(15) Light in the Black

The Misha Campaign (108-1121)

108-1121 : Zett / Klarn / Foreven

    The crew of the H.M.S. Third Eye plan to investigate the unopened ship...
    Robert Morris, of course, is currently in what Grand Admiral Baron Bridgehead reports is another fish oil trance.  Presumably something triggered it -- there's always something that triggers these episodes -- but determining what that was on this occasion will have to wait until he comes around.
    Mich Saginaw is most emphatically not going along.  He's not going in any mind-sucking Joe ship that hasn't been explored before.
    Helia Sarina wonders if Robert is passed out because he's having subvocal communication with mind-sucking Joes that are still in the ship.  "What do you think, Mich?"
    Mich contemplates how powerful a psi helmet he could build.  He's already improved on the standard issue, and is sure that his design would even protect him against the attacks on Gorram.  He thinks for a while, and decides to risk it -- the attraction of the new ship overcomes his fear of psionics.
    So that means Misha Ravanos, Helia, Ed "Shark" Teeth, Mich, and Teri Cralla leave the Third Eye to enter the mystery ship.

    As decided previously, Shark is permitted to do the honors of opening the inner airlock of the black ship.  He is wearing his zack, using the faceplate because he's concerned about the air quality inside the ship.
    Shark operates the hand crank to open the inner door.  There is no audible hiss, so the air pressure is roughly the same inside as out here in Arm A of the station.

    It's dark inside the ship.  Shark wishes for light, but nothing happens.  He turns on his flashlight instead.   Misha sniffs the air.  Oddly enough, it smells fresher than the air in the station.
    The layout seems exactly the same as the other ship of this type.  They're looking in at Engineering.
    The group start looking around, cranking open every door they come to.
    Engineering looks intact.  There's even some handheld equipment hanging on the walls in various places, which was not there in the other ship.  Mich guesses it's diagnostic equipment or similar.
    Shark observes that this ship has not been looted -- no human has been here before, he says.  They are the first.
    Misha's plan is that they should stick together until they do a general search of most of the ship.  Then they can split up and look into the details.
    Shark suggests starting at the tail of the ship, which was the solarium, and then make their way forward to the bridge.
    Helia thinks real hard.  She wants the ship to move, hover, whatever.  She feels no movement, and looking outside confirms that it has not moved.  Thinking the lights on doesn't work for her either.  Helia has her necklace on the outside of her zack.

    The first thing they notice is that the layout of the gardens in the back is slightly different from the other ship, although the plants seem similar.  None of them recognize the plants, although they're nothing exotic.  Mich notes that they also aren't the same plants they saw on Digitis.  Like the other ship, the garden area is enormous -- about three decks high, and about 30m long.
    Underneath the gardens is the hangar.  Empty on the other ship, this one contains a vehicle.  It's about 20 tons, a little larger than an Imperial gcarrier.  Probably the closest equivalent would be a launch.
    Shark is afraid that the presence of the vehicle indicates that the crew of this ship did not escape.  He's expecting to see bodies somewhere on board.
    They now make their way back forward from engineering.  The electronics shop is fully stocked -- there is some wiring, but no power cords or outlets.  There's an engineering shop, science labs: all fully stocked.  There is also a sickbay; the medical beds are sized for humans.
    Teri continues to record everything with her battledress camera, for later uploading to the Third Eye.
    The staterooms contain no personal items or clothing, but do have some bed covers and so on stacked away.
    Mich observes, "It's like someone ordered this, brand new, and it's just delivered."
    The armory is stocked.  It contains quite a range of weapons.  There are some blades, which are mostly curved and about half a meter long, like a small cutlass.  The grips of the weapons are fashioned to fit human hands, four fingers and an opposable thumb.
    Shark says, "There's human people in here, just like I said, just not Imperium."
    Some of the firearms are clearly conventional chemical propellant slugthrowers; some are energy weapons of some sort.  All the weapons have triggers, whether a hook type or small stud.  They also have obvious safeties.  Mich notes with relief that these weapons would not fit the cockroaches.
    Mich is surprised to see that there are no vaccsuit lockers on the ship, and nothing resembling battledress.  The closest to that -- the only obviously wearable items -- are some gravbelts.  Mich says, "So they're never worried about a loss of pressure in the ship.  If there isn't even a vaccsuit locker..."
    Shark says, "We haven't tested a zack in space."  He adds, "No, I'm not volunteering."
    "But since there are airlocks, they do need atmosphere."
    "And the ship does leave atmosphere."

    They continue through the ship.  There are no personal effects on board, but the two cargo holds do have a lot of containers.  The galley is stocked, but there are no pictures on the labels, just ideograms.  It's the first lettering they've seen, since all the control panels in engineering and so on were blank.
    Shark laughs, "The key to translation: beets!  Rosetta kitchen!"

    The ship does have both low berths and emergency low berths.  They are not occupied, and the mechanism is not at all obvious -- while they are human sized, they are sufficiently different from Imperial technology that they can't say for sure whether they're designed for humans.
    The ship also has sensors and communicators, as they had expected from the other ship.  Again, everything is quite miniaturized.
    The missile bay is full.  Mich recognizes the warheads -- they're identical to the nuclear warheads on the Anastasia.

    Shark says, "Everybody without a helmet, all together now, let's turn on the lights!"
    Nothing happens.

    Finally, they reach the bridge.  It's intact -- there are no big holes in this ship.  Missing from the other ship would be a section of hull skin, some floor, and some consoles.
    Helia immediately sits down in the pilot seat and plays with the blank console.  No matter what she tries -- or thinks -- it does nothing.

    Leaving the commdots on so they can communicate with each other, they split up to explore the ship.  Of course they can't raise the Third Eye from here, but they can at least back each other up.

    Misha stays on the bridge, watching Helia try all the seats, including the command dais, and play with whatever she can.  The bridge is enormous, vast windows surrounding it.

    Shark returns to what he continues to call the Rosetta Kitchen.  He examines closely the containers in the cabinets.  Unfortunately there's no obvious way to open them... there's no seam, no buttons, or anything else.  Twisting the container causes it to flex, but nothing else.

    Mich notes that there are no maintenance or access panels for the consoles.  They just sit on one stalk, like a one legged table.  This is true on the bridge as well as here in engineering.  The only thing with any sort of panel is the square box, less than 2m on a side, with the small hinged panel that reveals two metal prongs behind it.
    In the various shops, the cabinets contain less spare parts than he would expect.
    The only thing that looks somewhat out of place is in the electronics shop, where there is a rack of 36 black tubes, in a six by six arrangement.  Mich pulls one out.  It's a simple black cylinder, with a two prong socket on one end.  It looks like it would fit the plug on the box.  The cylinders are not giving off any emissions.  These cylinders were absent on the other ship -- but then many things were missing on the other ship.  There were no radiation shielding gloves or anything like it in the area, nothing to indicate that any sort of protection would be needed when using them.
    Mich calls Misha on the commdot.  "I've found something that matches the other end of the big box in engineering.  There's 36 black tubes, about 20 cm long.  They have a socket that would match the connection on the box."
    Misha takes very little time to get to engineering.  He seems quite eager to see what happens when the tube is plugged in.  On the way, he tells everyone about the tubes Mich has found, and what they intend to do with them.

    Teri stands by to pull Mich out if anything happens to him.  Mich plugs the tube into the box.

    The end face of the rod turns red.

    There is a brief discussion about what to do now.  The tube seated firmly, and can't be twisted or pushed.  The red end is not hot, just a different color.
    Shark says, "Lights!"  Nothing happens.
    Misha asks Helia if anything has happened on the bridge.  Nothing has.

    The end of the rod turns blue.

    Mich considers the situation.  The hinged panel is pulled to one side to insert the rod, and the rod doesn't go far enough in to close the panel.  Clearly the normal operating condition is not with a rod in place.  He goes back to the electronics shop to fetch another rod.
    When he comes back, the original rod is still blue.
    Mich unplugs it.  The end of the rod is still blue.
    He plugs in the next rod, and immediately the end turns red.  As Mich watches it, the end turns blue after about a minute and a half.

    Mich continues to cycle the rods.  The ninth one does not turn red when plugged in.  The next one, however, does.  He keeps changing them out for a while, muttering something about rechargeable flashlights.  The 20th one also does not turn red, as well as the 23rd.  When the 27th rod turns blue, the lights come on.  Mich changes out the rod; the next one stays red rather than turning blue, and remains red when removed.

    Helia announces, "The lights have come on.  So have the consoles."  The panels in front of her are unreadable, but show lots of red everywhere.  She continues, "I don't think any other systems are up."
    "Good!" says Shark.
    "Do you want me to just see if we can get anything running?"
    "No!" comes the chorus.  Shark heads for the bridge.

    Helia examines the console in front of her, trying to figure out the layout.  She looks for something that looks like it might be the map system.  She makes a guess and touches a control.
    It seems to have been the right guess.  A holodisplay comes up in front of her station, showing a star chart.  She reaches into the display, and finds that she can in fact trigger some response by touching items in the display.  The chart is recognizable as the local area, centered on Zett.  She starts scrolling the display around, trying to find out what areas might be covered that aren't on Imperial charts.
    Shark enters the bridge and notices the display.  Helia warns him not to come near it.
    Shark tells her to move away from it.  Now.
    Helia refuses.
    Shark shoots her with a tranq dart.  Unfortunately he'd forgotten she was wearing her zack, and the dart has no effect.
    Helia says, "Look.  I'm not going to do anything else."
    "Back away from it now!"
    "No.  I'm not doing anything dangerous.  It's a map!"  She calls Misha.  "Boss, he won't let me work with the map.  I'm trying to find out if it has any regions of space we don't know.  I'm not doing anything.  He's shooting darts at me."
    Misha orders Shark to leave her alone.
    Shark says, "With the ship powered up she could hit a button and send us through the side of the ship."
    Helia says, "I don't need to hit any other buttons, I've got the map up.  Any idiot who knows a board can find the map system.  This is important research."  She turns her back to him and keeps working with the map.

    Down in engineering, Mich is at the consoles.  His panels too are all red.  He assumes they're working in a low power situation, and he examines the consoles to see if he can find a way to start turning the lights green.  He looks around and notices that the diagnostic equipment on the wall is powered up.
    He walks over, picks up the handheld unit, and tries to use it on the environmental recirculation unit.  The handheld shows a full bar of red.  Clearly the environmental systems are not working.
    Where to go from here is not obvious.  The handheld is obviously configurable, but unless Mich can figure it out from the unreadable markings, he's stuck with a top level basic diagnostic.
    Mich looks around.  Ah, those three consoles over there must be something to do with the jump drive!  He walks over and starts playing with them.  He manages to bring up a hologram of the ship.  The jump drive is showing red, and there's a grid around the ship showing red too.
    It's hard to figure out anything much other than basics.  He does manage to bring up the jump drive unit itself on another display, showing separate areas within the unit.  It's all red, but he can start to figure out some things about it.  There are no zuchai crystals.  There is no fuel supply.  It seems to be getting its power from several places within the unit.  There are parts of the drive that he definitely does not recognize.
    Mich tells Helia that the diagnostics show that everything is broken, as far as he can tell.

    Shark wonders if they are interpreting the colors the same way.  Red was charging, or red was starting, and blue was done.

    Back on the bridge, Helia has found what she was looking for.  She calls Misha, "Hey boss!  We have maps to new places.  Really new places.  And I think once I get used to this, if Mich did anything interesting to the drives, or the drives were just plain interesting, if we jumped somewhere and weren't sure, I think I could get the computer to figure out if we were in it's known space.  But that will take work.  Mich, need any help in engineering?"
    Mich replies that he's fine, so Helia starts trying to see if she can make it do any calculations or anything.  She does make some progress towards making it mark a route, but it's really hard to figure out what the system is doing.

    Mich stares at his displays.  Everything's red.  "Shark," he says, "You think that red is good?"
    "Our theory is we can't say that red is bad," replies Shark, "Red may be active, or charging..."  Just on a whim, now the power is on, Shark looks at a door and thinks, "Close."  It doesn't, but there is now a panel beside the door.  Shark walks up and touches it.  The door closes.  He touches it again.  The door opens.  Down the hall are other panels too.  The rooms are all now lit.  There is a panel outside each door, but no panels on the inside.
    Shark calls Helia.  "Watch for a change in some panel, a change in light from red to something else, or something else to red."  He closes the inner airlock door.
    Nothing changed on the panels.
    He closes the outer door.
    Helia says, "Something just turned red.  From blue to red.  Is red good or bad?"
    "I think red's good."  Shark says, "We now have hull integrity."  He opens the outer door again, just so they can get out.
    Helia puts a sticky note on the console labeling the airlock status light.

    Shark announces, "Red is good, and blue is bad."

    Mich plays with the rods again.  He takes one of the ones that stayed black and plugs it in.  It stays black.

    Shark goes back to the galley, pulls out a container, and looks around for a way to open it.  There are a bunch of outlined units and panels and so on that weren't there before.  Still no sign of a can opener equivalent.
    He ponders for a moment, then says aloud, "Remember, they have a material which is a tenth of a millimeter thick and is transparent on the inside and opaque from the outside, that Teri can bend barely with her battledress.  So these guys are building some funky stuff.  Now, they'll probably kill us, but they'll thank us before they kill us... the Imperium, if they ever catch us.  Now if we could take this ship, there'd be no way..."
    Helia says, "Honey, we can take this ship.  Controlling it's not the problem.  Getting engineering started might be the problem."
    "Helia, can you find a star system we know?"
    "I already have."
    "What's the date?"
    "On the map?"
    "No, how old is the picture of this system, or is it up to date?"
    Helia pulls up a main Imperial world, and tries to figure out if everything is where it should be in its orbit.  "This is about as current as you can get," she says, "So they must either be recent, or something in it to figure out the math like I can."
    She then pulls up Dulu, which has been wiped clean recently.  She also pulls up a well populated planet, and tries to figure out the differences between the annotations.  Unfortunately the notations are all in ideograms, and totally unreadable.  "I can't tell any information about population or anything, but in terms of planetary movement it's up to date.  The trick is to figure out the script.  We need a Rosetta Stone."

    Shark is working on that in the kitchen.  He keeps trying to figure out how to open the container, but just can't do it.  There's a blue rounded square on one of the counter surfaces, but it does nothing when he sets the container down there.  He calls Misha, "Boss, you've had a lot of experience in being handed things you didn't know how to open and had to figure it out on your own, right?  In other words you'd been handed Zurta cans, and so on.  You want to come to the kitchen and see if we can open a can of pears?"
    Misha joins him in the galley.  He can't figure it out either.  Shaking the seamless box reveals nothing.
    Shark finds various pots and pans, and tools, and knives, and all sorts of stuff.  Nothing that looks like a can opener, though.

    Back on the Third Eye, Robert wakes up.  He doesn't remember anything about this trance.  He remembers just one thing: on the bench in the garden was carved some lettering.  That inscription was in the script he's been looking for.  Unfortunately he can't use his computers on board the black ship, but he can set up in the warehouse workshop area beside the ship and proceed there.  He leaps out of his bed in sickbay and heads for Arm A, where the Baron had told him the others were investigating another ship.

    Back on the black ship, Helia says, "Boss, it's too bad we don't have Robert.  All these planets are labeled, and we could start cross-labeling them.  It won't help us work out an alphabet, but it at least might be interesting if we do find some logs."  On a whim, she pulls up some distances, and is surprised by the result.  Each number is one single symbol.  "Hey boss, their numbers are really interesting."
    She then walks over to the command dais, and looks to see if there's anything that looks like a log.  She can't identify it.
    The next step is to label everything she has already identified.  She finishes that all too quickly, then looks around to see if she can identify the function of any other consoles.  She can't, so she plays with the maps for a while.

    In engineering, Mich wanders around with the diagnostic unit, testing everything.  Everything comes up red, except the black rods that didn't change color when plugged in.  Another couple of the untried rods diagnose blue as well.

    Robert is now within communication range of the away team.  He looks at the intact black ship in the bay, and says, "Wow.  How did you find this one?"
    Shark replies.  "Robert, welcome to the land of the living.  Come on up.  Hey, do you have a sample of that interesting writing?"
    "Not with me."
    Shark tells him he'll meet him inside, and that he should wait in engineering for him.
    When Robert comes aboard, Mich shows him the symbols and so on that are on the engineering consoles.  Mich says, "We figured out that red means good."
    Shark arrives and takes Robert to the kitchen.  "It's the only place I've seen a consistent display of writing."
    Robert looks around.  Teri has resumed her duties of bodyguard for him, and records all the symbols as Robert opens the cabinets.
    He puts a pot on the blue square, and puts the box in the pot.  Nothing happens.  Except for some of the utensils, the galley is possibly the most cryptic part of the ship.  He continues to potter around while Teri records.
    Eventually they've exhausted all possibilities in the kitchen.  Robert and Teri head forward to the bridge.

    Mich has returned his attention to the engineering consoles.  Making a guess, he moves from the the three consoles near the jump drive to the next set of three, and pulls up a holodisplay of the ship.  Nothing is blue.  There are some areas which are labeled and marked, including the airlock that's open to the outside.

    Shark has been investigating the nearest stateroom suite.  There are still no controls in the sinks, but when he puts his hands under the faucet, tepid water comes out.  He then decides that while the sickbay interests him, playing in medical might be dangerous.  He announces that he's going aft to look at the plants.
    "Check the writing on the bench," says Robert.
    There are indeed several symbols carved into the bench.  Also changed in the solarium is that a waterfall is now running.

    Robert has been looking at all the symbols on the bridge.  Helia tells him not to touch anything, including the labels she's made, and gets up to go see the waterfall.
    Those labels helps Robert make some connections.  He studies everything for a while, then touches one of the controls on the pilot's panel.  Touching one more button can't hurt, right?
    Helia returns to the bridge to see that Robert has just brought up the pilot information systems, flight systems, and the maneuver drive is now online.  Helia goes to label the button, but Robert says it's already labeled "flight systems."
    Helia says, "Robert woke up, now he can read what's on the ship.  Some of it.  Can you read anything else?"
    "How do you know it says flight systems?"
    "I just do."
    Shark interjects, "If we find a bottle of fish oil up there, he can't drink it."
    Helia says, "It's not language, it's cartography."
    Robert explains, "It seemed like the obvious button for the pilot system."
    Obvious to him maybe, but not to Helia.  "So what else happened in your dream?"
    "You just fell asleep and now you can read the console?  Where's the communications system?  The internal comm units?"
    Robert looks around, puzzled.  Communication is everywhere, you just have to interpret it.
    "Well, turn on the loudspeakers of the ship and make an announcement."
    Robert has no idea which station is which.  He can read the odd symbol here and there, but doesn't understand the whole ship.
    "Trust me Robert, this is weird.  Boss, Robert is selectively reading stuff in this language."
    Shark is the one who replies.  "Well, encourage him."
    "Yeah.  He says it's very obvious what brings up the pilot information -- which, by the way, he pressed -- but there's nothing here which was standard enough to indicate...  The maps were standard enough, but I've been doing this for a while, and there's no way someone like Robert should be able to walk up here and go, 'Oh, that's the pilot information.'  He says the symbol says pilot information.  It's just very strange.  I think he needs to stay with Teri because he should not be able to read this stuff.  Teri, let's try and keep him from pressing any other buttons, OK?"
    It's too late.  Robert has pressed another button that Helia obviously needs.  A red light goes on.
    Helia asks, "What did you just do?"
    "This is something you need."
    The larian labels it 'Something Robert says I need.'  She says, "Anyone notice anything just happen?  Robert's pushing buttons again.  Anything else, Robert?"
    "You have the ones you need now."
    "You want to go try some of those?"  She waves toward the command dais.
    Robert looks around, but doesn't see anything new.  "You have everything you need.  You're ready to go."
    "We can fly now?"
    "Yeah.  You're ready to go."
    "Mich, I'm sending Robert down to engineering.  I don't think the engines are working.  Robert, why don't you go help Mich?"
    "You've got everything you need.  We're ready to go."
    "We can fly now?  Close the airlocks!"  She pushes the blue indicator she'd labeled as the airlock.  All the airlock doors close, and the light turns red.  "OK.  Boss, Mich!  Robert says we're ready to go.  We've got the airlocks shut.  Want to try it?"
    Misha asks Mich what he thinks.
    Mich says, "I think we should stay here."
    Helia says, "Robert, why don't you go down to engineering and help Mich?  I think he could use your help.  I'll come down with you."  She looks around for something to open the airlocks back up, since pressing the now red button doesn't do anything.  She'll have to open it on the way aft.  "Mich, he says we're ready to go, we could fly now."
    Mich says, "The ship status all seems OK.  In fact, when the doors closed, my blue indicators went red.  So it's looks like the ship's all OK."
    Helia really wants to fly the ship.  "You figure out what Robert thinks he knows.  He says we're ready to go.  If we're not ready to go, we're not going."
    By now they're in engineering.  At Mich's console, Robert points out the master "systems OK" or "ship status OK" indicator.  It's part of the holographic display, so Helia can't stick one of her labels on it.
    Helia says, "Status is ready to go?  I'll stick a label near it saying that when it displays red, it's ready to go."

    Misha has made his way to the bridge.  He looks at the displays in front of the pilot's console, and then sits in the seat.  There's a blue light flashing on the console -- the one labeled airlock.  "Any reason I shouldn't close the airlock?"  he asks.
    "Yeah," says Helia, "I think as long as the airlock's open, the ship won't take off.  I'm hoping that's true.  You have to push a button to close it.  Mich says we're not ready to go, so I thought I'd ensure it because I can't lock the console."
    Mich corrects her, "I didn't say we weren't ready to go, I just thought it would be better if we stayed here.  There's like the arm airlock that we'd have to through, if you didn't want to do anything but go back and forth half a klick."
    Misha is starting to feel a little anxious.  Nothing he can pin down, just something's bothering him.  He needs to do something, so he pushes the blue button.  It turns red.  He says, "I pushed the blue button."
    In engineering, that is confirmed on the ship status.
    Helia says, "So, you want to get going?  I'll be right up.  Do you want Robert up there?"
    Robert sees no buttons in engineering that really need to be pushed.  He follows Helia up to the bridge.
    Misha is still feeling a bit anxious, confused, and dizzy, when Helia arrives.
    Helia asks Robert, "What do we need to do to get the pod door open?"
    He explains he'd need to go onto the station to access that.
    Helia then notices that Misha is looking a bit pale.  She leads him over to the command dais, sits him down, and tells him to rest.  She returns to the pilot station and sits down in the chair so no-one else does.

    Helia notices that there are now full flight controls on the arms of the chair.  "It is ready to go, you're right, Robert.  This is cool.  Boss, you feeling any better?  Robert, maybe you should check out and see where you should be sitting."
    Robert says, "You want me to sit in chairs until one feels the best?  Is that what you're saying?"
    "The Boss didn't seem to feel good in the pilot's chair, but he's looking much better now.  I feel good.  I'm ready to go.  I can fly this thing."  Helia grins.
    Misha has stood up on the command dais, one of the two raised areas (the other is the pilot station).  He says, "OK, let's get off the ship.  Here's the plan.  We're going to get off.  We're going to go open the pod bay doors.  Actually we're going to go back to our ship, discuss this, and if we decide to do anything we're going to open the pod bay doors and then get on board.  OK?"  He picks a chair at random and sits in it.
    A holodisplay now appears in the center of the command area, showing the ship and the container around it.
    Shark, who has been sitting in a command chair for a while, looks astonished.  He joins Robert in trying out all the chairs on the bridge -- except, of course, the pilot station which is still occupied by the larian.  Shark even tries the seats in medical, and doesn't get any results.
    Helia has been playing with the information systems, planning courses and so on.  "This is so much easier that anything we have.  We're primitive by comparison."
    Suddenly a voice speaks up from above the command dais.  In oddly accented but clear galanglic, it says, "Ready to go."

    If Shark was astonished before, he's shocked now.  "Boss, when did you take up ventriloquism?"
    Misha stands up.  Nothing in the display strikes him as a control, rather than a readout.  He says, "All right Helia, take us up a foot."

    The area around the pilot's chair glows pale red, as if Helia and her station has a pink aura.  In the rose-colored light, the others see her looking into the distance.

Helia's Experience in Rose-Colored Light
(Referee and Helia's player only)

    The ship picks up, turns 180 degrees, and stops.  The command holodisplay shows the pod rotating around the ship, with labels on the front door.
    The glow fades around Helia, and she says, "Boss, we're definitely going to have to open the pod bay door in order to leave."
    "I just said, pick us up a foot, I didn't say turn it."
    "Sorry, I was looking at the pod bay door."
    "Turn it back.  Put us back down again."
    The pink sparkly aura lights up around Helia's station, and she looks spaced out again.  The ship turns around and settles back down on the forms.  The pilot's glow fades.

    Robert has walked up to the front station, the one forward and below the pilot station.  He sees a button that should be pressed, and of course presses it.  A holodisplay comes up.
    Up on Misha's display, a projected line appears pointing out from the ship.
    Down in engineering, Mich sees a number of the systems that didn't identify before, and the missile system brightens from a dull red.  He calls the bridge, "Did you know the missile systems just came online?"
    Misha replies, "I had presumed that."
    Shark asks, "Did someone turn on the missiles, or did they come on by themselves?"
    Misha sighs, "Someone turned them on."
    Mich asks, "Do we really want the missiles on?"
    "I don't think we want the missiles on.  Robert?  Why did you turn the missiles on?"
    "It needed to be on.  I thought it would be useful."
    Misha laughs, "Well it's one way of opening that door!  But I would like a more peaceful and less permanent way of doing it."
    "Now we know what this console does."
    "Yes.  I think we've learned something."
    "So this should be shut off?"
    "I think we need to shut the whole system down.  Power the whole ship down.  Put it back the way we found it."
    Shark says, "I don't know that we know where the off button is."
    "Oh, I don't mean suck the power out to be plugged in..."  Misha's face falls.  "Oh.  You're right, we don't know how it turned on.  OK."
    "This may by our puppy now.  We may not be able to get rid of it.  It may follow us if we try to leave."
    "Let's just see what happens if we get up and leave.  Are we ready to go?  Anyone have anything they feel like they have to try before we go?"

    None of the seats have felt particularly good for Robert.  He has everyone -- including Mich with his psi helmet -- sit on all the seats to see if they feel good to anyone.  Pretty much everyone is uncomfortable on the weapons seat, except Mich; no seats feel particularly good.
    Shark is now uncomfortable in the weapons seat, now that the station is powered on.  He intends to bring up all the other stations, but the "on" buttons on weapons and pilot are quite different, in different locations with different symbols, and he doesn't want to just guess.
    Helia has gone over to sit in the gunnery seat.  She tells everyone that there appear to be three weapon systems, all now online.  She returns to the pilot's station.
    Robert, puttering around the bridge, brings up a sensor console.  There are plenty more consoles on the bridge, but they don't seem to be as specific to Robert.  He says, "We have pilot, sensors, gunnery.  What more do we need?  Communications..." He looks around and finds that he can bring comm up on pretty much any console.  He could also move sensors around, but this station was the most obvious one for it.  The pilot's station can't be moved, nor can the gunnery -- but he could do something with the gunnery with that button, but he's not sure exactly what.  He has yet to find a means to bring up a computer console, or for that matter engineering, or internal security.
    He is done pressing buttons for now.  He says, "Maybe we should shut everything down like Misha says, and come back and try to analyze what we do know about these symbols."  Teri of course has captured everything they've done on video.
    "OK," says Misha, "Helia, are you ready to go?"
    "I want to shut the pilot station down," replies Helia.  She looks for a way to lock it.  There's nothing she can see to do that.  She wants it to work only for her, not anyone else.
    Robert reaches over and points out a button.  "This will put it in standby mode," he says helpfully.
    "OK, let's do that so nothing weird happens."  She does so, labeling the button.
    Robert then studies the gunnery station, and finds the standby mode on that one; the display vanishes, and the console goes dim.  He then stares at central command, looking for either a whole ship standby, or for that station.  He turns to Misha and shrugs.
    Robert's head is starting to spin.  He steps back from the command area, and stumbles backwards off the dais in a faint.  Teri catches him.
    Shark rushes over to Robert.  He checks him over quickly, announces he's spaced out again, and that they should just carry him back to the Third Eye when they leave.
    Misha has by now given up on trying to figure out anything about the command station.  "Let's go!" he says.

    Aft in engineering, Mich has been starting to work out something about the displays, while everyone was bringing up and shutting down systems.  Of course, Robert's now out, so Mich has no chance of shutting down engineering.

    Mich laughs, "I bet as soon as we brought it up it started broadcasting to its home planet.  Hey, come and get me!  I'm ready!  Ready to go now."
    Shark adds, "The monkeys have found me!"
    Helia says, "The monkeys now know how to push buttons!"

    They all leave the ship.  The airlock shuts behind them, apparently automatically.  The ship is all black from the outside.
    Shark wonders how they'll go back in.  He walks up to the outer door, intending to touch where he thinks a panel might be, but before he can do that the outer door opens for him.  "Yeah," he says, "I can open it, Boss!"
    As Shark walks away, the door closes again.

    The crew return to the Third Eye to analyze their data.  Robert is dumped off at sickbay again.  Shark starts working on the computer, trying to translate the language.  It's definitely been an interesting day.