Chapter 3 <cont'd>
2nd Lieutenant Tiedermeyer and his Marine squad moved hastily through the command center and adjoining compartments, stepping over and around the unconscious forms of Voranti crewmembers. The boarding party’s transport in had been presaged by the arrival of dozens of photon stun grenades throughout the bridge complex of the alien warship.
Lar’ragos stood by while Shanthi waved his tricorder back and forth over one the globular interface units, trying to get his device to sync with the Voranti database. “Anything?”
Shanthi frowned. “They’ve cobbled together a pretty formidable encryption matrix, sir. Plus they’ve distributed their database across a score of remote nodes throughout the ship, and locked all those out with different random ciphers. So, every file we try to access requires us to break ten or more security lockouts at various stages of the download.”
Lar’ragos smirked at the younger man. “But you’re up to it, right?”
“Yes, Commander,” Shanthi deadpanned. “I am hot cyber-death incarnate.”
“Keep at it.” Lar’ragos stepped over to where Tiedermeyer was frowning at another display as he cradled his phaser carbine. “Problem, Lieutenant?” he asked.
Tiedermeyer answered without looking over at the XO. “We’ve filled all occupied compartments with anesthazine gas, sir… or the Voranti equivalent of it.”
It didn’t take a Listner’s skills to realize this didn’t set well with the brash Marine lieutenant. “And that troubles you.” It was a statement, not a question.
“My people are combat Marines, sir, “Tiedermeyer replied frostily. “We could have taken the bridge complex easily without stun saturating the area first.”
“I’m sure you could,” Lar’ragos replied evenly. “But why fight when you don’t have to?”
Lar’ragos moved away before Tiedermeyer could form a reply, circling back around to Shanthi. “When you crack their database, get us everything they have on Galaxy
, as well as all their information on the other species in the migration.”
He squat down on his haunches next to the Voranti ship’s commander, pursing his lips regretfully. “Would this could have gone differently,” he lamented quietly to the unconscious aquatic.
Thirty minutes later Lar’ragos and Shanthi stepped back onto the bridge, a grim yet somewhat satisfied expression radiating from the El Aurian’s face. “Mission accomplished, Captain,” he announced succinctly.
“Location of Galaxy?”
“Unfortunately, no. As it turns out, the Voranti can’t communicate in this mess any better than we can. The good news is that if any of the Voranti have run into our friends, it’s been individually rather than as more effective hunter-killer squadrons.”
T’Ser digested that. “What do we know about where they’ve searched?”
“They’d run across one other Voranti ship three days ago, and exchanged maps and data,” Shanthi explained as he relieved the duty officer at the Science station. “Neither ship had come in contact with Galaxy
, but we know where both have searched.”
“And,” Lar’ragos added, “thanks to Kuenre’s diligence, we’ve got terabytes of information on many of the other species in the migration.”
It was the first genuine smile T’Ser had formed in days. “Excellent work, gentlemen.” She cast a look back at Lar’ragos. “Commander, have our transporter rooms beam over the antidote canisters to the airborne sedative. I don’t want the Voranti drifting helplessly any longer than necessary.”
As Lar’ragos set about carrying out her orders, T’Ser settled back into her chair. “Let’s go find our people."