This note is only very indirectly related to operations. It primarily covers security and political considerations, and only in the end makes operational recommendations. The central concern is the attempted assassination of either Chirakis or yourself. I am conjecturing rather widely on the motives and tensions that may have been behind the act.
There seem to be four (possibly more) groups involved. The four I can most possibly identify are Starfleet, FIA main policy, FIA wet group, and the DSZ6 conspiracy. Starfleet's philosophy is obedience to law, avoidance of violence, and respect for self determination of individual planets. Most of the Federation Council still follows this basic philosophy stated in the Federation Constitution's preamble. While this unit is not expert in the motivations of organic beings, the senior officers recently transferred to the Defiant seem to be Starfleet trained and honor the traditional Starfleet values.
The Federation Intelligence Agency believes the Federation is surrounded by violent adversaries, including the Borg, Dominion, Romulans, Klingons, Tholians, Maquis and Cardassians. They may argue that negotiation and avoidance of violence will not bring victory. Preparation for and readiness to use violence is a necessity. The traditional Federation values are not considered appropriate for the current time. While this philosophy is still the minority in Council, it has many followers in the Executive Branch, notably within the FIA.
Recently, powers outside the Federation (including the Cardassians, Klingons, and Romulans) have been given seats on the Federation Council. As a result, it is no longer possible for the Council to review military secrets including the black budget and covert action. This gives the Executive branch and the FIA considerable freedom from review by the Council or the Member planets. The FIA is using this freedom from supervision to push it's policy of aggressive and violent action. Their respect for the letter of the law is not great.
The Defiant is playing a special role in a political struggle between Starfleet and the Council on one hand, and the FIA and Executive on the other. The Defiant was the test bed ship for the late Captain Harlock. Harlock designed, installed, tested and used several very powerful weapons systems, unique or nearly unique to the Defiant. The fighter bay is the best known of Harlock's innovations. Defiant also has a positron beam weapon, far more powerful than a phaser, which can rapidly split the crust of a planet. We also have a biological warfare lab, offensive oriented, whose function is to surgically remove a single species from a planet's biosphere.
The Defiant was designed and paid for out of the budgets of the 'direct action' advocates. Nominally, it has reported directly to the Council, rather than through Starfleet channels. In practice, orders sometimes come directly from the Chairman's desk. Neither Council or Starfleet is aware of these orders before or after the fact. There are those in both Council and Starfleet who believe that control of a ship as powerful as Defiant should be kept under very strict chain of command. There are those in both the FIA and Executive who feel they paid for Defiant out of their own budgets, have uses for her, and wish to keep control of her. While this conflict is intense, it should be clear that both the FIA and Starfleet factions believe firmly they have the best interests of the Federation at heart.
Until recently, my sister Joy Seven was one of the stronger speakers in Council for the traditional non-violent Constitutional position. I believe that the Klingon Ambassador who recently visited the Defiant, fishing for information about assassinations, was also a member of the Starfleet - Council faction. She seemed to be seeking information about unconstitutional missions performed by Defiant under orders of Chairwoman McLeod and Admiral Jats. She seems to already know something of what happened. While Mudd has withdrawn from the Council and this unit no longer has access to recent high level political information, it would seem Starfleet knows something about McLeod's and Jats activities, and is using this information to get firmer control of Defiant. The only evidence I have of this, however, is the recent influx of senior officers to the Defiant, more loyal to Starfleet's traditional values. I also note that the most recent orders dispatching the Defiant came through regular Starfleet channels. I have found no evidence of this power shift in Galactic Network News, Aviation Leak, or other public sources. If a deal has been made, complete secrecy seems to have been part of the arrangement.
The shift in Defiant's senior staff has resulted in tensions among the crew. The security department in particular has a number of junior officers who believe in the FIA's direct action philosophy. The conflict between FIA and Starfleet cultures is I believe limiting the Defiant's ability to perform as a team. This is not to say that Admiral Jats could not have used the FIA trained people effectively. It is just that the conflict in expected behavior patterns is difficult for both sides. This unit was programmed by Starfleet, can work well under Starfleet tradition, but was also able to perform under Admiral Jats. However, this unit is forbidden from violating the Law, save to preserve life, or to protect the integrity of pre-starflight civilizations. This unit would be a liability in a ship whose primary mission assignments regularly violate Federation law.
This completes analysis of the Starfleet-FIA political conflict. This unit will now conjecture on the existence of an FIA 'wet team'. It is my belief that the your assignment as Captain of Defiant was a victory for the Starfleet faction. As captains usually serve for a period of years, this defeat could be problematic to the FIA. Thus, your death would be convenient. This provides a plausible motivation for the recent attempt on your life. This would open the captain's slot again, and give the FIA a chance to place a captain more ready to act under irregular authority.
While this unit is not expert in organic psychology, it seems unlikely that either Chairwoman McLeod or Admiral Jats would order your death. I therefore prefer to believe that a rogue faction within the FIA is using assassination as a tool to make sure their direct action philosophy is furthered. It should be noted that Chairwoman McLeod's predecessor was assassinated. The assassin was able to get through very intense Federation security cleanly. The FIA's "best efforts" have not revealed the identity of the assassin. Joy Seven long conjectured that the assassination was performed to put a pro FIA Chairwoman in power, weaken the Council, and make the Council more inclined to take strong position on security issues. The objective would be to frighten the Council members into abandoning the Federation's traditional non-violent philosophy. Again, this unit's personal knowledge of Chairwoman McLeod and Admiral Jats suggests they would not order or advocate assassination of a Federation politician. (This unit repeats this in spite of observing these two plan and execute the assassination of a Federation citizen on a Member planet.) This unit prefers to believe there is a rogue faction, likely operating from within the FIA, which has taken the direct action philosophy beyond the level considered acceptable by the major policy makers within the FIA and executive branch.
There is a fourth faction. Station DSZ6 was built by a rogue Starfleet admiral who believed the Maquis were betrayed by the Federation-Cardassian treaty. He used his control of a research budget to build a very advanced station with cloaking capability, low warp speed drive, illusion projectors, and the same positron beam weapon Harlock first developed on Defiant. I was assigned to Defiant when Jats took control of DSZ6 from the rogue admiral. On the surface, it seems that the battle where the Defiant defeated DSZ6 was genuine. However, the net effect of the conflict was to transfer the station from one group of rogue officers attempting to support the Maquis, to the FIA. From this unit's perspective, the transfer was from one group of 'direct action' advocates to another. It is possible that the conflict was staged to legitimize the existence of DSZ6, and place it under FIA control.
However, this unit is not confident that complete control of DSZ6 has truly been achieved. The station was loaded with secrets, including a hidden operations center that could override the obvious center. There were trap doors in the station's security software. We had difficulties with booby traps. While Chirakis and myself have both been working to secure DSZ6 and achieve full control of it's capabilities, this unit cannot assure you of total success, or of the loyalty of the people who were on DSZ6 before Defiant's arrival.
Thus, it could be that the fighter sabotage was not related to the FIA at all, but could be the action of the DSZ6 builders or their Maquis allies. It is also possible that Chirakis was the intended target. During the takeover of DSZ6, Chirakis used an 'admiralty' level computer override key. This key can override even the master keys which normally only the CO and XO carry. This unit has not asked questions on where Chirakis acquired the key, or if it's possession is legitimate. However, it's use made defeating the software traps in DSZ6 much easier. If there are active agents of the DSZ6 group still working on the station, eliminating Chirakis may be more important than your own death. If this is the case, the FIA is likely not involved in the fighter sabotage.
This ends conjecture on possible threats from within the Federation. It would be wise, however, to consider the possibility of non-Federation forces at work. The Maquis may not be pleased by Defiant's taking over of DSZ6 management. Our position near the Cardassian-Klingon conflict zone suggests other intelligence agencies will at minimum be curious about DSZ6's and Defiant's unique capabilities. The possibility of direct action should not be discounted, though it is possible that neither the Klingons nor Cardassians know of DSZ6's existence.
Problems such as these are normally within Security's domain. However, there are implications for Ops as well. Netrun has discovered evidence that Defiant's life support is sabotaged. While the deadly components can be and are being switched out, I am very concerned by an opponent who is willing to use a ship's systems against it's crew. This unit is expert in such operations. This unit requests permission to devise a plan to secure Defiant's and DSZ6's life critical systems from sabotage or tampering. This unit wishes to present such a plan to Chirakis and the command staff as soon as practicable.
Lt Joy Ten