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Part of USS Denver: Mission 4: Can’t Come Home Again

Presto, With Malice

Runabout Congo
Current
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Warning. Antimatter injector failure.

The cool, vaguely feminine voice of the Runabout’s Computer interrupted the silent reverie of Lieutenant Araan Ragez. the Orion Science Officer placed his feet back onto the deck (as they had been comfortably propped up on the copilot’s seat) and looked at the flight operators panel. His trip from Corvan II had thus far been uneventful, bordering on tedious; perhaps this little glitch was just what was needed to spark his neurons into firing again.

“Computer,” began Ragez, “why have the antimatter injectors failed?”

Unknown. Routine Level Five diagnostics revealed unspecified issues. Procedure to shut down warp engines was initiated 0.0015 seconds following diagnostic.

“Thanks…for nothing.”

Please restate inquiry.

“Never mind. Cancel inquiry.”

Araan looked again at the Flight Operations panel. Here he was, a lone Starfleet Runabout in the interstellar void, stuck at sublight speeds. Literally years away from the nearest Starfleet outpost. This was not turning out to be his day.

“Display diagnostic results,” said Ragez. Within microseconds, his state board was flooded with data. Numbers, so many of them…most of them he understood, even if only in the peripheral sense. The computer’s analysis, as usual, was spot on; the diagnostic revealed absolutely nothing of value. Results listed as inconclusive. “What are my options, Computer?”

Please restate inquiry.

”There has to be a reason for the failure of the antimatter injectors. And yet the diagnostics are only reading an unspecified malfunction.”

Affirmative.

The Orion drummed his fingers on the arm of the cockpit chair. As long as the diagnostic board read a problem in the injectors, said injectors would remain shut down. There was only one way to get around that, but it was risky; and until he had more information, it was a risk Araan was unwilling to take. 

“Computer, when was this runabout’s last software update?”

”<i>Runabout Congo received a software update seven hours before departing the orbital complex at Corvan II.</I>”

”And did that include updates to diagnostic protocols?”

”<i>Affirmative.</i>”

Checkmate. There was the problem, just as plain as the smirk on his face. The Dominion had been stepping up its digital and computer warfare game as of late…it was precisely the reason that Araan’s small team had gone to Corvan in the first place. Starfleet had noted that world’s defensive grid was aging, and used computer Systems that could be considered vulnerable. The Computer Science team had seen to those badly needed upgrades to protect one of the Federation’s key dilithium suppliers. Two other Starfleet facilities had been infiltrated by Dominion-designed malicious programs that masqueraded as standard diagnostic updates; resetting the systems had been fairly straightforward. 

“Computer, suspend all routine diagnostics.”

”<i>Procedure is not recommended.</i>”

”Override. Authorization code Ragez five six delta victor.”

”<i>Diagnostic Override confirmed. All systems back online.</i>”

”Resume course for the Denver. Warp factor five.”