Cosmo 3 hovered well above The Vault, projecting a vast cone below that encompassed the whole of The Vault’s mass. It scanned The Vault, and then began systematic deresolution of its mass, layer by layer, bit by bit, while its satellites maintained combat patrols around the exterior maintaining a perimeter. Inside, Roger monitored progress from the bridge alongside Alan 1 and Alex.
“Engineer,” Alex said, “the Council is online.”
A trio of miniaturized heads, wearing cowls, appeared before them.
“Roger,” said one of them, “Alex briefed us on the situation.”
“Cosmo 3 is reorganizing The Vault as per instructions.” Roger said, “It just began the procedure, so anything anomalous has yet to manifest. What does the Council make of my assessment?”
“The Council, after conferring, agrees with the general assessment. We do not concur with the specific accusation towards the Empire, but we do concur that someone uses these entities as a cat’s paw against us.”
Alan 1 kept his attention on Cosmo 3’s progression. The first third of The Vault now derezzed, and the old system monitor nudged Roger. The Engineer shifted his attention accordingly.
“Hold, Council.” Roger said, “Something’s up.”
Out from the deresolving Vault raised a translucent entity, roaring and writhing. Cosmo 3’s satellites engaged it from maximum distance, quickly adapting their weapons systems to match frequencies with it, and once achieving resonant frequency they quickly ripped it apart and destroyed it in a most violent and brutal manner. Cosmo 3 continued its reorgination procedure while its satellites did their job, further deresolving The Vault and exposing the enemy’s hidden implantation of rooting protocols, creating a backdoor into The Vault.
“Suspicion confirmed, Council.” Roger said, “The enemy hacked The Vault and implemented a backdoor. It also had a guardian. Both have been destroyed.”
“This is not good.” The Councilman shook his head. “We still think that the Empire can’t be the party behind this operation, as this command of fundamental principles is known to be beyond Imperial capability.”
“We have no hostilities with any other body capable of executing this operation.” Alex said.
“Not entirely correct.” Alan 1 said, “There is one body, albeit one where our conflict is not openly hostile.”
“Who?” Alex said.
“Hold that question.” Roger said, “Council, I request an emergency closed session.”
The three Councilmen conferred amongst themselves briefly, and then nodded.
“Engineer,” Cosmo 3 said, “reorigination is past the point of effective enemy action. Resistance is now a non-factor.”
“Execute the new paradigm as I directed in the code.” Roger said, “Then report upon completion.” Then Roger turned to the Councilmen, “We three are on our way back. Cosmo 3 can take it from here.”
“Acknowledged. End of line.” The Councilmen’s holograms winked out of existence.
Alex turned to Roger. “Who?”
Roger beckoned Alex to follow. Alan 1 did likewise. As they reached the flight deck, and then took off in their personal lightjets, Alex pulled alongside Roger.
“You asked.” Roger said, “What do you know about Operation Buy-Back?”