It’s been over two hours since Chawa’s ultimatum. All of the Lone Star crew have been forcibly removed from the unobtanium plant by the Evolved Paleos and a force shield now surrounds the compound. With the teleporters and our shuttles, we’ve evacuated most of the humans to the Impulsive. The doctor is checking everyone out for any genetic alterations; so far, only J.R. has been affected. Meanwhile, my Chief of Security is being held in the village for training, whatever that means, but Chawa requested it with a promise to return him in enough time for us to warp away, and it’s in our best interests to keep him feeling friendly.
Loreli has stayed behind as well to try to talk Chawa into giving us more time to deal with the Lone Star. However, we are on our own deadline. The Impartial Brilliance is not heeding our warnings, and will be this sector of space in 42.75 minutes. Their captain does not believe the Paleo’s have threatened to close the anomaly; apparently the more logical explanation is that I’m a [explicative redacted] liar. [explicative redacted] [explicative redacted] [explicative redacted] We’re hoping that if they see us high-tailing it in the other direction, they’ll take the Paleo’s threat seriously.
We’re still not been able to communicate with the crew on board the Lone Star, and the ship continues to fire upon us. When our shields hit 70 percent, Minion Gel began firing back as ordered. We’ve seen no effect on the Lone Star’s shields, however. Bobby says they’re powered by the unobtanium generator as well.
Long story short: We can no longer wait for the Lone Star to solve its own problem. We need to disable it and tow it back to the Union side of the universe or abandon it altogether. And we have about 15 minutes to do it.
Jeb clicked off the recording, and spun his chair to look at the Ops and Security station. “So, what’s our status?”
Minion Gel reported, “We’ve been hitting one spot with a heavy barrage. Engineering reports ready to channel a point laser thought the deflector dish to drill through. That should give us our opening.”
Doall said, “Captain Bobby Seip is in Transporter Room Two. He’s ready with the computer virus we’ve made to force the Lone Star’s main computer into a full shipwide reboot. That will give the crew five minutes to disable their weapons…”
“Otherwise, we’ll take them out,” Gel said. He said that last in an accent surprisingly reminiscent of his boss.
“Capt. Seip also has an EMP grenade in case he cannot get the virus to work, and we have one of the Logic’s Cyberblaster torpedoes to teleport through as a third option. It didn’t work on the Cybers, but the Lone Star’s computers are more primitive.”
Jeb gave them both approving nods, then said, “Captain to shuttle bays. Y’all ready to launch?”
The shuttle bay coordinator answered, “Yes, sir. As soon as the Lone Star shields are down, we’ll get in close. If they have problems getting the ship back online, we’re ready to receive their shuttles and escape pods as well as use our teleporters and bring in whatever children we detect.”
“Excellent. Transporter rooms? Chief Dour, are you ready?”
The Teleporter Chief intoned, “The tributes have been prepared, and my mistress shall spin them to thread and pass them through the eye of the needle and reweave them upon their destination.”
In the background, they heard Bobby Seip ask, “Uh…Is that safe?”
“It will be swift and painless.”
Jeb suppressed a chuckle. “You’re in good hands, Bobby. On Doall’s mark, then. All right, people, let’s get to it!”
Just because they only had 15 minutes left to solve the problem, didn’t mean they hadn’t been working on it for the past two hours.