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“Good Morning, Doctor.” Greeted with a russian accent, always the emphasis on his title, Johannes sat up in bed.

Oleksandra did so too, next to him. “Slept well?”

“No, not really.” He never did since the first encounter with the Harpyies, years of bad sleep had left him with deep wrinkles around the eyes. “You?”

Looking across the room to the small bed standing in the corner, a little child of three years slept in it. “Not as good as him, but well.”

Their son Alfons always slept well, at least that’s how it seemed. Careful not to wake him the two got up, got dressed and had a small breakfast, before waking him up.

Daycare was one deck below the central garden in the ring, one of the most safe places on board.

 

Before starting his day shift in the sub alpha infirmary, he went to the captured Harpy. As everyday. Check on her and her two children.

Daily routine.

Sven and his spouse Jana had set up a learning station in the cell, it was not connected to the computer network, still it was feared that she might try something funny.

“Doctor?” Just as he was leaving the room. “Yes?” Turning around to Jana he wished for coffee.

Real coffee.

Not the artificial stuff that the scientists had conjured up to satisfy the needs of overworked staff. “We have detected a low level signal emanating from them,” she pointed over her shoulder at the family of Harpies. “and were wondering if you could take a look at it.” Offering him a tablet computer Johannes’ wish for a coffee increased. “Looks like brainwaves.” He paused.

Why would brainwaves emanate from the Harpies? Puzzled he shuffled back to the cell. Immediately the mother came to the bars, over time she had developed an understanding with him. Without even attempting to bridge the language barrier he showed her the display.

His research had revealed that the Harpies would never be able to speak a human language. Their throat and tongue were simply incapable of forming the same sounds.

But sign language, that they could learn.

Touching her head she told him that there were implants in her brain, and before nesting the same implants were formed in the fetus developing in the egg. “She had deactivated hers.” Sven noted, pointing at previous readings. “They turned on yesterday.”

Turning back to the Harpy, Johannes looked her in the eyes.

Eyes that had started their evolution on earth, yet different to human eyes. They could see ultraviolet light, the lasers the guards carried, the ones mounted outside the ship to destroy hazards to the ship, were clearly visible to them, whilst remaining invisible to the naked human eye. “What is the reason?” He kneeled down to her and the two young Harpies. Sven and Jana often forgot that she understood every word they said, whilst incapable of speaking the human languages.

“Listening.”

 

On the way to the infirmary Johannes detoured to the ready room next to the command centre. Solomon spent most of his nights there, much to his wife’s disliking. Often had she inquired whether he had an affair with someone, but the only affair that Johannes could testify to was Solomon’s work.

“Thought I’d find you here.” He woke his friend, handing him a caffeine drink. “I hoped you brought coffee.”

“We’re out of coffee.” Johannes lied, he had dedicated some of his personal space to raising coffee, one day when there was enough he’d have a nice birthday gift for Solomon. “We have a problem. Sven is investigating, but I think we have a follower.”

As tired as he was, immediately Solomon was wide awake. “A what?”

Quickly he told him about the implants discovered in their guests, much like the implants they themselves used, but with certain extras.

“So they turned on because of a remotely sent wake up call?”

“I had my assistants look up the ones in storage, the ones we took from the fallen Harpies a few years back, they activated shortly at the same time, but went dead immediately. No power.”

From Solomon’s pocket a familiar vibrating noise arose. Either his wife, or Sven, Johannes figured. “Just wanted to give you a heads up.” On his way to the door he stopped. “And sleep at home, I’m growing tired of telling your wife that you have an affair,” he paused smirking malevolently, “with the bloody ship.”

With a soft thud the pillow Solomon threw at him hit the wall next to the door, both men laughing.

 

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