Vincent's Secret Contract


Finally the survey, after all the drama, has reached the command deck. Inside the command section are eight research labs, along with a dedicated mainframe with its own UPS-designed to avoid the lab losing data in the event of an unforeseen powerdown. Vincent is unsure how much time he’ll need to get into the system, but practically he will be operating to a tight timetable-trying to extract the data before the backup power circuits go down.

The additional complication is that Vincent is working within a team-with Maria and Dmitri to be exact, and they are not to know what he is up to. As the resident electrical expert, and as it would be up to him to check these computer systems anyway it is easy enough to convince them that he is doing a power boot on the emergency system to make his work a lot easier, and he should be able to do some of the diagnostics online anyway. The team split up the work tasks, with Maria and Dmitri doing the physical checks, and Vincent doing the diagnostics.

The Research Main Terminal is situated in Research Lab E, which also has a direct plexiglass view into the corridor, Main Mission control and Research Lab F. With the passwords he is given, accessing the system is pretty straightforward and only takes a few minutes. The real problem is that the system has supposedly been wiped, and the information Vincent is looking for is supposedly hidden underneath some of these wiped files.

He speculates on why this happened; obviously the person who did this could not or would not extract the data themselves. Possibly Maas security arrangements were very tight and the original mole could not think of a direct way to get past their security. The Mole must have worked for Maas or at least been a contractor working for them. There is no way for Vincent to know.

He sets up a cracking cycler on his intrusion deck and run an automatic search; he spends the additional time doing some genuine work as regards the survey-basic operational files and diagnostics were not wiped-just the sensitive research stuff.

Halfway through the day there is a bit of excitement when Lars team apparently discover a body in a fridge, but Vincent carries on working. About an hour later Sylvie pops in, having seen the suit lights while searching for Lars. As Vincent give her directions she looks around the lab curiously, and he notices her frown.

“What’s up?” Vincent asks.

“Zis facility-it is for mining and mining research yes?” she asks. He confirms that it is.

“Zen why do these labs all look like medical labs? Or for biochemistry. It is odd, I think”.

The thought had not struck Vincent but she was absolutely right-he knows she has a degree in biochemistry or some such. He gives her directions and she leaves.

The work shift is almost over, and there are maybe 5 hours of juice left in the system. The others start making going back noises.

“If I power down and up again tomorrow I’ll lose maybe an hours endurance on the power system”, Vincent suggests, “Give me the emergency tank and I’ll wait a few more hours till the electrical diagnostics are done. Send Sylvie or Marsha down to buddy me till I’m done. I want to finish this while I can.”

Maria shrugs and they radio up; Sylvie comes back down before the rest of them leave.

About an hour later he finds something. He redirects the search and it all comes out. Files. Dozens of them. Vincent starts an immediate download –a process which again takes a good 20 minutes; there is a lot of stuff. He glances at some of the file names and it seems to be experimental data. Opening one of them up at random while Sylvie is out of the room shows data on organic chemistry -it means nothing to him.

With his task done Vincent winds down the routine functions and announces to Sylvie that the job is done.

His instructions now are simply to wait until he is contacted upon the ship’s return to Mars.

Vincent's Secret Contract

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