The building where they're doing the brain scans isn't that far from campus, so it's not hard for Margaret to show up a few minutes early. She brought some homework to work on if they're not ready for her yet, but it turns out she's too excited (and maybe also nervous) to focus on Engineering Systems Design right now. She double checks the room number in the recruitment email and knocks.
". . . You kind of sound like you're hoping I do it."
"With that kind of emergency, the over-rides would probably have to let us loose!"
"But--the ship is already sunk. Whatever signal is responsible for detecting an emergency is either disabled or can't talk to the interlocks, right, or surely it would have let us go by now. I'm worried that causing more emergency would be like--like shouting louder into a phone when you've already been hung up on. And then we'd explode."
"...I suppose. What's your plan then?"
"My plan is to keep digging into this wall until I find the physical component holding us down, find the actuator on it, and short it." She turns back to the open panel and starts examining what looks relevant to what and what can be safely moved or removed to see further in.
While it's possible to sort out the wires, eliminating the data cables and the higher-voltage power lines, the labels on the finer wiring has worn away in the time submerged. One of the bundle of ten or twelve wires must be the interlock servos, but which ones? They look like the ones from the door servos at Upsilon's shuttle terminal, but the last time Margaret did this, she had the omnitool's multimeter to help sort them out, and the signal generator to send the commands.
"I think in order to release the interlock from here I'm going to need to use the multimeter in your omnitool for a few minutes; is that okay?"
"Sure," Catherine says.
"Okay, see you in a minute." Hopefully Catherine doesn't awake to the discovery that Margaret has fried their escape vessel, Margaret thinks as she pulls out the omnitool. She's honestly not sure which is scarier--being totally unprepared for all of this, or trusting someone who's totally unprepared for all this. At least she can distinguish power from ground, now.
With the omnitool's tiny screen ticking away, Margaret's able to make a bit more progress, finally finding what looks like it should be the release servo control lead. Digital computers may change, apparently, but relay logic is forever--two positives and one ground lead to the circuit holding the latch closed, and one of the positives is currently energized. Probably the other is the forced release from that same panel on the bridge.
She still doesn't want the forced release, so all she has to do is yank the energized wire and ground it.
There's a "click-clank" from above the corridor, and then a pause in the slow groaning chorus of the ship. The escape vessel fails to immediately fling itself off the Curie.
Honestly if it had she could potentially have chased it down--it would have come to a stop eventually--but she doesn't want any more complications in her life. She goes and plugs Catherine back in and says "I think I got it; did it work this time?"
"Hmm? Yeah, the safety locks released. Nicely done. Let's see if this works now, just need to pump out the sub..." The door closes behind Margaret, cutting off the corridor, and then with a hissing sound the lifeboat starts to empty of water.
. . . Margaret had almost forgotten they've been in the water this whole time until she starts to see air, and she's kind of worried that holding the diving suit up will be hard without the buoyancy of the water helping her out, but it makes sense that the sub will be better off not having to haul all that extra mass around.
After a moment, the sub shudders slightly. "All right, we're clear, taking off."
Margaret leans against a wall and wishes there was a window to look out of. "Can you see where we're going alright? Because I can't."
"Yeah, I can. I'm hooked into the navigator, we're headed for Theta. Should only be a matter of minutes."
"Great." Time for several minutes of hopefully nonawkward silence.
"You said the WAU was tied into the Curie's power systems?"
"Yeah, it was wrapped around the reactors, and when I, uh, depowered the bit attached to the emergency intercom, the intercom shut off."
"Huh. It really must have been stabilizing the ship, and powering part of it. I wonder why?"
"Well, the WAU was meant for maintenance, right? Maybe there's a program to keep some values within tolerances. Power availability or reactor temperature or something. Or, you mentioned it absorbed brain scans; maybe the WAU is smarter now."