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Lt Kaedyn Zehn - First Duty


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((Personal Quarters))

::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 demonstrating 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.::

((Black Tower))

::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 interpreted either as a

confirmation, if it were a question and a question if it were a statement.::

Zehn: Yes

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...::

~~Flashback: 2369~~

((USS Indomitable))

::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 mold 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 occurrence 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.

~~End Flashback~~

((Black Tower))

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.

~~Flashback: 2369~~

((USS Indomitable))

::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

Cornwell: Sir?

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 particularly 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, never forget that.

~~End Flashback~~

((Black Tower))

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 ended 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.

Cornwell: Why?

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 themselves 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 capability of Reigan was

present in this recently promoted young officer. For his part, Kaedyn was

a little surprised 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.

Zehn: Okay...

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.

~~Flashback: 2369~~

((USS Indomitable))

::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.

~~End Flashback~~

((Black Tower))

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 stubbornness 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.

TBC

Lieutenant Kaedyn Zehn

Intelligence Officer

SB118 / USS Victory

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