By the time they reach the science facility for the third time, the light is failing. Imogen still has two objectives: dealing with Snowball’s battery situation and getting anything that can help her maintain Saffron. Although they know that someone has already salvaged batteries from the building, it is possible that person did not access the harder to reach rooms. The vines on the facility’s exterior look sufficiently strong for climbing up to reach a broken section of dome. They have the climbing gear with them, so lowering down on the inside would be simple. With darkness encroaching, Imogen is in favor of anything that will speed their work here, and a way in that does not involve moving giant boulders seems good to her.
While Imogen examines the vines, Lilly scans the area for zerg. Through her DORF goggles, she picks up weak electromagnetic signals from the room they will reach via the climb. “There’s a computer on in there,” she tells Imogen.
“Ah! Then there’s power. And there might be records related to the ship!”
Hope there’re no scientists in there, Lilly thinks as she starts up the vines. Some of them pull away from the building exterior. She drops back down and suggests that Imogen, who is lighter, give it a try, and she boosts the Umojan up a bit. Imogen scrambles up to the opening and lowers the climbing gear for Lilly to ascend. Then they quietly drop down into a space that looks to have been a showroom. Power is still running to the large computer built into the wall, but it is also going to a security camera.
The computer is some clunky type that does not operate by voice commands like Umojan ones do, so Imogen leaves that to Lilly to deal with while she sees to the surveillance device. Imogen physically blocks the lens and sets to work uncoupling it from the power so that it will not pick up their activity here. If someone is monitoring the feed, they will learn what Imogen looks like as she pulls the camera down but nothing else.
Lilly tries to log into the computer at the
Exploracorp Science Facility prompt. Her RFID tag does not help her here, which is both a relief and an inconvenience. Unable to get into the system, she looks around the desk area a bit. Under the keyboard, she finds a sticky note reminding the user that the login is
salesrep and the password is
Resocks_are_dumb. Lilly frowns at that, muttering, “Stupid scientists,” under her breath as she stuffs the paper in her pocket. She does enter the information though, and the computer grants her access to the sales interface.
Exploracorp: a world of science! Please select your base model. Then select upgrades.
“Is this what we’re trying to get?” Lilly asks.
“Aye,” Imogen replies as she joins Lilly, having finished disabling the surveillance system. “There are access codes to enable certain features on the ship. The hardware’s all there, but we need to unlock the software. But as for the model… I’ve no idea. Everyone’s just said science vessel. I didn’t know there were different types.”
Lilly randomly selects Class A-10 Raven at first, which the system says is ten million credits. “Does that seem like how much Saffron would cost?”
Imogen shrugs. “Joey Ray said they’re expensive.”
“I don’t know… Raven does not sound right for Saffron.” Lilly clicks through to the floor plan, which lacks Saffron’s three-fold symmetry. She returns to the catalog and finds the Sphere model, which seems better. Even if it is not an exact match, they deem it close enough for their purposes. Lilly finds the interface a real pain to navigate with its constant error messages about unapproved financing. “Now we know why all the monitors were broken,” she grumbles. She finally manages to get it out of the mode for purchasing an entire science vessel so that it will just show the available features.
There are three upgrades listed, but a sales rep is only authorized to enable one without approval from management. Lilly and Imogen look over the options. The first choice, a defensive matrix, would let Saffron project an energy field around a person outside the ship. The sales computer plays a little animation of a marine with shots coming in at him. He remains unhurt while around him his unshielded companions fall. The next option is an electromagnetic pulse that disrupts cloaking devices. The animation for this one shows a pulse radiating out from the vessel and exposing a bunch of enemy ghosts. The final feature is the moebius reactor that is a supplemental power source for the rest of the science vessel’s capabilities.
Imogen and Lilly discuss the possibilities. The defensive matrix would be helpful if they were to use Saffron in support of ground troops. Although they did that once for Raynor’s Raiders, neither of them see that as a recurring occupation. Smuggling seems more likely, given their access to Korhal and their friends’ status as wanted criminals. After all, Saffron is right now loaded with parts for Rory and Li.
“If we’re using Saffron to make extra money, I’m thinking salvage,” Lilly says. “Blast the zerg with the radiation, then run out and grab stuff. Then take off. Don’t know what the EMP would do to zerg…”
“Neither do I, but it can disable cloaking. There’s at least one individual with a cloak who hates us, or at least hates Malorn. At any rate, who we foiled.” Imogen is not sure how much of a threat Neiman is, but privately that is another consideration she is weighing here. “Being able to disrupt someone’s cloaking, even just temporarily, seems like a good idea to me. Having made a potential enemy of Lendasha, I would feel safer with the EMP.”
Lilly agrees, and they take down the access codes after selecting it. The system locks them out of anything further since they do not have a manager login. Lilly looks through the desk for pamphlets that could have useful information about Saffron. She finds a trifold describing the upgrades they just learned about and advertising, “Shipping to Confederate worlds today! Buy one for your local militia!” The back has the address of Exploracorp Headquarters on Tarsonis, the former Confederate capital world. It was completely overrun by zerg with no terran survivors. No one has even tried to go back there, so there might even be good salvage there. However, the Queen of Blades used to keep her primary hive cluster there, so that is another strike against it. Still, a place to keep in mind for future income.
Lilly also finds papers with some purchase order information. The Confederate military had put in an order for science vessels, but the funding was being held up. In addition, there is a separate order from the Sons of Korhal, the precursor to the Dominion, marked “not yet approved, pending funding.” Looks like Exploracorp was playing both sides of the war. Given that Lilly has resoc tattoos from both the Confederacy and the Dominion, so did she. Lilly puts the forms aside, but pockets the paperweight that had been holding them down, a small model of the science facility in its intact state.
Imogen, meanwhile, focuses her attention on the power in the room. The computer is getting energy from somewhere, after all. Following the conduits, she determines that the room is on its own power source. The showroom was kept on a completely separate network from the actual manufacturing systems in the facility. As Imogen fiddles with the powercell, it gives her a shock and then overloads, throwing the room into complete darkness. She fishes out the flashlight that came with the mechanics kit and flips it on, shining it around until the beam hits the caved-in doorway. They do still need to find a battery. “Time to clear more debris,” she tells Lilly.