Sensors indicate that something atypical is going on with the torpedo system – the captain orders a boarding party to prevent the opposition from launching or activating that system as planned. Analysis also shows that the ship’s stealth capability is entirely mechanical – a layer of monotanium wrapped around the hull that scatters sensor wavelengths.
The boarding party advances quickly through the ship to the weapons deck where the crew has erected a defensive position. All defenders are killed save the only synthetic we have encountered, who shrugs off a direct hit from a stunrod (accompanied by a sudden change in her eye color, of all things) before a second stunrod strike knocks her out.
Having secured the weapons deck, the boarding party is stymied by a final set of blast doors to the torpedo room. On the Hamilton O. Smith, Sharon and Lucid Conundrum both make an attempt to gain control of the ship’s systems remotely – they cannot open the blast door but do gain partial control over the torpedo system. Conundrum shuts the torpedo launch tube doors to stall while Sharon captures the launch telemetry of the next torpedo, planning to use that to pick it up when the fracas is over. Both of them notice that the ship’s computer is extremely unconvential, using archaic design principles but a high advanced version of them; it is also running multiple parallel discrete partitions, at least one of which has hallmarks of being installed or maintained by an AI.
A series of blasts subsequently comes from the torpedo launch systems, while Sharon and Conundrum can only watch as catastrophic system failure begins to cascade across the ship. An unknown purple gas begins to flood the decks, and the boarding party takes this as a sign to take their prisoner and go. They make it off the ship with time to spare before it explodes.
Quick-thinking sensor work by the tactical officer allows the crew to recover not just the torpedo that Sharon tagged, but another launched prior (review of the logs indicates that the unknown craft launched five torpedoes before the boarding party intervened). A cursory indication shows that they are made out of the same sensor-baffling monotanium that the ship itself used.
While Dr. Everett moves the boarding party to decontamination out of concern for whatever we leaking into the atmosphere of the unknown craft, the engineering crew are eager to crack open the secrets of the monotanium torpedoes…