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The transmission of the probe was distorted when the doors in front of the camera opened, electromagnetic interference, as the other telemetric readings pointed out.

Seemingly happy Sven and Jana inched closer to the screen. Keeping an eye on it as well Solomon also kept reading the data from the whiskers.

He was just glad that the Harpys didn’t attack them in the meantime.

“Is that,” Jana backed away from the screen in surprise. “it looks like something biological.” She stammered.

Carefully driving the probe in closer, Sven extended an arm on the probe to collect a sample.

“It is organic matter, that much I can tell you now.” Both Sven and Jana had a hunch what that meant. Analysis of the sample would take some time, though.

“Where is their power source?” Impatient Solomon stepped closer, but got no reply, as Sven was too fascinated by the organic matter. “Doctor Håkland! Their power source?”

Steering the probe Sven grumbled, glued to the screen he did not even look over his shoulder. “I believe we’re in the right place,” he pointed at a wall in the rear of the room. “but that there looks like a containment measure in case of a problem.” He maneuvered the probe in closer, showed the floor that lead to the wall. From it they learned that his suspicion was correct. “Retrieve the probe asap, if impossible, we have to ditch it.” Solomon opened the com line to the command centre again. “Nikolai, what options do we have to get rid of this thing?”

“Pump the section with air, pop it like the kork in a champagne bottle.” Protesting behind his data goggles Sven had gotten up. “We don’t know what kind of safety measure that is, perhaps it is just to contain atmosphere?”

Ignoring him Solomon replied that the option seemed too risky, besides he didn’t want to risk losing atmosphere. “We can always jettison the pods it crashed into.”

“Preparation time?”

Before Nikolai could reply a sound on the Harpy ship drew the attention of Solomon and Sven, Jana had not turned around as she tried to retrieve the probe.

A figure in a space suit entered the field of vision the probe had. Quickly the Harpy hurried to the exposed organic matter. From its belt the Harpy took a small device, that closely resembled the one the other Harpies had used to scan the cryogenic chambers. Unimpressed, or ignorant of the contraption sitting in the room the Harpy proceeded to scan the organic matrer. Letting the device sink it turmed to the probe. Seemingly impressed, probably frightened it inched closer.

“Analysis complete!” Jana exclaimed. “It is,” she paused, “neurological?”

“A brain.” Sven concluded. Although computers were faster in calculations, biological processing units were more adaptive. And regenerative.

The harpy with the tool scanned the probe, pushed a few buttons on the scanner. After a few moments the presumed engineer turned back to the brain matter. “What is it trying to signal?”

Solomon’s face became dark. “My guess is, that it’s sinister.”

Neither Jana, nor Sven reacted to his pessimistic estimate. They kept watching.

Suddenly the harpy took out his gun, showed it to the probe, clearly aware of it transmitting a video feed. Demonstrative it placed the gun on a console next to the brain matter. Then it hurried off in the direction of the hatch the others had borded the Horizon.  “After it!” Solomon urged the scientists. Momentarily the probe followed the harpy in the space suit. As all three had guessed, it went to the hatch.

A security detail was waiting for it, with explicit orders not to shoot as it was unarmed.

 

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