ANY WORD FROM THE CAPTAIN
Captain Ortega tapped the phrases into the pipe behind the wall panel he’d managed to remove. He was growing more convinced that all of Dyson’s most visible technology was refurbished from other common sources, but less convinced that it was a slapdash job. The pipe had been there as he’d expected, but the panel had been reinforced. Astroguard had written manuals on how to escape from common cell structure designs like this, but the redesign would have been enough to thwart most who only had knowledge from the manual to work with.
As one of the most frequent consultants on the writing of such manuals, however, Ortega was ahead of the curve in the latest trends in escape artistry. He’d almost electrocuted himself on the first three workarounds he attempted, but the fourth allowed the panel to pop out of the wall without, he hoped, tripping any sensors.
The terse reply from the other end was coming either from Ensign Trell, or someone who was very creatively imitating her without any difficulty. Ortega had tapped instructions on the bar that would have been audible to anyone in a mostly silent room, and he’d used some of the most common universal code patterns, ones derived from the ancient Morse Code patterns from Earth’s military and naval history. Trell had responded after he’d been repeating the instructions for twelve minutes, using the nearly-compatible Morcalan variation on the pattern. Ortega reached for the pipe and tapped again.
JUST RETURNED FROM ANOTHER DOCTOR DEBRIEFING
He thought about the message and resisted the urge to drum his fingers on the pipe. He decided to wait rather than add anything, as early attempts to incorporate STOP or punctuation into the messages using their two different codes had caused issues. Similar issues resulted when he tried to remember how to use Morcalan Morse, and Trell was either unwilling to switch from the Morcalan standard or had never been trained in the more commonly accepted ones, he wasn’t clear on that.
CAPTAIN GONE FOR TEN MINUTES
Ortega nodded and tapped his reply.
ANOTHER ESCAPE ATTEMPT
He resisted the urge to add a regular question mark, even though he was certain that Trell would be able to interpret it.
NO SHE HAD JUST RETURNED FROM ELSEWHERE FOR THAT AND WAS PUT IN THE CELL OPPOSITE FROM MINE BUT NOW SHE IS GONE AGAIN I DONT NOT KNOW WHY
Ortega looked over his shoulder. He was certain that he had a camera pointed at him even if he couldn’t see it, but the empty cells on the other side of the hall were the only things he could see. He reached for the pipe to tap again.
SHE MIGHT HAVE GONE TO ANOTHER DEBRIEFING LIKE MINE TO HELP EXPLAIN THE DOCTOR
DOCTOR SILAS ROGERS
SOUL SURVIVOR IS EASIER TO TAP
Ortega smirked. He disagreed, but he was using a slightly different system. Trell was likely just taunting him to kill time.
SOUL SURVIVOR IS NOT AN IMMEDIATE CONCERN I CAN TALK YOU THROUGH ESCAPE IF YOUR CELL IS BUILT LIKE MINE BUT THE SHIP IS DIFFERENT THAN THE ONES IVE PLANNED FOR AND AN ESSENTIAL PART INVOLVES LOSING OUR TAPPING ABILITY
ASSUMING ALARMS DONT GO OFF WE CAN MEET AT WHAT I HOPE WILL BE A MOSTLY UNUSED CORRIDOR JUNCTION BUT IF ALARMS START WE WONT HAVE THE OPTION
He paused. After a minute, Trell started tapping again.
AFTER ESCAPE WE NEED TO FIND THE CAPTAIN AND SABOTAGE THIS SHIP AND HOPEFULLY DESTROY OTHERS, IN WHICHEVER ORDER IS MOST REASONABLE
Ortega frowned. He didn’t like the idea of destroying an entire ship if people were on board, but Trell could be reasoned with on the fly. Calen probably couldn’t, however, plus the Dyson forces had clearly entered war-time mode, and as such war protocols were on the table. Potentially mind-controlled conscripts weren’t necessarily fair war-time targets, though. With all those considerations on the table, it was also true that his chances of escape would improve with Trell’s assistance. He reached for the bar and tapped it again.