Pendulum Ch. 6: Hunch

Achim left the engine room. His work was done. There was no reason to stay here, but he wouldn’t return to the space station. Now that he was on board the Tuatha De Danann, checking out his personal quarters was a more inviting idea. He would have to walk over all the way to Deck Two, but he was not at all in a hurry.
The soldiers he had encountered when boarding the ship had been the only personnel he had seen so far. There was no need to guard the inside of an empty ship when the only entrance was under surveillance, but with all the attention the three scout ships had seen during their construction process, it seemed weird that security was this lax. This was none of his business, of course, but it sure made one wonder.
The elevator doors opened. He left the cabin and opened his system, called up a floor plan, and went into navigation mode. The ship system obeyed. The blueprint of Deck Two was simple and intuitive, and the guiding marker projected on the floor made it trivial to get around.
This deck was more or less just a long corridor anyway, with rooms on both sides. Deck One, where the engines, bridge and other facilities lay, had no gravity. That problem would be solved by a druid, as far as he knew. It was not critical to the ship’s operation and more of a logistical problem, and was way above his pay grade. Deck Two, the rotating habitat for the crew, also contained the sick bay and other secondary facilities, such as the military police station. While security on board was mostly automatic, there was at least one person on board to control it. Even the best and most advanced technology could spaz out, as he had seen earlier, with the starboard sensor phalanx. Naturally, a person to handle security was needed, and probably for other reasons than potentially failing tech as well. He would pass both med bay and security office on his way to his private quarters. Why not take a look? Both rooms ought to be closed until someone with the proper authorisation boarded the ship and opened them. Achim was not on that list, but doing a casual check wouldn’t hurt either.
The med bay was a comparatively extensive facility, taking up more than just one room, and several consecutive doors led inside. Not now, they were closed as expected, and when Achim stepped in front of them, the sensors picked up his presence, but didn’t react. He nodded, turned around, and continued on his way. Only his footsteps were audible here. The hum of the engine was far away, and the lighting, the life systems, among others, didn’t produce any noise. As expected, nobody else was on Deck Two.
Small ID plates next to the doors contained names of the inhabitants. Again, he had no permission to retrieve the data stored on the plates, and as expected, nothing showed up. However, a tingling sensation in his spine refused to give him respite. There was no need to be worried about anything, and he had no reason at all to be suspicious, but he just couldn’t shake off the feeling that something was amiss. He looked down the corridor, and saw nothing but doors lining up at regular distances, illuminated by dim lighting. Not a single soul in sight. A pang of loneliness washed over him, an alien experience he wasn’t used to.
He continued his walk. Every step carried him closer to his cabin, but it also brought him nearer to the small office of board security. As he had done with the med bay, he positioned himself in front of the door, as if to wait for it to open – which it did. Achim gasped. Why? Was the security officer on board already? A glance inside revealed an empty office, with just a desk, a few displays on the wall, and the door that connected directly to another room he couldn’t see from the corridor. The brick maybe? Did the Tuatha De Danann even have one?
He stepped inside, and the door closed behind him. The displays on the wall, blind eyes like those in the engineering room, woke up and revealed the main menus of security programs he shouldn’t have access to. No way this was working as intended. Even just entering the room, when the security officer wasn’t there yet, should have been rejected. Security programs starting up without him even requesting it consciously were straight impossible, at least in theory. But not in practice, as it seemed.
Achim stepped in front of the displays. He tapped one of them, just to see if anything would happen. A list of all facilities on board appeared. Shit. He went back to the main menu. Then he did it again, in a more targeted fashion. There it was, the roster of the ship, all personnel files on display, only accessible to security or the captain, and yet, it opened for him, without so much as a hitch. He scrolled down the list. There, a line that read ‘Chief Warrant Officer Achim Schulz’. The entry beckoned him. He activated it, and an unflattering photo appeared on top of a block of text. Name, rank, educational and work history. Standard stuff. Psychological profile. He closed the file immediately. Reading a psychogram of himself was not on his bucket list. Even just being able to access it made him cringe. Something here was very wrong, for reasons he couldn’t even imagine. He shut down the security systems, turned around and fled the room. What should he do about this? Tell the captain, obviously. He checked the time. Soon. He’d wait for the captain’s reply to the report he had the lurikeen send him, then he’d be able to have a talk under four eyes.


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