Jake disembarked from the raptor onto the hanger deck of the Pacifica, still fuming from the implications of the security breach and what it could mean for the entire strike group. He had to let the Admiral know what had happened and get her set up for a meeting with the Prime Minister.
He'd been handling routine operations while she was off instilling the fear of the gods on Pacifica, but this was too big to handle by himself. Besides, the PM's office wanted to speak directly to the Admiral.
"Colonel?" He looked up to find one of the Battlestar's junior officers waiting for him, and returned the Lieutenant's salute.
"The Admiral is on her way to CIC at the moment, we told her you were on your way and needed to speak to her ASAP per your instructions and she said to meet her there."
"Right," Jake nodded, and gestured toward the corridors. "In that case let's be about it Lieutenant."
Enter, Admiral Claudia Sinclair, head down at clipboard, simultaneously reading and ticking various boxes. Or more correctly, enter and breeze through, right past them. One might have wondered if she had even noticed their presence, but any such doubts were immediately erased with a curt, "Colonel, glad you could join me! How're the kids, back home?"
She did not look his way. Sinclair was walking at a brisk pace and expected him to keep pace, right alongside her. Even the 'small talk' was machine gunned out; asking how things were, back on the Avalon, without so much as a breath for air. Down a stairwell they went and from there, onto Engineering.
"I'm happy to report, things have significantly improved. A few mental traumas, here and there, but on the whole, I think it'll do them good," she rattled off, almost certainly with a degree of lightheartedness. "Something I need to sign off on?"
"I wish I could say everyone's been behaving back home, sir," Jake slipped into place right beside her. He was familiar with her methods of doing business and had expected something along these lines.
There did seem to be a noticeable change in the atmosphere on the Avalon's sister Battlestar, people seemed more focused on their tasks than in the past. Part of that was surely the Admiral's presence but perhaps they'd gotten the message.
He leaned in to speak low enough for only her to hear. "We've had a security breech. The planning document you wanted updated? The original was leaked to the Prime Minister's office, he's requesting a meeting with you as soon as possible. We've identified the leaker and they're in custody."
Well, that got the Admiral's attention...
"It was what?!"
Not that the question demanded an answer. She could see it in his eyes, that what she had heard was correct. Now Sinclair was fuming, letting gaze wander left and right, at those passing by and giving salutes. Jaw had clenched tight and she had immediately come to a halt.
"Well, there's a royal frack up," Sinclair registered in hushed growl.
Now, no doubt, even if not asked to justify what was recently going on - and there was no guarantee anyone in the administration knew about that, but still - then she would almost certainly have to point out what the updated figures were. A debate she might well have needed to provoke in the future, no matter how closely, but not now, without having the new figures to hand. Great... To say nothing of the fact that it had been leaked, in the first place.
"Who's responsible and how'd they get it?" The Admiral snapped, arms crossed. "I want their balls on the cutting block, preferably without anesthetic."
Jake winced, he'd been expecting this ever since he found out himself. There was no beating around the bush on this issue, he'd have to take it like a Mackenzie.
"A Petty Officer in the Ops section, he was detailed to help update the planning document. I guess the idea of detailing up the assets of the civilian fleet was distasteful to him now that we have an elected government, and took it upon himself to blow the whistle. Major Simmons had him placed in the brig."
He looked at her, suitably abashed. "My resignation is yours if you want it, sir. I'm your Chief of Staff. I should have expected something like this might come up, and ultimately the leak was within my area of responsibility."
Looking at him with all the intensity of a fusion-powered laser, Admiral Sinclair was now faced with quite the dilemma. Staff of that calibre were in short supply and things had lately got far too politicized, for her liking. Whoever came in next would almost certainly have a bias of their own, one way or another.
Fracking subversives... Being ordered around was one thing. It was what her entire career had been built upon, after all. Being undermined from within the very system she was meant to be charge of, however, was quite another.
"Don't tempt me," Claudia more ordered than spoke, one eyebrow arching as she did so in what could be interpreted as gallows humor. Not so much a climb-down, as a still-figuring-out-what-in-blazes-to-do. However... "Simmons has been slacking a little, lately," she mentioned. "But regardless of any personal crises she might be facing, this has really fouled up the screws, Colonel. I want a full report of exactly how and why this thing happened. Neither of you can watch over everything... All the more reason to figure out if this is to do with the system or people who run it. Then I'll decide what to do. My prime concern is how much other classified information has found its way out, before now."
Because even if the person concerned had been doing it with altruistic motives in mind, who was to say their contacts were human beings?
"Get it done," she concluded. "I'll be back within the hour. Have it on my desk, when it's ready."
Jake came to attention and saluted at the direct order. "Yes, sir!"
He was relieved that she didn't want his resignation. Being an officer in the Colonial Military was all he had left. If he didn't have his duty, what else would he have in his life? He might as well have slit his wrists or blown himself out an airlock. So as soon as he was done here, he'd get the entire staff cracking on what else might have been leaked. Gods, why hadn't he thought of that?
"Sir, what about the Prime Minister? I've been stalling his office until I could give you a head's up, but they're not going to be satisfied with that for much longer. He wants a meeting, yesterday."
"I bet he does," Sinclair answered, not missing a beat. She could afford to discuss things in the most generic way, out here. The only people nearby were passing on through and no specific details were being mentioned. "Alright," she said with a sigh, "tell him I've got some crucial safety matters to attend to, first. Make sure we're scheduled for after I get that appraisal. At least then I'll have some sort of peace of mind. I don't want them using this to question security arrangements. We're already going to be doing enough of this, as it is."
She could just imagine it. Whether or not the Prime Minister personally believed in them or not, the issue of civil liberties would give him leverage in other debates. What, really, is the point of all these precautions, if such a high-level briefing document could so easily make its way out to someone it never should have done? No point in adding more, Admiral, she would be told... Put your own house in order first... Yes, Sir, Prime Minister, Sir...
Claudia Sinclair might not be a politician, herself, but she did know how these games worked. Without such knowledge, she would never have risen to the heights of her profession as she had.
"And," she quickly added, "try to impress upon his people that receiving ownership of classified documents, without the relevant authorization, could mean charges of accessory to espionage need to be pressed... Let's see if they can't be made to squirm a little, too. Don't see why they should be left out of all the fun."
"Of course sir," Jake felt a smile threatening to break out. It would be amusing to let the civilians squirm at the idea of being brought up on criminal charges, hoisted on their own petard of demanding a return to regular government with all that entailed. He'd already gone round and round with the PM's Chief of Staff until they told him exactly what was going on and why the PM was demanding an immediate meeting with Sinclair, now he had another card he could play.
"I'll inform the Prime Minister that you'll be happy to meet with them in," he checked his watch. "Three hours. That should be enough time to verify the sign out lists and comm logs, and I've got Simmons on the warpath in the Ops office. I'll have the briefing for you ASAP."
An evil thought occurred to him. "Perhaps we should inform the civilian law enforcement, have them investigate from their end once we've figured out what we're dealing with? After all, the creation of the CPS was one of Prime Minister Whyndom's pet projects before he assumed office." Maybe it was wrong to think of it as an 'us versus them' situation but Jake couldn't help it in this particular case.
Now it was Claudia's turn to give a somewhat sadistic chuckle and she had to glance down for a moment, to hide the grin threatening to rise on her face.
"Not quite yet, but it might be an idea to let Wyndom's staff know we might do... I don't want to set those wheels in motion unless it's necessary and it's still, strictly-speaking, within our jurisdiction, for the time being. I like the poetry, though, Mister MacKenzie... Has just the right bite of irony to it."
Had they been from Earth, perhaps the Admiral would have termed the suggested veiled threat a convenient sword of Damocles now able to be held over the government's head, as a whole, if they decided to play the blame game.
Never try to play the Colonial version of chess against a military strategist or two...
"As you were, Colonel," she spoke, with the expected exchange of farewell protocol being exchanged. "Maybe this meeting might be productive, after all."