“Captain, Harland here,” the comm broke Archer’s reverie.
“Roger, Commander, what’s up?”
“The reactor is live, should be full power in about three hours. Lieutenant Brower may be able to start air circulation now. We’ll get other systems as we go.”
“Thanks, Marjay. Anything suspicious on your end?”
There was a noticeable pause. “No, Captain, nothing suspicious. Just a feeling, that’s all.”
“What type of feeling?” Archer asked.
“This room, Captain, is much too orderly. I mean, a lot of activity happened here. Things are spotless, the workstations appear never used, brand new. This station is how old?”
“It was launched ten years ago, fully operational for the last seven,” Archer replied.
“Couldn’t tell it from the conditions here,” Harland said.
“Keep your eyes open, and call if you need anything.”
Archer turned his attention to Lieutenant Brower. “The reactor is powering up, Lieutenant. Harland suggested you star air circulation and get this thing pressurized.”
“Aye, Sir,” Brower said. “I’ll start opening what ship’s logs I can find, sir.”
“Thank you, that will be a great help.”
“Captain,” Lieutenant Nat Armstrong said. “I think it will be time for my men and me to patrol the station.”
“Be careful, Lieutenant. I think you stay in groups of two.”
“Standard procedure, Captain. I will check in every hour.”
The lieutenant left.
Brower turned to the Captain. “I’m not finding any records, sir.”
She shook her head. “I think they’ve be scrubbed.”
Brower punched in codes, no response. “No, sir. Nothing.”
“Any telemetric data? I know that it was transmitting to CentCom.”
The thought energized Brower. She leaned towards another terminal. She jumped excitedly and startled Archer.
“Here it is, sir. All the telemetric data sent to CentComm.”
“When did the life support shut down, Lieutenant.”
Archer watched as Broward scrolled through the data. The images on the display looked like gobbledygook to him. She scrolled.
“Here it is, Captain. The last mention of life is about nine weeks ago.”
“Last mention, Lieutenant.”
“Yes, it’s an annotated reference on a system reading, probably by the systems person.”
“What does it say?”
“It makes no sense, Captain. Unless, of course that was the crewman’s name.”
“Read it to me lieutenant.”
“It says ‘SUNT’ Captain. S-U-N-T, I can check the crew manifest.”
“No need, Lieutenant,” archer said feeling a chill.
“Then does that make sense to you, sir?”
Archer sighed. This was not good. “Yes, Lieutenant, perfect sense. SUNT is Latin for, ‘They Come.’”
“Keep checking for whatever you can find. After that, I’ll need to check the operating system, Lieutenant.”
Archer saw Brower’s face glaze over, “Anything else, sir,” she said softly sarcastically.
Archer realized stepped up Broward’s job description. “Well, not all at once, Lieutenant. For instance, when was the last system update?”
Broward punched a few keys. “That’s easy, sir. Eleven weeks ago.”
“Was it installed?”
“Right away, sir.”
“Is there a way to isolate that update and remove it from the system?”
“I’m sure it is all integrated, sir. I would have to find the original back-up and restart the entire system. It would wipe out all the data as well as any other updates.”
“This station has back-up systems, right?”
“Then take the back-up system off-line. We’ll preserve that memory and you and your team can inspect it. Put the original system on the main system, and you will have to check all the updates before installing.”
“Can I get Baker and Anders over here, sir?”
Archer thought about it. “Who is more detail oriented?”
“That would be Ensign Baker, sir?”
“Well, then, we’ll leave Anders on the Argo II and Baker can comb through the code. You’ll oversee all those operations.”
Brower looked relieved. “Thank you, sir.”
“Lieutenant, I’m not trying to work you the death here. It’s just we cannot continue our mission until we figure things out. I don’t want to be here forever, but with that said, I don’t want any loose ends.”
The comm beeped. “Sir, Harland here. The reactor star up is nearly down. I will start air production. We should be able to breathe normally in about an hour and a half.”
“Thanks Commander,” Archer said. “Is it required that you stay there to complete that operation.”
“Well, technically, no. I could rig things to run from the bridge.”
“Great, as soon as you can get here, I’d appreciate it.”
“Lieutenant, can we communicate with the Argo II?”
Brower punched a few buttons and flipped some switches. “I believe we have comm power.”
“Open a channel, please.”
Commander Bryant came on. “This is Bryant.”
“Ben, this is Ed, our comm is live.”
“Great, Captain. Are things going well?”
“Harland seems to think so. I going to need you to send Ensign Kyle Baker here. We have a lot of code to go through. How are things there?”
“No prob here, sir. Just trying to stay away from asteroids. I’ll be sending Baker on the next shuttle. Shuttle Three should be disembarking you station soon.”
“Tell them to hold until I get there, Ben. I’m coming back for a bit.”
“We’ll talk when I get there.”
The door opened. Commander Harland stepped into the room.
“So, Captain, what do you need me here for?”
“I giving you command of station, Commander.”
“Where are you going?”
“I have to investigate the Tarantula.”
“What? Why would you consider that?”
“The only clues that we found so far is the note, ‘They are coming’ and the one that Brower found in the system. It said, ‘They come.’”
“If you think that anyone at the Tarantula did it, then you might be in danger, Captain.”
“That’s why I’m going alone, Archer said. “Commander, I know you’ll be on the ball here. Do not let Armstrong and his marines push you around. You are in command.”
“OK Commander Harlan, you have the conn.”