I’m standing in the corridor, a cold mist chillin my legs and still can’t believe it. Part of our cargo had gotten up and walked away. Worse yet it had walked out and fragged the control mechanism on the air seal for the pod access. Didn’t we have enough trouble? We’re dead in frikkin space. The ship is tore up. Now, a bunch of psychopaths are loose in the ship. Could it get any frellin worse? I bite down on that thought as ways occur to me.
I thumb the comm. “Boss, did you copy that? We have guests, and they have at least a ten minute jump on me.”
Terry is quiet. His pauses are getting on my nerves. We need to do something. “Boss?”
*Acknowledged. I was trying to pull the access log, but the system is on conservation mode, so all the door monitors are shut down. There’s only three places they’d try to go—the bridge, the hanger, or engineering. Main bridge access is always locked down and the lock can’t be hacked.*
“They won’t know that. They’ll probably try. Do we tell the crew?”
*Mmmm. Tough. If we announce it ship-wide they’ll be warned. Use private comms. Tell Felix and Hilda, and have them meet you and me at the main bridge access.*
*What about the others?”
*I’ll call them. Better move. Who knows what kind of nut jobs we have on our hands?*
“Copy that.” Frell. I punch the number for Felix’s private comms. It buzzes once.
Felix’s voice, icy and level speaks. *Online. Your query?*
“Felix, we have intruders—victs from one of the external storage pods. I’m guessing five or six. They broke out of cryofreeze.”
What the Frell? “And they’re probably dangerous. We need to catch them.”
There is a short pause. *Alive or dead?*
“We don’t get paid for dead victs.”
*Understood,* the tone is flat, even for Felix, like he’s disappointed. *Has Terrence sent personnel to guard the armory?*
Spit. We didn’t even think about the armory. How do you hijack a ship without weapons? Damn it, I hate when a frelling robot is smarter than me. “No. I—”
*I am now enroute to the armory. Advise issuing a code 4 lockdown. All comms should be switched to scramble channel B. This channel is now considered compromised—discontinuing communication. Have a nice day.* The comm-line goes dead.
Damn it. I stand in the corridor like a drek for brains. Where to head? The armory is the most logical place to go. They can’t move around the ship butt-naked without keys though. They need clothes. They need systems access. What’s close?
Med-bay! Spit. I thumb the comms over to secure and call Terry back. “Boss, change in plans. Heading to the med-bay. Felix is headed for the armory.”
“Yeah, stoopid robot.”
*It does make sense.*
I grunt. “I’ll report in a sec.”
I skid around the corner to the med-bay access and punch the door-lock and get nothing. I punch the over-ride. The door hums, vibrates, but doesn’t move. Drek. Guess that answers that question. I pop the latch on the manual seal, and start cranking. I pop the door enough to peek inside. Not much movement. I crank the door the rest of the way.
The doc and her assistant are missing. We do have some unexpected guests in the infirmary. Two crew are stripped to their skivvies and tied to the two operating tables with surgical thread. Both look like they’ve been worked over pretty good. They need medical attention. Too bad the medic is no-doubt a hostage now. One of the computer consoles hangs in pieces. One of the infirmary data-jacks has also been fragged with. There’s a lot of blood on the floor. Enough to make me guess they must have run resistance into somewhere.
My comm. bleeps. “Yeah?”
*Find anything?* Terry asks.
“Yeah, this deal just keeps getting better and better. They’ve already hit med-bay and moved on. They’ve been fragging with the computer access. Sanchez and Smith are in here knocked out and tied up with surgical thread. I think one of the victs is gimped though.”
*From who? I haven’t heard from Bengal. Fingers and Hilda are up on the conning deck dealing with our other ‘little problem’.*
“Unknown. I do know we have a much bigger issue now.”
*Why is that?*
“Mac has access to nearly the whole ship. They have her and her key… they can go anywhere they want now…”
Continued in … Voyages of the Solomon Grundy — Clive’s Journal (Part 6 – Arachnophobia)