Boarding Team Beta: Cyberwarefare | Part II-A
Posted on Wed Mar 28th, 2018 @ 12:46am by Lieutenant Caleb Garcia PhD
S01E02 D-8 With the Devil
Location: Boreth Klingon Shipyard | Programmer's Room
Ensign Arturo Marquez stood there, a look of concentration on his features. He stood over a console that stood directly in front a large cylindrical object that stood several decks above and below them. It had kind of amazed him that a Klingon computer core wasn’t unlike a Starfleet one or a Vulcan one or an Andorian or Tellarite one. How odd, indeed, he thought. They were in the computer control room; they were surrounded by various workstations, which he mostly worked out what station was what. Yet, he couldn’t tear his gaze away from the core, he could just feel the power it gave off. It made the various hairs on his neck and arms stand on in. There certainly was a lot of electromagnetic energy floating about.
“Ensign… Ensign Marquez?” Caleb called out; when he got no response he put his large hand in front of the Ensign’s face and snapped his fingers. That got the young man’s attention. “I know this is probably fascinating to you but we need to get a move on, time is ticking.” He knew Marquez’s type; he knew the young man was definitely fascinated by what he was seeing. He also knew that brilliant mind was comparing the core to other cores that the young man had seen or knew about.
“Um… yes, yes… you are right, I’m sorry,” Arturo mumbled, his gaze finally dropping down to the workstation control panel. The snap of fingers had pulled him from his reverie and placed him back into the present. He briefly looked to the tall engineer, who was pulling out a tricorder and starting to do scans. Lieutenant Garcia was in charge of getting as many detailed scans as possible, while he was tasked with pulling files. Apparently, I’m a hacker now as well, he mused, as he began to tap away at the workstation.
Caleb smiled. “There is no need to apologize, Ensign, I certainly understand,” he said. He did understand, as an engineer he understood, as a smart man himself, he understood. He of course where no where near the genius level that Marquez was at, but he knew a thing or two others did not. This was why he knew Marquez’s talents were being wasted at the helm as a navigator. Starfleet needed to utilize the young man much better then they were. But that wasn’t for him to decide, he just hoped Captain Figueroa realized how lucky she was to have Ensign Marquez on her starship.
“Their core runs almost exactly like how ours would run,” Caleb said. “Though, the processor is much larger.”
Arturo nodded. “That would make sense,” he said, he continued to nod in agreement. “They are running a station as opposed to a starship.” He continued to tap away at the console, trying to make heads or tails of what he was seeing. “I never understood something…”
“What is that, Ensign?” Caleb asked, his gaze darting between his tricorder readings and the core itself.
“Why do people think bigger is better?” Arturo asked. His dark brown eyes then went wide as he realized how his question sounded. He tried to talk, but the words jammed up in his throat. His cheeks grew hot as they colored a rosy color against his olive skin. “I mean the computer core, not your height, I mean you are tall but… aaaaand I’ll shut up now.”
Caleb started to chuckle. How could he not? “I know what you mean and what you are asking. Think back to when computers took up whole rooms of buildings. Think about how far we have come in just three centuries even. The human race, and apparently other races, have gotten to this point technologically rather quickly.” His gaze drifted upward, the core at least went three decks high, and dipped below the deck they were currently on. “Think about how big this station is, and think about all the information it holds. You can’t exactly have a processing unit be tiny when you have billions of calculations being handled every hour of every day.”
Arturo shrugged at that. “I don’t know about that, maybe we just think that in order to run all those calculations we need to build something big. What if that isn’t the case? I mean the Constitution-class is bigger than the Ares-class and the computer size and processing unit is only slightly bigger than our own. I mean what if the ship designers come up with a huge starship that is like six hundred meters long and like forty decks high? How will they handle that with the computer?”
“I doubt we will ever beable to come up with a ship that size, the Constitution-class was pushing it size wise to begin with,” Caleb said, shaking his head. He tapped a couple of commands into his tricorder and began another scan. “A starship that you are describing would be difficult to maintain, the power distribution would be a nightmare.” He almost shuddered at that thought, he was an engineer, a tinkerer, someone who was knee deep in starship design and he couldn’t even wrap his mind around it. “Can you imagine the warp core that thing would need, not to mention the EPS system it would need to employ.” He whistled softly at the thought of it, it made his head spin.
Once again Arturo shrugged at that. “Well, I know a thing or two about smallness with an even smaller processor,” he said, smiling a bit at his own observation. He looked to the engineer and tapped a finger against his temple.
“Did the shy, young, navigator just make a joke?” Caleb asked, a bit of astonishment in his tone. He finished up his final scan and moved back to where Marquez stood. He watched as the young man’s thin fingers did a dance over the workstation controls. “Have you found anything yet?” He knew that this would be a daunting task, but if anyone was up for it, it was the shorter man standing next to him.
Arturo smiled and then that smile fell into a thin line as his mind went back to the task at hand. “The Klingons are so bad at encryption, sooooo bad,” he said. “Not saying it was easy by any means, but for some reason they think that encryption means putting up walls and walls and walls in hopes to keep people like me out.” His gaze went upward to meet the gaze of the tall engineer. “I had to use several different algorithms, but they were all pretty standard though.” He shrugged as he looked back to the monitor. “The one good thing about alpha and numeric sequences is the alpha and numeric parts tend to be universal..”
“What’s the old saying, ‘Math is and always will be the universal language’?” Caleb said, though he wasn’t exactly sure that was correct. When he got a nod from the Ensign, he knew that the quote was at least somewhat right.
Arturo picked up his tricorder and began to enter in commands. “It will take a few moments to download the schematics,” he said, he set the device back down and watched it carefully. “Where you able to get information?” Though he asked, he did already know the answer.
“I did,” Caleb replied. “The computer core is fairly basic, duotronic, and its processor can do over a billion calculations per hour. It’s actually far more sophisticated then I would have given the Klingons for but it seems we are learning a lot about them today.”
Arturo’s brow furrowed at what the lieutenant just said. It almost sounded stereotypical and a bit racist, yet he couldn’t really say that with certainty. He didn’t know Lieutenant Garcia all that well, but he knew most people’s thoughts on the Klingons were chilly at best. However, if he was honest with himself, he thought the Klingons tech was a lot less sophisticated than what they had actually run into. He made the assumption that Klingons were more concerned about victory, about having the biggest and bestest when it comes to ships and firepower. Yet, he found sophisticated plans drawn up by engineers, propulsion specialists, energy specialists, and scientists. Who knew the Klingons even had those types of specialists.
“I suppose we should never underestimate anyone in this universe, especially those in our backyard,” Arturo said, his tone soft and contemplative. “Case in point, the Klingon language is tough, but so is English… after all, English isn’t my first language, so I had to learn it. Just like I had to learn the Klingon. Formulas for me are much easier to figure out and negotiate. E Equals EMCEE Squared is the same in any language. When deciphering the Klingon encryption, it was sequential; they just changed one number and letter to switch it up. Like I said, the annoying part was all the encryption walls they put up, there were thirty of them before I could even remotely get into the file that contained schematics.” He shook his head in amusement. “They named the file ‘D-8 Schematics’…”
Caleb had to admit that was amusing. “I suppose they never thought anyone would be patient enough to go through thirty walls of encryption,” he said. He placed a large hand on Marquez’s shoulder and squeezed gently. He didn’t know the young Ensign all that well, but he knew he was standing next to someone remarkable. “And you were able to gather other information?”
Arturo nodded. The tricorder beeped letting the two know that the device had finished uploading the information that he wanted to take with him. “I also found documents for weapons, shields, and sensor upgrades and some information on a High Command and ‘pesky factions’ that seem to be forming Something about a man with the house name of Duras. Then there was also something about a stealth technology…” he shrugged, “though some of that was in a language I didn’t recognize.”
Caleb flinched in surprise at what Marquez revealed. “Stealth technology? That sounds like it could be dangerous,” he said. There was information on this stealth technology somewhere, but he couldn’t recall where he had heard it. That was something to definitely include in a report, hopefully it would jog his memory. However, this would nag at him.
“I’m not sure, like I said some of it was in a language I didn’t recognize. It looked vaguely like Vulcan, but yet there were subtle differences.” Again, Arturo shrugged, he wasn’t sure if this was a big deal or not. Stealth technology was something Earth’s military had employed for hundreds of years. Magicians would call it a slight of hand; Generals would call it the upper hand. “I suppose we just add it to the report and go from there. It didn’t look like the Klingons were going to do anything with it, it was buried in other files such as ‘waste extraction’ and ‘deuterium fuel by product’.” He picked up his tricorder, placed a real encryption code to encrypt the info he gather and then holstered the device.
“All we can do is explain to the Captain what you have found,” Caleb said, he looked around and decided it was time to leave. “I think we have what we need, let’s get going,” he said. Once he turned on his heel, he stepped aside to allow Ensign Marquez to walk in front of him. Crewman Strong was already waiting for them, his only goal at this point was to get Ensign Marquez back to safety because the young Ensign was worth protecting and absolutely vital to their success.
In a way, Arturo could stay in the computer room all day and just look at every workstation and gather gigaquads worth of information and still never scratch the service. They had a unique opportunity here, but unfortunately they only had one objection and that was to get the schematics. He, on the other hand, couldn’t settle for that, and gathered a heck of a lot more. Nevertheless, he felt like he was violating the Klingons in a way that could obviously get them killed. He didn’t want to get killed; in fact he was a firm believer in keeping his alive status intact. “You don’t have to tell me twice,” Arturo said, and moved past Lieutenant Garcia to meet up with Crewman Strong.