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Defense Against the Dark (Journalism) Arts

Posted on Wed Aug 8th, 2018 @ 3:58am by Lieutenant M & Lieutenant Meilin Jiang

Mission: Preflight
Location: Mara's Quarters
Timeline: MD 43 01.15

Ever since that fateful day in Engineering when Meilin and Mara had hatched their scheme to use Stephen Spires' closed camera network against him, Meilin had kept a watchful eye on the comings and goings of his quarters. When the feed had inexplicably shut down a couple days ago, Meilin conducted a quiet investigation into 24 different locations. It confirmed that all of the micro-cameras had disintegrated.

Stephen Spires had many people visiting his quarters, mostly short visits in support of the respectable grapevine of gossip he'd managed to create in such a short time. That Mara was one of them was of great interest. There could be no coincidence.

Rather than make assumptions, Meilin opted to make inquiries. She awaited at the corner of the corridor outside Mara's quarters for her return.

Running her fingers through her slightly disheveled hair, Mara rounded the final corner before her quarters and came face to face with Meilin. “Hi,” she said, attempting to keep the annoyance out of her voice; after all, she wasn’t annoyed with Meilin. “What brings you out so late?”

"I'm looking into a Security matter," Meilin said, taking note of Mara's disheveled hair and wrinkled, askew clothing. "May we speak somewhere private?"

Mara didn’t know whether to grin or cringe, so she landed somewhere in the middle at a sheepish grimace. It must have been pretty obvious what she’s been up to, but she was not going to apologize for it; it had been a few hours’ diversion and she had thoroughly enjoyed it. “My quarters are just here,” she replied, indicating the nearest door.

Meilin walked uprightly through the doors and pivoted on her heels a scant 5 steps inside. "Stephen Spires' camera system went down. I wonder that you already knew."

“Yes,” replied Mara, shucking her jacket for the second time that evening. “He discovered our loop feed, decided they were useless and shut them down. I suspect he... had ulterior motives. But, at least they’re gone.”

"'Ulterior motives'?" Meilin questioned. She walked to one side of the room's interior and turned sharply back to Mara with a sidelong glance. "What were those?" She had hoped to use the man's illegal cameras to keep tabs on him. It was unacceptable that they were destroyed outside of her terms.

“Well, to get in my pants, to be frank,” Mara replied. “It’s difficult to say whether or not he succeeded.”

Meilin was more than skeptical. "You should know that I have maintained surveillance on Mr. Spires' quarters. While I don't ask that you reveal any incriminating or otherwise private information with me, I do ask for the sake of our professional relationship and friendship that you do not lie to me. It runs counter to wu wei."

“Sorry,” Mara replied sheepishly. “I didn’t mean to be cagey. Obviously, you know I was there and for quite some time. Don’t worry, I still can’t stand him and I’m certainly not going to help him spy on the ship or it’s crew. But, it was an interesting way to spend a few hours.”

As a generally asexual individual, Meilin could neither agree nor disagree. She merely stifled a chuckle. "I see. Have you considered that perhaps his spying has taken on a more... organic nature?"

Mara paused for half a second as she slid her boots off. “You mean like asking innocent sounding questions to gather information?” she asked. “I hadn’t. But, I don’t talk about work unless I’m working, so he’s not likely to get much from me.”

"What about inside your quarters?" Meilin asked. "Or perhaps he is listening to us now with a listening device planted on your... person."

Mara pursed her lips in thought. "Hm," she said thoughtfully. "No, I don't think so. It would have been pretty difficult to get a listening device on my person, and why would he want to listen in my quarters? I'm usually only here by myself." However, as she spoke, she crossed the room and picked up a tricorder on her desk and began scanning on silent mode. She half hoped she did find something; messing with him would be so much fun.

That Mara took up her tricorder made Meilin raise her brow with intrigue. "He's really gotten to you, hasn't he?"

Finishing her scans, Mara snapped the tricorder shut and shook her head. "The sex was good, that's all," she said flatly. "But, if there had been something here, I didn't want him to know that I knew. To be honest, I'm almost dissappointed; it would have been fun to feed him a bunch of nonsense and watch him try to publish it."

Meilin frowned. "He really got to you, didn't he?" She felt disappointed that she had lost an ally in monitoring one of her pet problems. "It's going to happen again, Mara. He has his claws in you. Once is an accident; twice is a repeat; thrice is a coincidence; four times is a pattern; five is truth." Her eyes held the pleading that she withheld from her taciturn face. "Do what you will, but I implore you not to succumb to him again."

“I’ll do my best,” replied Mara. “But don’t worry too much about it. I’m still interested in thwarting him at every turn. I mean, he didn’t even try asking for interviews nicely like any normal person would have. Crew bios would go over big in his line of work, but no! He had to go and put up cameras and act all shifty!” She shook her head. “He might be good in bed, but he’s a complete numskull.”

Inclining her head, Meilin replied, "Allow me to clarify that Stephen Spires is not my enemy that I would thwart him at every turn. He is performing the assignment given to him by his superiors, and for that reason, perhaps that reason alone, I respect his efforts as I would any worthy rival. What I cannot abide is disregard and abrogation of my own duties, which is to safeguard the lives and assets of Starfleet entrusted to my care. Privacy is an asset like any other, and I must protect it."

She smiled again at Mara, though it may have been tinged with disapproval. "That being said, I regret infringing upon your own private matters."

“It’s all right, I don’t mind,” Mara brushed off the apology. “But that’s what I meant by thwart him- as long as he continues to engage in illegal activities that threaten the safety of the crew, I’ll thwart him. Now, it’ll be asks for that interview, I’ll oblige as far as I can.” She grinned slightly.

Meilin rolled her eyes but couldn't resist a chuckle. "You can spare me the grisly details."

At first, Mara was confused, but then she grinned. “That wasn’t meant to be a euphemism,” she promised. “I meant an actual interview. With questions. And clothing.”

"I don't know what he's after, but I doubt interviews are what he's after." Meilin's face turned stony again. "I did some checking into his body of work. It consists of investigative exposés and political hit pieces. Whatever he's after, it's not going to be kind."

“Hm, and most of it lies, most likely,” Mara mused. “Such a slime ball. Well, he’s better not try that here. The Captain will have him thrown out an airlock and everyone will feign ignorance.”

Meilin smirked despite herself. "I cannot condone cold-blooded murder, but I appreciate your sentiments." She shuffled on her feet a bit, unsure of how to disengage. "Well, I feel I've taken up enough of your time. I'll leave you to your rest."

“Yeah, it’s altogether too late,” agreed Mara. “Or is it early by now? Either way, we could probably both use some sleep. I’ll keep an eye out for any bugs Spires may plant. Thanks for helping me think of it.”

The look of warning from Meilin showed that she remained unconvinced. "Good night, my friend."

"Goodnight," replied Mara. Something told her Meilin didn't believe her, but there was nothing she could do about that. For now, she was going to bed. Alpha shift came early.


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