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Tristan

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Chapter 02

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Kindar

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      Tristan walked the corridors, again looking for something specific. With the kill switch out of him he could go where ever he wanted, but he couldn't simply walk into one of the restricted zones, someone would notice him there and alert the guards. What he needed was a way to move about that was out of sight. That was what maintenance conduits were for; unfortunately the only ones at this point he had been able to locate were in heavily populated areas of the ship.

      The map on his data pad didn't show the conduits, but he had spent long enough working in them in his youth to know the kind of space the access needed, and that void between structures did show up on the map. The next possibility was further along in this corridor.

      He walked by the room where he judged the access was, surreptitiously examining the lock; there was too many people at the moment for him to do anything more. The lock was a first generation Creyton. A cub without training could bypass such a lock. The room behind it couldn't contain anything of value.

      He turned at the first intersection and leaned against the wall, looking at his data pad. To anyone walking by he looked like he was studying the map, when instead he was focusing on his hearing. His father had trained him to sharpen his senses to the point where he could navigate a dark room with minimal problems. Now he used it to determine how far everyone was from the door he needed.

      It took a few minutes for the pedestrians to thin out enough that he had a small window during which he could do the first test of the lock. He walked to the door, the corridor was empty, but he could hear a small group coming from the next intersection. As he got close to the door he reached out and pressed the 'open' button. To his surprise the door opened. He slipped in and closed the door just as the group turned the corner.

      He looked around; he was in someone's living quarters. Someone who was rather stupid for leaving the door unlocked. The place was small but comfortably furnished; a bed, dresser, a cushioned chair with a small table and a desk in the far corner. A door led to the shower room.

      He went through the occupant's belonging, female based in the under garments he found. She didn't have anything of interest to him, other than her shower. He checked it and discovered that it used water.

      He wasn't really surprised, every prison establishment was paid a yearly amount to take care of their prisoners, with said prisoners in cryo, they could divert those funds to more luxurious concerns.

      The shower did lack a dryer, Humans didn't have enough fur on their bodies to make those useful, so he took out all the towels he could find before undressing and turning on the shower, keeping the water cool. He'd grown up bathing in lakes and under waterfalls, he didn't like hot water.

      He took a long shower, letting the water wash away the dead fur that still clung to him; the fluid in the cryo tube wasn't made to deal with fur. It was too thick to allow his dead fur to float away from his body. The shower also let him clean the stink of the sterilizer off his body.

      A few moments after he turned the shower off he heard the door to the room open and one person enter. As soon as the door closed He left the shower room and walked to her, naked and dripping. She didn't have time to register surprise at his presence that he had snapped her neck.

      He locked the door, figuring it's what she would do if she didn't want to be disturbed. Then he went back to the shower room and dried himself. He had a towel left when he was done and used it to dry the water he dripped over the floor. When that was done and he was dressed he kneeled next to the dead female and rummaged through her clothing, looking for her data pad, at first glance it looked to be a Tolera two hundred like all his, but the writing on the back indicated it was a four twenty. It must have come out while he was in cryo.

      With that in hand he sat on chair and propped his feet on the table. Her data pad wasn't locked. She had been a trusting person, and now knew that it was a costly mistake. He browsed through the information in it, until he came to her schedule, she was done for the day, and didn't have any social activities planned. He checked the previous days and confirmed she had set aside this evening for herself only.

      He looked at the crumpled body; she wouldn't have to worry about that anymore. For himself it meant he didn't have to worry about being interrupted while he looked for the access to the maintenance conduits. Her pad did have access to the ship's network, but it required a password, which he didn't have. And he didn't want to waste time hacking it. He pocketed it for later examination and went to the back wall.

      Tristan studied the wall; the paneling was two feet wide and went from floor to ceiling. With the maintenance conduit behind it, quick access would be needed in case of emergency. He ran a finger along one of the joints and then tried to slip a claw under the panel, the left panel was sealed to the wall, but the right one came loose with only a little prying.

      What was beneath the panel was a plain door, with a small window. He looked inside the room, as he expected there was no one there, in his limited field of vision he could see breathing equipment, tools and a first aid kit. The tool kit could be useful, but he had to get through this door first.

      Opening the door wasn't difficult; all he had to do was override the lock, but opening it without anyone being informed it was happening would be the challenge. He opened the lock and set to work.

      It was a few hours later that he was confident everything would work. Most of his fingers had burn marks and he had scavenged parts from many of the electronic devices in the room but now the cables had been put back in the lock, sometime even forced in, he had had to add some to redirect some of the signals.

      Not wasting time he touched the two wires he was holding, there was a little spark and the door clicked open. He put those final wires in the lock and closed it. He pushed the door open completely and smelled inside. The air had that recycled scent to it, but it was clean, no human smells flowed on it.

      He did an inventory of the room, like all access points on large ship it doubled as an emergency station in case someone needed to be treated. The breathing masks were in case one of the pipes with toxic vapors burst. He wasn't worried about that happening, and even if it did, the masks were made for a human face; his muzzle would render one unusable. There were sealable suits for the same reason.

      The first aid kit he used to treat his burnt fingers. He took the skin sealer and the disinfectant, most of what was in there were different types of bandages, those didn't work well with fur.

      He spent most of his time with the tool kit, most of what was in it dealt with repairing physical damage, not something he was very familiar with, but there were a few tools with electronic components as well as two specifically for electronic work.

      Having decided on what he was brining with him he walked back to the female's room. He picked her up and posed her in a sleeping position on her bed pulling the covers over her. He then went through the room and cleaned up anything that could give a first glance indication that something was wrong. He wasn't as meticulous with the shower room; he simply moved the towels so they couldn't be seen from the door.

      Putting the panel back in place proved more of a challenge. He couldn't leave it on the floor is he wanted to make sure no one would know anything was wrong without investigating, but he couldn't grab a hold of it to pull it in place while he was inside the conduit junction.

      He went to the tool kit and looked through what was in it again. Most were a mystery to him, but one was a flat piece of metal with a handle attached to it. When it pressed it against the wall and turned it on it stuck to it; with enough strength to support his weight. He turned it off and used it on the panel. With it he easily had it in position and it snapped in place as the edges of the panel made contact with the wall. He turned off the grabber and the panel stayed up. He closed the door and added the grabber to his pack.

      He took out the data pad with the map and mentally worked out how to get to his destination from where he was. He didn't want to use the pad's routing program because it required that it be in constant communication with the central system and he didn't want to risk that the pad was tagged. He also didn't want to risk the female's pad since she didn't have any duties in her schedule that would authorize her to be in the maintenance conduits.

      With his route formed he went to the side of the room and opened a panel, there were no locks on it or monitoring system. The tunnel beyond it was dim, but his eyes would quickly adapt once he was out of the bright lights, he would have to crawl through them but it shouldn't be too cramped. He put his pack's strap in his muzzle and climbed in the conduit.

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