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Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-hu and Ensign Colleen Bancroft - Flashback: A Brief Hacking Diversion


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((Alcatraz Net Café, Marina District, San Francisco - 239105.31 19:01 Hours))


::Micced earpiece. Check. Five hour pre-paid public terminal. Check. Cola. Check.::


Choi: Turing, transmit “Best of Neo Alba Ra” kit to Alcatraz Net Café console 09 and initiate.


Turing: Uploading. ::pause:: Good hacking, Aphelion.


::Ji-hu blushed, glancing around, but the Café was mostly empty. He took a deep breath, the fewer steps the better, the less there was to trace back to him or Cadet Bancroft.::


::He started on social media.::


::At parties, people loved posting pictures of themselves, which geolocated to real-time places. This made his job relatively simple. This was a big party and he quickly found a group of cadets posting pictures at the wedding reception, Moreau Manor, geolocated to the Buena Vista Heights, right where they had thought it would be. He pulled up the relative location on a civilian map application and quickly matched the house in the image with those seen from above in frighteningly high-quality imaging. A beautiful, ancient Terran manor left over from the 20th century, although clearly well maintained. The Moreau’s came from past generations of tech moguls, and while the acquisition of materials mattered to few Terrans in the modern era, the family’s past successes clearly meant they kept a not-so-modest household.::


Choi: /Aphelion to Shadow Leopard. D-do you read me?/


Bancroft: /Shadow Leopard. Go ahead, Aphelion./


Choi: /He’s there, and I have an address. 709 Buena Vista West, overlooking the west side of the park. I’ll start doing some research, check in when you’re nearby./


::Ji-hu pulled up some of the imaging and began to scrutinize the pictures, ignoring the human faces and looking at layout and security. A few cameras, private company, subtle, but not enough to escape notice. The wedding reception was perfect cover. The house’s security systems would be turned off, and what was one more stranger wandering around looking for the bathroom? Ji-hu ran a search for private residential security in the Bay Area and began to pour over the equipment and services they offered before thought he had a match. Palladium Home Security Systems.::


::Now the real fun began.::


(( Buena Vista Heights - Geolocated Circle ))


::Colleen was at a nearby bodega when Choi came on the comms with their target.::


::Everything had started off so simple - a regular old assignment on a holodeck for one of her classes. The Cadet she’d been assigned to work with - a snooty Engineering Sophomore who seemed to hate her for reasons she couldn’t possibly fathom (besides turning down his incessant requests to go on a date with him) - had been a royal pain since they’d begun the assignment, and had only continued to be a problem once they were on the holodeck. As with all assignments, they were recording the run, each of them. The assignment went off smoothly enough, despite a single minor fumble on Colleen’s part, and they’d collected their recordings once it was over. However, when Colleen had went back in later to try and review the recording, she’d found out that the device she’d been using was completely blank. Her recording was gone. A few hours later, she’d found a message from her “lab partner” saying that he had the recording that showed how she’d screwed up the entire assignment - and the little [...] had been so arrogant as to even take a picture of the chip with the recording on it..::


::Oh, that had gotten her blood boiling. Fraking little Sophomore, getting in the way of her work. So, she’d decided that revenge was in order. Time to get that recording back and wreak a little havoc on the [...] in the process. So, her first call had been to Choi Ji-hu, Engineering extraordinaire. Once he had agreed to help her - they’d become friends, so he hadn’t taken very long to agree - she’d laid out the situation to Grace. Grace, in the middle of her Intelligence major, had grinned when Colleen had explained the plan, and agreed on the spot.::


::A little leg work later, and they’d determined that the Cadet’s sister was preparing to get married, and the wedding reception would be at their manor. Colleen had no worries that when it came time, Ji-hu would be able to find the exact location. Based on where the message had come from, they’d had a rough idea of where to go, so she and Grace had been on opposite sides of the geo-shot when Choi had found the manor itself.::


Bancroft: /Copy that. German, you got that?/


Freeman: /Got it. Moving in. Aphelion, let us know when you’ve got more intel please./


::Colleen left the bodega at a light jog, enough that she wouldn’t break too much of a sweat, heading for the manor that Ji-hu had indicated.::


(( Alcatraz Net Café ))


Choi: /Hello Mr. Ians, this is Carl from Palladium IT. I’m r-really sorry to bother you so late on a Friday night, but unfortunately there’s been a security breach and your account’s b-b-been targeted./


Ians: /[...]… again? I thought you guys fixed this with the new encryption scheme last year./


Choi: /Yeah… I know, sir... b-b-between you and me, the company really didn’t go with the best software. And they haven’t been shelling out for upgrades./


Ians: /::scoffing, grumbling:: ... bigwigs... /


Choi: /If it’s any consolation, your account w-w-wasn’t the only one affected. We’re going to be putting in a long night here.../


Ians: /They better have a case of beer waiting for you boys on the other end. What do you need, kid?/


Choi: /I just need to confirm your identity and g-g-get some information from you to access your account and reset your password. We’ll s-start with your d-d-date of birth.../


::”Exploit” sounded like such a dirty word. Ji-hu couldn’t feel too bad about it… a security company that was so easily duped by a teenager in a net café. He justified it to himself, as he had so often done, that he was simply breaking into the system to use it, rather than hurt anyone. In fact, he hoped to help Colleen. A sort of ends-justifying-the-means deal. With luck, Allan Ians of Palladium’s surveillance systems security, who was far too easy to find and get in touch with through the net, would figure out what had happened when his login didn’t work on Monday morning. If he had any brains at all he’d reset his password, not say a word and hopefully learn a lesson to not blindly trust “Carl from IT.”::


::Front door, back door, two backyard, greenhouse, two perimeter and one indoor camera, in some sort of study or office. That’s what Ji-hu had access to inside Palladium’s surveillance, and he could see now that the party was in full swing. Perhaps a hundred people or more crammed into the backyard, milling about the outdoor bar, dancing before a DJ booth, spilling out from inside the house, the lower levels mostly, from what he could see in the security feeds.::


::Now if he could only find a layout of the house... Ji-hu could get Colleen inside, but he’d be blind once she was in there. Sure, he could make some educated guesses from what he could see, but it wasn’t enough. If only he’d had more time to prepare…::


(( Buena Vista Heights - Moreau Manor ))


Bancroft: /Shadow Leopard to Aphelion./


Choi: /Aphelion here./


Bancroft: /Alright, we’re almost on site./


Choi: /Good. Guests are entering through the house, b-but it looks like the caterers are using a narrow alley to the right of the m-m-main entrance./


Bancroft: /Perfect. German, you ready?/


Freeman: /Pfft. Born ready. Give me a shout when you’re ready./


::Colleen clicked her mic twice at her girlfriend and jogged past the manor and towards the back alley. Once there, she spent a moment watching the caterers. There were only a couple outside.::


Bancroft: /Aphelion, can you take down the back camera for about…. Twenty seconds?/


Choi: /Affirmative. Looping s-s-security feed, let me know when you’re by./


::One of the vans was open to her mouth of the alley, and inside she found a set of uniforms. Grabbing one that would easily fit her, she threw it on over her clothes, then dropped back out of the van and headed for the doors. Nodding at a couple of the staff, none of which gave her a second glance, she entered the door. Grace’s training - “Look like you belong. Nobody will question you.” She found herself inside a decent sized room, where catering staff entered and exited through a door across the room.::


Bancroft: /Aphelion, German, I’m in. German, distraction on my mark please.../


::Grace sent a double click back across the channel. Colleen grabbed a tray from the prepped group, and swept through the double doors, and then through to the outside, looking the part of another boring staff member - except, you know, the earpiece in her ear and the mic sitting against her throat. Fortunately, the second was hidden by the catering uniform, and the first was small enough to be easily missed. For several minutes, Colleen milled about with the tray, until it was empty. She passed it off to another member of the staff once she was back into the house, begging off to find the restroom. She was directed to a restroom for guest staff - and beside it, a door that led to a stairwell going up. Looking all the part like she’d just opened the wrong door, she slipped into the bathroom.::


Bancroft: /Okay, so… there’s a staircase back here. Aphelion, any luck finding blueprints for this place?/


(( Alcatraz Net Café ))


::Ji-hu had no luck whatsoever. As he kept an eye on Colleen making her way through the party, standing out no more than any of the other servers, he’d been searching through the net fruitlessly. Comm links to the Moreaus all went through their companies, they had no public listings as far as he could see.::


Choi: /Um… Shadow Leopard, I’ve got a plan, but I n-need a contact to Mr. Marcus Moreau, or his partner. A b-b-business card, a scribbled n-note, anything!/


Bancroft: /Moment.../


Choi: /Once I h-have that I promise I can get you in and out of the s-s-second floor fast./


::Ji-hu flicked through the security feeds. Marcus Jr., the Moreau’s son, was headed from the greenhouse into the house.::


Choi: /Damnit! T-target is inside./


(( Buena Vista Heights - Moreau Manor ))


::Colleen left the bathroom and returned to the service area. It took a couple minutes, but she finally found a small board that had contact information scribbled on it, hanging on a wall near a desk with a massive amount of paperwork on it. She took a quick picture of it with her PADD and sent it to Ji-hu before somebody got suspicious.::


::Crap. With the target inside, Colleen had a much, much higher chance of getting spotted by somebody she knew. She made herself scarce just in time for the [...] to barge into the prep area and start yelling at the wait staff.::


Bancroft: /Try the address I just sent you. Hopefully it’ll work, but no guarantees. German, continue standby for the distraction. I’ll need it to get upstairs, especially with the local security./


::Grace double clicked her mic once more.::


(( Alcatraz Net Café, Marina District, San Francisco - 239105.31 19:35 Hours ))


::Ji-hu flicked through the feeds nervously, glancing about. An administrator had popped onto the surveillance network, but there were multiple accounts logged on. He hoped one more didn’t look suspicious.::


::Finally Colleen responded.::


Choi: /Standby./


::Ji-hu had a comm link program on the computer standing by, routing his call through an anonymous number, as before. He waited anxiously as the line rang once, twice, three times, four.::


Moreau Sr.: /Moreau./


Choi: /Hello Mr. Moreau, this is… Carl... from the c-contractors./


Moreau Sr.: /Contractors? This really isn’t the best time./


Choi: /My apologies, Mr. Moreau, we’re just f-f-finallizing the plans for the upstairs bathroom r-renovations next week, but we n-n-need detailed blueprints to confirm everything with the… the plumbing specialist./


::Moreau Sr. swore.::


Moreau Sr.: /Did Phillip order this?! I swear he has that bathroom done every other year./


::Ji-hu stuttered a moment, thrown off by the man’s anger while simultaneously watching the Moreau patriarch on the security feed.::


Choi: /I… I… I understand, s-sir! My… g-g-girlfriend… Colleen, she’s had the kitchen redone three times in the past year?/


::Ji-hu physically slapped his forehead, but the man seemed distracted enough by the party around him to not noticed the fallacious statement.::


Moreau Sr.: /Again, I really must be going.../


Choi: /We’ll just need the blueprints b-b-before we leave tonight, or w-we’ll have to postpone.../


Moreau Sr.: /Fine. Where?/


Choi: /Oh! … Uh… Turing Renos Inc. ... /


::He created the fake company’s fake message address as quickly as his fingers could fly across the keyboard, spelling out the address as he came up with it. The message came through seconds after the receiver had been authenticated. Ji-hu thanked Moreau Sr. and collapsed backwards in his seat as he deleted the account he had created for the sole purpose of scamming the blueprints off the man..::


Choi: /Alright… I’ve g-g-got it.../


(( Buena Vista Heights - Moreau Manor ))


::Colleen had to work very hard not to snap at Ji-hu across the comm for accidentally leaving his end open as he called the address she had provided. But, since she was just waiting for the moment, she listened to his end of the conversation. When he invoked her name -- over the kitchen?! -- she had to spend several moments doing breathing exercises. The middle of an op was not the time to be losing her head. Once the call was over, it seemed Ji-hu was talking to them. She chose not to make it clear that she’d heard his end of the conversation, and instead simply thanked him for the blueprints. A few moments for review, and she found that the staircase back here wasn’t actually listed on the blueprints. Well, that was annoying.::


::She shrugged her shoulders and slipped into the stairwell anyway. Shedding her catering uniform and then her jeans and t-shirt, she checked her black clothes once over then headed upstairs. At the top, she found herself in a narrow passageway that twisted off into dim light. Shrugging, she walked slowly along one of the passages.::


Bancroft: /Shadow Leopard to Aphelion. Has the target gone back outside yet?/


Choi: /Affirmative. Target is in the b-backyard./


Bancroft: /Copy./


::Colleen continued to creep along the passageway until she reached a door. She listened at it for a few moments. Hearing nothing, she very slowly pressed the door open. She found herself in a bedroom. The door closed silently behind her, and when she glanced back at it, she found that it was covered by a painting, completely hidden.::


Bancroft: oO Huh. Secret passageways. Oo


::She quickly consulted her PADD. If she was right, she was in…. a bedroom. But it definitely looked like a guest bedroom. She sighed silently - there was no way she would have gotten the correct one the first time - and padded to the door. She opened it, slowly and just a hair, and listened. In the distance, she could hear the sounds of the party, but nothing closer. She opened the door a little further and looked out. The hallway was dark, and her movement didn’t trigger any lights. Thank goodness for manual switches.::


Bancroft: /Okay, if I’m lucky, I won’t need the distraction until I’m exfilling. Aphelion, party status?/


Choi: /They’re making toasts… so just d-don’t make any noise or t-turn on any lights./


::Colleen crept down the hallway to the left first. The only two rooms down there also turned out to be guest rooms, so she went the other way. The first room that way was a huge - almost cavernous master bedroom. None of the clutter that had been in the original pic the [...] had sent showed, so she moved on.::


::Three more rooms, and nothing. Finally, she found the room. It was cluttered to no end, and it looked like the floor didn’t even exist with the crap on it. Glancing around, she made her way to the bedside table first. A check of the drawers revealed nothing, and nothing was on top of it either. The pair of shelving units in the room revealed nothing either, so Colleen finally made her way to the desk. The top of the desk was covered in PADDs and other junk -- until there it was. The data chip with the assignment on it, plugged into a PADD just as it had been two days before when the picture was sent.::


Bancroft: oO Right. See if we can avoid this being linked back to us... Oo


::Colleen grabbed the PADD, disconnected the data chip, grabbed a few other PADDs at random, and then scattered the rest of the PADDs over the desk, randomly, but as quietly as possible. Once that was done, she headed back for the bedroom door - when everything went sideways.::


::The second Colleen stepped over the threshold to the doorway, an alarm started to blare. Colleen swore across the comm link.::


Bancroft: /German, distraction now please, a big one, now! Aphelion! What the hell just happened??/


Freeman: /Ten seconds./


Choi: /I… I don’t know! Standby!/


::Colleen ran down the hallway to the bedroom she’d come out of earlier, as the hallway lights snapped on above her and feet pounded on stairs. She closed the door, locked it, and then ran to the painting. It didn’t budge. She wasted a few moments searching for a switch, until she found it -- right in the nose of the subject of the painting.::


Bancroft: oO Why?!? Oo


::But the painting swung open, admitting her, just as somebody ran into the door, hard, causing it to shake in its frame. Colleen dived into the tunnel behind the painting, and it closed itself silently behind her. Less than two seconds after it closed, she heard the door on the other side break down. Not wanting to count on her pursuers not knowing about the tunnels, so she moved as fast as she quietly could back to the staircase, then went down it. At the bottom, she pulled on her outer clothes, then the uniform, as rapidly as she could. No sounds of pursuit, so she waited at the bottom of the steps.::


::Suddenly, there were shouts of alarm as a loud THUMP sounded from outside. After a quick three count, Colleen dove out the door of the stairwell, and ran for the back door. Her timing had been almost impeccable, as the other catering staff were running out that door as well.::


Bancroft: /Aphelion, status!/


(( Alcatraz Net Café ))


::The administrator, it had to be the administrator. Maybe Palladium’s systems were better than he had assumed. Ji-hu scrambled, trying to find something he could do, but he’d screwed up royally, letting the alarm get tripped like that.::


Choi: /I’ve g-g-g-got nothing! Standby!/


::He flipped through the security feeds, looking for something, anything. Then he saw it. He  double checked the name and contact information, configured the brute force attack, enacted the attack and then hit the comm line.::


Choi: /Both of you, comms off! Cover your ears!/


(( Buena Vista Heights - Moreau Manor ))


::In essence, all Ji-hu did was make a comm call to the DJ, but he simultaneously had a comm scrambler target the line and blast it with every audio file on the DJs connected console, which was in turn connected to the sound system in the backyard. The result, he had to imagine, was something like a Klingon opera meeting an Alba Ra concert meet a 20th century punk rock show at the absolute loudest volume the system could manage. Not deafening, but some people standing next to the speakers might lose a couple of decibels.::


::Colleen yanked her earpiece from ear and shoved it into a pocket in her day clothes. She made it into the alley right as there was terror from the front of the house. With a very slight grin, she covered her ears like everybody else - it was loud, even in the alley - and ran like hell for the exit.::


::A couple blocks away, Colleen lost the catering uniform, shoving it in a dumpster, and carefully reinserted her earpiece into her ear. It didn’t seem to be squealing, so she hoped she’d be okay.::


Bancroft: /Report./


Freeman: /Made it out just in time. I don’t think they saw my face when I dropped the fireworks, so hopefully we’re good there. Aphelion?/


Choi: /Taking care of things on my end./


Bancroft: /Alright, pack it in gang. Meet at the exfil point./


::Colleen slowed to a walk after a few more blocks, once she was significantly far enough away that the sirens were a good distance. The walk was a nice, summer one, and she relaxed, allowing the adrenaline to bleed off. After a couple minutes, Grace appeared beside her.::


Freeman: Hey you.


Bancroft: Hey you.


::Colleen and Grace intertwined their fingers as they walked, looking for all the world like a couple out for a Saturday stroll.::


((Alcatraz Net Café ))


Choi: Turing, play Alba Ra album, “Thrash.”


::A loud, whining almost-music began to emanate through the mostly empty café as Ji-hu whipped a hypospanner and ducked underneath the desk. He flipped the console’s tower around and had it open and dug inside for the old hard drive and other pieces he needed to replace. He had them out and replaced with pieces he’d replicated at a computer parts store earlier--he’d fry the old ones later. He finished and jumped back into his seat, booting up the console just as the owner of the café came around the corner.::


Owner: Hey! You can’t play music in here!


Choi: ::flushing:: S-s-s-sorry, my PADD got stuck on… I’m so b-b-bad with computers…


::He turned the music off and stood, throwing his backpack over his shoulder.::


Choi: I think there’s something wr-wrong with that terminal, I tried to r-restart it, but it’s acting really weird.


::The woman sighed and sat down, finding the wiped blank terminal in perfect working order, except none of the programs that were supposed to be on there were.::


Owner: You can grab another one while I figure this out.


::But when she looked up, Ji-hu had already disappeared out the storefront, into the darkening San Francisco night.::


(( Tram Station, downtown San Francisco ))


::Colleen sat on a bench, relaxing, Grace beside her, apparently engrossed in the latest gossip column on her PADD.::


::Ji-hu walked up to their rendezvous location, hood pulled up despite the warmth of the night, backpack slung over one shoulder, slouching, feeling suddenly conspicuous off the console. He gave a shy smile as he approached the couple.::


Choi: Hey Colleen… nice to m-meet you in person, Cadet Freeman.


Freeman: ::Not looking up from her PADD:: Choi. Take your hood off, you look like you’re doing something wrong.


Bancroft: Hey Ji-hu. Don’t mind her, she’s just annoyed that you called me your girlfriend.


::Ji-hu sat on the bench next to them, covering his face in his hands in horror, flushing a deep crimson.::


Bancroft: Don’t worry about it, just… use somebody else’s name next time we do this, yeah? You know, if we have to do it again.


Freeman: You covered your tracks?


Choi: Yeah, I’m g-g-gonna fry the contaminated components when I get b-back on campus.


::And then crush them into a million pieces and blow them off the Golden Gate into the Bay. He’d sworn he wouldn’t do this sort of thing once he was part of Starfleet... but he’d gotten so caught up in the moment, and he couldn’t have just let some awful Engineering cadet screw Colleen over. He’d grown fond of his unarmed combat tutor.::


Freeman: Good. Shall we get out of here then? It’s been a long day and I’d rather get back to campus before anybody realizes that a trio of smoke grenades are missing… again.


::Colleen grinned and stood up, gently pulling Grace to her feet, and then the three of them headed for the train together.::


Bancroft: That definitely could have gone worse.



A Joint Post By:


Lieutenant (JG) Choi Ji-hu

Engineering Officer

USS Constitution-B





(PNPC) Ensign Grace Freeman

Intelligence and Weapons Specialist

451st Squadron, Starfleet Rangers


(Simmed by)



Ensign Colleen Bancroft

Security and Tactical Officer

USS Gorkon


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