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“Now what do we do?” Floating in a siphon section Johannes still held on to the subdued creature, a few times he worried that the electric shocks from three darts he had found on it might have killed it. But then he recalled the scorchmarks, and decided that even if the creature was dead it was better it, than him and Solomon.
“We call the maintenance cab.” Solomon smirked. Pressing a button only he could see on his glasses. After a few moments they heard the unmistakable noise of a pressurising section behind one of the sealed siphons. Only a second later a spherical cab entered, opened a hatch after stopping seemingly in mid air, suspended and held by magnetic fields.
Floating in was difficult with an alien body in hand.
After Solomon had taken seat, Johannes handed him the creature, seated himself. Only once the two men were buckled up did the cab start moving again.
Relieved did they feel the force of simulated gravity upon them, after hours in zero G they had felt the effects of fluids rising to the upper body, narrow vision and confusion. A few times had both men felt slightly ill.
“What do we do with that thing?”
“Study it.” Johannes loked at the snout of the creature, it had a slight overbite, showing a row of tiny sharp teeth. On its head the alien wore down feathers. By the way the downs continued below the neckline of the garments it wore, Johannes assumed that the downs covered most, if not all of the body.
“I hope you won’t dissect it?”
“Nope.” Still staring at the face of the alien Johannes felt reminded of a childhood passion of his. “I’ll put in the tube, take a tissue sample and hope it ain’t dead.”
“You hope?”
“We zapped it with three darts, I wouldn’t recommend that many on a human, let alone a tiny creature such as this!” Solomon too started staring at the creature’s face. “I feel reminded of a dinosaur.”
“Thank you! I felt as if I was crazy.” Hissing the doors opened. A crew of engineers stood in the hallway outside, analysing tools and tablet computers in their hands. They gazed in surprise and wonder through their goggles at the Admiral and the Doctor.

“We lost mainpower for the subalpha ring, and also throughout the tubes.” Oleksandra Joshenkova, chief engineer, marched through the control room below the fusion reactor. “But!” She turned to face the Admiral, “It isn’t a problem from our end! Reactor is running at peak efficiency!”
“Do we have communication with the other rings?” Solomon waved his hands to calm her down. “No!” Immediately she turned to a console, pointing at a large screen above it. “Power transfer, communication and tubes are down.” With a little bit of worry in her eyes she turned around to the Admiral. Why do you ask?”
Instead of a verbal reply Johannes held up the Alien.
Oleksandra made a disgusted face. “Ugly thing, Alien?” Both men nodded. “Keep it away from my engines. And me. Why do you want communication?”
“They were between alpha and beta rings, perhaps there’s a ship parked there?” Raising her eyebrows Oleksandra turned to her consoles. While going through the logs she explained that the sensors had detected a power distribution problem with the subalpha power line in that section, before they went out, so it stood to reason that they indeed had a ship parked there. In addition she suspected that they knew where the command centre was located, so they also blocked the subalpha backup reactor fro, kickimg into action.
“They also must be jamming the whiskers, and power lines to the other sections.” Stroking his non existing beard Solomon fondled his chin. “Doctor Falkner here has a detailed scan and recording of the alien technology, maybe we can feed that into the computer, and find them, or counteract their technology?” Reluctantly Johannes handed over his glasses. “Data extraction will take only a moment, Doctor.” Oleksandra smiled benignly.
After a few moments she handed the glasses back. “If you’ll excuse me, I will look for a lab in the hospital capable of handling this.” He excused himself. On his way out he noticed that Solomon kept following him. “Shouldn’t you be in there?”
“What good am I in there? They need technicians, not the admiral.”

“Im worried.” Johannes stepped into the cab. Although every ring had medical doctors, and sickbays, the subgamma ring had a hospital ward, subalpha a military hospital. “This critter is getting cold.”
After a few minutes they entered an examination room with an MRT. On the way Solomon had gathered a few armed privates to meet them, just in case there might still be life in the alien.
Wireless communication in the subgamma ring was still possible. A few moments after he had turned the scanner on Johannes shook his head. “I know nothing of their physiology, but I know neurological damage when I see it. We’ve fried it.”
“Dang. Any other information you can give me?”
Shaking his head Johannes scraped a little bit of skin into a dish and handed it to an assistant for analysis. “I want genes too!” He reminded her as she hurried away from the alien, relieved to get away from it. Meanwhile Solomon strode over to the security detail. “I want twenty men, armed, extra batteries and extra clips, ready at the tube access point on deck five, asap.”
Running a second scan of the body, Johannes looked over to him. “I’m just a doctor and not a spacemarine, but isn’t it unwise to attack them? They have effectively immobilised the ship and entered it, blasting them off seems unwise to me.”
Gazing at his friend over the shoulder Solomon made an annoyed face. “I want them in full spacesuits, have one for me too.” He turned his head to the men and women before him. The five saluted and hurried off.
Before he could talk to Johannes their glasses alerted him and the doctor to an incoming call. “I’ve got it gentlemen!” Oleksandra was almost singing to them. “After taking some wiring off the main line, I contacted the whiskers from here.” Both of them were fed an image of a cigar shaped vessel attached to the hull between alpha and beta rings. “Can you align the beta ring lasers?”
Alerted Johannes looked up from his scanner. “No Admiral. They are hardwired to subalpha controls, backup lines to sub gamma control centre are unresponsive.”
“Try.” Solomon ended the conversation.
“You think that’s wise?”
“Is there another option for me to try? Subalpha is without simulated gravity, no air recycling hence soon they’ll suffocate. I’m running out of time to find alternatives.” Keeping one eye on the display, the other on his friend Johannes nodded.
“While you prepare for an attack, I can tell you from their physiology that they’re tailored for one G of gravity, we have a female here, they lay eggs and are omnivorous.”
“Whatever. These Harpies will get to know our lasers if they don’t get off of my ship.” Stunned by Solomons sudden display of hostility Johannes raised his hands.
He noticed the Admiral constantly checking the display in his glasses. The data displayed was probably the cause for the sudden rush.
“Their skin is like,” he looked at the face of the creature. The elongated snout and teeth. “not tougher than ours, but I recon they’ll have better protective suits next time we meet them. Their metabolism is similar to that of a bird,” Johannes paused, bearing an expression of utter confusion.
Sighing Solomon stepped closer. “Calm your horses Joe. The sudden and unexpected pressure got to me. Data suggests we need to act quickly.”
“I know, I won’t undermine your authority in front of the men again, but I felt it’s best to voice my concerns right away.” Desperate to see the lab assistant Johannes looked to the door she went through. “Listen,” he turned away from Solomon. “these things show strange similarities to early birds. I need to examine her more closely. You get rid of them.” He winked marching off.

 

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