Star Trek Hunter
Episode 20: Survival
Scene 11: Passive Aggression
“How is it that we cannot beam aboard a ship that has no power?”
Sela, still clad in her emerald gown, but now wearing black leather deck shoes, was standing in the large hangar looking at the U.S.S. Hunter. It was the smallest manned deep space vessel Star Fleet had ever commissioned – but still far larger than a runabout. It was easily the largest object in the Bestia’s enormous primary hangar, which accomodated several different types of launches, including cargo sleds designed for moving cargo containers that were themselves several times the size of a runabout.
The Hunter had an alien look to it – completely different from traditional Star Fleet designs. The ovular saucer section was perched directly over a broad rectangular foot that contained the ship’s primary nacelle. The dark, flowing exterior of the ship was somehow slick to the touch. Admiral Ekot grimaced as Sela ran her hand along part of the nacelle. There was no friction. The surface was hard, smooth and subtly curved, leaving no straight lines or hard corners. Even devoid of power and life, the ship seemed to be crouched in a menacing pose, ready to spring.
“This ship has very subtle passive defense capabilities,” said Commander Hundeeth. “We are bombarding it with a dampening field, but every time we try to beam a monitor onboard, the transporter signal provides power to a countermeasure system inside the ship that scrambles and deflects the transporter beam. Every time we try to scan the interior, the scanning signal provides power to one countermeasure system or another that scrambles and deflects the scan.”
Sela shook her head slowly. “Can’t we feed it a virus to take down those countermeasures?”
Hundeeth shrugged. “It would be like trying to infect a hunting knife with a computer virus. So far we have encountered well over a thousand independent countermeasure systems. Each one only responds to a certain type of energy and none of them process information. They respond in direct proportion to the power we feed them. When we try multiple, simultaneous attacks, multiple systems respond – each to the unique attack it is designed to counter.”
“Have you tried the door?” Sela asked.
“The skin appears to be continuous. No breaks. Until we can get a sensor beam through that skin, we don’t even know where the doors are,” Hundeeth replied.
“Then how were we able to beam the crew out?”
“Living beings are also power sources. We were able to lock on to them by their bio-signatures. This ship’s countermeasures can prevent us from beaming anything aboard – that requires active scanning. But those systems could not prevent us from locating the crew with a passive scan and beaming them out. I suspect if the ship had power, we would not have been able to do that either.”
Admiral Ekot walked up to the nacelle, touched it where Sela had. "You remain opposed to trying to cut into it?"
"That would interfere with my plans," Sela replied. "I need this ship to remain spaceworthy."
Hundeeth nodded. "Cutting into the skin would be a dangerous operation. It could damage evidence about the ship's design. Given the remarkable number of passive defensive capabilities of this ship, cutting could also trigger a variety of hazardous countermeasures."
“I want onboard that ship, Hundeeth,” said Sela.
“Every puzzle has a solution,” Hundeeth replied. “The limiting factors are time and imagination. My best team is on this.”
“Satisfactory,” Sela said. “But I have other problems I need you to solve. Monitor their progress and inspire them as needed.” Sela turned and walked to one of the many transfer lifts. Admiral Ekot followed her.
Commander Hundeeth waited until the lift zoomed away, then opened his mouth widely, placed the knuckle of his thumb in his mouth and let loose an ear-shattering whistle. Romulans throughout the enormous hangar stopped whatever they were doing and turned. Hundeeth made a quick gesture with three fingers, then with his thumb and several of the people who had stopped hurried toward him.
- * -
Behind a false bulkhead in Justice Minerva Irons’ office inside the darkened U.S.S. Hunter, a small light came on, then began to glow just a little brighter. There was a slight whine of tiny servo motors activating and the glowing ocular implant that had replaced Hugh Mann’s left eye glowed a little brighter, producing just enough light to reflect off the bulkhead and dimly illuminate the pale, rough skin of the borg’s face. The borg’s right eye opened suddenly… His head turned mechanically, sharply, first slightly to the left, then to the right…