The Perpetual

Part XVI

Waiting, he was always waiting. Throckmorton hated being held in suspense, but he knew that Rhodes had specifically told him they would call if something came up that he should know about. As it was, he was best to leave them alone, and let them sort the problem out themselves. He had done everything he could: Harper was preparing his men for launch in the Hyperion, and the press had left them wit the story they wanted to tell. The scare of the werewolf was gone, and now there was no more reason for them to do anything except wait. He did not like waiting.

Colonel Edward Throckmorton sat perched on the rail, his thick legs crisscrossing the bars. He usually remained standing, but now his mind was working, trying to find some way that he could be useful. He was going to tire himself out before too much longer, and then he would need some coffee. He hated coffee, it tasted terrible, no matter how much sugar or cream he added. However, the caffeine was the best way to keep him awake; he had never found anything else that worked quite as well. Pills were almost useless in his opinion. Coffee worked, even though he abhorred the taste, and that was what mattered.

Staring blankly at the main screen at the front end of the room, Throckmorton let his mind wander to the people still alive on the Pytheas. It was a desperate situation. Somehow, a werewolf, a creature that by all accounts was physiologically impossible and made no sense anyway, had managed to secure passage aboard the ship. Why in the world a werewolf would knowingly set foot on a ship that would place it in the face of the full moon for two months mystified him. Then again, how the orbits for such a time worked also mystified him; he was a computer programmer turned Space Force Colonel, he was not a celestial engineer or physicist. Yet, he was good at one thing, and that was solving problems and managing resources. That was what he did all the time, that was how he had managed to avoid the worst of the Marco Polo disaster, and that was how he had managed to answer the questions the press had put forward.

It was how Throckmorton could save those men and women still alive on the Pytheas. Of course, he didn't have all the answers, and he most certainly did not know everything that he needed to know. If he were up there with Rhodes, and down here at the same time he could see everything that was going on. If that were the case, then they could find a way to stop the werewolves. They had to stop them, there was no other way that he could see the crew of the Pytheas surviving otherwise. As it were, most had already succumbed or died at the claws of the werewolves already. Those were losses that he did not want to face. He hoped that the people left in the Greenhouse were smart enough to stay there. He did not want to see the disease spreading further, or the death toll rising.

He looked over at Brucker who was calmly pacing back and forth, his own head lost in thought. Brucker, with his very carefully trimmed head of hair, was stroking his clean-shaven face rhythmically. He was dwelling on what he had seen as well. Brucker was another problem solver, who could figure things out almost as well as he could himself. They worked well together, and between them he was sure that this would come to a less than disastrous resolution. However, no matter what happened, the media would paint it as a disaster, and he was sure that the name Marco Polo would keep coming back up. He did not want to ever see that again.

He thought back on the day, three years ago when the Marco Polo suffered acute engine malfunction because of the exhaust from a scientific experiment in the research stations. Somehow the venting had not been welded together properly. The gasses mixed, and the engine began to fire. Thankfully, it did not explode, or they might never know what would have happened to the ship. However, it did fire, only the single engine. It had been enough to send the Marco Polo careening out of orbit and straight into the moon. The engine continued firing long after the bridge crew were dead, unprepared for what had happened. They ship had ripped across the surface of the moon, spreading debris for hundreds of miles. Some of it was almost certainly still on the moon's surface even though the cleanup crew had been very thorough.

That had been before Secretary Blumenfield's time. Her predecessor had lost his job over the affair. Throckmorton had barely held onto his, but MOCR had gone through a major reworking in personnel and staff since then. All nine of the remaining space shuttles went through massive amounts of inspection and reconfiguring to ensure that such a catastrophe did not happen again. There had not been a single survivor on board the Marco Polo, everybody had died from the impact almost instantly as the superstructure caved in and the air escaped. A few bodies were found completely intact thrown clear of the wreckage, and left to freeze unprotected on the surface of the moon. Most were mangled and a few impossible to identify among the wreckage. The remaining fuel tank was smashed open and the chemicals had washed over a few of the bodies, fossilizing their bones very nearly in an instant. Altogether, it was the worst disaster in Space History, even worse than the Challenger had been when he had been a boy, or even the second test flight of the Testament only thirty years later. The Testament had been like the Apollo 13, they got it back, but it would never be flight worthy again. With the Marco Polo, they could see what it did to the people, and it had not killed them all instantly, but left some to die slow, horrible, and agonizing deaths.

He turned his head to peer at Simmons. She was supposed to be up there on the Pytheas. Had she been, she might also be dead. A stroke of luck, good or bad, he could no longer decide, kept her on Earth confined to a wheelchair. She was staring absently into space, as if wondering herself what they must be going through. He had never seen a werewolf, only heard of it, and yet, he could not imagine it. He did not do the werewolf justice, it was probably much more frightening than he could visualize or experience. Being a natural skeptic, he had never had the opportunity to visualize such a being. Now, it was coming into focus before him. He could see the lupine head, the body covered in a thick fur, with the powerful legs and the sickle-like claws. He was sure, that there was more. There almost had to be.

He could tell that Simmons saw it to. He wondered what had gone through her head when she had first seen the news report. She too must have been in doubt, she too must have thought it was a ridiculous beyond belief. Yet she had come anyway. The hospital staff must have pitched a fit at her insistence to leave. They could not make her stay, it was her choice. All they could do was stand and watch her leave, her tests unfinished, and her bill unpaid. Well certainly they must have gotten the bill, but what else could they have gotten done. They put her leg in a cast, and confined her to a wheel chair. They could not keep her from the man that she was in love with.

It was common knowledge that Michelle Simmons and Samuel Kilpatrick were in love, everybody in the Space Force who was familiar with them knew they were in love. They did not flaunt it like some did, but they did not make it inobvious either. From the way people saw them touch each other in briefing sessions, to the way they looked at each other during simulations, it was obvious. They freely admitted it too, and there was always that reminded about not to dilly-dally while on officially Space Force business. As far as he knew, they never had, and Rhodes attested to that as well.

However, now Simmons must be thinking about how much danger Kilpatrick was in. Throckmorton realized that she could no longer be concerned with missing him for a whole two months, but that he might not come back alive period. That was something that had to be pressing on her mind. What could she do if he was permanently dead? Throckmorton did not want to share in her sympathies with just one person; he was more interested in saving as many as he could. The possibility was grave, Kilpatrick might already be dead. It was certain that he did not answer their calls to the Engine room. That could mean many things, and the fact that he was no longer living seemed to be the most evident.

Still, there was always a chance that he might be alive. He could be sleeping, both he and Penny. However, if he had to bet money, he would go against the way of Simmons's heart and bet on dead. He hated to admit it to himself, since it was horrible, possibly even more horrible than the fact that both Max Dutton and Captain Havergal Rhodes were now werewolves, or at least Rhodes would be soon if not already. He could not imagine what must have gone through their heads when they realized their fate. How did one justify or accept the fact that they would turn into a murderous lupine beast when the moon became full? He shuddered at the thought of it.

Throckmorton was so lost in his thoughts that he did not notice the junior officer bringing the phone to Brucker and speaking with him for a moment. He only was finally aware of what was going on around him when Brucker tapped him on the shoulder, "Sir, it's Secretary Blumenfield to speak with you."

"I thought she said she was going to head straight here before speaking again?" Throckmorton asked, not really sure what he was saying anymore.

"Sir, she wants to talk to you." Major Brucker pointed out.

Throckmorton sighed, and took the phone into the crux of his shoulder. "This is Colonel Throckmorton speaking." His voice was low, disinterested.

"Colonel, I thought you said you were going to keep security tight at MOCR." it was more of an accusation than a question. Throckmorton could feel, but not understand the sting of the words. Her voice was raspy like a vipers, ready to strike him at any time. It was quite unsettling.

"I have, nobody has left here since Mrs. Clarendon. That problem has been taken care of." Throckmorton insisted.

"Turn on the cable, I don't care to which channel. Any news channel will be fine." Blumenfield challenged him, her voice strident.

Throckmorton began to get worried, what was being broadcast now? Something must have gone wrong, but he could not imagine what. "Turn to any news station, turn up the volume, I want to hear."

Brucker and Simmons watched on as well as the main screen began displaying a news anchor with fake hair and phony accent began talking. The symbol up in the top corner was similar to what they had seen before, a silhouette of a wolf-like man with the space shuttle icon in the background. There was a small subtitle 'werewolves in space' located just beneath the image. The anchor droned almost mechanically, "Recent footage from the United States space shuttle The Pytheas has confirmed earlier reports that there is a werewolf on board. This footage, given to us from an anonymous government source reveals one of the crewmembers shifting into lupine form before slaying the security guard who has been identified as John Corigliano. This is the clip that we received. Parents, be warned, this clip contains graphic violence."

Throckmorton watched in horror as the screen changed to a very accurate view of the communications console from behind. John Corigliano was frantically typing out the message that they would receive that would alert them to the presence of the lupine menace on board the ship. This was an accurate tape, it must have been sent to Earth from somebody on board the Pytheas, there was no way it could have been intercepted from Earth or any satellite orbiting Earth. No, this was an inside job. He could not contain his frustration and his anger as he watched the tape roll by.

The form on the floor he recognized as Danielpour. The pool of blood about his carcass was enough to convince him that he was quite indeed dead. Then a strange thing started happening. The slash marks in Danielpour's chest began to sew themselves up. He wished that he could hear what was going on while he continued to watch, but the security cameras were not equipped to pick up sound. The newscaster told them all to watch the body at the bottom of the screen. Edward could not take his eyes off of that form. He heard a little gasp from Simmons behind him and a choking sound from Brucker, and hushed whispers from the rest of the technicians in MOCR, but his ears were not important, it was what he saw that mattered only to him.

He wanted so very badly to scream to Corigliano to turn around, but of course, this happened hours ago. There was nothing he could do but watch in horror as the dead body slowly came back to life. What was more impossible than werewolves were? The dead rising to life? Apparently not, as he continued to see it rise from the floor of the ship, the wounds all healed, the heart beating once more, the torn clothes falling away as the form began to increase in girth. The hair along its chest began to burst forth, thickening, changing hue as it went to a soft white. The colour of his skin began to pale into a subtle grey as he slowly rose, his back now to the camera. The figure of John Corigliano was being lost in the rising size of the man that had once been Lt. Malcolm Danielpour.

Danielpour rose, the ears on his head pulling backwards as the hair on his head lightened to a majestic silver. They soon came to rest atop his skull, becoming pointed and tipped off in the fur, raising and lowering as the change continued. Corigliano seemed oblivious to the entire affair, despite the fact that he had that rifle at the ready, he was never going to get a chance to use it. The man who was now a werewolf, though he had also been dead, continued to shift and sprout more fur. Like his chest, the hair on his back exploded forth, first scattered randomly, then it quickly filled in as hair after hair follicle poked its way out of his skin. The arms were held out to hiss ides as the last remnants of his shirt fell away and they too grew fur, lengthened, strengthened, the muscle pulling in tighter for a moment, then expanding outwards. The palms of his hands darkened, the calluses thickening. The fingernails grew dark and wickedly curved. He imagined that in moments the stain of crimson would sully that ebony blackness.

It still continued to change, what had at first been Danielpour looked nothing like him now. The seams on his pants slowly tugged apart, and out from the top suddenly blossomed an ever-lengthening tail. That was one thing he had not placed into his mental picture, a tail. Somehow, it was the final humiliation, the last wall between man and beast that should never have been broken. The pants finally broke apart, and the once hairless tail began to grow its own batch of silvery fur. The legs were already covered in a small spattering of fur, and once more the muscles tightened, and then exploded outwards again, the thighs already thicker than most men's', became monstrously powerful and intimidating. The feet were also shifting, elongating until the ankle was too weak to support the weight properly. Standing only on the pads of its paws, he watched as they each grew their own claws, becoming more wolf-like than anything else.

The head was the last thing to complete itself. The face turned from side to side as the change began to wind down. It kept silent. He could not even see Corigliano anymore to know if he was doing anything or if he was even aware of what was behind him. The ears flicked back as his mouth began distending, falling forward, and the bones in his jaw reshaping themselves. The eyes though, they caught his attention immediately. Already sinking in the furrowing brow, he saw the miasmatic yellow there, and it frightened him. Those were not the eyes of a sane if somewhat dogmatic human, but the eyes of madness in the wolf. This was not like a wolf, but more like a mad one, one that was not in complete control of its actions. As the jaw began pushing forward, the face was quickly brushed over with the already lengthening silvery fur that had covered the rest of his body. His cheeks split wide, showing the already sizable canines that were continuing to expand and lengthen as the rest of his teeth began to spread out and in some cases shrink slightly to fit the now lupine jaws. The nose settled into a comfortable position, black like on any canines. It shook its head out slightly, the jowls finally settling into place. The werewolf looked down away from them, at its prey.

No longer would he have to visualize the werewolf, now it would always be there, haunting the field of his vision, turned away from him, ready to spring at a moments notice. Now he would always know it was there, the image of it forever burned into the back of his corneas. He could only imagine what it would be like in real life. However, he knew now that he did not have to imagine very hard. There were gasps and cries of terror from all about him; even the broadcaster seemed slightly horrified by what he was seeing. He might just be seeing this for the first time himself Throckmorton realized. Was the world watching? Would all of them go to sleep with a new terror in their hearts? Many had probably seen werewolf movies, but how many had seen real werewolves? How many had seen the real thing, knew about them and what they were? He did not think that many would be able to claim such a privilege.

Throckmorton continued to stare transfixed at the screen, hoping that he could see Corigliano do something. Then suddenly a blast shot out through the center of the creatures back, and then another as the thing fell back, under the firing of the rifle. He wished he could hear what was going on, but instead, there was silence, and nothing but silence. Each watched as the creature backed up under the shots fired at it, and they saw Corigliano's scared but determined face. He was shaking violently, and was firing madly, trying to keep the thing away from him. There was nothing they could do, and in the pit of his stomach he knew that Corigliano was dead.

It hit them all a moment later when Corigliano suddenly looked down at the rifle. They did not know what had happened, but it must have jammed or something as he tossed it aside and was reaching in the backpack that was sitting on the console. He pulled out a gun, and it looked like he was screaming, his eyes wide as they saw the werewolf suddenly spring back on top of him. He saw the holes in the werewolf's back where the bullet had exited. The wounds were slowly closing up; the regenerative ability of the werewolf was not just a myth either. They never saw him fire the pistol as the blood began to spill over the console, and the werewolf that had once been Danielpour rose from the now prone body of John Corigliano, his chest ripped open. John's vacant eyes stared upward as his body finally slipped to the floor, collapsing in a heap.

The picture remained for a moment, the werewolf standing over the body, breathing deeply, as the wounds finally sealed up for good. It tilted its head back then, and opened its mouth. It looked to be howling. It had made its first kill, why not announce it to the world. Of course that diseased creature would be pleased. Of course it would announce its triumph to others. Nothing could stop them. Their own dead would turn against them. He wondered if Corigliano had become a werewolf as well by now. It was entirely likely. If the dead rose, then why not he?

The screen then changed back to the broadcaster. He looked slightly pale and had to readjust his toupee slightly. "That was one of the clips we received showing the werewolf. Apparently there are others on the Pytheas. The crewman who changed into the werewolf is still as of yet unknown." Then somebody passed him a sheet of paper, and he quickly scanned it. "No wait, this just in. The werewolf has been identified. That was Lieutenant Malcolm Danielpour of the United State Space Force.

"Although Colonel Throckmorton denies the existence of werewolves on the shuttle Pytheas, this videotape given to us and many other stations by an anonymous government source confirms the existence of the creature. Apparently, there is more than one as well, as other clips show werewolves with different coats of fur.

"The story of engine failure on board the Pytheas was an obvious cover-up on the part of the Space Force to hide something much more remarkable and unbelievable. This could very well indeed be a worse disaster than the Marco Polo of three years ago. Here is some footage of the press conference in which Colonel Throckmorton has lied for the Space Force." The scene cut to a clip of the press conference where they all saw his face behind the podium, his words repeating over and over again, "There is no werewolf." He could not stomach seeing himself made into a liar; it sent shivers down his spine that were totally undeniable. He had said those things, and no matter what else happened, he would always be known as a liar. Thankfully, it did not last too long, but it had been enough.

Throckmorton continued to watch the wide screen, the phone in his hand nearly forgotten. He could not tear his eyes or ears from the screen as the newscaster continued his ominous pronouncements. Hearing his rather curt appraisal that what he himself had said was a lie, and then seeing a clip of himself saying those lies, was personally disturbing, though not quite to the same extent as seeing the werewolves. The look that Brucker had given him when his face had been plastered on the screen had been one of sorrow. Both knew that Throckmorton was almost certain to lose his job over this fiasco. Nothing it seemed could stop that now.

Unless of course he managed to save the rest of them. Even then he could expect to lose some credibility. He was not going to face the press with this one, not anymore. He was not going to deal with being told he was a liar. He cringed at the thought of it. Lying had not been something he'd done lightly, but how could he have admitted that there was a werewolf on board the Pytheas? It made no sense then, and it certainly did not make sense to him now. It was not an option, it had never been an option and he was not going to admit it was an option now. But of course it was, now that they had videotape, actual recording that could be authenticated, he was going to have to consider admitting he lied. They would understand, wouldn't they?

Of course not, they were not going to ever be inclined to let him get off the hook for this one. It was just like the Marco Polo. The then Secretary of Space had told the lies, and when the truth came out he was fired so quickly that he never knew what had happened. He was the one who had told the lies because Secretary Blumenfield was not here. He would be the one who got the axe. Of course it would not be as ruinous to him as it was to the previous Secretary. Throckmorton was in his seventies, about time for him to consider retirement anyway. Perhaps it would be best to retire after this before he got fired. If he could do that then at least he would save some face.

As they continued to watch the screen, the broadcaster shifted in tone. He seemed almost to be accepting the presence of the werewolf as if it were a common everyday thing. "We know very little about the werewolf itself, except that it seems to be affected by the full moon and resilient to all attacks. We have received also a prerecorded taped interview of the noted scientist slash futurist Fulton Swiley giving his impressions of what he has seen on this werewolf footage. Here are some of the comments he made."

The scene shifted to show a man of about forty with a rather cheery looking disposition. He calmly looked just to the side of the screen, his voice almost upbeat as he talked. "The werewolf has been a part of our culture for hundreds of years, if not thousands. There has always been a sense of mystery surrounding the creature that is a man most of the time, but under special circumstances can become another creature. Almost every culture has a shapeshifter. The one that has most affected American Culture is of course the European bane, the wolf.

"However, we as a culture grew beyond mere superstition, and only believed with our eyes what we could see and take measurements on. The realm of magic, that which could not be quantified was relegated to myth and folklore. Now it seems that science has been too presumptuous in its categorization. We must unlearn what we have learned about science if we are to understand the werewolf.

"Let me try it this way. Our eyes have been opened to a new understanding. Werewolves exist, and may be among us. Certainly it is possible that the shapeshifters of other cultures also exist, though likely in small numbers. Perhaps there are other levels of seeing the world that we have not yet perceived because our minds are trained not to see them. Perhaps we have become so steeped in strict rationalism that we cannot see past our own theories and arrogant models on the Universe. Perhaps one day we will find a way to see into these other realms that live beside us. Perhaps we will be able to understand them better and because of it flourish like we never have before.

"It seems that we have taken that first step now. The discovery that the werewolf is real is startling, but no more startling to discover that we are not alone in the Universe. Though we have not done the latter, it is my personal belief that within ten years we will find that there are things on this great Earth of ours that we have not yet known because of the blinders we have put on. It is time to take off these blinders. It is time to see the world the way it really is, and the werewolf is just a peripheral view of the real world. There will be more." The clip then stopped, and Throckmorton was stunned. It was as if the man had expected this all to happen. It seemed as if he had known that it was going to come about. How could anybody ever suspect such a thing? From Fulton Swiley's book he had received no indication of anything quite so dramatic as this.

The news announcer then broke into his train of thought, "For those of you who missed it, that was Fulton Swiley, author of the best-selling novel 'Cycles of the Universe: Science Rediscovering Myth'. That tape was made in response to video of the werewolf killing John Corigliano that you saw earlier. Once again, there are werewolves aboard the Pytheas. The footage you saw was supplied by an anonymous government source. We will have more on this as it comes in.

"In other news," the anchorman began, but Throckmorton ordered the cable turned off. He was feeling sick to his stomach. How could it possibly have gotten out, and now his reputation is damaged as well as Fulton Swiley having the gall to praise and laud the appearance of the werewolf! How dare he? Didn't he know that people were dying up there? And there was an odd nagging feeling that he had seen that man's face somewhere before.

He shook his shoulders at Brucker, who was looking ver defensive, "Now Colonel, I made very sure that this place was secure. That was a security camera too, nobody could have gotten that from here."

"I know, Major." Throckmorton nodded, looking at the still shaking Simmons. "Sorry about Malcolm."

"I am too." Simmons muttered as she wiped her eyes, which were becoming wet.

Throckmorton then noticed that phone in his hand and pulled it back up to his ear, "Secretary, I just want you to know that I have no idea how this happened. Nobody has left MOCR since we ejected Mrs. Clarendon. I don't know how this got out. I don't know how at all."

Blumenfield did not seem too impressed by his apology. "I took the fast flight back, I should be there in another hour or so. You realize now that you are going to have to say something."

Throckmorton nodded to himself, "I know. I just don't know what to say. It seems like no matter what I do I will be branded a liar who is trying to cover up the truth."

Blumenfield was silent on the other end, and Throckmorton could not stand the wait. He did not want to have to deal with this lady, for she was relentless and was not going to give him much leeway, not after this. It was obvious that she was trying to think of someway to save her own skin. Of course, his won was probably roasting over the fire by now. The name Throckmorton and liar were probably inextricably connected together.

"Colonel, was that videotape authenticated?"

"It was from the bridge of the Pytheas, yet. It was from one of the security cameras. The problem is, you can't view that from Earth, only on the ship." Throckmorton pointed out.

"How have you been talking to Rhodes then. You said you talked with him. If this Mr. Corigliano was on the bridge and is now dead, how were you talking to him? And where is Rhodes anyway?"

Throckmorton could hear the unspoken threat in her voice. This was not a time for half-truths or even mostly truths. He had to come clean now, or there would never be a second chance. He sighed deeply, scratching his leg idly as he thought how to phrase his response. Nothing he said would leave him unscathed, but at this point, it hardly mattered at all it seemed.

"Rhodes and the other survivors are in the Greenhouse and in the Research facilities. Nobody is on the bridge anymore, not after what happened to Corigliano. I've been talking to them over their personal communicators, it was the only way to authenticate the message." Throckmorton admitted. Brucker's eyes went wide when he heard him say that. The frequencies on the communicators were not the sort of information that they were allowed to have. That was in Blumenfield's hands only. Throckmorton gave him a small smile to let him know that he did know what he was doing. He wished that he really did.

"How did you get those frequencies?" Blumenfield asked evenly. She did not sound too angry with him. She sounded almost like his mother did when she would scold him. It was an odd sort of feeling since his mother had not scolded him for over fifty years.

"I used an elaborate method of bouncing radio frequencies across the ships hull. Once we picked up a variation, we were able to extrapolate the frequencies. I figured it was an emergency situation that called for such action."

"You should have called me." Blumenfield pointed out testily.

"I did not want to disturb your all important meeting for what might have been a very bad practical joke." Throckmorton maintained his serious tone level, hoping that she would be able to see it his way. She was usually reasonable; but then again, no video had ever been stolen from a shuttle's security banks either.

Blumenfield seemed to be thinking about that, as he could hear the slight chattering as she tapped her fingernails against her teeth, a bad habit that he had seen her develop over the years out of nervousness and inability to keep still. He waited patiently, while Brucker seemed to be getting more nervous, mouthing questions to him that he didn't understand every few moments. Simmons appeared so lost in thought that she did not notice any of it. She had friends up there who were dying or becoming werewolves; of course she would be lost in thought.

When she spoke again her voice was a bit more conciliatory, "All right. How do you think this video got out?"

"I think that somebody on board the Pytheas smuggled it to somebody on Earth. That somebody then sent it too all these news stations. Who wouldn't play it? Nobody could have gotten it otherwise, the security feeds do not leave the ship, it is a standard feature."

"Are you suggesting one of the crew sent this out?"

"Either that or somebody from security, I mean they would be the only people who would have the pass codes to the security computers and databanks." Throckmorton then suddenly remembered what Rhodes had said about the security office being destroyed. "Wait a moment. I think it might very well have been somebody else. Look at it this way. The security office gets destroyed, why? To cover up what we saw before, evidence of the werewolf right?

"Wrong, now that we have a reliable tape of the werewolf shapeshifting, I'd say that whoever did that had an ulterior motive. I think they were after the security codes so that they could hack into the system and then smash everything else so nobody but them could use it. It fits perfectly, grab the codes, destroy the place and all the recordings, and then go back to your room and hook into the entire network from there. Nobody would ever suspect you because nobody could ever know what you did."

Blumenfield sounded convinced of that theory, "Good, now who on that ship would be capable of that sort of connection. The terminals in their rooms are the only place he could view it, but they are not hooked up to the server system on the ship."

"True, but we do have a server connector cable there. We built it into the ship and then at the last minute changed our mind about having the scientists having that sort of access. It is obvious that whoever did this knew about the server cable and was able to modify his television screen to get into the server."

"That sounds like a plausible theory. Now, I want you to search through the files to find out who could do that sort of thing, and also I want you to get out there and stop the media frenzy that will be banging down your door any minute now."

"I'll try my best, what should I say?"

"Use your own judgement. We never talked nor consulted, that is all I can tell you." Blumenfield then hung up, and Throckmorton was left holding the phone next to his ear, wondering what in the world he could do. He had hoped that she would give him some clue as to what to say, but no, she played politics, and left all of the blame in his lap. It was his decision, what could he do?

End Part 1 of Part XVI

Continued in Part 2 of Part XVI

Charles Matthias