The takeoff and landing went without incident, and Hopkirk seemed comfortable with the knap of earth flying and short horizon; it was as though she was actually prepared for this. They had landed without incident, and as it was hardly crowded airspace, then once they had left, Port Control – two staff at most probably – had lost interest. More time to doze.
The putdown was a good 2 km from the facility, and this needed to be crossed on foot, in microgravity. And so the five of them set off, with an emergency vacc suit in tow, in case they could find nothing better.
Zola led the way, and the other four were tethered to avoid any fatal microgravity errors on what was, after all, just a rock.
A visual check had revealed no special security measures: there was nowhere to go after all; however, cautious as always Laura suspected some sort of ground sensor net. They also spotted two small weapons domes on this side of the facility. Vic reasoned thatt hey might contain missiles systems or railguns, in case of pirates perhaps.
From the spacing I’d say these aren’t specifically protecting the Prison," said Laura, “But the area surrounding both the Prison and Research Facility. The Facility would be more important, I suppose.”
“I’m getting something!” said Franz excitedly. While they had been surveying the base from cover he had been fiddling with a comms box he had brought from the ship. “There’something wrong. No wonder its so easy!”
“Explain.” said Laura curtly, somewhat surprised that Franz had broken into the local, and presumably semi secure, frequencies.
He patched in the frequencies. Panicked voices. Occasional gunfire. Screams. Silence. Desparate calls for help. They paused to take it all in. There was something wrong with the prisoners; the guards were holding positions inside the cell blocks and were being over run in some places. Both guards and prisoners were being killed.
“We can take advantage of this.” said Laura. “Lets move in closer.” Franz searched his PDA for the secure codes and passwords they had been provided with by Hopkirk.
“Right” , said Laura. “Let’s try this.”
“Hoplite 237 this is Remote Maintenance Team Theuros 39. We are receiving your transmissions but do not understand. What is your situation. over?”
“Someone is there? Thank God!” replied a somewhat desearate voice; they didn’t seem too concerned with security protocols."
“What is your situation? Over.” replied Laura patiently.
“We’ve been over run,and the beacon is down.” relied the voice. “We can’t even send out a Mayday!”
“Calm down Hoplite 237.” said Laura. “What is happening?”