"Sleepers are dangerous, Aien. Even those aboard Titan are kept under constant surveillance - I would be glad to run a combat field test, but it is simply too early." The commander stated. "We need to withdraw it from STING and do it quietly. I will deal with Uplink - it's vice director has proven very cooperative and a nearby construction company - Lumos - will be more than happy to take over some of our deliveries."
"We can't, not without causing incident. For better or worse, your current sleeper is too public. Too much in the limelight. If he breaks down, we can blame it on a shoddy uplink job. But we can't move in until then." Mused Aien, knowing full well the information nightmare it would cause. The information nightmare Hughes was certainly well aware off.
"The roaches damn it Hughes, you've been the CO of the sun for longer than I was a barge captain. You know he's too public."
Alexander fell silent, matching the now-recovered portrait of Cash with the copious amounts of STING promotional material. "As of the last ten minutes I didn't know how Cash looked. At some echelon of command people just become blanks with serial numbers, much to my displeasure." He sighed - it was a no win scenario. Extracting Cash now would result in a media meltdown, and that was just a tip of the iceberg in terms of damage. "Can we at least divert the Prototype into reserve duty? Make sure to make it the last thing they'll launch into the field?" That was, of course, assuming the missing cyborg wasn't gliding into action on a shuttle right now.
"As far as my contacts aboard the ship go, there's two combat ready squadrons. A set of marines, generally unaugmented, average training. You know the standard. Nothing special, the good ones generally poached into special forces. One of the ship marines was actually "promoted" to STING. And a STING team. Your sleeper, oversight, Holland's toy and some leage rs and humans."
She paused. "With the team disposition on the ship, there's no way we can pull STING back. We could get some assets in place in their later ops to damage your sleeper and put him out of commission for a while."
Aien hated using operatives for dealing with internal matters, it was so..unclean.
"But I'd rather keep him online. He's got experience. He and oversight might be good influence. As far as I can see his acceptance of his own implants is incredibly low."
The Triumvirate commander nodded, having just received a datapad. "And it's a safe assumption that they're headed towards the Eon facility that just dropped off the grid." He paused, analyzing once more. "It's not that easy. Sleeper augmentation is advanced. Very advanced - in a way, they were designed as a final step of man-machine integration. As such, their augmentation is partially nanomachine-based, just like the Propagators. In a way, have just accidentally deployed a highly dangerous, well-equipped and trained nano-commando into a zone of possible Propagator activity."
"I know, I reviewed some of the stuff for ocersight. Too risky" Quiped Aien.
"Well Oversight is for our trops. Not special agents. Our funds are big, but not yet unlimited. Is there any chance of triggering him?"
"Sleeper memory triggers when they are subjected to pressure. Instincts, self-preservation or desire to complete an objective against odds. It was impossible to replicate the pressure with Subject Thirteen during training sessions." Hughes began looking through the report. "Psychologists state that he fights tension off with humour and large amounts of talking. Let us see if we can reap some benefits from this accident and learn more about this Eon base. In the meantime, we will plot a Relay course to the cluster and have backup on standby - taking out the Exerion and making our presence known would be a disaster, but we can't exactly put trust in STING or any of the empires when it comes to dealing with situations like this."
"If necessary, we might be able to activate some assets. But I am loathe to do just that. It would send bad signals to the entire three. I say we keep an overview and step in if things escalate. Not until then." Aien finished.