Strategery Time

Even though Doc orders them tied up, the surrendering pirates are hauled off by the crowd and beaten senseless, their weapons taken and their armor ripped to shreds.

The Time Operatives lead this unruly mob down the utility shaft towards the engineering section. The hatch is clearly labeled and is already open. The vertical shaft receives a horizontal branch at this point, which leads towards the central artery of hot plasma lines between the two reactors.

Outside the hatch, they find themselves in the administration offices of the atmospheric processing center. The place is dark, lit only by blue emergency floods and the blinking orange of the security alarms. The building is empty, save for the angry mob flooding into its halls.

The door is easy to find, but beyond the glass is a sight Doc had hoped not to see. The arterial streets of the engineering center are busy with security personnel racing towards their emergency assignments in hover-carts. The place is like a hive of gun-wielding bees. Larger armored vehicles with machine gun turrets and mortars lumber through the swarm, either on patrol or moving into tactical positions.

There's no sign of any other rioters.

Doc attempts to hold the mob back in the shadows of the empty building, but they are getting difficult to control. They will almost assuredly be mown down by machine guns if he allows them to simply flood the streets. The entrance to the Command Center is nearly a mile down the road.

"Veronica," Doc calls. "Is there any way to reach the Command Center without using the main road on the Engineering Deck?"

"Besides the trains and elevators with which you could be ejected into space?" She responds over the com. "No. For precisely this security reason."

"The roads are completely filled with guards and tanks. What are our options?"

"Not much in the way of direct confrontation. You'll have to have a distraction, or press through by shear numbers."

Doc looks behind him. There's a lot of people here, but this meat shield is not big enough to run a mile through machine guns and mortars.

"Doc," Steve chimes in. "I've been analyzing the ships systems, and I think I might be able to hack the FastTrack. There's a station two blocks up. It's a big risk, but if I can maintain control over it, we won't be ejected into space."

"How big a risk?"

"Frankly, I'm better than anybody on this ship, but there's a lot of people working against me. Call it 50/50."

"Are there any other options?"

"We can crawl back through the utility condiuts and see what kind of trouble we can make in the reactor cores. Not sure what we can accomplish, though. With enough time and equipment I could make some antimatter bombs from the secondary core. But one bomb would take an hour at least if all the supplies and equipment are lined up in front of me when we get there."

"How big a bomb?"

"Just a milligram of the stuff is enough to level a skyscraper. I'll have to do some more calculations, but one or two placed strategically in the command center would be enough to severely cripple the ship. If we can knock out Spaaz's and his command structure, we might be able to convince the rest of the pirates to give up and turn over control of the ship to us."

"And if we accidentally detonate it in the reactor area, we could sterilize the Earth."

"And Alpha Centuari. Well, half of each. But yes."

1 comment:

Doc said...

Hack the FastTrack and hope for the best.