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With panther like agility a man snuck through the shadows, he had a small gun in his right hand, only three darts in the clip, and just enough power for three short laser bursts. More wasn’t packed into the small device.

Darius watched with great enthusiasm. “Bond. James Bond.” The man had said some time ago, Darius didn’t know how often he had watched the short movie. It was written, made and released on Destiny.

Some sort of a fan production, but then again, very professional. After receiving all the ill news from Horizon about the Harpies, some dinosaur descendants who began attacking the ship soon after it had left the solar system, the entertainment gained from this movie was everything he needed.

Rumor had it that more movies, and even series, were in production aboard the Destiny. Darius didn’t care in the least for most of it. But the new Bond, now working for the Destiny Intelligence Division, instead of MI6, gave him the strength and reassurance he needed.

His glasses called for his attention.

 

Staring at his computer screen, Darius sat in the command centre at the communication console. Admiral Pryia Kanjeet had just talked with the commander of the Ark2, some Saudi prince, who had avoided communication for most of the last two years. The Kismet, as the Ark2 was called now, was in close proximity to the Destiny, they had torn out the antimatter engine and reactor, and replaced it with a fusion reactor, reactorand the same mode of propulsion as Destony, reducing them to a travel speed similar to the Destiny.

Their conversation had dealt with sending a delegation to the Destiny for trade talks. Unlike Destiny and her sisterships, the Saudis still held on to money, but soon had learned that the Destiny had no use for it. Or large quantities of gold.

But goods.

And all the Destiny had to offer was goods in return.

 

Due to intense radiation bursts from the approaching neutron star it hadn’t mattered if the Destiny fired it’s main propulsion or waited to leave the solar system. They took off with haste.

All the while the Kismet was by their side matching their speed, doging asteroids and other debris stirred up by the gravitational eddies from the neutron star.

With unease Darius chased away the memory of those early days. Soon after leaving earth’s orbit communication with earth broke down, even with time dilation compensation there was no further contact, except sporadic chatter on low bands.

But communication with the other ships held up, although it had been made clear not to make direct contact with Horizon, else the Harpys attention might be brought to them. Admiral Kanjeet and the governors were cautious not to get involved in that conflict unless it couldn’t be avoided any longer.

“Mr. Konrads, please inform the governors that a delegation from the Kismet will be arriving next week to start trade negotiations.”

“Aye ma’am.” Darius replied. I’ll be damned if that’s all they want. Sending out a written notice to the governors of alpha and gamma rings after being unable to call them, Darius longed to watch the short movie again.

“Thank you.” The Admiral sat down in her chair, looking over the sent messages. “Well,” she put away her tablet, “that’s that, time for the night shift to take over.” Smiling she welcomed the night shift crew, within a few minutes Darius had told his colleague what had been going on, and then left.

 

The mess hall where Darius ate was half deserted as usual, living and dining in one of the outter decks had its advantages. Some technicians sat around, joking and talking loudly. Even though the administration of Destiny sought to stay out of the Harpy conflict, they refitted the outter most deck for eventual confrontations. Reinforced hull, freely maneuverable canons, emergency separations of the pods. The crews of engineers worked around the clock.

Except when they were eating. “Konrads!” One of them yelled and waved as Darius had gathered his dinner.

“MacPhearson.” Darius returned the greeting, taking his seat at the table where the caller sat with his colleagues. “How do you think this thing is going to end?” MacPhearson displayed a broad smile. “What thing exactly?”

“The talks, I highly doubt that the dinosaurs are going to discover us.” How did they hear of the talks? Darius took a sip of water. “Well, as such things usually go, concessions to rather undesirable conditions for both sides, we give them something, and get something else in return. Or the talks fail completely.”

Laughter arose from a neighboring table, a man with dark skin, black oily hair and dark eyes turned around. “I hear they want the access codes for the relay stations on Ericsson, in return we get some of their produce.”

Putting down his fork MacPhearson stared at the other man. “Hussein, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard all day. None of our leaders would agree to give them the access codes!”

“Not even for antimatter technology?” Hussein Ibn Alahad replied, still displaying his smug smile. This time it was Darius’ time to chuckle. “Use of Antimatter is banned on the three sisterships, because we lack the knowledge to control it.”

Shrugging his shoulders Hussein turned back to the men at his table.

 

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