Location: Tann Corp (Earth), Juan Cortina
The image on the comm screen was of Stohn, Director of Security Services for Tann Corporation, formerly Captain Stohn of Starfleet Intelligence. In addition to being responsible for Tann Corp's internal security and corporate intelligence services, he was also responsible for the security and intelligence services Tann Corp offered to outside agencies, primarily Starfleet and other Federation government agencies, but also the governments of individual Federation members, private companies, and even, with Federation approval, governments and corporations outside of the Federation. The man had his hands full, but always found time to assist Braedyn when he could. He had known Braedyn since the human captain was young. While he might sometimes feign annoyance at 'running errands' for Braedyn, Stohn would never hesitate assist him when called upon.
In this case, Braedyn's chief of security, Sub-Commander Jaeih Hwersuil, had asked him to run down some information for her and he was calling to report.
"Live Long and Prosper, Sub-Commander Hwersuil," he said. "I have the information you requested, such as I could discover."
"Peace and long life," Jaeih responded with a hint of a smile. Perhaps it wasn't the 'Romulan' way to react, but she didn't much care. Even if Stohn did not recognize her as one of Spock's disciples, she had no doubt he would appreciate the respect shown to his culture. "I appreciate your quick response, Stohn. In our line of work, fast answers can be terribly vital. What have you found?"
"Your mysterious 'graduate assistant' is, as suspected, not from Keth Aldin," Stohn said, getting right down to business. "She is of Keth Kor. the Kor clan is made up of the wealthy, almost aristocratic, families of Andoria. I believe the Earth phrase is 'old money'. I imply nothing derogatory in using the term. All 'new' money becomes 'old' money at some point. But the families of Keth Kor mostly come from very old money, and possess the kind of resources that allow them to live lives of leisure if they choose. Some are involved in politics or diplomacy, some take a role in whatever business interests they might hold, but many of the younger members are essentially socialites. Some of these younger members rebel against their parents, either because they actually believe in whatever cause they espouse, or simply because they are bored. Young Hahna has been involving herself with Keth Ucalnath for sometime. Ucalnath was disgraced over a century ago when they were kicked off of the ruling council because of their anti-Federation activities, some of which involved violence against both the Federation and prominent Andorians who supported the Andoria's place in the Federation. Ucalnath is usually quiet officially, but some of its members involve themselves in protests. Violence is rare in this day and age, but their are still those Ucalnath who engage in it. Hahna has been seen at several protests and is known to attend gatherings hosted by some of the more radical members of Ucalnath. Andorian security services suspect she may be involved in something more troubling than civil unrest, but they have not brought her in yet, both because they do not wish to tip their hand and because her family is very influential and if they bring her in before acquiring enough evidence to charge her with a felony crime, such as sedition or even involvement in a terrorist organization, her family might secure her release before she can be convinced to flip on her subversive friends. It is unclear if she is an actual true believer, or just blinded by emotion. She has been romantically linked to radical member of Ucalnath for some time."
"I'm not surprised that she isn't who she said she is. The world I live in now is so very different from that of the Navy, but having some training in detecting falsehoods has been useful to us." Jaeih remain unconvinced that violence would likely not be a problem, especially if the woman was really linked to Ulcanath. "She's under surveillance by a few members of the crew, most of whom she won't suspect are watching. I have nothing against Andorians or 'old money' but I know trouble when I see it."
"Agreed," Stohn said. "As for Thelor Aldin, he is exactly what he seems...almost too exactly. He attended the best schools and has been traveling around the galaxy. He did his mandatory service not in the Andorian Defense Force, but in the Andorian Astronomical Survey, investigating the ruins of long dead civilizations. After his service term was complete, he seems to have gotten nearly every grant or fellowship opportunity he has applied for and a few that he has not. He arrived on Bajor very quickly after the Cardassians pulled out, almost too quickly. I dug a little deeper into his background and I found something that might be interesting. As intelligent as he is, Thelor did not immediately go off to university. Instead, he attended a special 'preparatory school' for two years beforehand. I checked out the school. They are immaculate. Nothing that would set off alarm bells...except there is no way to apply for the program. Apparently they...I believe the Earth term is 'cherry pick'...they cherry pick the best and the brightest...but not always the academically savvy. Some of their graduates go off to institutions of higher learning. Others attend technical schools. Some go directly into the military. All andorians do a term in the military, of course. Some can fulfill that requirement in the science fleet, but all of them serve. Still, this school seems strange to me. Tell me, Sub-Commander, have you ever heard of the Am Tal? I would not be surprised if you had not. Until recently, most people thought they were a rumor."
"I haven't." Jaeih saw little point in lying or pretending to know about such things. While the name seemed as though it should be familiar, she did not know to what it referred. "I take it you know something about them?"
"Yes," Stohn replied. "The Am Tal appears to be an Andorian...gentlebeings club...except that its members are intelligence operatives and analysts. Starfleet Intelligence believes that this group provides intelligence services to the Andorian government and generally pursues only Andorian interests, which is why SFI does not take them seriously. However, there are rumors, some of them credible, that this group pursues both Andorian and Federation interests, that it inserts its agents into interstellar affairs beyond the limits of Andorian interests. Those of us that believe these rumors have not pursued action against the Am Tal because as far as we can tell, as long as Federation interests align with Andorian interests, the Am Tal is, as Braedyn might say, on the side of the angels. Be that as it may, I believe that this preparatory school is a front for an Am Tal training facility. I believe that they train their operatives and then arrange for them to attend the right schools and training programs, the kind of education and training that will eventually put these operatives where the Am Tal wants them. In keeping with this, I also believe that Thelor Aldin is an Am Tal agent."
"So... it's similar to the Tal Shiar only there are exotic dancers?" Jaeih couldn't help snickering a little at the idea of it all, despite the serious tone of the conversation at hand. "If Thelor Aldin is an Am Tal agent... is he one of the good ones, on the side of the angels? Or is there cause for concern? I understand this is all speculation, but I'd like to know what we're getting ourselves into."
"You have touched upon the problem," Stohn replied, ignoring the comments about exotic dancers. "As far as I can tell, the Am Tal works in compartmentalized cells. There are chains of sorts, linking the cells to the leadership. However, it is rumored that sometimes a link in those chains become compromised and the cell beneath it in the chain doesn't know that orders are no longer coming from Am Tal leadership. In other situations, people have been recruited by what they thought was the Am Tal, when in truth some other bad actor has recruited them. Others don't even know they are working for the Am Tal to begin with. Since Thelor attended this preparatory school, I believe that he was recruited by the actual Am Tal. Considering the company he is keeping, this could mean that he is undercover in Andoria First or...it is possible that his cell has been compromised and he is unaware of this fact. In which case, he may be an unwitting agent in all of this."
"I see the dilemma." It was quite the conundrum, and Jaeih wasn't sure she could solve it. Or get her people out of danger if need be. "I intend to find out which of those things is the truth. When I find out, I will let you know."
"Understood," Stohn replied. "You will be in the Gamma Quadrant by then, making communication difficult, but not impossible. However, even if I receive this information after you have completed your mission, it may still prove useful. If nothing else, it will aid me in forming a clearer idea of just what the Am Tal is, how they work, and what their goals are. I have other matters to attend to. Do you require further assistance at this time?"
"I'll find a way. We're rather crafty when we need to be." Jaeih grinned a bit. "I don't need any assistance at the moment. If anything comes up and I haven't found a way to contact you... we'll figure it out. Thank you, Stohn."
"You are welcome, Sub-Commander," Stohn replied and then cut the link.