Admiral Forrest slid the slip of paper back across the desk and shook his head in as sure a manner as to say "Nope, no chance that's true." He then leant back in his chair and his head snapped towards the window. Across the table from him the Vulcan took up the slip of paper and read what was written on it again: NX-XX. The Vulcan asked again:
"Are you aware of a program or ship by the name NX-XX that may have received substantial assistance from Vulcan High Command?"
Forrest didn't turn to look at the Vulcan while he said "No. It doesn't mean anything; Starfleet does not have a ship and has had no program like that. I don't know where the idea has come from."
"Testimony from Scientists and other members of Vulcan High Command at that time indicates such a program and a ship."
"What can I tell you? We've opened up all our records, we've allowed you to poke your head in everywhere and it's turned up nothing."
"Yes that is true."
Forrest made eye contact with the Vulcan and sighed "It would sink this organization if such a thing as NX-XX actually existed as you so suggest it might. It'll damage the organization if there was a hint publically that this were a serious consideration of our- the theory I mean not that there could actually be something like this about. It means people, know how and everything really to do with Starfleet has been compromised," he threw his hands up "and to what end?"
"The betterment of all the species participating; we deduce that this was not aimed at the betterment of a particular faction though doubtless certain factions involved would have benefitted seriously but rather the mutual enhancement of overall security through furthering technological capability." It was all too long winded but the idea the Vulcan had was that this was a conspiracy with aims to make the Quadrant safer for Vulcans and Humans. By sharing technology, understanding and procedures. Just the tone of the Vulcan made the Starfleet Admiral think such intimate collaboration between their people was impossible. The Vulcan had made it clear that rogue elements on both sides must have colluded though the why seemed uncertain and so the idea far-fetched, the Vulcan concluding:
"There is a low probability you can assist my investigation in any capacity and I do note you are trying to the best of your ability." a huff from across the desk interrupted the Vulcan for a moment "I think though that if I were to find this NX-XX and the misallocations for it, it would be in the records of United Earth... human Government has form and history for such brazen mismanagement."
"Good day then."
The Vulcan nodded and made to leave the Admiral with his anxiety.
NX-XX didn't mean anything unless you talked to the right person. There weren't many individuals in known space who could be considered right to ask but Miranda Thatcher was one of them. She was a Commander in Starfleet; a real bright woman born to better things. Her family was from the midwest and she had the quiet, firm sensibilities that came from there with an appreciation for hard work. The thought of a life in service to something bigger than you had appealed to her for as long as she knew and it was this ingrained quality that had steered her towards Starfleet itself. What made her perfect for NX-XX.
To become part of the 'astronaut corp' of UESPA; she'd gotten through Annapolis then taken on Starfleet Flight School, missing a spot in the NX Project initially she had toured on a Starfleet survey vessel then returned to San Fran. The city was now her home and she worked from a pokey Office deep within Headquarters as part of the test program. While Flight School alumini were still trying to prove they had the right stuff- exemplified by Archer and Robinson's comeptition over who'd get to command Earth's first Warp Five ship Miranda was working on the next big milestone. She had just returned from lunch when her intercom buzzed; she frowned at first, not expecting any call but answered quickly.
"West Coast Shuttle Operations Desk; Commander Thatcher speaking."
A male monotone responded "I need a shuttlepod to Montana immediately."
"Understood," Miranda pursed her lips as she considered the request and its coded implications "submit the request to our Desk within the next half hour and we will be able to process it."
The line went dead and the Starfleet Commander shook her head, she then headed back out the door at a casual pace. Miranda had been called out by a man to whom, like her, NX-XX meant something. She had met him before a few times; a stern looking and humourless alien who was part of the Vulcan Advisory Council charged with looking over Starfleet's shoulder. That he wanted to see her was unusal but not so much as to have its own protocol. She exitted her Office knowing full well her coming and going would stick in the mind of her coworkers and decided that she would blame it on having left her wallet at the diner she had had lunch at. She was on a catwalk over one of the small gardens that dotted Starfleet Headquarters when she stopped, noticed no one about and waited. She was joined by a tall, elaborately robed, old man soon after. No pleasantries were exchanged:
"A Vulcan Investigation into the program is ongoing, the Team in charge is here now and will move to Paris soon; it will likely turn up more data on the work that has been done." This was a troublesome prospect given developments on Vulcan itself though she did not interrupt and make note of that "It means your timetable has been moved forward."
This was a different kind of troublesome to Miranda's mind, exciting though, it implied that she would be transferred soon.
"Your new assignment will be as the Helm aboard the ship, the Pathfinder."
She couldn't help ask, with noticeable interest "When is launch?"
The Vulcan told her "You will be informed of the beginning of NX-XX operations when aboard and not before, as it is be prepared to move within two weeks."
Miranda nodded and the Vulcan let her go, but not before adding a quiet "Congratulations Commander, while the Starship Enterprise stays in spacedock and perhaps even afterwards, you will be serving aboard the most advanced ship in Earth's fleet."
She smiled warmly after him.