The Right Tools for the Job

Posted on Mon Mar 9th, 2020 @ 7:47am by Lieutenant Ollie Dreax & Lieutenant Marcus Eriksson

Mission: Shore Leave: Federation Day
Location: DTI, Earth
Timeline: Before A Small Part in a Big Play

So this was it, the vaunted Department of Temporal Integrity. Ollie looked at the quaint English buildings that had been preserved over the years. So fitting, in a way, that they contained DTI. He felt nervous, not to be back in uniform - Starfleet - but he'd see what would happen later that day after his meeting with Admiral Danner. That was what had him nervous. Did he know? Ollie had been scoping out DTI for some time now, tracking down members, even illicitly interviewing some.

It wasn't every day that he'd been called in on orders quite like this, and that also came with a certain level of reasonable paranoia, or so he thought, even without his sneaking around. So, he'd come early. Very early. To scope out the place, get the sense of the people that worked here. Oh, he wouldn't violate any telepathic privacy laws, but for a mind like his the background whispers were quite illuminating. Plus he could use his eyes as well as the next man.

Ollie pushed his way into one of the outbuildings, a supplies requisition depot, marked for DTI Science. A bit cramped, old wooden walls nearly black with age a backdrop to stacks of equipment. None of it looked at all familiar, maybe one or two looked like some sort of scanner or probe. Some with sleek, chrome designs. Nice choice, really gave it that impressive feel. "Pretty cool," he said out loud to a young man about his size inside.

"You could say that." The young man replied, glancing up from the padd he was scrutinising. "Slightly intimidating too. There's tech here from various eras, and it all does slightly different stuff. I'm trying to work out what I need for my department, but... it's not organised by alphabetical name, or by why it does. As far as I can make out, it's some obscure Benzite filing system."

"Really?" The interest in Ollie's voice rose. That was actually rather fascinating. He moved further inside and started to inspect some of the less-sleek looking items, things that looked obviously old. "I'm not familiar with Benzite category systems, but I think I'd enjoy lending a hand anyways." He picked up an odd thing that was shaped like half a circle, all of metal, with some sort of slider and a little telescope. Strange. "What sort of mission are you up to? We'll figure out what can come in handy."

"I'm assigned to the Clepsydra, so we could be anywhere, any time." Marcus replied. "That means I need to find a range of stuff from different eras, things that can't be replicated for when we need to avoid leaving characteristic energy signatures, radiation, that kind of thing, and anything that might get left behind on a mission. It's mostly scanning equipment that I'm after, and well as computer interfaces. What I really need is a data interface cloak, they disguise our tech when we need to link with it."

The spy was familiar with data interface cloaks, but the ship he'd never heard of and he'd never given thought to the bit about replicating equipment on demand in other time periods presenting an issue. The equipment really wasn't what he was after anyway, not when another person on his list was here. Marcus Eriksson, DTI agent and scientist, according to his sources. As Ollie picked through some of the pieces of gear, not finding what the other man was looking for at first glance, he asked, "Do you have to do that often? Break into and hide your presence in computers in the past?"

"If records are incomplete, or something's changed in the timeline, it's often the most efficient way to do things." Marcus replied. "Take a look into a federation database, or someone else's, and find what we need. If we can avoid leaving fingerprints, it's got less potential to lead to altering the timeline than other methods."

"Makes sense," though he didn't sound like he approved much, "but how do you handle the risks? I don't mean about being caught, though that has to be pretty stressful. I do you know your actions aren't going to change things that were meant to be?" Ollie dug his hand into a box of clattering equipment and pulled out one particular piece. "This looks close to a modern cloak, but I haven't seem one quite like it before. What do you think? Will this do?"

Marcus took the device and activated it, scrolling through the settings. "Close, this'll provide a secure link, but it's based on a delta quadrant tech, and there's a chance that it could wipe certain databases." He paused for a moment. "The good news is we seem to be in the right area, try that section over there, I'll look here."

Ollie nodded slowly as he continued the search, but the non-answer concerned him. They must make some effort to protect things, this bunch couldn't be just gallivanting across time so cavalierly. Right? He needed to know more so badly, to but his worries at ease, and there was so little he could do to find out. It took some doing, but eventually between the two of them they were able to track down the right kind of data cloak. "How long have you been doing all of this? Or does that question even matter, with your line of work?"

"It's all relative, but I've only been aboard for a couple of months." Marcus replied. "I'd say it takes time to get used to, but I'm not there yet. It's like... you strip things down as far as you can, to the quantum physics and the observer effect says that even being in another time period is altering the timeline, so is our presence minimising damage or are we gonna make it worse? Arguably, every trip we make generates new alternate realities."

"That doesn't exactly put my mind at ease," Ollie muttered, shook his head slightly. "Ah...and what about this?" This time he lifted a piece more familiar in design to Federation technology, offered it over to the other young man. "Definitely want to make sure you limit any sort of big disruptions, I'm sure." It was delivered in a deadpan, but by his expression Ollie really hadn't liked hearing Eriksson's theories of alternate realities. "If this won't do I'm afraid you might need to go one looking solo - I've a meeting in a short while with Admiral Danner and I suspect he appreciates promptness." A sudden flash of a smile appeared on Ollie's face, switching from worried to amused at yet another reference to time.

"Thanks for your help." Marcus said a little non-commitally. The lieutenant had handed him a data uplink encryption device, which was useful and he'd take it with him, but it wasn't exactly what he needed. "I've got a couple more things on my list, so I'll be a while. But then time's relative, right?"

Engineering, definitely not Ollie's forte, but he beamed at the thanks as he handed it over. "Glad to! And...well, I guess it is now. Wonder how long it'll take though to get used to all this. Better start watching my tenses?" With a quirk of an eyebrow and another quick grin, he left Marcus to his work and headed off for his meeting.