(30a) Thirty A

342-1118 to 343-1118

342-1118 : Dulu / Scorpio / Yonder

The Anastasia jumps for Jusk at 12:00.

343-1118 : Jump Space

While in jump, the Captain has determined that Commodore Watson has recovered enough to be woken, so Grand Admiral Sir Bridgehead does so.

There is an immediate debriefing session.

The Captain congratulates the Commodore on her recovery, and expresses appropriate sympathies on the loss of her ship. He then explains that he wants to hear some more about exactly what happened.

The Commodore's story bears out the others. She agrees to undergo "enhanced questioning" using Sir Bridgehead's medications.

Basically, the same story comes through again. She was the one who tried to raise Engineering, and there was no response to the intercom signal at all. It wasn't defective equipment, just that they weren't answering. Under hypnosis, there is evidence of an explosion in engineering -- the First Officer's ship status panel showed an indication of a problem in Engineering. That indication should have been obvious to the First Officer, but he may just have missed it. She describes the panel as she now remembers it -- from her description it sound normal except for the Engineering problem, which cannot be characterized except that it was a minor malfunction, not critical. This could be consistent with the minor explosion that the Anastasia observed, if it were an explosion in a non-critical area.

Fostriades expounds his theories. First, he says, he thought it couldn't have been a built-in fail-safe of the computer, because there had been interruptions of longer length to the drives without causing it to blow up before that. Then they thought it was the explosion in engineering which triggered it, but now the Commodore is saying that the malfunction in engineering (unless the screen was lying) was not of a sufficient magnitude to be considered a threat to the ship. It could, however, have killed the engineers. The conclusion is that the ship did not blow up because of some built-in computer fail-safe.

The Commodore did not see anything else on the bridge that indicated a problem, but she couldn't see the Communications station from where she was.

The First Officer seemed generally relaxed and easy-going, which was her normal behavior. She informed the Commodore of the stutter in the drive, and was the person who said that the jump drive was starting to do things. The First Officer's reactions were normal, nothing odd about her behavior. No-one on the bridge was behaving oddly.

The Computer Officer was monitoring computer operation during the course correction.

The Captain tells the Commodore that the drive could not have exploded in such a way without careful control, and asks whether there was anyone on board who could put together such a program.

She can think of no-one on the Sir Walter Raleigh who could do that. She adds that the completion of the ship was rushed, and that she thinks there would not have been time to put in any self-destruct stuff; it was originally supposed to be a research ship.

The only people who visited her ship who could have done this were the Anastasia's engineers.

The Commodore is brought round and excused.

Fostriades points out that the only person with the opportunity and ability to do it was him, and he knows he didn't do it.

The Captain orders that Fostriades be put under hypnosis. He is asked if he knows why the Sir Walter Raleigh blew up. Fostriades explains the technical cause of the explosion, and that it was done deliberately from the computer with the lock-out of any system that could have prevented it. The Captain asks Fostriades directly whether he caused the explosion, and he says no. He did not touch their computer when they went over to the ship. Gregson was the one who dealt with their computer, and that was some time ago. The Captain asks whether there was anywhere the people on the Sir Walter Raleigh stopped them going -- there wasn't, but they got nervous when he went near the jump drive. Fostriades remembers that the jump drive itself was fine, but there had been a hull breach which caused the jump field to extrude into the engineering section, mostly damaging the maneuver drive thruster plates.

The Captain asks Sir Bridgehead about the insanity caused by jump sickness -- would it be obvious, or could it go unnoticed? Sir Bridgehead replies that it is generally quite obvious. Fostriades adds that jump sickness does not cause engineering skills to rise, and the engineers on the Sir Walter Raleigh did not have the abilities.

The Captain asks who else on the Anastasia could have be able to put the jump drive out of commission. Mich ... and Linda Gregson had the computer skills but it would have to be a combination of those.

"What about Jack," asks the Captain.

Fostriades doesn't know enough about his skills to know. It was very subtly done, and it would have taken exceptional skills to do it.

The Captain thinks they need to talk to Jack next, because that's their next suspect. Jack has never been on the Sir Walter Raleigh, but because the explosion was computer-generated, it need not have required physical presence to do it. Fostriades also suggests talking to Linda.

The Captain asks Linda Gregson to access the computer records and give a complete thorough run-down of all communications access from the Anastasia to the Sir Walter Raleigh that involved any computer programming or data transfer, and who at what location was responsible. She screens out any simple communications that could not have been used to reprogram anything. Of those that were left, who was responsible?

Jump coordinates were transmitted (Linda), course corrections were transmitted (Linda and Chiang Ho). These were the closest to programming -- the course corrections, for example, were sent as direct instructions to achieve the correction.

The Captain asks her to check those transmissions for anything that might act as a worm, bug, whatever.

Linda finds that the first and last course corrections had extra stuff in them -- the first had a lot, the last a small amount.

The Captain requests that Linda submit to hypnosis.

The situation now indicates that Linda is guilty, the Captain says; she found data in the transmissions she sent which are almost certainly what killed the Sir Walter Raleigh. He doesn't think she did it, or she would never have reported finding the data, but...

Linda requests that Joe be present at the interrogation. She arrives and is put under hypnosis.

The course corrections were transmitted normally; those corrections were calculated from sensor readings by the computer.

The Captain asks her if she blew up the Sir Walter Raleigh -- she says she didn't. She says that the extra stuff in the course corrections probably caused the explosion, but she doesn't know how it got in there. There could have been something put in to intercept the course correction and add things to it when it was transmitted. Who could have done this? Linda says she could, and also the person who has been looking at the personnel records of the Captain and Helen. She says that the person who did it had very high computer skills ... it could be Jill.

If there is a saboteur on board, the Captain points out, they are all at risk. Fostriades is asked to keep a close watch on the drives, and Linda the computers.

Linda is excused, under instructions not to tell anyone else about this. She is instructed to go over all the accesses to the records and so on, and try to work out who could have made them; the Captain will help in the routine parts of this. She will also set a software trap in case anyone tries to access the records again. Joe leaves with her.

Mich is now brought in.

The Captain tells him that they know how the Sir Walter Raleigh was blown up -- by someone on this ship, someone who had the computer and technical skills to do it.

Mich says that this pretty much suggests Linda. The Captain says they have cleared Linda. Then it would be Fostriades. They have cleared Fostriades.

"Then that would be me, and I didn't do it," says Mich.

He submits to hypnosis, and says that he did not blow up the Sir Walter Raleigh. He could have done, but getting it by Linda would have been a problem. He explains how simple it would be to do. He assures them that their own Engineering section is just fine. He says that during the course correction transmissions he was in Engineering with Paula and Kara.

What about his conversations with Jill; in his opinion, does she have the technical knowledge to do this? He has no idea.

Mich is brought round.

Fostriades recalls using the babble-juice on Jack, but he just babbled meaninglessly. The Doctor has no better drug available. Fostriades suggests that bean juice may work better.

The Captain is being hailed.

"Hi. This is Linda. Somebody just tried to take over the security systems by the computer but I stopped it."

"Excellent. Where did it come from?"

"I have no idea."

The Captain calls Vana and tells her the ship is under attack by saboteurs. He then asks Linda to locate Jack and Jill; they are in their cabin. He then dispatches Lia to secure that cabin for their protection. Vana is asked to dispatch marines to secure all critical areas and protect vital ship personnel (like Linda).

Vana arranges her marines appropriately; they are using Scorpionis battle language to communicate, and will take orders only from Vana. In turn, Vana will take orders from the Captain, Fostriades, and Mich. She is warned that the ship's security systems could turn unfriendly, too.

When Mich gets to Engineering, he reconnects the medical alert system and then climbs into battledress.

Vana reports to the Captain that all areas are secure, and asks about the nature of the sabotage.

The Captain explains: "Somebody attempted to take control of our security system. Linda Gregson was able to thwart the attempt. It occurred in a particular moment in time when we were engaged in a particular investigative activity that might have uncovered the destroyer of the Sir Walter Raleigh. We have reason to believe that this may be an attempt to destroy our ship."

Vana orders that crew members and other persons on the ship are to remain in their current locations.

"Please be very careful to keep a special watch on our Computer Operator," says the Captain. "There is reason to believe that whoever this is is capable of rigging our computers. Linda may be our only defense against that."

Vana deals with that, too.

The time is now mid-afternoon, ships time.

The Captain makes an announcement: "Attention all crew members! We are experiencing a technical problem of some significance. Please stay at your current location and you will be advised when the situation has been remedied."

Meanwhile, Lia reaches Jack and Jill's room, and soon after another marine arrives to make three marines at the door. The Captain is escorted there. A marine knocks, after ensuring the Captain is the other side of the nearest air-tight bulkhead.

"Come in."

Lia walks in. Jack and Jill are sitting at the table. They have a pack of cards, apparently working on a bridge problem.

"What's going on?"

"We're having a bit of a security problem, actually," replies Lia.

The Captain enters, and walks over to the computer terminal. He sits down on the chair in front of it (it is not warm). He turns to Jack and Jill.

"We have been experiencing problems. Just a few moments ago, someone attempted to take control of our ship's security systems."

Jack and Jill look confused and surprised.

"You, Jack," the Captain continues, "Have been questioned in the past, and at that time you gave us no false answers but neither did you give us much active information. Therefore, and because of your abilities ... and Jill I understand you're quite good with the computer?"


"Yes. We have to rank you high on our list of suspects here. Therefore I'm going to ask both of you to submit to questioning under hypnosis under the direction of our ship's doctor. If you insist this is inappropriate, I'm afraid we are going to have to place you in detention or stasis until we reach our destination."

"Hypnosis would be inappropriate," says Jill.

"OK, then I'm going to have to ask you to accompany me to Sick Bay where you will be placed into stasis for the rest of the trip."

"Um, it wouldn't be possible to merely confine us to quarters?"


"I don't like the idea of being in stasis."

"Perhaps some information you could give us would help us to resolve this problem without doing that."

"It's possible."

"What would make it more possible?"

"Give us some information as to what you yourselves are doing, what your roles are."

"I'm Captain of this ship!" the Captain says, loudly and firmly. "I am trying to get it to its next port intact." He does not appear amused.

"That would be good, yes."

"As the Sir Walter Raleigh was not. I do not intend to have the same thing happen to this ship as happened to the Sir Walter Raleigh."

"That would be nice."

"Am I to understand that you feel that your judgment as to the purposes and motives of our ship in the long term will influence your decision as to whether or not to assist us in getting this ship in one piece to its next port?"


"And if you disapprove of those motives, then you will stand by while the ship is destroyed?"

"No. We have every intention of getting back."

"I see. And how do you intend to get back?"

"Hopefully on this ship," Jill laughs.

"With or without the rest of the crew."

"I don't think the ship could be run by two people."

"How did you end up on that planet?"

"Our ship got shot down."

"Who was on it?"

"Some IFSS people. We were the only ones on the planet at the time."

"And the others were all killed."

"Yes, as far as we know."

"What situation is it that makes it inappropriate for you to be questioned under hypnosis?"

"I don't trust you."

Vana bursts out laughing.

"Is it that you do not trust what you might say to us," continues the Captain, "Or you do not trust what we might ask you to do?"

"I don't trust what you might ask," replies Jill, "And I don't want to risk giving the wrong answer, giving an answer you would not be authorized for."

"Jack, did you blow up the Sir Walter Raleigh?"

"I am not going to answer any questions," he says.

"Jill, did you blow up the Sir Walter Raleigh?"

"I am not going to answer any questions," she says.

The Captain orders that Jack and Jill are to be taken into custody.

Meanwhile, the Captain's battledress has arrived, carried by a handy marine. He is called out of the room and asked to put it on. While doing so, he says that the two are to be taken to Sick Bay.

While Jack and Jill are taken to Sick Bay, the Captain updates Mich and Fostriades, telling them that the two were directly questioned as to the explosion on the Sir Walter Raleigh and they refused to answer. The situation seems to be that of mutual mistrust. He requests that Mich and Fostriades join him in the Sick Bay.

At Sick Bay, the Admiral is there, Fostriades is there, the Captain is there, the marine escort is there, Mich is on the way. Steve Howard (as a former member of the IFSS) is summoned.

The Captain takes Steve aside, and asks him if there is any reason he knows of why a former IFSS agent would be trying to blow up this ship. He asks Steve to conjecture some plausible reasons -- what might have prompted an IFSS agent to blow up the Sir Walter Raleigh?

If it posed a serious threat to the IFSS, or the Imperium, perhaps? The IFSS is not separate from the Imperium, just works for the Imperium.

Would anything that is a threat to an IFSS agent be a threat to the Imperium, or vice versa, or are they separate things?

Separate things. If the interests of the IFSS and the Imperium were diametrically opposed, Steve says he would (as a good IFSS agent) work for the good of the Imperium. This is what he thinks most IFSS agents would do.

"Thank you," says the Captain, "You may accompany your marine back to your quarters."

Fostriades suggests to the Captain that they use his piece of paper to request that they voluntarily submit to questioning. If they refuse, then they are obviously not serving the Imperium.

The Captain returns to Jack and Jill.

"Me understanding," he says, "Is that you are IFSS agents in the service of the Imperium. Is this the case?"

Jill seems to be the spokesman. "Partly. Well, yes, sort of."

"Would you consider yourselves to be in the service of the Imperium?"

"Generally. I really don't think I can answer any further than that."

"We have here some documentation."

Fostriades produces his sheet of scruffy paper and shows it to Jack and Jill.

The Captain continues: "We are now asking you in the name of the Imperium and of the Emperor himself to submit to voluntary question under the ministration here of our Admiral."

"Voluntary questioning, but not under truth drug, but we will help."

"Start helping. Now."

"OK, take the ship back to the Imperium. Please."


"It would be expeditious for us to be able to report back."


"We've been gone a long time. There is information we need to communicate to people."

"What information?" asks the Captain.

"Why not the IFSS?" asks Fostriades.

"They would slow things down and it would take too long to communicate the information."

"You have special ways of reaching the Emperor, don't you?" asks Fostriades.

"Let's just say that we could communicate faster than the IFSS could."

"How do we know that this information that needs to be communicated is being communicated to friends of the Imperium for the good of the Imperium, and for the good of this ship?" asks the Captain.

"I wouldn't say it's necessarily for the good of the ship."

"My basic concern," says Fostriades, "Is that we have no way of trusting you, trusting that you are operating for the good of anything that we consider to be valid, without doing this under truth drug."

"Where you refuse to even admit that you are operating for the good of the Imperium!" adds the Captain. "Some mysterious third party holds your loyalty."

"Technically there's a difference. We are working for the Emperor."

"So are we," says Fostriades.

"Yes, but that doesn't mean I expect you to tell us everything about what you are doing."

"Yes, but I haven't blown up a ship," says Fostriades.

"And," adds the Captain, "We are not on the edge of being pushed out into jump space. It is our belief that you did indeed blow up the ship."

Jack objects to the presence of non-Imperial people in the room. Vana dispatches five more marines to take up station outside the door; when the marines are in position, the two marines in Sick Bay hand their weapons to the Captain and Fostriades and then leave the room.

The Captain says that they will be checking in after a few minutes by radio. Vana instructs her marines appropriately: in the case of firing in there, they are to take the room immediately, leaving the Captain, Fostriades, and Bridgehead alive if necessary.

"Now," says the Captain, "You may have had good and valid reasons to blow up the Sir Walter Raleigh, so we would ask that you reveal them now."

"We're technically not IFSS," answers Jill. "To involve us with the IFSS would force us through a lot of debriefing and it's important that we avoid getting the IFSS too far involved in this."

"How does this involve actually blowing up the Sir Walter Raleigh? I still don't get it."

"The IFSS would probably not take kindly to the independent operations that we've been doing."

"How does this relate to blowing up a ship full of people?"

"Well, it wasn't exactly full of people. It was mostly full of space."

"Are you saying that you blew up the Sir Walter Raleigh because of their connections with the IFSS?"

"Essentially. It would also be nice if you could arrange for Rufus to leave this ship in as unobtrusive and rapid a manner as possible."

"Is Rufus working with you?"

"No. He would object to what we're doing."

"How is it you've let him live so long?"

"Your security is good."

"Basically," says Fostriades, "If you want to get back to the Emperor, you're going to have to be very frank."

"You're going to have to explain to us," says the Captain, "Why we are not subject at any moment to becoming impediments to your progress and therefore one more blown-up ship?"

"Because we need a ship to go on."

"Once we get back in well-traveled space, then. What assurance do we have that we won't become impediments to your progress when we return to Imperial space?"

"That's an interesting question. Very little guarantee, I suppose, from your point of view. Take me to our people."

"Which are your people?" asks Fostriades.

"If you work for the Emperor, where's your warrant?" asks the Captain.

"A good question, isn't it? I don't have one on me. I'm not officially ... the Emperor would probably not be willing to acknowledge that I'm working for him."

"What evidence do you have to present to us that you are?"

"That we're out here."

"Not sufficient," says Fostriades. "The cockroaches were out there too, they're not working for the Emperor. Scorpionis was out there."

"The Butcher of Dulu was there," says the Captain, "Probably a close friend."

"Certainly shares certain attitudes," says Fostriades. "Basically there's nothing you can say not under truth drug that we have to believe."

"I have a suggestion," says the Captain. "I propose the following setup. You do not trust the questions we might ask you under truth drug. Nevertheless, the questions that we want to ask you, would you say that those are questions that you could answer? If you had a way of ensuring that these were the only questions that were asked under truth drug...?"

"What are these questions?"

"Who are you, what are you doing here, who do you work for, and why did you blow up the Sir Walter Raleigh? Do you intend to blow this ship up, and under what circumstances would you blow this ship up? Let me put to you the circumstances I am suggesting. There are two of you. Do you trust each other? Good. We will have the doctor give to one of you a syringe containing a very-fast acting powerful knock-out drug. Your partner will be under truth drug. You now have the ability to answer questions, while your partner has the ability to see to it that you do not answer questions that are outside that range. You do realize, that if your partner is hyper-active with that syringe, we might be back to discussing external stellar space? But this does give you a method of answering questions under truth drug while ensuring you do not reveal anything outside the range of valid questions."

They will pre-approve a list of questions. The syringe will, of course be arranged in such a way that it is nearly impossible to throw. It is agreed that this will be workable, and the Captain calls in Avon to do the writing.

The Captain calls the marines and tells them everything is fine, and that they will check back later. Avon is escorted to Sick Bay by helpful marines, after being bundled into battledress; when he gets there, he is handed a laser pistol before going in the room.

Avon takes up the Captain's position, covering Jack and Jill with the pistol.

Vana makes sure that someone is monitoring environmental conditions in Sick Bay; Paula in Engineering is assigned this task.

Mich checks the history of anything that has been modified in Engineering. Drives and environmental systems check out fine so far. He keeps looking.