PREVIOUSLY- Maaz Techist, a young gifted mech/ comptech aboard the scavenger ship Moonshine is the lone survivor of a pirate ambush. He escapes and flies off with a Jovian prototype ( a new kind of space ship of unknown capabilities) installing his own AI Tank in the ship's computers. When he is chased by the pirate leader Shira One-Arm, Maaz manages to escape into a Wormhole. He discovers that he can Navigate inside the Tunnel and survives his trip, surfacing near Venus. A Dr. Bruna Fedli contacts him, claiming to the builder of the ship.
Dr. Nora Fisher was upset enough to ingest mood altering chemicals and submitting to a ten minute underwater session. Even after undergoing various surgical procedures for enhancements to bodily functions and anti-ageing therapy, ninety two years was old age and she did not wish to tax her body more than required. After a few hours of immersing herself in mundane work she felt good enough to deal with the loss of Phoenix. She called Shira via encrypted holo, soon an image of Shira solidified in front of her.
Dr. Nora did not mince words. "You let the Phoenix go."
"Nobody knew there was a hacker on board the Moonshine."
"You should have had the ship under guard."
"And he could have died;" Shira did not back down. "And with the same results."
"I need to speak to Bruna."
"You want us to back to Saturn Dark."
"Yes. Immediately. And this was the last mistake you will make. Remember the bomb inside your shoulder."
Shira's face went cold and dark. "I never forget."
"Send me a blip when you have Bruna with you."
Dr. Nora sat back, thinking about her chat with the temporary captain of the Phoenix. Had she made any mistakes?
Maaz had chosen to go after the sensor cluster which was sending messages to Dr. Fedli and he had Tank to help him. After six hours of mapping and isolating code he learned that this would take a while, though physically the cluster was wired into the ship via just three nodes, it's software was deeply embedded into the systems.
"Tank, this Dr. Fedli is damn good. Huh?"
"She was considered a genius by many of her peers."
"She along with three other scientists was allowed by the Jovian leaders a huge budget and the best techs. the project was called "Second Coming", they were building new long range weapons and spacecraft."
"Of course! She mentioned Mirage Station. So we are really sitting inside Lost Technology. OK Tank. I am through the first gate. Shut down power to the cluster and I am through. And where is Dr. Fedli now? Check the latest journals also."
"Dr. Fedli is supposed to have died in prison two years ago."
"So she was either lying or she is on the run. Anyway, lets see if I am in."
The sensor cluster was not so easy to break into. And physical access would require cutting into the ship from outside. After two more days of trying Maaz was still not able to gain control. He was studying the diagrams when he noticed that one of the nodes could be accessed from the inside. He decided to burn the node and see what happens. As it is; he wasn't going anywhere without the fake Dr. Fedli knowing.
Tank shut down all power except the core and Maaz cut open small circle in the wall next to the airlock. He then went on to burn the node using a small laser. When the power was restored he was in for a surprise.
"Tank, can you access the cluster?"
"Maaz, I have partial access but I can't stop the transmission. And we now have a cloaking program."
"What's a cloaking program?"
"This ship has hundreds of projectors on the outside. When needed the project an image of the ship hundreds of meters away from where we are, the range is nearly twenty miles. At this time the ship will be cloaked from all sensors while the image will show up on the computers of anyone following or attacking the ship."
"Galaxies! She was right. We have stumbled onto something big. And I think this ship has many more secrets."
Maaz did not want to let go of the ship, he was hooked to this mystery. With the sensors still transmitting to that Dr. Fedli he wanted to go as far away from her as possible.
"Tank. We are going back into the tunnel. And we are going far; to a new sun."