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What else can go wrong?

Posted on Wednesday July 15th, 2020 @ 10:20pm by Lieutenant JG Peter Wilson & Ensign Jocelyn Zemke
Edited on on Monday July 20th, 2020 @ 11:39am

Mission: Let The Good Times Roll
Location: Deck. - Primary Computer Core
Timeline: Day 13 at 0805

This was not quite how he planned the rest of his evening would go. After a meal and a drink or two with the Councilor, he planned to pass out asleep and take a late shift the following day. Instead, there was another Gravity failure just as he made desert, which was a disaster as well when the replicator changed the sugar dust on the top of the cobbler to salt. What was going on? He had made his way back to engineering and reviewed the data and confirmed the block Ensign Zemke had put in place was still there. The list of things going wrong was increasing that he was aware of and he didn't have a rhyme or reason.

=/\= Wilson to Zemke. Could you please meet me at the main Computer Core. I invented zero-g dinning last night by accident and the replicator went haywire at the same time. Could you help me troubleshoot this or at least install that safeword you talked about?=/\=

She glanced at the chronometer, hidden beneath her left sleeve. Alpha shift had officially begun. The moment inaugurated by a brief welcome by the CO. She was now a member of the senior staff, and the burden of responsibility spared no time in asserting it's authority.

=/\=Zero grav dining, Lieutenant?=/\= Her voice full of curiosity and wonder, still bewildered by the her new assignment. =/\=I can't wait to see what the computer has in store for me.=/\= Her voice reflecting the sarcasm she fully intended. =/\=I'll get over there right away...but I am gonna need to stop by a replicator on the way. It looks like I'll be pulling back to back shifts, would you like anything?=/\=

=/\=Black coffee would be great. But double check the orders. Last night it replaced the sugar sprinkle on my cobbler with salt and baking soda.=/\=

=/\=Will do Lieutenant. See you soon.=/\=

Jocelyn made a direct path for the observation lounge. It was the nearest replicator location that wouldn’t take her farther out of the way than necessary. She crept slowly past the officer at Tactical and tapped an engineer. “Is it empty?” she asked pointing at the lounge doors. The officer simply nodded with a grin, obviously familiar with the need for a quickly replicated beverage on duty.

Jocelyn slid in quickly, “One black coffee, hot. One Hazelnut Cream Coffee, Hot. Both in thermoses.” The requested orders materialized and Jocelyn secured them both in her left arm. She stepped back out onto the bridge nodding to the engineer as she swung around for the turbolift. Inside the life, she leaned back against the metallic frame, “Deck five, Main Computer Access.”

The lift doors opened on Deck 5. The corridors were sparce, access only granted to those with specified clearance. The doors to the computer mainframe were locked and Jocelyn spoke the magic words, “Zemke, Alpha Zero-three-four, Charlie Bravo nine.” The doors opened, Lieutenant Wilson already working at one of the computer access stations.

“Hot Black Coffee,” Jocelyn stated. She placed the thermos on the station. “Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of these mysteries.”

"Thanks." He said accepting the coffee and began to open it, smelling it first. "Smells like coffee, so that's a good sign." He said and started to pour himself a cup. "So, zero-g showering and now dining, the replicator went wild on me and did I see a report that you fixed a burnout on waste disposal 1 this morning"

"I'm glad you checked," Jocelyn halted, remember that she was supposed to check and ensure that coffee had actually made it into the thermos. She grimaced, hand pressed against her forehead. "I just rushed right over." She turned to face the Lieutenant, a slight grin of embarrassment hung on her lips. "So...yea,"she began, moving right past the oversight. "A lots been happening, including that waste disposal chip. It overheated and shorted out. The reports this morning indicated several changed sub-routines and added ones that served no practical functions....just miscellaneous coding creating stress on the system." She placed the PADD on the console service sliding it over to him.

Peter scrolled through the data on the PADD. "This shouldn't happen." He said reading lines again. "All of these issues are related to life support and the computer is supposed to not allow any adjustments to anything impacting those systems without alerting myself, the XO or CO and yet here it is. A crew had already done maintenance on that unit and everything was clear." He out the PADD down and looked over at Jocelyn. "These should also be isolated systems. Any idea how the waste disposal, gravity and replicator fit together?"

Jocelyn went silent, as she always did when thinking. "Well," she began after several seconds of careful consideration, "we have found a common denominator: life support." She paused once again, pressing closed palms, as if she was in prayer, to her lips. She bounced them there, hoping to jog some insight. "The fail-safe protocols have been bypassed, and lesser systems are impacted." Her hands dropped to her waist, "if this is Trojan-ware, everything we are noticing kind of makes sense. The computer may not even recognize something is wrong."

Peter nodded for her to continue. He was tracking her thought pattern.

"Imagine trojan-ware is inserted in a system that links with both primary and secondary systems." She opens her thermos, pouring coffee into the lid. "To the computer, it would appear like code inserted by one of us." She cradles the cup in both hands taking a sip of steaming coffee, "The software then begins poking and prodding, investigating systems that don't arouse suspicion. Essentially mapping out our programming, priorities, and programming." She looked at the engineer with concern in her eyes. She was biting her lower right lip as anxiety flooded her system.

Peter thought for a long moment. That was a possibility, a strong possibility. Random issues that were affected only long enough to cause disruption but not long enough to cause an alert status. Assuming she was right, which he was confident she knew what she was talking about, how could this had been installed? He was about to say something then a thought crossed his mind.

"I'm pulling up the MARS system files. Is there a way you can run a scan on everything related to the MARS system for this Trojan but do it like a ghost so it wouldn't know your looking for it?"

"Thankfully, it's probably not looking for us," she replied. An inquisitive Vulcan-like brow arched above her left eye as she stroked her chin. "However, there is no way I can prevent it from sending feedback on our activities; so if someone's watching..." She looked up at the ceiling, hoping that this thing or person had not yet tapped into any of the video systems. She tapped the console wither her knuckles and focused her attention back to Peter. "But if we can clone the Ulysses's current programming as a read only file, I can have our independent system compare the coding against dry-dock specs and official updates."

Jocelyn was excited tamely bounding on the balls of her heels. She pointed both index fingers at Peter, directing the focus of her thoughts into a solidly conclusive action. "Our teams will then have to identify any coding, software, applications, and programs which were manually input into the computer, from the unidentified remnants." She clasped her hands together, "but that should allow us to target the specific file and coding impacting ship systems."

Peter thought a moment. "That sounds like a plan. Only small hang-up is that teams will be team us. If this is a Trojan, that means it was planted or uploaded. With all the cloak and dagger stuff that has been going on, I'm afraid to bring anyone else onboard with looking this up. Especially if..." He trailed off and looked at the computer core and then back to Jocelyn, "it is compromised. Until we know the extent, for all we know whoever uploaded it could be on ship. They would also have the capability and would logically be someone we would tap to get on our team. I would say, let's be quiet as the grave until we know what's going on."

Peter let the words hang for a moment, then his expression changed. "Thinking if quiet as the grave, are you going to that movie tonight the XO is doing? Something about ghost fighting?"

Jocelyn nodded affirmatively, "of course." She was still distracted by the thought of sabotage onboard a Federation Starship. "Will you be going," she asked. She briefly peered at the Lieutenant, absorbed in his work. She, herself, calling up the necessary procedures to create an imaged clone of the current computer's systems and coding. It was standard procedure before any major update, likely something that wouldn't be noticed; at least she hoped.

Peter keyed a few more codes and started pulling up the master source codes. Everything to this point would be natural for him and his constant tinkering with the experimental system. He moved through each of the major function codes to make sure Jocelyn had the chance to copy down or scan through them before he moved on to the next. "I was thinking about it. A film 400 years old would not be my first choice, but I did give the Commander head trauma, so I figure I should probably be going and show support. The flyer said fancy dress so figure I'll try to be appropriate for it. Never know, could be fun."

"Lets just hope we don't lose gravity mid-film." Jocelyn shuddered at the thought, a shiver sprawling down her spine. She briefly imagined several of Starfleet's finest floating around the Wandering Traveler with an ancient Earth Film running in the background. She pushed the images from her mind, returning to the task at hand "Well, I will get these going. Send me anything else we might need to compare, and I will see you tonight."

"The way the last 36 hours have gone, I wouldn't put it past the ship, but hopefully it won't. Last thing I would need is the Doctor to start floating. I'll keep you posted if I see anything strange come up or anything else happens. Otherwise I'll see you tonight." Peter said as he continued to tap around systems and run basic checks on no related systems to keep anyone from pinning down what he might be looking for.

 

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