Et Tu, Brute?
Brenan flipped open his communicator as he and the small team of security officer's he'd assembled met up as close as they could get to the opening security doors. The wall console told him they were getting dangerously close to engineering now.
"Hel," He said, flipping open his communicator and hearing the familiar chirp,"Any luck getting passed this security override?" He asked, motioning for his men to follow him forward.
"Not yet. Someone snuck a very, very nasty lockout in. I - ... Whoever did this, they're smarter than me." Hel replied, sounding a hint of exasperation in her tone. "It's in so deep and spread across so many systems I basically need to roll back the OS. This means space dock time. External power, external life support, you name it."
Hel pause. "Or an umbilical to a donor ship. I could make that work."
"Exactly what do you mean by donor ship?" Ro piped up mid conversation. She'd been quiet thus far as she made her way to the diplomatic quarters. "Is that Helese for are there any nearby ships that I don't like and would wish this lockout upon or is it something less banal?"
"Functional ship comes alongside, we attach an umbilical cable, they provide us with power, basic computer functionality and life support while I reset and roll back our systems." Hel explained. "Benefit over spacedock is that we're not tying up a spacedock and we can do it right here without having to fly anywhere. Drawback is that we'll be tying up another ship for - well, as long as it takes me to solve this whole mess."
"Day? Two days? Right now I don't know." The pale engineer replied truthfully.
"Ah, okay." Ro bit her lip, groaning inwardly at the thought that she'd have to ask some other CO if she could completely tie up his ship for a bit. She knew that Gary would if he was still in dock, but- it was Gary. That was a whole other set of problems just waiting to come crashing down. "I'll see what I can loop for you as soon as I'm done calming down our ambassadors. They're throwing a hissy fit over the explosion. Insisting that it's a death squad out to get them."
"Wasn't a very competent death squad then." Hel mused.
"Maybe they were requisitioned by the same people that keep rotating my staff. Thought that they needed snippers, not snipers. Maybe a couple of trained monkeys. A mime. Few explodey bits. Oh, and an expert hacker just for you because Starfleet loves you, Hel." The CO mimicked a noisy kiss into the communicator. "That was from them to you. Let's just solve this thing, okay?"
"I'll put in a formal request with Starfleet that next time the ensure we get a competent murder club coming after our passengers, okay?" Brenan quipped over the line. "Wyse, any chance we're not being jammed?" Brenan asked over the comm.
"Not even a slim one, sir." Kehoe replied from his console where nothing but a high pitched whine was coming in from the station.
"Formal request to - ... Have I told you yet I love the way you think?" Hel's amused voice sounded over the comms. " ... Right. Shutting up and concentrating on the job at hand now."
"That would be appreciated!" Brenan replied. Their flirtatious meeting had been fun, to say the least, but if it was going to put a damper in their ability to work together, Brenan would have put a stop to it.
"Richards, manual override?" He asked as his security officer popped off a hatch to look pull the manual lever that would pump the door open.
The man shrieked, went stiff, and fell over, his hand smoking and burned badly.
"Dammit!" One of the other officers yelped, dropping down beside them. "He's out cold, sir. I think he was electrocuted." He replied.
Brenan looked into the hatch and cursed quietly as little blue arcs of electricity danced across the surface sporadically. You wouldn't see if unless you inspected the handle, which no one would in a high speed situation like this, it was all muscle memory and ship knowledge.
"Get him to sickbay," Brenan said, frowning as he lost two of his men - one to the shock, the other to take him to sickbay. "Hel," He said, back to the communicator, "They've charged the manual levers somehow. I need you to get hatch... 2829 open, ASAP," He said, urgently.
"Charged the manual levers? How?" was Hel's reply. "Can you find out how? As in, what they draw the power from? I'm sending over Anubis to assist you - he can help."
"I'm not sure," Brenan said, looking through the hatch at the recessed level. "I can't see anything that looks like it's directly charging it. Also... who is Anubis?" Brenan asked, running through the crew roster again in his head and being unable to bring that name to mind. Maybe she gave her crew nicknames?
"Little autonomous robotic assistant. Equipped with a full tricorder sensor suite and programmed him with basic diagnostic functionality and problem-solving capability." was Hel's reply. "He'll be able to help. Also, he'll be able to get to you far quicker than I am."
Brenan narrowed his eyes, but shrugged, "Great, well get the little clunker down here ASAP. We need to get through here," He said, urgently. He pulled up a display on a wall computer and frowned, "Our would be saboteur is getting way too close to engineering for my comfort," He admitted.
"Anubis should be arriving at your location any time now." Hel spoke. True to her word, not a moment later there was a chitter and a click click sound from a nearby air vent grate. The grate popped out and out clambered a six-legged spiderdrone, the shell intricately painted with a close-up of a grassy landscape with a skull lying in it.
The bot quickly scanned the assembled officers, determined Brenan to be the highest ranked one and offered a chirp and a salute with one of its spindly, segmented legs, followed by projecting a holographic question mark in the air.
"Uhm..." Brenan looked around to his men who all shrugged, confused as well. "Anubis, we've got a manual override lever that's been charged somehow. It's got enough voltage to incapacitate a man, so we can't manually open the door. Can you get the charge cut, or open the door somehow?" He asked the little drone.
Anubis paused a moment, remaining silent while it parsed the request in its logic processor. Then a bleep and a chirp, as the bot turned towards the door and raised itself up a few inches more, aiming its sensor suite at the door control system. Another brief moment of hesitation followed by another holoprojection.
This one a bit more intricate than just a question mark, it showed a set of hands removing the control panel, followed by a set of hands lifting the spiderbot up and holding it close to the exposed circuitry.
"Okay, sure," Brenan said, nodding and stepping over to pop off the control panel before bending over and hoisting the little droid up to look inside.
Thus elevated, Anubis spent a moment scanning the revealed circuitry, a small holoprojection of two spinning gears playing as it did. After another moment the little bot reached forward with a claw and snipped a wire. With deliberate movements it grabbed the now loose wire and touched it to a nearby contact.
With a fizzling sound and some sparks flying parts of the control panel burnt through, as evidenced by a sliver of smoke now rising from the panel. Its work now done, the little bot gave a triumphant chirp and projected a hologram of a hand activating the manual lever again.
"You better be right about this, or you'll further my dislike of spiders," Brenan said, seriously as he deposited the little spider bot on the floor and knelt down next to the panel and reached in.
He paused before he touched the handle and took a deep breath, then dropped his hand on it. He chuckled a bit and sighed as he started cranking the lever, "Good job, spider dude." He said, nodding to the little robot behind him as the door started to open.
"Hel, we're through. Anubis is awesome," He told her. "I think he grounded a cable in the door release panel, and it discharged whatever was charging the manual lever," He explained.
"He grounded a c- ... Hmmm." Hel sounded puzzled. "What color cable? What was it connected to and what did he do with it?" she then asked.
"Ah... it was a green cable," Brenan replied as he stood back up now that the door was mostly open. "Looks like it was routed through... power relay A17. He just jammed it into a contact and it fizzled out. I assumed he was bypassing something to ground it," He explained.
"... Standard type 74 door control panel doesn't Have a green wire on A17." Hel offered. "Explains why Anubis just started rewiring it, he must've found the wire and noticed it didn't belong there. So whoever our saboteur is, must've had the know-how to rewire control panels as well as the time to do it."
A slight pause. "I hate to say it, but that suggests engineering or ops." the chief engineer admitted.
"Shit..." Brenan grumbled under his breath. "Wyse, set up a secured channel with you, me, Hel, and the Captain," He said, urgently.
"Your ongoing security is important to us, please hold the line." Kehoe said as he punched the encryption algorithm through his console, tapping a little ditty on the microphone as he did so. "Channel secure."
"You know that'd make a lot of sense, Wyse." Ro piped up. "The constant influx of crew? That's a great cover to slip in saboteurs and not be able to trace them easily with all of the in and out."
"Oh yes!" Kehoe suddenly stood up, sending his chair flying a couple of feet back and landing on the deck plating with a clang. "You're right, you're right, you're right. And you know what, sir? When you're right, you're really right! And I'll tell you something else, when you're right you really help me to be really right!"
He was furiously tapping away at his console, pulling up files and scrolling through personnel assignments at what seemed to be an impossible rate. "If we pull the files of every erroneously placed crewman, translate that across to the locator of each console the commands were put in on and-" The communications officer broke off mid-sentence as his train of thought had clearly been going faster than the computer was able to keep up. "-boom. It tells us the location where each entry was made."
"The physical alterations to some of the doors suggest that the saboteur was one of the station staff though." Hel piped up. "I mean, they would take time to do and can only be done when there isn't much traffic in the corridors. That would rule out the very busy final few days of getting the ship ready to go, which is also when my staff arrived."
Ro grumbled something low under her breath about the turbolift. "Could be more than one. Could be people using misinformation to throw us wild leads. Let's not speculate, folks. We've got to hammer facts, not chase rabbits. If we have evidence pointing to station staff, tag it and work it. Crew on board? Do the same. We apparently have time while mildly listing and previously on fire, so let's do what we can with it while this window is open. I don't want to get fixed and moving then find more traitors, 'kay? Wyse has coordinates. Brenan has lockouts. Hel, you've got malfunctions. Start drawing me parallels."
"Coordinates, coordinates, co-ord-in-ates." Kehoe was half-singing as he pulled up the coordinates and pushed them around on his screen, trying to find somewhere on the station that they married up with. "I'm going to find you." He was still speaking aloud, although there was no sign he knew that.
Anubis started chirping and tweeting along with the melody, dancing a bit as far as a six-legged spiderdrone could dance.
"Click, click, click, chirp, chirp, chirp. Ready or not, here, I," Kehoe stopped and stared blankly at his screen for a moment. The extrapolation had placed the computer twenty feet off the outer hull of the station, "don't come. Give me a minute, give me a minute. I was never good at hide and seek."
"Ohh, Wyse, you'll fit right in here." The commander took a deep breath and let it out slowly, priming herself for the paranoia fest that Gail had warned her about. "I'll keep an ear on the channel, people, but I'm just outside the ambassadors' quarters now and I don't want to panic them further. Keep being wonderfully productive."