Shiny New Toys
Location: Security Office, Armory & Brig
Cassandra walked through the anti-room of the Security Office and saw Aice waving holographic images of, what appeared to be the backside of personnel schedules, around his desk space. If she hadn't seen the transparent images hovering above the surface of his desk she would have thought he was swatting away flies.
"Is that really better than using a directional pad and a monitor?" Cassandra asked him.
"It takes some getting used to," the CPO replied.
"Looks like a neck cramp waiting to happen," Cassandra chuckled. "Has Shack been in yet?"
"Not yet," Aice said as he swiped another image off to one side so he was now juggling four images at a time.
Cassandra tapped her combadge. "Quinn to Byrnes. What's your 20?" she asked as she walked into her office and plopped in her chair.
Byrnes, hearing the query on the combadge, tapped it as he was walking down a corridor. "Right around the corner from the offices, Chief. Be right in." He tapped it closed, and within moments came through the main doors. Glancing around he saw Aice with the holograms, liking what he saw since he had always wanted to advance the computer systems in Starfleet to include such technology. His eyes caught Quinn in her office, through her small observation window and headed that way, knocking on the doorjam just before stepping inside. "Afternoon, Commander. Being the department head for all department heads got you running ragged?" He asked, the quip in his voice obvious.
"Afternoon?" Cassandra looked at the time display on the wall. "I don't know which quadrant you're in but in this one it's morning." She laughed. "I don't run ragged," she answered his question. "That's what I have people like you for," she said, with a sly wink. "We are supposed to check out the upgrades today and make sure any glitches are fixed before we set sail to whereabouts unknown. I thought we would start with the systems at points of entry since they will probably be the first used with people coming back from shoreleave."
"I'll grant you that," replied Shack. "It's also in mind to do a thorough check of all internal sensor nodes, to make sure that they are functioning normally. It falls on Security to monitor those, and they do tie in with what you have in mind. I say two-person teams to check out the entries, and to scan the nodes for any mishaps." His sense of humor subsided a bit since this was business. "Anything found they can send to me and I'll get work teams on it from Engineering."
"I'll let you take care of that once our little tour is through," Cassandra said, getting to her feet and heading through the door. "On the move, Aice. Don't have too much fun," she joked as she strutted across the outer office.
The Chief Petty Officer simply grimaced at his boss.
A few minutes later Cassandra and Shack walked up to the first transporter room and Cassandra informed the Transporter Operator they wanted to check out the ID system then stepped aside to allow Shack the honors.
Shack took out his tricorder, scanning the transporter cubicle. "Not much for change. Weapons scanners, bio scanners for biological threats..." His voice dropped off as he continued to scan. "Hmm," came out as he got near the transporter console. "Seems we have the same old retinal ID scanner, not much to improve there. But, they added a DNA scanner. Nice. All one has to do is breathe on the scanner, or lick a finger and touch it. The scanner detects enzymatic reactions. In death those enzymes drop off dramatically within minutes, so even a fresh corpse would be seen as not alive, which would send out red flags and lock out our primary systems from external incursions."
"What do you mean...Same old retinal scan?" Cassandra frowned. "It's supposed to be an entirely new system." She looked at the TO who simply shrugged as there hasn't been an opportunity to use it since he came on duty.
"Well," said Byrnes. "It is far better and more advanced than before, don't get me wrong. Less foolproof for the retinal scan, and now backed by this little baby. I'd say that Security for arrivals has increased substantially." He put his tricorder closer to the retina scanner, intensifying his own scans. "Ahh, there's the rub. It seems the retina scanner also detects blood flow in the eyeball, and moisture based on previous scans of the owner. It can determine a dead eye from a live one. I'm impressed, research and development actually one-upped themselves."
Cassandra looked at the TO and waggled her thumb towards Shack. "He likes shiny new things," she said with a chuckle. "When he gets cranky we roll a shiny ball around and he chases it. It makes him happy," she winked. "Come, Shack. We have more new toys to explore." With that she headed out of the transporter room and headed for the Armory.
Byrnes went stoic when all that was said, spinning and following without a word.
Upon approaching the armory, the first thing Cassandra noticed was the door was open. That was a huge no-no. The door was always to remain closed and locked until the proper entry code was given. Hairs on the back of her neck stood up and her hand, instinctively, went to her side arm.
Shack, rounding the bend, saw the open door as well. Having no sidearm on his person, he moved along the opposite wall and bulkhead from his Chief, to be a distraction if nothing else.
Cassandra stood against the wall at the edge of the door jam and peeked in. A security officer stood at the centralized station in the room where he had control of all of the weapons' lockers. He seemed calm as he went about his morning check list. So Cassandra moved to step through the doorway, ready to pull her sidearm at the first sign of threat. She was met by an invisible gel-like force field, that rippled when she was a few millimeters away. She froze.
"The new force field system," stated Byrnes as he approached and stood beside her. "Plasma based, and will surround the intended target and then coagulate to entrap and slow down. Pretty ingenious, really."
Cassandra took a step backward and looked at the rippling substance. The thought of having stepped into that stuff and be encased in it gave her the willies and she shuddered. "Yeah. Ingenious," she muttered. "Could warn someone," she grumbled. As she reached for the entry pad on the wall next to the force field she glanced at Shack and, for the first time since he walked into the office, she noticed he wasn't armed. "You're not heeled...I mean carrying," she said, correcting herself and realizing she had been spending way too much time in her Old West Holoprogram. "Why are you out of uniform?" she asked as she placed her hand on the entry pad. "Entry Code Quinn 53 Delta Zulu," and the shimmering force field deactivated.
Shack looked over. "I go heels when needed. Being at a Starbase, with minimal crew aboard for the refit, and clambering through Jeffries tubes, they get in the way at times. How soon you forget, Chief." Stepping over to a standard wall panel, putting his thumb to a corner of it, the panel flipped around to reveal a cache of two pistols and two rifles, two tricorders, and a pair of hand communicators. "These babies are all over the ship. Can only be accessed by department heads and Security personnel, to be divvied out during boarding actions." He hit the key and the panel flipped back around to conceal itself once more.
Cassandra pointed to the ensign at the control center...who was armed. "It's still part of the uniform on the Eclipse. All Security Officers wear a sidearm," she said. "And being the ACoS you need to set an example. Consider this a free warning. Please don't make me make it official," she said, quietly so the ensign couldn't hear. She moved over to the control center and looked around at all of the new state of the art weapons' lockers. "So ensign...did they explain the new system to you?" she asked.
"They did, Commander," the ensign said. "It's impressive. Only the control officer can open a locker and unlock a weapon. And only after the person checking out the weapon is identified through our new retinal scan and provides a reason for checking the weapon out. And the number of reasons have been reduced to training purposes, proficiency tests, Away Team assignment and maintenance or repair. Only security officers are permanently assigned sidearms."
"So if I wanted to come in and check out a phase rifle for target practice...?" Cassandra asked.
"You would have to show proof of an upcoming PT," the ensign said.
Byrnes stepped in, going around the console and looking both the man and the station up and down. "Keep in mind, Ensign, that a Founder can easily take the form of anyone aboard, and the retina scan would be useless at that point. The DNA breathalizer would then be paramount. And, Founders are tough to kill, as has been proven many times in the past."
"Aye, Sir," the ensign said.
There was a far heavier door behind the Ensign, tough to see with the dim lighting in the back of the compartment. One could tell the bulkheads for the compartment beyond it were also reinforced. Deck 36 held the armory, but beyond that door was the locker for the personal explosives and access to the torpedo room. Shack leaned in for the dual scans, being identified by the computer, before he stood and went to a shelf of phase pistols. "Mark it down, Ensign. Lieutenant Byrnes taking one phase pistol with equipment belt and tactical holster, and one extra power pack."
Cassandra smirked. "Alrighty then. Strap that puppy on and let's go visit the Brig," she said and headed for the door.
Strapping the belt on and buckling down the thigh restraint, Byrnes holstered the phase pistol and put the power pack on it at the lower back. His tricorder and palm PADD were added to the belt, then he followed.
A few minutes later they walked down the unoccupied corridor that led to the Brig. As they approached Cassandra noticed this, too, had a new door. It was no longer the usual steel plated sliding panel. Now it consisted of ten vertical chrome bars...4" in diameter...spaced 3" apart with plasma gel in between.
"Damn, Sam," Cassandra said as she stepped in front of the bars. Entry Code Quinn..." she started to say then noticed one of the three brig officers waving to her and pointing to the right side of the doors. She looked over and saw a scanning device that looked like a stationary version of the handheld ID devices in the transporter room and armory. She stepped over and leaned in. A few seconds later the small monitor above the panel displayed her ID and picture and the doors separated and slid to the sides, allowing Cassandra and Shack to enter the Brig.
Shack did the same, being identified and allowed access. He noted the secondary reinforced duranium alloy door that would slam shut if main power went offline. It would close and lock, able to be hand cranked open from the inside only.
Within the brig was a well lit compartment with three large cells that could accommodate four residents each. The walls were plasteel white, and there was shiny chrome alloy access panels all around. In the center of the room, back toward the computer core bulkhead was the main station, a circular set of consoles one could access by simply stepping between them. An officer or petty officer could face any direction and still be able to use the panels. Very impressive he thought. The main Security station had been done up in black plasteel and alloys, with holographic emitters to add even more screens if needed. It was designed to stand out, to let prisoners and guests know who was in charge when in this chamber.
"Good morning Petty Officer," Cassandra said to the nearest brig officer. "Tell me about our new Brig."
"Each cell is individually climate controlled. With four retactile acrylic platforms and gel mattresses, a centralized table and benches, a head and a sonic shower," the young Petty Officer said. You could tell she was nervous by the way she seemed to be reciting the manual on the systems that had been issued every officer assigned to Brig duty. "Once the force field is activated...the force field only allows access through it from the outside so meals and such can be passed through to the prisoner."
Cassandra walked over to one of the cells and said, over her shoulder, "activate field, please." Once the shimmering plasma appeared, she held up her hand...palm side towards the force field...and, slowly, moved it towards the field. When her hand was almost touching the plasma, an opening appeared at the level of her hand and expanded to the size of her hand and she was able to put her hand through the force field without incident. She pulled her hand out and the hole closed as if it was never there. "Sweet," she said and motioned for the force field to be deactivated as she turned to walk back to the control center.
Byrnes stepped in, sliding a circular mechanical device over across the field. "These are for more secure openings. Individual moments so that if a glitch happens in the field displacement, these will only open for the person who touched it. Redundancy saves lives and prevents incidents."
Commander Quinn gave a nod of acknowledgement before ending the tour and leaving to conduct her other duties. Shack watched her go, then looked to the three Security officers in the brig compartment as he slid the access device back up into a corner. "Okay, back to it. Old ironsides is gone now, you can take a breath." The chuckles went around the room, but Byrnes knew they respected their section head. The humor was to break the ice and get them relaxed again. "I'll be in engineering if you need me." He left the Brig area.
Commander Cassandra Quinn
XO/Chief Security Officer
Lieutenant Sean "Shack" Byrnes
Asst. CoS/Asst. CEO