had pulled Amelia out of deep thought. The more the man they'd rescued had spoken on the way to sickbay, the clearer the picture had become ­— he was truly out of his element, perhaps a few centuries so. Amelia almost regretted leaving, but she had to trust her crew to do their job without breathing down their uniform collars.

"Commander, I think I have something that you and Commander Caine may be extremely interested in," Rocky said as she looked at the cross referenced data and hoped it wasn't a false lead.

"I'm in the mess, bring me what you've got."

"I'm on my way," Rocky said as she gathered the isolinear chips and a portable reader. She left her station set to monitor and record, then set up an alert for the computer to notify her for keywords like Shinzon, clone, Empress and Praetor. Once she had it set up, she headed up to the mess hall as quickly as she could get there. When she spotted the Commander, she headed directly over to her before she realized that she had interrupted the Commander's meal. "I'm sorry to interrupt, but this may be important."

She set the reader down and inserted the chip with her data collation and the cross reference of Taris' data and the Shinzon reference and stood back.

"I thought it was a little odd for Shinzon's name to have come up. This makes it look like it's not a coincidence," Amelia mused, flicking through the data presented to her. "What's your theory?"

"The Praetor that attempted to kill the Empress was a clone would be the likely theory," Rocky said. "I have the computer searching for any references to the Praetor, cloning, the Empress or Shinzon currently and I'm monitoring all frequencies for any more relevant data. If they cloned the Praetor, he's probably dead or being held prisoner. With our efforts to retrieve the prisoner, odds are good that whoever has the Praetor - if he's alive - will take extra steps to keep the Praetor confined."

"It certainly seems a sound theory. Given how long the Empress and the Praetor have known each other, and how strong of a friendship they seemed to have, it could explain what happened." She picked up her bowl and chopsticks. "The question becomes, how do we prove it? A DNA sample from the clone would show the first generation of replicative fading, I think."

"We'd have to capture the clone," Rocky said. "Odds are good it's already on ice."

"Can't we get a dna sample off something else though? We should find out if anything was left at the crime scene."

"We can try, but the Praetor or clone or whoever shot the Empress didn't get close enough to the Empress to leave evidence, and the entire area was trampled multiple times by countless people," Rocky pointed out. "We'd have to pull a rabbit out of our hats."

"We should probably check the Romulan reports on the incident, the official ones when those get written, and see if they collected anything. It'll be a stretch, but better to check just in case. If it was a clone, we need something placing them at the scene of the attack in order to clear the Praetor's name." Amelia poked the rice with her chopsticks and made a face. "A witness to the Praetor acting funny would be useful too."

"I'll also check on the last known location of the Praetor prior to the attempt," Rocky said as she put together a mental list of things that needed to be done.

"Good thinking. See if we can find his alibi, since if he was set up, we have to assume whoever did it will try to hide or discredit anything that'll clear his name." Amelia tapped the side of the bowl as she thought. "All the cloning information has been coming to us from Cretak affiliated groups, right?"

"For the most part," Rocky said. "Although there was some information that myself and Ensign Blacklance have been unable to verify the sources. She tapped into surveillance devices and a conversation was heard about moving up a political step ladder or something like that. It was too noisy and we couldn't identify the exact phrase."

"Political step ladder?" Amelia tilted her head as she considered. "If it mostly seems to be Cretaks, we should flag those sh'Thrass identified as allied with them, and watch their next moves closely. I'm lost as to what their end game on this is. As far as I know, the next in line for Empress isn't one of theirs."

Rocky nodded. "Blacklance also learned that Senator Taris was spearheading an attempt to gather an emergency session of the Senate regardless of the praetor's presence or lack thereof. She observed that the situation seemed to be further complicated by the absence, or rather disappearance, of Senator Pardek and his family."

"Well, we know where Pardek is... though we haven't had the chance to pick up his family yet. I don't like that they're missing, that means Cretak or one of her puppets suspect he's betrayed them. As for Taris... she's certainly going out on a limb by going around the Proconsul, especially not knowing the fate of the Praetor. Do you remember off hand how the senate loyalties are split? Does Cretak have a majority?"

"They have a simple majority, which normally wouldn't be enough to take control," Rocky said. "But with the Praetor and Empress out of the picture...it's possible she could push it through. I know there's senators who oppose her group, but we don't know if it's enough to keep Cretak from doing it."

"It would take the other factions working together to stop her, if she has a simple majority, but I have no doubt that some who were loyal to the Praetor were only so because he currently held power." Amelia frowned. "We may need to sew some dissent within the Senate, depending on how it looks the effort will go. Do you suppose Cretak is bold enough to attempt to install herself, or will she put a puppet in place instead?"

Rocky fell silent for a moment as she thought about the Commander's question. "If she did install herself, she'd become a target if she doesn't gain a big enough loyalty base. If she installs a puppet, it would be a guessing game for everyone and she could force more people to her side. I suspect that she may attempt to put a puppet in place."

"Yeah, a puppet does make the most sense. It would be easier for us if she used someone we already know to be one of hers, but she's probably crafty enough to pull out someone who hasn't made their ties known. As long as the Empress continues to support our alliance, we should be able to hold on. Though it would be ideal to keep the current praetor."

"If the Empress is still alive," Rocky pointed out. "Perhaps we should do a check on the political climate and see which Senators have been opposed to the Federation in any way"

"If," Amelia repeated the word as if it were the heaviest thing in the universe. "We must hope that she survives the attack. The opposition to the Federation alliance has been vocal from the start, and as the Empire has found its own footing again, it's grown. If we lose both the praetor and the Empress, we will likely lose the treaty. If the Empress is dead, we must beg whatever deity we believe in that the praetor didn't do it and we can prove it."

"We need more people on the ground," Rocky said. "Perhaps the prisoner we rescued can shed more light on the situation. The Romulans aren't the type to keep someone a prisoner unless there is information to be gained. Maybe he knows something." She paused, remembering how the man seemed confused. "If he's able to make a recovery."

"My intention had been to follow him to sickbay while they fussed over him, but Dragomirov chased me off with a promise of a report on anything he said beyond his medical needs. And what good is a medical staff if I don't let them do their job?" Amelia chewed her lip. "If we can get a lead on physical evidence that might support our clone theory, we'll certainly pursue it, but we must be extra careful. Until we know the lay off the land, we can't risk tipping the scales against the Federation."

=/\= End Log =/\=

Commander Amelia Waterhouse
Commanding Officer
USS Joshua Norton

Ensign Catalina "Rocky" Barnes
Encryption Specialist
USS Joshua Norton

 

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