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Attorneys and Spooks

Posted on Sun Nov 28th, 2021 @ 11:48pm by Rear Admiral Jan van Groesbeck & Rear Admiral Thomas Romanowski

Mission: Episode 2: 18th and Constitution
Timeline: Mission Day 9 at 2130

Rear-Admiral Jan van Groesbeeck had sent his attache Commander Reginald Hertford to speak with Vice Admiral Cowell. Due to being now a public figure within the Admiralty, going off-world as himself was unwise. He was still forming a plan in his mind and he needed Rear Admiral Romanowski onboard with the plan.

"Sandra, you're in. Would you like tickets to Friday's concert? They're up for grabs." He gestured to the door to the Admiral's office, "Is he in?"

van Groesbeeck looked over to the door before looking back to Sandra.

Sandra Collins, Admiral Romanowski's administrative aide, looked up from her work as van Groesbeeck approached. She smiled up at him, "Of course, you know Friday night is date night for Wayne and I." She then nodded as she stood, "He is in, but it is a good thing you came by when you did. I believe he was fixing to wrap it up for today." She made her way around her desk and stood infront of the Intelligence Chief and pressed the chime for Romanowski's office.

Thomas sat at his desk typing out his final statements on the JAG directive he was working on. Whenever the Interstellar Courts came down with a ruling, it was the duty of the Judge Advocate General to issue an opinion to the whole JAG corps with opinions on how to interpret the ruling and incorporate it into the current legal doctrine. This week had been a busy for the courts, and Thomas hated to leave work unfinished before he went home. He had sent word to his wife he would be late, but she had come to expect the long hours. The sound of the chime at his door startled him, but he continued to type as he spoke, "Come."

Sandra entered the office and stood aside for van Groesbeeck to enter after her, "Admiral van Groesbeeck here for you sir." Thomas looked up and nodded at the Intel chief before turning his attention back to Sandra, "Thank you, you can go home now. Tell Wayne I'm sorry I kept you late." He smiled at Sandra as she left his office. He then motioned to one of the chairs in front of his desk, "Jan, It's been awhile. Something must be on your mind if you wanted to see me this late."

"Thank you, Sandra. I'll make sure that you've got my box for Friday night." The South African offered her a slight smile and a nod while she walked past him, "Have a good evening."

After Sandra had left Jan found himself situated into the chair across from the Judge Advocate General, "It's been a very busy first day..." He nodded his head. "I feel that this profile is something I personally cannot sit out on the sidelines and wait out. It involves me going off-world meeting an informant-turned-colleague and ally."

Thomas leaned back in his chair and nodded as he stroked his chin. Van Groesbeeck and Thomas had known each other professionally during the Dominion War and during the resulting tribunal. Thomas had actually cross-examined van Groesbeeck during the trial, though there had been no animosity between the two. Thomas knew that van Groesbeeck was a good intelligence officer, and his intel had proved invaluable during the war. "I see. I'll save you the trouble of asking who this informant is because I know you won't be able to disclose that. Do you mind if I ask what you think you'll find," he asked with an upraised eyebrow.

Jan crossed his leg over the other settled his hands in his lap, "Answers." He frowned at his very to the point, "Whether they are pungent is presently unknown."

Thomas nodded again before continuing, "And what do you need from me? You know since I'm not authorized to approve any type of action on your part."

"Of course I haven't come to you for authorization on the contrary and you know full well. But I feel like I have an obligation, a sense of professional courtesy to you as the solicitor-in-charge to inform you that I will be operating outside of the law but out of my own volition." Jan continued, "Regardless of that, I feel out of all the other members of the Admiralty that I know you're most likely the last person that can talk me out of this but I do know that I've got to protect Paradise, Starfleet and the Commander-in-Chief, Starfleet himself from whatever I find in the coming days."

Thomas thought for a long time before responding. While he appreciated van Groesbeeck's professional courtesy on informing him of his plan, he was worried to hear that he would be operating outside the law. Thomas knew that the role of an Intelligence officer could be a grey one at times. From the late 21st century to the present there were still moral arguments going on between the intelligence and legal communities regarding the methods used to obtain actionable intelligence. The Dominion war had proved to be a difficult time for him to rationalize how certain intelligence could be obtained even with disregard to the law. Even during the War Crimes tribunal, Thomas had had to stand up in court and attack the same methods that van Groesbeeck would undoubtedly use to obtain his information.

"I appreciate you informing me of your actions," he said with a nod. He then furrowed his brow and chose his next words carefully, "That being said I must caution you that by operating outside the law would mean I can't use any intelligence you may obtain in any future legal proceeding." He looked pointedly at van Groesbeeck, "And as your lawyer it is my duty to inform you that if you are discovered you can be charged by Starfleet Security with violating regulations and would be subject to court-martial."

"I don't plan on committing any crimes," van Groesbeeck continued, "view it more as an exchange of information. Once I'm back on Earth, I'll verify my findings and ensure they're actionable intel. Now my next question is what do I tell the Commander-in-Chief that I won't be able to be called upon in the coming week? The fewer people know outside of this room, the better."

Thomas nodded again and pondered the question for a moment. He knew that he could not tell the Intel Chief to lie directly to the CinC. Fleet Admiral Sturnack had a gift for seeing through deception. The trick would be keeping the scuttlebutt down to a minimum. He decided to be straightforward to van Groesbeeck, "Well, I wouldn't advise directly lying to him. Sturnack will see right through that. To be honest I would be straight forward with your intentions with him only. As far as finding an excuse to go off-world with your staff and the HQ gossipers, if you put in a request for personal leave I can guarantee there will be no questions asked on my end."

"I'll then inform Fleet Admiral Sturnack of my plans," van Groesbeeck nodded, "Anything else further you would like to discuss?"

Thomas thought for a moment before shaking his head, "Nothing immediate comes to mind. Though should that change can I ask who you will be leaving behind to act in your step?"

"Captain Leroy Templeton, I think you'd like him. He talks like a lawyer."

Thomas smiled at van Groesbeeck's response. "Well, that must be interesting around the office. You spooks don't always look kindly to us lawyers," he said chuckling. Then he stood and offered his hand, "Very well, I'll be sure to let him know if i mean anything. In the mean time, watch your ass." He said the last bit with an upraised brow as he shook the mans hand and returned to his chair. He stroked his chin and furrowed his brow as he watched the Intel Chief leave. Intelligence operations always worried Thomas because they always skirted the line when it came to the law.

"Always do," Jan smiled while he lifted himself out of the chair. "See you in a week."

=/\= A Mission Post By =/\=

Rear Admiral Thomas Romanowski
Judge Advocate General
Starfleet Command

Rear Admiral Jan van Groesbeeck
Director of Starfleet Intelligence
Starfleet Command


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