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.
WELP she got what she came for and now she's going back to the project development hub and here's hoping the door shuts.
After a sprint to the project hub, the door slides shut behind her. "Did you find spares?" Catherine asks.
"I found an entire spare!" she says, holding up the slightly begunked omnitool. "Also there's another 'proxy' or something running around covering more people in gel." Is there somewhere to plug her new find in an make sure it interfaces correctly without displacing Catherine to use her port?
"That's...very good news, bad news," Catherine says. There's only the one port on the console where the first omnitool is currently mounted, so it's not possible to test the second's connections without unplugging the first, but the second looks like it's at least powered on--it's showing "READY" on the screen, like Margaret's first does when she's just using it to open doors and Catherine's not active on it.
"Yeah. I don't think we have anything else to do here before we try to get to the DUNBAT, right?"
"Not that I can think of, we're ready to go," Catherine says.
"Alright then. See you at the DUNBAT, then, unless something unexpected comes up." Which it probably will because it always does, down here.
Once Catherine is unplugged, she checks her spare in the port to make sure the contacts aren't too gunked and sets out again, keeping an ear (well, reasonable facsimile thereof) out for any wandering dangers.
The second omnitool fires up, with "Helper Jane" onboard. She doesn't offer much, as she didn't before on Margaret's first omnitool. With both omnitools working, Margaret can climb back up to access the duct she used to get from the elevator shaft she climbed down, and retrace her steps (or crawl, anyway) back out of the project hub. As she crawls, the sounds of moans and footsteps fade, at least for the moment.
That's one nice thing about traveling by duct: as far as she knows she's the only entity around here who's both mobile and small enough to fit in them. Also fortunate: she was right that she can get back up the shaft she went down, climbing a mix of pipes and conduits and the original rappelling cable.
There doesn't seem to be anyone or anything around when she gets back to the top of the elevator shaft and out into the dorm lounge area. Just the lonely quiet of a dead or dying station on a dead or dying world, and the drip of water or structure gel in puddles.
She heads back down the corridor past the scan lab and into the cargo staging area. Now that Catherine has put in the security cipher, her omnitool will open the door to the DUNBAT hangar.
The DUNBAT hangar has a fence surrounding a large door in the floor--apparently it's meant to go out that way, instead of the main cargo pressure lock. A boarding bridge forms a break in the fence at the far end of the hangar, once the sub is lowered down from the array of gantries and cranes wrapped around it where it hangs on the ceiling. Near the door, there's a small console with a few buttons, marked in sequence for activating the DUNBAT. Power on, self-test, initiate systems, lower to release, release active...somebody wanted to make sure all the most important functions were right here, not the array of consoles around the edge of the hangar with chairs and such, presumably for overseeing maintenance of the vehicle.
It's nice to see something well-designed, though she definitely wants to board it before release and see if there are matching controls on the inside. But she can power it on and activate the self-test from here.
The DUNBAT's large gripping arms twitch through a series of motion tests around its large cabin--at least the size of a minivan--and then the console flashes up "ALL SYSTEMS OK!".
That's even more satisfying than when all the tests pass on her software homework. . . . She hasn't done her homework in decades and also she graduated. She waits to make sure everything is definitely done moving before pressing the next button.
The DUNBAT just hangs in midair, waiting. "ALL SYSTEMS OK!" the screen says, with the next button marked "PRE-RELEASE".
The overhead crane starts to lower the DUNBAT into the loading position...and then the internal lights come on in the cabin, glowing through the windows as the spotlights flicker off and on spastically. There's an audio interference whine, and then a speaker on the outside of the DUNBAT starts shouting. "I can't take this, I can't take this, I can't TAKE THIS." The crane shakes as the DUNBAT swings its arms wildly. As it gives way, dumping the multi-ton vessel down and sending it crashing through the open floor hatch, the New York-accented voice continues. "Catherine, this is all YOUR FAULT!"
The crash of its impact below knocks the lights out, and knocks Margaret sprawling on the floor. By the time the emergency lights come up and Margaret recovers herself, the upper hatch above where it landed has automatically sealed shut.
Margaret shrieks as it falls, some primitive part of her software thinking it's (he's?) lunging right at her. Once she's back on her feet she stares at the hatch, then--with some trepidation--tries pressing the buttons that might open the hatch again. If the DUNBAT is in fact an angry New Yorker now she might be able to persuade him to help anyway, and she doesn't want to give up too quickly.
It doesn't seem like the hatch controls are responding--the power's out to the control panel, and the impact was strong enough it's entirely possible the inner door slamming closed was a spastic reaction to the outer door suffering a breach as several tons of submarine fell through it.
That would be very reasonable of the outer door and she doesn't blame it at all. Now, where's the nearest place she can plug in Catherine and explain the problem?
It looks like there's not an Omnitool mount anywhere in the DUNBAT hangar. The nearest one is probably the one in the control room overlooking it through the big window. Fortunately, at least the hatch back into the cargo bay area still seems to be working...
Massive shockwaves are bad and she shouldn't cause any more of them. She goes into the control room and sets up Catherine.
"Huh? Wait, this isn't...what happened? Did the WAU get to the DUNBAT?"
"Yeah. The DUNBAT, uh, yelled 'I can't take this, Catherine this is all your fault', and then thrashed around, came off the mount and fell through the floor. I have no idea who was in there or what they thought you did."