“And?” demanded Spartak.
“You aren’t going to like it, boss.” said Silas.
“Spit. It. Out,” he ground out.
“Well, the door on the Engineering deck was locked,” said Silas.
“So I used a crowbar to open it,” said Silas.
“And?” said Spartak.
“Well, the server room was also locked,” Silas said.
“And?” said Spartak, making a rolling motion with his hand, hoping to speed up the explaination.
“I used the crowbar again and found that we have had shut the entire server room down,” said Silas.
“Well, turn everything back on,” Spartak demanded.
“We can’t,” answered Silas. “The power grid is locked out.”
Spartak just stared at him for several long seconds. “How is everything running?” he asked.
“I asked myself the same question,” said Silas.
“Did you give yourself an answer?” asked Spartak sarcastically.
Silas stiffened. “I checked the life support panels in Engineering first and those are operational. I tried to change something on the panel just to check controls and found it locked out. I checked the manual reset, and it has been shutdown and bypassed. I then checked the teleport panel, doing the same thing. Teleporting is down, but the system is up. I then checked the transport tube panel. Same thing,” he said.
“What does that mean?” asked Spartak.
“Whoever did this was thorough,” said Silas. “I checked the secondary controls because the Bridge still had navigational control.”
“Silas!” shouted Spartak.
“It hasn’t been touched,” said Silas.
“What does that mean?” asked Cullen.
“It means we can control the ship, but nothing else,” said Spartak.
“And before you ask, I had the Computer Specialists on the other ships check theirs and all are the same as ours except the Kleponia, which doesn’t have the suites locked out.
“WHAT THE HELL!” shouted Spartak. he then punched a hole in the wall nearest him.
Everyone watched silently. It wasn’t normal to see Spartak this angry.
After a few minutes, Evgen asked the group, “Anyone have any ideas?”
They ran several ideas amongst the group and no one came up with something that work. The systems they needed were not available. Yet, the systems they needed to stay alive were functioning in plain sight, even if they could not change them.
“The thing that has me most worried is the females seemed to have disappeared and we cannot even check the logs to make sure they were not taken,” groused Spartak after scrubbing his face. He snapped his head towards the screen and asked, “Chatura, you do this?”
“What? No!” How dare you!” Chatura sputtered.
“Please, I know you have tried to slip in to take Danielle and suspect that you have taken other females,” snarled Spartak.
“I, I,” Chatura sputtered.
The other men on the call started shouting over each other.
“Quiet!” shouted Spartak. The noise ended. “Not the time, people.”
“No one has seen Mara and Linnea either, and it cannot reach them on their bands. Both are mated,” pointed out Evgen.
“If this isn’t about taking mates, why females?” asked Areson.
“Um, I might have an idea,” said Aengus in a cautious voice.
All heads in the room turned towards him.
* * *
“Well?” asked Spartak.
“A bunch of women met one night two weeks ago at Danielle’s. They said it was to cheer her up and then they kicked me out, saying it was a Girls’ Night, whatever the hell that is,” said Aengus.
“You didn’t think that was strange?” asked Evgen.
“Well, no. Danielle had been hiding in her suite for days after the attack by the angry mob. She needed cheering up,” he said. “Even Mara was there.”
“You didn’t think that was odd that Mara was there?” asked Evgen.
“No. Danielle has been helping us with conceiving,” said Aengus, blushing.
Then it hit Spartak. “Could she really be that smart?” he muttered to himself. Spartak picked up his tablet and tapped a few buttons. “Aengus, it says Mara is an electrical engineer. Is she?” he asked.
“Yes. She built building control systems on Brasik VI,” said Aengus proudly.
“Son of a bitch!” said Spartak, finally seeing the final piece drop into the puzzle.
Evgen realized it at the same time and just started laughing.
Everyone else just looked at him like he was crazy.
He tapped a few buttons on his tablet and tried linking to the monitor so every on the call could see. It failed. “I will have to explain this since I cannot get into the archive,” said Evgen, getting his chuckling under control. Spartak just plopped down in his chair, feeling defeated. “On Earth in 400 BC, there were two countries constantly at war. One called Athens and one called Sparta. The battle between the two countries raged on for years, and no one really won. The Athenian and Spartan females, tired of the constant warring by their mates who would come home for a few days at a time, get them pregnant, and then head back to the battle, decided they had enough of the males’ behavior. No matter what they tried, the males refused to listen to reason. So, the females took a scorched earth policy,” explained Evgen, stopping for dramatic effect.
Everyone started complaining for him to finish, so he added, “Every last female in both nations went on a sex strike. Even the pleasure girls cut the men off. They refused to touch them, cook for them, or clean for them. The men tried to hold out, but after a few days, they realized the females were far more committed, so the Athenians and Spartans agreed to a peace.”
Most of the men looked confused.
“Really?” Evgen said, looking at everyone. “The females have essentially cut us off.”
“That makes no sense,” said Chatura. “We have access to our females.”
“Only the mated men do. Not the unmated men. And all of us are effected by the food limitations. That was the true stroke of brilliance. No one goes untouched.”
There were murmurs of agreement.
“Boy, were they thorough,” groused Spartak.
“Danielle kept telling all of you that females were more than competent and none of you believed her,” said Evgen, laughing again.
“I guess we have to believe her now,” groused Taras.
Spartak pushed buttons on his console and swore when they didn’t work, “Get me a Fleet audio channel,” he snarled at his navigator.
“Sir, I can’t. The panel doesn’t respond,” Adriel answered.
The communications link opened with the customary whistle tones.
“Attention all personnel. I am sure by now, most of you are aware that various services and functions are not available on every vessel. We are in the process of resolving the issue. Please be patient while we work the problem. We will provide an update in two hours on the status. Spartak, out.” He looked at his Fleet officers and asked, “Any ideas?”
“I will keep looking through the code to find where the control programs are highjacked,” said Silas.
Spartak just glared at him. “Anyone else have an idea?”
* * *
The whole crew of masterminds sat around the room watching the security footage from the bridge, laughed and cheered as they heard the audio announcement. Danielle stood and raised her wineglass surveying the group of Emily, her daughter Madeline, Esmee, Linnea, Jada, Choko, Talia, Lada, Mara, Margot, her daughter Heather, Shonda, Circe, and Gusta as well as Beair, Sinni, and Elspeth who they recruited as they put the plan together. “Ladies, this would not have been possible on this scale without each and everyone of you. Now we just need to let them stew a bit,” said Danielle. “Thank you all.”
“All the fire doors are locked and ready for the brute force they are sure to try next,” said Jada after she checked her tablet.
“Let’s see the faces in the Dining Halls again! I knew the fish wasn’t going to go over well,” laughed Circe.
“Let’s see how well they are willing to negotiate in two or three days,” said Danielle, chuckling.
Bethany started cracking up as she looked at her tablet. “Bogd just sent me two emails. The first one was concerned when I didn’t answer his call this evening. The second one just says, “Did you do this?”
“Will he know she looked at the email?” asked Linnea.
“Nope. I have blocked all responses going back to the email sender. They get a NO REPLY message that tells them that the addressee cannot receive emails,” said Jada, smirking. “We figured Spartak would blow up Danielle’s email, so we prepared.”
“Check yours, Mom,” urged Bethany.
Danielle tapped open her email and found Spartaks at the top of the list. “Yes, he sent an email.” She skimmed at and chuckled. She didn’t tell them he threatened to blister her butt when he caught her. “Well, he seems to be a bit miffed.”
The women just dissolved into a fit of giggles.
* * *
Danielle tapped the subnet communications link to the temporary server room on their floor.
Lada answered, “Good morning, sunshine.”
“Hi. You guys have a good night? Everyone safe?” Danielle asked.
“Yes. We had a blip on the forward radar last night. The analyzer indicated it was a meteoroid stream. We checked with Emily, and she did the math and suggested a two degree drift for the next twenty-four hours to avoid it, and then we can shift back to stay on our current course. Once we checked the radar with those parameters, we made the navigation change,” said Lada.
“Awesome. And nothing backward?” she asked
“No. 360 degree line of sight is clear except for that,” said Lada.
“Any freaking out on the Bridge when the course changed?” asked Danielle.
Lada chuckled. “Yeah. I think Cullen is ready to retire. Shit keeps happening on his watch.”
Danielle laughed. “I guess we can try to stagger stuff. Where would he retire to?”
Lada laughed again.
“Anything on the bio-monitors? We threw a lot at them yesterday. Some of them were off the charts for a while. I surprised Spartak’s head didn’t explode,” Danielle said.
“They had settled down by the time night shift started. The bio-monitors only showed a few people over on the Kleponia whose heart rate stayed out of parameters longer than expected,” said Lada.
“Sex or violence, you think?” asked Danielle.
“Not sure. The security cameras didn’t show anything in the common areas. We monitored the comms, but no one asked for help,” said Lada.
“Okay. Let Talia know when they come on. Thanks,” said Danielle, signing off.
A couple of hours later, Danielle’s band buzzed. “Yeah?” she answered.
“I just intercepted a call for medical help. Grennady heard it was a female and declined assistance, said Jada.
“Kleponia, right?” asked Danielle.
“Yeah. I checked the bio-monitor and the heart rate is higher than expected,” said Jada. “I am ready to do the teleporting as soon as you tell me.”
“Okay. Anyone in Medical 7b?” Danielle asked.
“No. Lock it down?” asked Jada.
“Yep. Can you get me right next to her?” asked Danielle.
“Of course. Just tap your band, lay your hand on her and I will grab you both,” said Jada.
Bethany heard the exchange and nodded.
“Okay, go,” said Danielle. She dissolved from sight.
A few seconds later, she popped in next to a woman who was in obvious distress from being beaten and looked several months pregnant. “You want medical assistance?” she asked her.
The woman nodded.
Danielle tapped her band, touched the woman, and said, “Go,” in the space of less than fifteen seconds. The two women dissolved and reappeared in Medical 7b, aboard the Gliesea. Danielle helped her change and got her onto the exam table. “I am Danielle. What is your name?” she asked gently.
“Seraphine,” she said, grunting.
“How far along are you and what happened?” Danielle asked.
“Eight months and my mate is what happened,” she snarled.
“He did this?” Danielle asked.
“Yes. He was mad that there was only fish for dinner. I explained it was the only thing that would come out,” she said, her voice quivering.
“Has the baby been moving?” asked Danielle.
“Some, but not as much as normal,” Seraphine answered.
Danielle activated the medical computer and let it run its diagnostics. She then tapped her band, asking for Jada. “Can you get me, Maria? This is going to take two of us.”
“On it,” said Jada.
Danielle started an IV and gathered blood samples just as Maria appeared. They both looked at the diagnostics and blanched.
“Seraphine, the placenta is becoming detached from your uterus. We are going to need to put you in stasis and do a cesarean section to bring your baby into the world. We then have to stop the bleeding because your body was not ready for this to happen yet. Do we have your permission?” Daniele asked.
“Yes. please save my baby,” Seraphine begged. She grabbed Danielle’s arm and said, “I do not care what my mate wants. Save my baby first, then save me.”
“Understood,” said Danielle.
“Can you work with Jada to get another exam table in here for the baby? It will probably need an incubator,” said Danielle as she started pushing buttons on the Medical Surgeon program.
“On it,” Maria said and got to work.
Twenty minutes later, the Medical Surgeon had opened up Seraphine’s uterus. Danielle reached in and grabbed the baby firmly around the ribs, pulling it from the womb. Maria did a quick check for the expected meconium due to the stress from the violence and suctioned the small amount. Once that was done, Danielle released the infant’s ribs so she could take her first breath.
The baby let out a strong squall as Maria wrapped her in a warmed blanket.
“There, there, little one. We’ve got you. It’s okay, now,” said Maria.
Danielle made quick ties to the umbilical cord and severed it. Maria took the infant over to the second bed and began the medical diagnostics. Danielle then closed the surgical dome and set the procedure list to close the womb. Danielle then hung medication to clamp down the womb so that Seraphine would not lose her uterus or bleed to death. It was going to be a long night, hoping they had gotten to her in time.