B5 Chapter 24 The Vectrans Arrive - Part 2

Chapter 24: The Vectrans Arrive - Part 2 (Or: Now You See It, Now You Don't )

The next day, the landing party beamed down to the Bahamas successfully, and they managed to mingle with the population without incident for the most part. To the rest of the townspeople, they appeared to be six other women who were on vacation, and they paid them no undue attention. Unfortunately, along with not being noticed by the locals, the six Vectrans had spent several days on the Islands, with very little success to report so far. The girls gathered together at a fast food restaurant for lunch one afternoon, to try and plan their strategy.
"I don't know about you, but all we've done so far is run up credit card bills, since we arrived here," said Vantha.
"The next time we have to do this Dejah," complained Kristal, "you ought to do your homework on these damned earth fashions. I'm showing so much skin, the local authorities think I'm a 'business girl'."
"All right, I'm sorry," snapped Dejah. "I had the same type of experience yesterday. This one fellow kept pestering me, and wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. So I slapped him good. His buddy had to help him up. It'll be a long time before he accosts a woman again; human or otherwise."
"Could you three hold it down, please?" asked Calista. She was sitting at the edge of the table, typing away at a keyboard.
"What the heck is that thing, Calista?" asked Rhiannon, as she and Rayleena arrived with the trays of food.
"It's what they call a laptop, or portable computer here, sir," replied Calista.
"Why spend money on that, even if it's not really ours? We've got much more advanced technology." She began passing out the burgers and drinks. "And stop calling me 'sir'. We're not on the ship now."
"I know it's backward compared to ours, but it's much more in tune with their Internet, and their other media, without having to downgrade our own. I've been searching for information that might help us."
"Whatever makes you happy, Calista," sighed Rhiannon.

"Ugh," said Vantha, as she took a bite of her burger. "If I ever get back to the Delphi 4 again, I swear I will never complain about the synthesized food that the ship produces."
"All right, smart aleck," said Dejah. "The next time, you pick the restaurant."
"Any more meals like this, and there may not be a next time," said Kristal.
"I have to agree with you there," said Rayleena. "In the thirty years since we were here, you'd think they would have improved the food in these places some by now."
"You're right girls," said Rhiannon. "This food may do what no other enemy of the Federation could: bring us to our knees."
Rhiannon paused as she ate her lunch. "I hate to admit it, but if we don't get some type of lead in a day or two, we'll have to call things off. We can't keep a Starship off course like we are indefinitely."
"But we're so close," said Calista. "I'm still getting a steady series of readings of our technology being used."
"So why haven't we located anything yet?" asked Vantha.
"We've double-checked the readings and recalibrated the equipment," said Kristal. "But where we indicate the readings are coming from, there isn't anything there."
"What do you mean?" asked Rhiannon.
"According to local travel maps, and even what we can pull off the Internet," said Calista, "the only thing due north of here is endless miles of ocean. But I know the equipment is not malfunctioning, so there's something out there."
"Sounds to me like somebody doesn't want to be found," said Rhiannon. "How old are these maps, and the information you're accessing, Calista?"
"They're both dated within the last year."
"That's just what I'd expect from someone who's trying to hide something. What we need is an older map of this area."
"We could check out the library, and see what they have in an older atlas," offered Kristal.
"Smart thinking," said Rhiannon. "If governments here are run anything like they are back home, you can bet that what they have is probably way out of date. And that's just what we want this time."

An hour later the six girls were gathered at a table in the main library. Calista and Kristal hunted through the shelves of books until they located a world atlas.
"Here we go," said Calista. "Atlas of the World. It's over ten years old." She opened the book to a page that detailed their general location.
"All right here's the Island group that's called the Bahamas, which is where we're at," said Rhiannon. "Just where do your instruments indicate that the readings they're picking up are coming from?"
"We're on the northernmost island, right here," said Calista. "We get readings that should be roughly fifty to sixty miles north of us. But according to the newest maps and charts, there's nothing out there but water."
"But look here," said Rayleena. "On this chart, there's a small island on this older atlas, that isn't on the newer maps."
"Let me see that," said Rhiannon, as she pulled the atlas closer to her. "According to the scale, it's sixty miles from where we are, which corresponds to your readings. It's only about twenty square miles, and doesn't appear to be inhabited; at least there's no town listed on it."
"It's small enough to go without being noticed if it ever disappeared from the charts," said Vantha. "And it's far enough away that you can't see it with the naked eye."
"But they're close enough that they're not completely cut off from the rest of the world by either air or sea, if they really have to contact someone," said Rayleena.
"Well, Calista, you've managed to get us the best lead we've had so far," said Rhiannon. "All right, let's get out of here, and rent ourselves a boat. We ought to be able to make it out there in an hour or two."

The same day that the Vectrans finally believed that they had found a concrete lead for their missing technology, was also the day that the final contest between Tiffany's girls on the Island, and Barocca's group was scheduled to begin.
Barocca and her girls had left their hotel early in the morning, and taken their own boat to the Island. Since almost no one outside of the Island even knew of its existence, they merely pulled up and anchored fifty feet or so from the shore, and took a small dinghy to the Island itself.
On the Island, for most of the days leading up to the contest, as well as even early on the morning of the event itself, Dee Dee continued her marathon project of exploring all the various files and applications that were on the alien software on Barocca's computer.
The Vectrans arrived several hours later, in the afternoon of that day. As they drew nearer in their boat, the girls could begin to make out the outline of the Island on the horizon.
"I knew it! I knew it!" shouted Calista. "There's somebody out here after all!"
"And the technology readings have been coming through loud and clear, on and off, all morning long," said Kristal.
"Not only that," said Rhiannon, as she looked at the Island through a pair of binoculars, "it appears that we're not the only ones who know about this place. Take a look."
"It's another boat," said Rayleena. "Who do you suppose it belongs to?"
"If I lived here, I surely wouldn't leave a craft like that just floating freely in the sea. I'd make sure it was moored or tethered somewhere. My guess is that whoever arrived in this, is expecting to leave shortly."
"Where should we land at, Rhiannon?" asked Vantha.
"We'll probably have to confront whoever's on the Island eventually," she replied. "But for the time being, it won't hurt to have the element of surprise on our side. Pull around to the side, so we're at least out of their line of sight. We'll see if we can find a little cove or inlet to pull into."
With the ship safely moored in a small inlet, the six Vectran girls climbed off the ship and onto the shore of the Island.
"Okay. Let's go exploring!" said Rhiannon.

A short search of the surrounding area told them everything that they needed to know.
"This place is definitely inhabited," said Vantha. "These trails are too well-worn and symmetrical to be something that nature ever made." After following the trails for several minutes, the Vectrans suddenly came upon one of the perimeter doors to the Island complex. To no one's surprise, it was locked.
"Now what do we do?" wondered Calista.
Rhiannon shook her head. "I'm surprised at you girls. We've only been here a few days, and you're already starting to think that you're actually part of the local population."
Rhiannon removed the 'belt buckle' that was actually her hologram projector and translator, and placed it in her pocket. She now stood before the other girls in her true form. Just over seven feet of superbly muscled, well-conditioned Vectran female.
"We may be females, but we're Vectran females. I don't know about you, but I've been waiting a long time to be able to track down the bastards that stole our technology, and then tried to flaunt it, by using it at their whim. And now, I'm going to do something that I've been itching to do ever since we landed on this mudball planet."
Rhiannon strode over to the door, and inserted her fingertips at the seam where the door and the frame met. Her brow tensed, and her breath grunted as she exerted her strength. The muscles on Rhiannon's arms and back stood out like cables, as her alien strength slowly overcame the metal of the door.
As Rhiannon's fingers dug deeper into the metal door, and she gained a stronger hold, a grinding and tearing of metal slowly escalated into a long twisting sound; which finally became a loud snap of metal parts, as the mechanism shattered under Rhiannon's power.
"Damn, but it felt good to do that," she said. "We've had to be so cautious and polite, trying not to stand out or make waves, we've become complacent while we're here."
Rhiannon pushed the door wide open, which was now leaning at a crooked, unnatural angle. She pulled out her 'belt buckle' and fastened it again, resuming her 'human' size.
"After you, girls. It won't hurt to let someone think we're just another group of ordinary women for the time being. But since we're now so close, I want everyone to know, that if anyone gets in our way, we're going to kick ass first, and ask questions later."
The six Vectrans filed into the complex. In both Dee Dee's lab and in Ebony's office, both of their computer programs that monitored security on the Island, both showed a red warning light, and softly beeped an alarm, which indicated a perimeter breach.
But by now, everyone had gathered in the auditorium, which had been modified for the first event of the contest between Jordan and Jeanne, which was to be a Milking Contest.

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