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of the station.

Soto didn't allow her annoyance to show through, however. She was far too professional for that. Instead-as she moved through the cargo bay accompanied by Ivanova, Allan, and Sheridan-she said, with her considerable technical skill and unflappable demeanor, "We still don't have a lot to go on, but it looks as if the device drained every last milliwatt of power from the 'bot. We can't even recharge it; we've tried three times, and the charge doesn't stick."

Ivanova was clearly puzzled. "So why didn't it affect our Starfuries when we pulled it in out of hyperspace?"

"I don't know," Soto admitted reluctantly. "My guess is that it has to do with the proximity of the power source. You were able to fire grapples at the device from a safe distance. The 'bot and its power source were within just a few feet." Discussing uncertainties made Soto itchy, and she felt the need to terminate the conversation as briskly and efficiently as possible. "I'll let you know when we've finished the rest of our tests," she said with finality, and quickly distanced herself from the others. Her departure left the three of them grouped around the un-moving and basically useless 'bot, which lay there on a table with its mechanical innards scattered all over the place. Robot autopsy 101.

Looking for something vaguely approximating a bright side, Zack offered, "The power drain seems to be stricdy short-range. So if we're lucky, this won't constitute a hazard to navigation."

"We'll just have to make sure to keep a distance or come up with some kind of shielding," Sheridan said.

The moment he said it, however, he knew that it wasn't going to sit especially well with Ivanova. As it turned out, he was absolutely right. "But that'll make it almost impossible to do a half-decent
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