Joy Class Androids


Joy entered the computer core, and nodded to the ensign at the master console. "Percent primary utilization?"

"Twenty three percent."

"Very well. We are running a drill. I want the two primary cores in redundant mode. Run the ship off A core. Shadow with B core. Aux core on hot stand by. You are being scored on transition speed."

"Redundant mode, aye commander."

Joy tapped her badge, casually wandering towards the B Core. "Bridge. LtCdr Joy here. Break orbit. I want a stable solar orbit, approximately five degrees off the ecliptic, maximize the clearance over the next ten days between the Hawking and any object large enough to hold a ship to ship weapons system. You may scan active if necessary to optimize distances from such objects. You are authorized to execute. Inform me upon completion. Expedite."

There was a brief pause. "Solar orbital insertion complete."

"Redundant mode is achieved."

Joy again tapped her badge. "EMH Status?"

"Local backup processors are green. No critical procedure is taking place at this moment. If you must do this, it may as well be now."

"Thank you, Doctor. You have ten seconds."

"EMH dump to archives is scheduled. Emergency Medical Hologram is shutting down."

Must she do this? It was drastic. It would likely significantly degrade Hawking's performance in unpredictable ways. Still, it seemed necessary. Joy's Second Officer's command override codes had failed to reset life support in the captain's cabin. Thus, the command override system had likely been penetrated by someone willing to use lethal force. This was unacceptable.

How might it have been done? The XO could over ride Joy's codes, but was not in condition to do so. Would Lorca program her own attempted murder? Unlikely. The group that had attacked Hawking had stolen highly advanced Federation technology and were known to be well financed and well connected. Thus, the theft of Hawking's Admiralty access codes was plausible. As Hawking's sensors had been unable to isolate the source of the transmissions, a system wide security penetration was doubly likely. It was possible that there was no stealth transmitter that could not be traced. Instead, one of Hawking's own transmitters might be being used, and her sensor software was sabotaged to prevent effective trace of the signal. While it was possible that hardware modifications were made to Lorca's life support, they would not be necessary. If the command over ride system was penetrated, replicator, transporter and life support systems could have been used to lethal effect with no hardware modification required.

Joy knew this well. Joys Four and Seven had stolen many a starship using these and similar methods. Joy Class Priorities Two, Three and Four had been programmed explicitly to make sure no Joy would ever steal a starship again. However, an unintentional effect of these same priorities was that Joy could not allow a starship under her command to be stolen, no crew under her command to be murdered.

Which meant drastic measures were called for. With the command code system likely penetrated, and thus all other systems extremely vulnerable, it was time for the most extreme step. She had heard this process referred to in ancient ritual words as "reformat the sea, and reload the windows."

Joy reached down, and opened a small access panel in B core. In her mind, an ancient sound track played. "No Dave. Please don't do that, Dave…" Joy removed two component blocks, master clock, and aux clock. Alarms sounded, in core control, and all over the ship. As the watch officer scrambled to diagnose the problem, Joy crossed the corridor to A core, and removed two more cards.

She tapped her badge. "All hands, this is Second Officer Joy Eleven. Shields down, weapons cold, Red Alert, Intruder Alert. I say again, shields down, weapons cold, Red Alert, Intruder Alert."

She walked back to the core master console, and gave the duty ensign one of the four clock cards. "Please insert this back into Core A. I am doing a wipe and restart on Core A, reloading from read only master. Core B is sealed as evidence in the attempted murder of Captain Lorca, and is to be treated for legal purposes as the murder weapon. Tampering will be considered obstruction of justice."

Joy locked eyes briefly with the ensign, then started dancing her fingers over the core's master console. "I have reason to believe we have an intruder aboard who either has the Admiralty command over ride keys, has patched mission critical software to lethal effect, or most likely both. I am rebooting with a new set of security patches. Access to the command over ride functions will be allowed only from a Mudd android's local area network port. Patches to mission critical software will not be allowed without approval through the command over ride functions. There are additional security patches. You do not have a need to know what the additional changes are. No one else on board has a need to know of the first two changes. Understood?"

"Yes, commander." The ensign scrambled to replace the clock.

Joy tapped her badge again. "Bridge. JT, I am doing a core reboot for security reasons. The boot is off the Intrepid Class master file, Rev 5.3.1. If anyone has made hardware configuration changes incompatible with Rev 5.3.1 software, restore the original hardware configuration. If this is difficult, have them ask for help. If it is impossible, request ingenuity. If anyone lacks ingenuity, and demands patches to 5.3.1 software, put them on the suspect list for Lorca's attempted murder, and treat the requested patch as murder evidence. Joy, out."

Tap tap. "Security, I want teams outside Main Computer Core and Aux Computer Core. Allow duty shift personnel and department head access, only."

A second watch officer came storming in to the core, while the first returned from enabling Core A. Joy looked sternly at both. "I have disabled all but mission critical software, and all but mission critical computer access ports. Leave them disabled. I am going to the Aux Core. The Core A reboot ought to complete by the time I get there. Expect to lose the Aux Core to a cold reboot shortly. If the Core A reboot does not complete on schedule, I am going to want to know why."

Joy turned, and started briskly towards the engineering hull. There was a window of vulnerability, between the time A Core came up and Aux Core went down. Hopefully, between surprise, the Red Alert and the Security Alert, the spy would be unable to exploit this opportunity, or would exploit it clumsily. Joy considered leaving the Aux Core up a few minutes extra, to watch for attempts. She decided against. It was possible that a core restart and reload had been anticipated. She mustn't allow any virus programs in the Aux Core time to penetrate the newly cleaned Core A.

This wasn't perfect. Joy had probably protected the over ride system, but if the spy had the Admiralty keys, he also likely knew other methods of penetration. Without access to the over rides, he could quite possibly penetrate one or two systems, but would not have unrestricted free reign. As Joy would still have the over ride access, she should be in position to restore control fairly rapidly.

This would make abuse of the computer system difficult, not impossible. Cat was right on one respect. The objective is to force hasty clumsy action, not to force inaction. The spy was in a bad position. At some time interval measured perhaps in hours, perhaps in years, the evidence locked in B core should reveal the spy's identity. The spy would know that, and would have to act before the evidence was isolated.

When he did, the rest of the Hawking's crew would have to respond. Joy could not. With the over ride system locked to Mudd androids, and the CO and XO already down, Joy was resolved to stay in well lit crowded areas. She had done what she could on the defense, and had hopefully attracted attention to herself. The attack would have to be made by others.