When the door chimed, Supervisor Traala looked up from her paperwork and said, “Enter.” Orndal, her lone security officer, entered her office. She stifled her annoyance at the interruption, but could not quite contain her irritation at Orndal’s manner. He was always a bit too enthusiastic about his job, making problems out of nothing.
Still, “security officer on a research installation” was probably not the most exciting task for a young Krenim looking to make his mark on the world. When he was assigned to the post, there was a lot more activity. But with the war over and resources depleted, security had been deprioritized and, one by one, the installation’s security staff had been transferred to other postings.
So, she could excuse a bit of jumping at shadows. After all, when all you have is a hyperspanner, every problem starts to look like a damaged relay. But she could not overly indulge him, lest an occasional annoyance turn into a frequent efficiency issue. She calculated her smile carefully: pleasant, even indulgent, but a bit tight around the mouth, with a touch of coldness around the eyes. A smile that was professional but businesslike. It said “get to the point, I’m very busy.”
“Have a seat, Orndal.”
“Thank you, sir.” He sat in the one other chair in her tiny cramped office.
“What can I do for you?”
“Two matters have come to my attention that I felt were important.”
“Very well, what is the first issue?”
“Well, sir, I have been monitoring outgoing communications, strictly for security purposes. But in the process, I have noticed an alarming trend.”
“Oh?” Traala tried to hide her indifference and mounting annoyance.
“Yes, well, it seems there is a growing faction who believes we should be using our temporal technology to advance the Krenim position.”
“You mean, interfere with the past?”
Traala considered for a moment. This was a far greater danger than Orndal knew. If this sentiment continued to spread and take hold, it was possible that this faction could send travelers back to manipulate the timeline. And she believed that the Krenim had had enough temporal manipulation. But it wouldn’t do to alarm Orndal - he would be forever checking under the beds for temporal infiltrators.
“Acknowledged,” Traala said, “What is the second issue?”
Orndal seemed a bit taken aback that Traala didn’t have more of a reaction. But after a moment, he continued, “Well, the other issue, sir, well… see, normally I think this would have gone to a counselor, but we don’t have one on the station. Anyway… we’ve been getting some complaints about Noye.”
Traala wasn’t entirely surprised. Noye’s work had become increasingly erratic. She had chalked it up to exhaustion. “What kind of complaints?”
“Well, he has become increasingly irritable, to the point of hostility.”
“Yes, I’ve noticed he’s been a bit more touchy lately. But that’s hardly a major threat.”
“Well, it’s been more than touchiness. He has yelled at colleagues and even threatened one with violence.”
Traala then started to get concerned. This was not like the Noye she knew at all.
“And then there’s the secrecy,” Orndal continued, “He encrypts everything and will only work on a private, secured terminal.”
“I think that seems prudent, given the sensitive nature of our work.”
“I couldn’t agree more. But replicator logs? Turbolift logs?” He asked rhetorically, “And he no longer shares his findings with the other researchers. He has locked them out of the temporally shielded datacore entirely.”
“Very well, I will speak to him. I just have a few things on my desk to get through.”
Orndal stood and said, “Acknowledged, sir.” He walked toward the door and paused.
“Something else?” Traala said.
“Sir, when you meet with him, be careful. If he does have malicious intentions, he could be capable of anything.”
Traala could not help but smirk a little, “I’ve known Noye a long time. He might be a bit of an ass sometimes, but I hardly think he’s a threat to my person.”
“All the same,” said Orndal.
Traala sighed, “All the same, I appreciate the concern. Dismissed.”
After Orndal left, Traala chuckled to herself a bit. “Typical paranoid Orndal”, she thought, “I wonder if I should have him see a counselor.”
Star Trek Online