It was obvious to him that the point was that somewhere on that circuit, one of the relay satellites had something in it that copied the message and sent the copy somewhere else. No doubt, the copied messages were important to the Cromarg resistance movement, and the information gleaned was used by someone, somewhere, to benefit the Cromarg species.
Being on the Federation border, much of the traffic was military, and Baldarin had (at first) assumed that the intercepted data was used by Cromarg smugglers to move people and goods across the border. No doubt, the Federation provided arms and other things to the Cromarg resistance. His sudden transfer to a battle station on the Federation border had, no doubt, been a great boon to the Cromarg cause. The Klingons thought they were so smart, randomly moving Subject Race personnel around to make sure no one could be a spy or build a network of disloyalty. Baldarin had remained connected to his network by way of innocuous messages that he knew how to find in the data stream, and had been sent instructions on which types of message headers to look out for.
        Baldarin had long since come to suspect that the Cromarg resistance was paying for support by giving the Federation GIA vital military information about the Klingon forces. Good enough! Baldarin said to himself. Let the Federation, or maybe the Orions, or whoever it was use that information to weaken the Empire. The damage would be undone as soon as the Klingons recognized the Cromargs as their superiors and handed over control of the Empire to the species which had designed most of the weapons and other technology; the species that actually ran things. Can't be soon enough for me, he thought as he punched the codes into the lock for his quarters.
He knew something was wrong the minute he opened the hatch, but before he could back up, the strong hands of a Klingon behind him shoved him into the compartment.
        "You're under arrest," said the voice of the Klingon seated in the compartment. The Klingon officer wore the red insignia of the Empire Security Service. "We've been watching you for some time now," the officer said. "You might be interested in knowing that you were never working for the Cromarg Œresistance movement' but were always working for us."
        "I have no idea what you mean," Baldarin said.
        "Yes, you do," the officer said. "The entire Cromarg Œresistance movement' is an artificial creation of my department. We use it to test the loyalty of Cromargs. The ones, like you, who are willing to commit treason, well, we have a use for you. For the last three years, you've been working where the ESS wanted you to work, sending copies of messages we wanted our enemies to read to places we knew they had compromised. You've spent the last year feeding the Federation just what we wanted them to see. But, it's now time for you to move to the next phase of your career as a traitor. We have no more work for you to do here. Soon enough, the Federation will realize that everything you have ever told them was nonsense, lies, and distractions. You are of no further use to us here. We have another job for you to do now."
        "Whatever you need me to do," Baldarin said, "I will do it. I am a loyal subject of the Empire."
        "No, you're not," the officer said. "You're a traitorous bastard and you're on your way to a life of back-breaking labor in a very deep and very dark mine. But you'll serve our interests there just as well as you have here."

Bridge, CA Hornet, between K5 and K6
        "Racetrack or figure eight?" the navigator asked.
        "Figure eight," Captain Thellessan replied. "I want the bow pointed at the border the maximum amount of time."
        "Very well," Lieutenant Marxina, the Orion navigator replied in that sing-song voice of hers, feeding the course commands to the helmsman.
        "I don't like this, not one iota," Thellessan said to the XO, keeping his voice low. "We need to be concentrating our forces, not spreading them out." Admiral Connell had issued new orders, changing the established war doctrine. That doctrine, in place for five years, had defined that on receipt of a warning order, ships were to end their patrols and gather at the battle stations. This would strengthen the stations against attack, and concentrate squadrons to use as reaction forces.
But the new orders had pulled half of the ships back from the border, assigned the old destroyers and light cruisers as guard dogs for the battle stations, and had assigned lone heavy cruisers to keep station between each pair of battle stations. The deployment, Hornet's captain thought, was better suited to stopping a few raiders than to stopping a major invasion.
        "Perhaps someone at Third Fleet," Commander Sonax, the Vulcan XO theorized, "has convinced the admiral that the threat is individual cruiser raids, not a major attack." The Vulcan's olive skin contrasted with the pale white skin of his captain, and the blue skin of the third officer standing at the command chair.
        "This deployment would make sense if that were the case," Lieutenant Commander Farnik, the Andorian weapons officer, suggested. "We can only assume that he has access to better intelligence estimates than we do. Star Fleet Intelligence must be convinced that raids are the most likely threat."
        "It makes no sense to me," Thellessan said, his black eyes flashing under his white hair. "The Klingons don't need to start a brushfire war on their border. They cannot win a war of attrition, of raid and counter-raid. They need to knock us out with one blow, one massive blow. Their first attack has to destroy all of the border bases, and as much of the Third Fleet as they can. Without added ships, the border bases cannot hold out against a squadron-sized attack. Meanwhile, Connell has his most powerful ships chained by the ankle to a post in the middle of nowhere."
        "If I were a Klingon admiral," Farnik, suggested, "I would just send three of my cruisers against every one of ours, then crush the battle stations at my leisure."
        "That would be logical," the XO agreed. "Except that the Klingons probably do not have three cruisers in this theater for every one of ours."
        "They can use packs of frigates," Farnik said. "They have all kinds of ships. The point is that posting lone cruisers out here is asking for the Klingons to pick them off. Even if all they want to do is raid, they can still pick off our best ships, and then the raids become a lot easier to do."
        "My thoughts exactly," Thellessan said. "No matter what the Klingons are up to, this is the wrong way to meet them."

Bridge, CF Eagle, Fourth Fleet, 1 Aug Y171
        "Captain, a war warning has been issued for Third Fleet," the communications officer reported. "We just got a copy."
        "Is there any attachment from Fourth Fleet," Shanna Williams asked, shaking herself awake.
        "Coming in now as a separate document," the communications officer said. "It's going to take a minute to decode."
        "I already know what it says," she replied. "Send it to my cabin when you have it. Then call a staff meeting for an hour from now."
        "Very well, Ma'am," the communications officer said.
        "Bridge, this is the captain."
        "Aye, Captain," Lieutenant Commander Donaldson replied.
        "Donaldson? Good. How far to Starbase 13?" she asked.
         "A little more than a day at cruising speed," he replied. "A little less if I can burn some extra fuel."
        "Get us there," she commanded. "Aim for arrival at 0900 hours tomorrow. Put someone on the helm and get your breakfast. Staff meeting in an hour. I need you there."
        "Very well, Ma'am," Donaldson replied.
        Captain Shanna Williams rolled over and got her feet onto the floor, then stood up and headed for the shower. She turned her head back to look at the empty bed behind her, wishing that Kevin had been there.
        "We'll meet again, soon enough," she said to his ghost.