Engagement part 5 by Ronald Faltus

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SUMMARY: Hines and Myers begin to uncover some disturbing possibilities.

Myers felt a moment of pride, sure that she knew the answerer and was pleased that she could again prove her worth on this mission. She had helped during the combat, but that was outside of her normal expertise. Here was a situation that fell within her technical skills. Aware that she might be brushing up against the edges of gloating, she posed a question to Remo.

"What about the power supply?"

Remo's eyes went wide with the implication, and bolted to the corner of the room. Myers smiled as he busily began to punch buttons on the side control panel. A loud exclamation form Remo signified that he now understood, but Hines still looked as bewildered as ever.

"OK, someone fill me in." The sergeant definitely didn't like being kept in the dark, especially when one of his own troops knew something that he didn't.

"Quite simple actually." Myers turned to face the sergeant. "Well, almost every communication system logs all out going transmission that can tell us who they were talking too. But these guys were smart enough to delete the log. You know just incase the GPS or the local authorities showed up. Not a good idea to allow the identity of your handlers to get out."

"But each device is designed with a safety feature. It records the orientation of the dish in a hidden file on the hard drive. They say it's a means to keep important coordinates from being accidently erased, but the truth is meant for situations like this. A way for the authorities to see who is talking to who."

"So you know which direction it was sent, but what good is that without a time stamp."

Meyers looked past Hines to Remo, who was still plugging away at the power supply. "Would you like to explain to your sergeant what you're doing over there?" A steep grade of playfulness had entered her voice, enjoying keeping Hines in the dark just a bit longer.

"Well sir, your right about the time stamp. Unless we know the position of the planet at the time of the transmission, knowing the dish's orientation is pretty much useless. Because of the planets rotation, not to mention its orbit around the sun and galactic drift, there are hundreds of possible destinations for the burst."

Unable to stay out of the explanation, Myers continued. "See Sergeant, this equipment emits a narrow beam transmission, so you need to have the dish lined up directly with who you want to talk too. Just pointing it into space doesn't cut it."

Remo took back over, politely of course. "As our Lieutenant was so bright to point out, while we may have lost the data form the burst terminal itself, we still have the power supply. The gear draws an awful lot of energy when in use..."

"That's how we tracked down theses guys in the first place. Zeroed in on the power spike."

"... so you need to have a external energy source. It would easily overload the local power grid." Remo smiled at Myers. "You asked me to explain it to the Sergeant, but that's hard to do if you keep interrupting me."

"Ohh, so sorry I promise to keep quite, continue." She grinned as she issued the false apologies.

"No, this was your pick up; I think you should take it form here."

Jousting back, "But your doing such a good job explaining it and I don't feel like I should take that from you."

"Enough!" Hines was getting more agitated, and Myer's and Remo's dancing around the explanation was not helping matters.

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