As I took another slow look around auxiliary control I had a nagging feeling that I was missing something and there were still a few things to do before leaving the Cruiser. Then it came back to me.
“Joe”, I said. “Grab these bodies and put them someplace where they won’t leak all over everything, then go up to Officer Country and ransack all the living quarters for data files, documents, or anything else that looks interesting. Some how they knew just where to send the troopers on the Mayflower. There must have been a spy in Hamilton’s organization at one time. Lets try to find out who it was and see if he‘s still with us.”
I went over to the Flight Control Station and began figuring out how to access ships central databases when a woman, Janie Cantarubia, I had met and talked with, whenever I got the chance aboard the Mayflower, entered, or should I say floated, into the compartment. Janie was in her late 20’s or early 30’s, tall, dark haired and good looking. But more to the point she was one of the few single women in our group. She had worked for the Central States Power Consortium doing reactor system security and control.
“Hey Bart“, she said, while looking at the damaged engineering control station. “Anything I can do?”
“Hi Janie. I’m trying to download all of the ships systems and central storage, whatever I can get a hold of. If we don’t take this Cruiser with us there might be some thing of interest to get at later. How about seeing if you can get something out of that.” I said, pointing back to engineering.
“Sure thing”, she replied, “The main screen’s gone but there’s power and the secondary displays look active.”
I had just started a data dump from the main ship system when I heard Janie say.
“Bart something’s wrong here. The drive is down, that‘s good, but ships power is at 5% and climbing. No way can we be using that much energy. It just got to 6%. I am trying to kill it but nothing I do from here makes any difference. She‘s dumping heat into the reaction mass but that cant keep up.”
“How long do we have?”
“I don’t know Bart, but if the output keeps rising, minutes at best.”
“Where can we go to stop it.”
“The physical plant has to be on the lowermost deck just above the drive bulkhead.”
“Ok Janie, Follow me.”
“I could keep working at it from here.” she said
“Come on Janie,” I said, “When I get there someone’s got to show me what to do.” I grabbed the Ruger and headed out the door, Janie holding on right behind.
Into the corridor than Bam! I started to spin, the suit stopped me from turning almost immediately The bullet had hit just off center of the body armor. I looked ahead and saw a guy with a gun. “Damn! What the fug. I shouted “It’s me Bartlett, cut it out or you’re history.” Pointing the Rug in his direction got his attention. “The Cruiser is secured, out of the way.”
Janie and I sped on down and into the lower engineering spaces. The room was empty, a control station against the wall and a lot of colored conduits leading into a grey bulkhead.
“What now?” I asked.
Janie had reached the control station and I waited while she tried to make it respond.
“No Go Bart. It won’t do anything and power is at 11%. We’re running out of time.”
“So.. What next?”
“Blow the control leads.” She pointed to a conduit run, “The safeties have to kick in and shut the thing down.”
I aimed the Ruger and shot off the rest of the mag. No change. Loaded another and the two penetrators burst through the metal tubing. Sparks and arcs then darkness. A second later dim lighting came on.
“That’ll do it.” Janie looked at me and smiled.
I looked at her and said, “Can I buy you a drink?”