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Building Covers

Posted on Mon Mar 23rd, 2020 @ 8:50pm by Colonel Horatio Refelian & Commander Salvia Carro & Lieutenant John Collins

Mission: Prelude: Getting The Team Together
Location: Colonel's Office, Deck 13
Timeline: MD08 - 1145

Finally, it was done. John Collins stepped out of the secure comms area, triggering the doors to lock behind him, with relief.

Building covers was an essential part of covert and clandestine work, but the actual process was a lot of long and exhausting work, including negotiations between the intel officer responsible for the covers in the field (in this case, him) and the team back on Earth who actually did a lot of the legwork to establish the backstories as something like facts.

Right now, he had one job. Present the Team's CO and XO with the options for their covers, then get his first non-rushed, non-secluded meal in a few days.

So he stopped by the Colonel's office, pressing the chime in silence.

Harry was just going through the team’s duty roster while they were on the station. Although it would be classed as downtime while they were there, things still had to be maintained and supplies needed to be ordered. Everyone would share the responsibility to keep the team’s equipment working well.

“Come.” Harry said as he paused his conversation.

Collins stepped in, then let the door close before speaking. "Finally finished building the team's individual covers, sir. Wanted to run them by the two of you before I spoke to anyone else on the team."

Sal reached up and rubbed a spot on the side of her head, a nagging pain that told her she hadn't been drinking enough water that day and too much coffee. She moved to let Collins have the chair.

John sat with a nod to the Commander. "OK, you'll be working for a company known as Paladin Security. They're headquartered out of Armstrong City on Luna, and are a real, legit private security company that works on both sides of the UFP-Romulan border. What the Romulans don't realize is that this ten year old company is run by an executive team who are, shall we say, active reservists in Starfleet Intelligence. Most of their work is entirely legit and aboveboard, but we use them to launder money, occasionally to provide covers like this, and generally advance Federation interests in a way that doesn't leave as many, or any, fingerprints." He handed a PADD to each officer. "On each PADD, locked to your retinal scan and thumbprint, is a background dossier for the company and a background dossier for your cover identity. Colonel, your cover identity is as a junior executive who's been promoted to the executive ranks of the company from the rank and file - this is your first time handling substantial corporate assets. Commander, you're his second in command - nominally you're responsible to the corporation for watching the money, but you both handle business development and negotiations. The team is nominally a corporate security detachment responsible for bodyguard duties, high-value convoy escort. occasional site security reinforcement, and oversight of security contracts along the border as directed by HQ on Luna."

Pause, and then a look of distaste. "My cover is as the team's lawyer, in case you're wondering." If his dad knew, he'd about die laughing, he didn't say.

“Seems plausible, what about the rest of the team? Will we be able to move as an 8 man team without turning heads?” He asked as he looked through the contents of the PADD he’d been given detailing his background and job description.

"Yes. They're covered as subject matter experts in various aspects of security operations or, in the case of our demo expert, as a mining engineer contracted by Paladin to review the safety of mining operations they're contracted to secure."

"We sound like total snobs," Sal said. "And our objective? That was what she really wanted to know." She sat herself on the corner of the Colonel's desk without asking, her attention completely on Collins.

“We don’t have one yet, Commander. This is all ground work for it and when it’s needed. I get a feeling it’ll be needed sooner rather than later.” Harry commented.

"Hmm," Sal replied, settling herself back into the spot she'd made.

"To be precise, Colonel, Commander? You'll note we say nothing about personality in your cover packages. You work out the personalities and relationships of your cover identities with me here, now, as I do the same with you relative to my cover, and then I fill in HQ on our choices so they can draw up anything needed to solidify it," Collins noted. "The idea is that once we board our transport of choice here, we live our cover to the maximum extent possible, so the ideal of Intel HQ is that we tweak our packages until they fit like a second skin, in a figurative sense. Before you ask, yes there are limits on how much tweaking can be done, but the folks on Covers Staff are pretty good about backing us up. My rule on money, in particular, is very simple: In every case, your cover needs to live within its means and according to the lifestyle expected of their position, unless Covers Staff tells me explicitly to tell you otherwise to back up the cover."

There, he paused. "Which is precisely why I am pleased to say that you're both apparently making very good money. Paladin actually does pay above market rate for people, but they expect results and are quick to separate those who don't carry their share of the load. To wit, I don't think there's a cover we've built yet for this team where Paladin doesn't pay at least 80 thousand credits a year, and the three of us? Paladin pays personnel in our nominal positions at least 200 thousand Federation credits a year base pay, and it actually goes up quick with time." For comparison, the Colonel was paid by the UFP about 108 thousand credits a year in base pay, going by the pay charts used by Starfleet and the Marines.

Harry smirked, “Shame I don’t make that amount really. Anyway we can make this company real?” He joked with a chuckle.

Sal glanced at him but didn't respond to that particular joke. "Great, nice to know I'm worth something." She really didn't see how that mattered but she guessed it was all part of the process of creating fake identities. Seemed like a little too much work to her but Collins seemed to be enjoying it.

“Excellent work, Lieutenant. I can definitely see why you were assigned to the team. Your attention to detail is impressive.” Refelian said as he looked at Collins. “Is there anything else we need to know about regarding these?”

"Not really, sir. Just let me know what tweaks you want to make if any, and I'll see what we can do," Collins replied simply. "Other than that, by your leave?"

“Excellent, I’ll give this some attention a little later and get back to you.” Refelian said before looking at his first officer. “Anything to add or ask, Commander?”

"No, I don't believe so sir," Sal answered him. Not until their assignment was revealed would this cover make sense to her she thought.

“Very well, you are dismissed, Mr Collins.”


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