Down The Rabbit Hole - Part 1
Mission 1: Unscheduled Madness
Location: Eilaea and Vriha's Quarters
Eilaea had been thoroughly unsurprised to discover that whomever was stalking them had managed to once again infiltrate their quarters. They were clearly skilled, and possessing of appropriate technology; once again they showed up as nothing more than a minor disruption on her equipment. She considered the possibility of setting rather more lethal traps for them, but was reasonably certain the Federation would take a dim view of it, which considering the Empire's vulnerable position on the galactic stage at the moment could have repercussions even beyond any to herself.
Given the ship's current vulnerable position, for that matter, she took a moment to reconsider her previous hypothesis that the Federation's analogue to the Tal Shiar, Section 31, was likely responsible for the attempts against them. It was perhaps just as likely the Tal Shiar themselves were responsible for perhaps trapping the Orion overall, and she and Vriha were merely collateral damage in that attempt. Or even that they were caught between a standoff between the Tal Shiar and Section 31, both of whom might have agents aboard.
She grimaced slightly at the possibility and started resetting the various security measures she had augmented their quarters with, considering that it was likely time to place further surveillance on other areas of the ship as well, since her quarry had been so skilled at slipping past more immediate defenses. She came to the conclusion with a fair amount of reluctance; the Federation was likely to take a dim view of that sort of thing as well, but it was a better gamble than waiting for their opponent to get tired of being thwarted and decide to simply eliminate the pair of them.
"I believe I have workable solution," Vriha offered. She had a fair idea after all of the considerations weighing on her companion. "I can install a DNA recognition protocol on equipment so that anyone but one o us will receive an electrical shock, sub-lethal but sufficient to cause an extended period of unconsciousness. I should be able to install something on the door that applies the countermeasure only after the door closes, and in the absence of a nullifying command from one of us."
"Make certain it is keyed specifically to us; not simply to any of our kind." There was a long pause in which she debated whether to voice aloud her suspicions, but in the end she left it unsaid; only a small child or an idiot could fail to discern the reasoning behind the statement.
"For other tampering or searching, I can do what I have already put in place in the labs: a thin film of chemicals and mildly radioactive isotopes that will mark anyone who enters. I've already begun random scans of potential interlopers." She held up what appeared to be a very small antiquated medscanner - roughly the size of a salt shaker and easily concealed in a palm or pocket. "These are remarkably easy to fabricate with common and unrestricted components."
"Perfect." Eilaea was unfortunately all too aware that there were certain measures she preferred to employ that would be rather less able to be fabricated from local components. "Federation ships may be capable of tracking our positions via internal sensors, however; make sure to take appropriate measures to mask yourself from them if possible."
"Of course," Vriha replied as if this went without saying. Pausing a moment, she looked around their quarters. The idea that it had been infiltrated twice now was chilling, all the moreso because she didn't know whether to suspect an agent embedded among the crew or a hidden Tal Shiar. "I could also place a humanoid-specific poison in the air ducts and other potential points of access. It would stop most Federation agents, and if it released but did not stop the intruder, that would at least be valuable information."
"Do it. I would suggest something with reasonably distinctive symptoms or effects...But given the number of species aboard this ship that may prove difficult. Not to mention if the selection is something we are immune to, it is likely any Vulcans aboard are as well.
"Indeed," Vriha agreed. "Though, as I said, the lack of harm would at least provide data to narrow the search. As to the other considerations... I could target the majority of species here. It is really amazing how easily one can obtain the necessary elements without even the most rudimentary authorization." She shook her head, still not quite believing such things were overlooked by Starfleet security. "On a warbird it would weeks to obtain the ingredients and even then I might have to hack a replicator or quietly distill them under cover of an experiment."
“Unfortunately those same permissive conditions will undoubtedly continue to provide cover and assistance to our opponent as well, regardless of their identity or affiliation.”
"Ah, but if they're on the Federation side they won't be expecting to be monitored." Vriha grinned. "With a little help from a ops officer, I can place a few 'efficiency monitoring' tracking subprograms in all the relevant systems..."