Carter grunted. “Keep track of it, stem the damage if you can. Give me a sit rep when you figure out what its purpose is and how far it's gone.”
“I'm on it right now Sergeant.”
“You'd better be Logan.”
Will spun around in the weightlessness and looked at the crew floating behind him “Roger that.” He said, “You heard him boys, keep an eye open.” Will said to the rest of the assault team.
The other dismounts straightened their backs, anchored themselves and got a better grip on their weapons. The situation had just gotten more tense.
Rob keyed his mic. “The ports were opened on our end from a datapad somewhere on board the Bethesda. I'd suggest once we have everyone corralled we start confiscating their datapads. I can make my way to Will and try to figure out which one sent the packet.”
“Start making your way there.” Carter said. “Keep an eye open for anyone Will's team may have missed, and be careful.”
“Will do Sergeant. I'm on my way now.”
Will keyed in. “Roger Rob. John, we're in the corridor to the bridge. Picked up two more stragglers from their bunks in crew quarters. We're up to fourteen crew accounted for.”
“Hopefully the rest are on the bridge. I want you to be extra careful on that bridge hatch Will, it could be rigged to blow.”
“Wouldn't be the first time.”
“True.” Carter said. “Let's not make it the last.”
Will got up to the hatch and looked it over. “Well, how are we going to do this?”
Kevin drifted forward. “Get back.”
Will and the others moved back and directed the Bethesda's crew further down the corridor.
Kevin looked at the seam, brought himself low and passed his finger along the edges of the frame, then maneuvered with his hands to the center of the door. He quickly and unexpectedly pulled the lever on the hatch.
“Kevin!” Will yelled as him and the others got as far back as they could in the weightlessness; some going for cover behind bulkheads.
Kevin hung in the air in front of the door as it hissed and popped open, splitting into two sections that slid their separate ways to reveal the passage to the bridge. “Well, we're still alive.”
Will shook his head. “You're so talented. I'm surprised you haven't killed yourself yet.” he said as he pushed off the wall and passed Kevin.
Kevin pondered on it briefly. “So am I.” he said before propelling himself behind Will.
Will brought his weapon to bear. “Head up gun up boys, we don't know what's in here. Cody, you stay back with the crew, Michael, Andrew and Kevin, you're with me.”
“Uh.” Doug keyed in on the mic from the turret. “Sergeant, one of my consoles just did something weird.”
Chris looked over his gunners lap. “Which one?”
Doug shook his head. “I don't know, I caught it from the corner of my eye. This is making me nervous. I say we charge the capacitors just in case we lose everything. We can still fire at least one round manually.”
Carter nodded. “Doug, good idea. Charge now.”
Doug sighed with relief and typed in the commands. The capacitors in the neck of the ship squealed as they passed through the audible spectrum of frequencies and then whined to a crescendo of pitch far beyond the eighteen thousand hertz of human hearing. “Reaching seventy eight percent.”
Chris nodded. “Almost at max.”
“Holding at 90.” Doug said.
Carter watched the symbols of his men as they turned the corner and began entering the bridge.
“John, we've got the rest of the crew here. Scanning now.”
Carter looked at his display to see the remaining members populate. “Good.”
Will keyed in again. “I'm going to bring them back to the crew quarters. Captain's not very happy with it, but he can suck a dick until we find the mole.”
“Roger that Will.” Carter leaned over the console and looked down the conduit to Logan. “Logan, what's the situation with the virus?”
“Well, believe it or not, we're lucky that we have such an old boat. The virus can't navigate through the system as quickly, and misses some file systems altogether. Our system is a lot older than what it's designed to infect. So far I can tell it's main purpose is to kill drive functions. Mostly involving moving to FTL. This is, as far as I can tell, the only core ship system that's been affected on our end. Aside from that, it's eating file directories along the way, so our interfaces wills tart shutting down if I can't stop it.”
“So we have no FTL.”
Logan sighed again. “That's right, no FTL. Not until I figure out how to stop this thing.”
Carter started thinking of options. He found few when suddenly another problem donned on him. “Do you think you can get the Bethesda back online? If we can't get systems online they're going to run out of air.”
Logan thought for a moment. “Yeah, I think I can get the Bethesda running if I can rebuild the file system and copy some basic functions from the Zephyr.”
“Start on it now.” Carter said.
“With all do respect Sergeant, It'll have to wait until I isolate the virus.”
“Understood, let me know when it's taken care of.”
Doug keyed again. “Flickering again here. I think I'm losing some functions.”
Chris came in directly after. “Yeah, I'm losing access here too. The gun's going to manual.”
Lights on the Zephyr began to flicker, then went out altogether. An emergency backup system kicked in, and the crew were bathed in red light.
Carter slammed his fist into the console. “Logan!” He yelled.
“I'm trying.” Logan said, his fingers flashing over the keyboards as he attempted frantically to cut off the virus as it spread through the system. “It's going too fast.”
Carter watched his commanders display flicker and go dark. “I just lost my console Logan.”
“I know, it's eating your file system as we speak. I forced it there on purpose.”
“What?” Carter yelled. “Why?”
Logan's eyes were bloodshot as they jinked from one screen to another. “Because I was able to use that directory as a bottleneck and -” He slammed his finger on a key. “Gotcha. The virus is isolated.”
“Can you get me back up?” Carter asked.
“Sorry Sergeant, the damage that's done is done. It would take months for me to rebuild the system, not to mention I don't think we have the programs on hand to re-install.”
Sitting in front of a black screen, Carter felt helpless. “Will.” he said over the means.
“Send it.” Will responded.
“At least we still have comms.” Carter said. “What's the situation.”
“I've gotten everyone into the crew quarters section. Rob just showed up and he's starting to go through datapads. There are a lot of them though.”
“Not only that.” Rob said. “There's no way for me to be sure which one sent the commands, I'm just hoping he left something for me to find.”
“Sergeant.” Logan said.
“I've got good news. I can send a data packet to the Bethesda that will re-instate gravity and basic lighting along with some life support systems.”
Carter nodded. “Do it now.”
“Will.” said Logan over the mic. “Get ready for some gravity.”
“We've got our boots on the ground Logan, hit it.”
“Here she comes.” With the tap of a key, the files were sent and installed into the Bethesda's database, hidden in an old file format that would elude the virus.
Everyone on the Bethesda could feel the hull shudder as the reactor began its start up cycle. They felt the uncomfortable and disorienting pull of the gravitational field as it realigned itself to create the illusion of earths gravity.
“Here comes the lights.” Logan continued.
Until now, the crew of the Bethesda had only been able to hear and briefly see the NOVA team as they were lead by them in complete darkness. It took a few moments for the red emergency lighting to get bright enough for the dark silhouettes of the armored men to come into view.