Archive for October, 2016

Crappy Halloween 2016

Quoth the raven, “Fabulous!”

For the ghoulishly flamboyant Halloween party this year, from which even the uber tattooed grey-dyed organisers of hipster parties abstain in sheer terror of the loud horrors unfolding, comes this unreal aborted abomination from some Poe’ian nightmare realm.

The perfect piece of decor for the fiendishly vegan-sugar-gluten-lactosefree-superfood-anti-treats that will undoubtedly be handed out this year. This raven is what you get from that kind of diet, shortly before some exotic, never heard of before avian disease kills you.

Trick or, …well, viewed in this light….trick.
A.

War Journal – 2-3-4 Bane-War-Aftermath (ep6)

More endless salt-flats opened up above the canyon.

Far behind them they could make out the island where they had entered the enclave’s territory. “Night will be upon us soon. We better make haste if we want to reach Dorei.” Back on salty ground Fathala felt the impact the salt had left on her skin immediately. After only a few meters her underside ached and burned tremendously. “We can’t reach it by nightfall.” she remarked, suppressing squirms of pain.

“That much is true, but I don’t want to stay in this desert for longer than need be.” Lilly had fastened her face cloth again, although currently no wind was blowing. “It keeps moisture close to your breath, keeping you from dehydrating.” ghostly Naga Eric appeared to remind her of why she too should fasten the cloth.

 

“If none here had cause to kill or banish the Sphinxes, why was the bane created then?” musing on a riddle she had posed herself Fathala flinched away as Lilly cleansed the wounds. “They themselves made it.” mentioning it like it was only natural Lilly took great care with the raw wound on Fathalas underbelly. “Giving it to the people of this world was their way to show their trust in the people. And gain theirs in return.” after washing away the blood the wounds kept weeping pus, carefully Lilly washed over them again. closing them with her powers. “Please stay off the ground for a few hours, I can heal you again, but it would hurt more.”

Fathala looked up into the night sky, “Won’t be hard, I’m tired anyways.” Six weeks! Had i flown I’d be there by now. Gently smiling Lilly sat down next to her Naga companion. “Good. Three weeks since the Florals, we should be there soon.” Against the shining marble that was the rising moon the treetops of the Dorei coast presented a relieving sight for the wanderers from the desert. Returning to safe spots amongst the trees, a few evening birds crossed against the marbled spot of light in the skies, some shrieking. “Say,” Fathala ascended the gentle slopes of the coastline next to Lilly. “I have been wondering how you knew of their arrival.” Both women had taken off the cloth from their faces as they started approaching Dorei, Lilly smirked plainly visible. “I came into existence when my counterpart Lillian became what she is today, the first of the Succubi. Some traits she has, I also possess. One of which would be to feel the presence of men to seduce. Florals can’t be killed by a Succubus, which is why I can’t feel them. But when Dorei arrived,” she didn’t ned to finish her sentence for Fathala to understand. Fresh air gusted down towards them. It carried scents Fathala thought she had forgotten and would never smell again. Wood, sap, grasses, blossoms, flowers and fresh water most of all. Honing in on the smell of fresh water Fathala led Lilly across the beach. Huge obelisks seemedto seam the  coast line, tall hewn from granite, with inlays of jade, forming words neither of the two could decipher. “I guess that is how they transfered everything here.” Loosely pointing at a difference in the ground, running in a straight line between the closest obelisks Fathala didn’t stop on her way to the fresh water.In the ground native to the Dorei of the world was a dry depression left by a creek, Fathala turned inland. The dry creek bed continued, but less dead, the ground was moist.After a few minutes Fathala found a small artificial lake, and an artificial creek bed leading back inland. They knew before coming here that water was scarce, and made sure their rivers and creeks didn’t spill into the vacant ocean. In one fluent motion Fathala took off her clothes and slipped into the waters of the lake. Having sweetwater wash.over her scales and through her hair was refreshing and rejuvenating.Pure bliss.”Do you.think this wise?” Eric floated before her. Unlike a living person, his ghostly image left behind in her mind, could talk beneath the waves. But only to her. Why would it be unwise? Fully aware she was talking to herself Fathala made a mental reply.”You are encrusted in salt, this might be drinking water.” Or irrigation. The salt I brought in here is not going to affect this water.Above the water Lilly awaited the Naga with the same arguments Fathala had encountered below, never the less she washed the skirt and top she wore before arriving in the saltflats. Slightly damaged by her disgraceful landing, but still well enough to be worn, she donned them again immediately, still feeling uncomfortable without, like a Naga normally would be. “Are you done polluting the water with salt?” agitated Lilly paced around the lake. Constant murmuring of the natural running creek and the less calm gargle of the artificial one, drowned out most other noises, although the breeze caught in the trees and occasional sounds of nightly birds and animals still reached the ear. I never knew how much I love the gentle tingle of grass blades against my skin. Slowly the two followed the artificial creek. Dawn broke as a village appeared in the green fields. It’s late autumn, but this seems summery.

Battling pt.2


Yup.
Couldn’t make it in time.
Again.
Whose World this week suffered already. Hope I can do November’s RoF schedule on time.

Take care folks.

Rings of Fate S1xE9 – Destiny – Routines (pt.4)

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“Viewer discretion is adviced. The following images are a computer simulation of the events taking place at the current time, we will be bringing images based on sensor data as soon as it is available. Do not watch unless prepared for what follows.”

Oceans of brown-blue waste, brown landmasses. Not resembling at all the planet they all had left behind, Earth began to bulge, moments later the surface began to tear open, red glowing magma poured out, caught in the gravitational pull of the approaching neutron star. Chunks of the surface, magma, vapor of the dead water waste that once had been ocean, it all began to break away from earth, as the planet was torn apart. Soon most of the chunks were indistinguishable, it all looked like rock and lava, as it floated away from where earth was into a spiraling disk around the star.

Cuddled against against Stanley, Pryia watched, tears rolled down her cheeks. They had decided to keep their relationship a secret for the time being, which didn’t keep them from spending their time off-duty together. “Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?”

“About?” From his voice she could tell had been crying too. “How were we so lucky to get away from earth in order to escape certain doom?”

“You may contribute it to luck or fate, in either case we should count our blessings and carry on. For us there is a long journey ahead, a journey our children will continue, in order for our grandchildren to arrive at the destination. A destination that is in and of itself an adventurous journey.”

Beautifully said. “Our blessings?” Pryia glanced over to his eyes, only centimetres from hers.

“We have the cultural inheritances of the entire human race, we have each other. There is music, poetry, literature, art. We have children’s laughter, joy and sadness, dispair and fulfilment, hate and most importantly, love. These blessings.”

“Commander Johnson,” she sat up, “I never knew you were a philosopher.” Leaning in for a kiss she nibbled his lower lip first.

 

Tired, but at the same time fulfilled, the Rhama sat on his bed. The bed that would then retract into his cryogenic chamber. A series of devices was attached to his skin monitoring his vital signs, as medication flowed down an IV to prepare him for the year long slumber. As the years before he sat with a tablet computer in his hands reading up on current evets he hadn’t been able to catch up on his first day. One day of thawing, one day of freezing, five days in between the two for counselling.

Classified reports on the Harpys and the weird trend of implanting with brain chips had been made available to him, the Admiral had seen to that. She wanted the Rhama to have a full insight on the state of things, after all he also sent messages to the other ships, they were generalised, but still helpful to the crews of Explorer and Horizon.

“I sure hope they get the Harpy threat under control.” By the drag of his tongue he realised how much the medications already affected him. With a nod Pryia stepped closer. “As do I, and I hope they can make it with as little bloodshed on either side as possible.”

The Rhama looked into her eyes, for a long moment he said nothing. “You are worried about what you call the linkers, or as they are referred to in the reports, Digitally Enhanced Humans?”

Again Pryia nodded. She looked at the devices hooked up to the religious leader. It seemed like an enviable alternative to fighting all that hardship, going to sleep and waking up a year later for a few days, just to go back to sleep afterwards. Detaches one somewhat from the difficulties faced by the rest. “You will manage. Those people out there, they are a fine crew, and they will manage.”

“I have every bit of confidence in this ship and its crew, I don’t doubt that we will manage the difficulties ahead of us. It’s just a particularly rough bit that will await us there and then. I fear that it might tear the crew apart.”

Again the Rhama shook his head. “Look.” He pointed at the screen in hia hands. Based on sensor telemetry the computer had rendered an actual depiction of earth’s final moments.

“That is where you come from. Were we all came from. But it isn’t over! We are here. Earth is here. There is plenty of soil, water and plants here, that originally was part of earth. Earth is here!” He pointed at his heart. “Where ever we go, we are home as long as we carry that with us what made earth our home.” He let his hand sink from his chest, it became heavier as he spoke. “And it binds us together. No matter how difficult times might become between you and the linkers, we are one people. Connected by far more than technology. Don’t let your differences tempt you to take drastic measures, they are of your kin.” His tongue had gotten quite heavy, but he smiled, slowly the weight pulled on his eyelids.

“I will take your words to heart. I shall treat them kindly when it comes down to it.” Certain that the difficulties would boil down to a conflict she did not say “if”.

Smiling the Rhama doze off.

 

“It’s an important day for me. You should come.” Dana stared at the tired eyes of her mother. “I’ll be there child.” Lucia Kharkova gave in to her daughter’s urging. “It is after all what makes you happy.”

Delighted Dana smiled, kissing her mother on the cheek for good bye. She left her parents’ quarters on the beta ring and headed to the tube.

To her surprise she found Gant inside the cab that arrived. “Sir.” She greeted him, taking a seat, since they would go through zero G segments on their return voyage to the barracks. “Tomorrow’s the big day, huh?” He finally broke the silende as the weight lifted from their bodies. “Aye sir. Finally the training is over, I already have requested for  transfer to security. They said a letter of recommendation would be helpful.”

Amused smiling, Gant weighed his weightless head. “I’ll see what I can draft up.” He winked.

Career paths after the basic training in the security forces was a fork in the road. Gant had the luck of signing on before these changes were made. Formerly a shipwide security force was split into the military police, the rings own policing forces and lastly military. The latter were added once the Harpy threat was made known from Horizon.

“But be warned, if push comes to shove, it’ll be a jurisdictional disaster.” He sighed.

Next week I’ll definitely join the folks in that club on gamma. Gravity returned to normal once the cab was caught in the right siphon.

“Are your parents going to attend?” Still a few moments away from their destination, Gant wanted to break the silence.

“My mother will, father died two months ago. Doctors said it was a sudden shock of sorts.” Nodding Gant got up from his seat once the straps were open, as did Dana. “My condolences.” He lowered his voice.

“Thank you, but he died with a smile on his lips. Almost triumphant. Perhaps because he had managed to die outside earth.”

The doors opened and released them into the hallways of the sub alpha ring. “Well, I’ll contact you as soon as I have finished that recommendation.” he broke away from her side, striding down to his quarters, and the dining room where he frequently had his food.

 

Prince Shamim remained on the Destiny with his wife and entourage while the other visitors from the Kismet returned to their ship.

Bored he strode through the central gardens on the alpha ring. Fascinated by the diverse plant life he had slowed his pace. Surrounded by advisers he hadn’t had time to do this during his last visit, but now he only had a close friend at his side, while his wife walked with a friend and some entourage a few paces back.

“Enjoying the gardens?” Pryia approached them from a different path. The fields and gardens were mostly fenced off, there was almost no lawn, but knee high plants, as lawn consumed too much water and provided little in return. “Yes, very much.” Shamim gestured around them. “It is a wonderful gift of nature you have here. We have a garden too, but it is a small, cramped place. Stuffed with fruit trees and bushes. Oxygen is produced by algae, as is almost all our food. We are forced to live a Vegan lifestyle, as we don’t have your laboratory capabilities to make meat from stem cells.” Mentally he added that they lacked bovine stem cells from which they could make meat that was allowed to consume even if Destiny was going to hand them the knowledge and technology.

“It is a wonderful garden, and a great substitute for open skies and frsh air, but only a  substitute nome the less.” She pointed at the trees. “Every few nights there is simulated rainfall, turbines produce winds, but during these events access to the gardens is restricted, safety reasons.”

“You miss wind, and rain. Understandably. But be thankful for this garden. It could be worse.” Shamim winked. He looked at the trees, the space between them. “I stayed behind for more reasons than just to admire your gardens, Admiral.”

Looking at the plants in the distance herself Pryia made an agreeing sound. “I figured as much, Prince.”

With a wave of his hand he sent his friend off. “As you might have figured as well, we don’t have a lot to offer for trade.” Noticng the others on the path behind them he picked up speed to stay out of earshot. “We need supplies from you. Materials from Ericsson, food, perhaps even fruit. But most of all, your implants. Think of it as humanitarian aid.”

Pryia felt stunned, all the other items had been on the table during the negotiations, but the implants hadn’t.

“You see, in my culture it is customary to have many children, and while we know that with our limited resources we can’t sustain an ever growing population, but how should we avoid it? Birth control and contraception need constant manufacturing, and resources. The implants however,”

Pryia raised her hand and nodded. Actually glad for the surplus of materials needed to manufacture the implants, she slowed their pace again. “I understand. I will make sure you receive them.” A smile appeared on the Prince’s lips.

I just hope that this is all the surplus materials are needed for. “But we need to keep this a secret, if the people of the Kismet found out, they might reject it.” Shamim hissed before the others from his group caught up to them.

“It will be handled discreetly.”

 

Standing guard outside the storage for the minerals brought in from Ericsson, Dana was furious, although Gant had written the recommendation, it still had to be taken under consideration. Julia stood on the other side of the door, looking rather happy wih their assignment. “It was a great ceremony, wasn’t it?” For two weeks she always brought up their ceremony at the end of their training.

“Yes. It was.” Annoyed with going over the topic once again, Dana let her words out in a deep sigh. Moments passed and Julia did not go over the festivties again. Perhaps she had finally noticed how annoying it was for Dana and the others from their class. Still Dana dared to glance over to Julia. Stunned the other young woman sat on the ground twitching silently from the charged dart in her neck.

Immediately Dana jumped to her, but halfway across the width of the door she felt the sudden sting of a dart, followed by the searing pain of the charge robbing her of her senses.

 

Agony infused darkness took control of her.

As it lifted, the door to the storage room was broken into, Julia sat next to her, both had soiled themselves. Disturbed Dana reached for her glasses. “Security breach, storage compartment 29 sub alpha was broken into.” She breathed more than she could speak. Only moments later the first guards appeared, closely followed by the Admiral and her first officer.

 

“They are up to something.” Pryia whispered to Stanley after they looked around in the storage room, noticing the stolen materials were mostly compounds used for the production of computer parts and chip implants.

 

War Journal – 2-3-4 Bane-War-Aftermath (ep5)

For what felt like a day they followed narrow tunnels, most natural caves, south east. In the beginning of theor journey these tunnels had been filled with the soft noise of the boiling sludge, after an hour or two the pools vanished, and their journey was accompanied by complete silence.

Pale blue light signaled an opening, a narrow crevice in some rocks, once far below the waves of the ocean. As the water had spilled out into the abyss through the broken rim, it left salty earth, below a certain level, too low to drain, it evaporated, leaving behind a salt desert. Outside the crack was deep canyon below, steep, almost vertical, walls above. Narrow steos had been hewn out of the rock, both leading up and down from the opening to the tunnels. On the other side of the canyon similar steps led from the depths brlow upwards. “This rift lies only three weeks away from Dorei, when the Chimera’s return, please kill yourselves before you give away our secrets.”

Lilly smiled kindly, from beneath her cloak she produced a her waterskin and the cup, poured some water in it and emptied it above Beecha.

Stunned by her waste of water the man stared at her wide eyed. “What?” he felt the cool touch of her finger on hus lips. “I gave you hope. And time. Close this portal to your place, it is important.” she turned, letting Fathala see what was happening to the Floral. His bark skin turned softer, and softer by the minute, until only his normal skin remained.

Baffled he stared after her as she already descended the steps, their destination was beyond the other side of the canyon. Amazed Fathala bowed before him, then turned to follow the shrinking figure in brown-grey cloth.

 

Tears burned hot in Fathala’s eyes, refusing to believe the cruelty of what she saw. Mummified by salt, Naga and Naga eggs littered the ground of the canyon. Hot air vents from underground volcanoes heated the deep, like most breeding grounds the saltwater Naga had. After the water had drained from the oceans above the canyon was filled with water for long times, but both the heat from above and the heat from below dried it out. Subsequently turning the shrinking ocean into a dead salty lagoon, then into sludge, finally into completed dry salt.

For as long as they could the Naga came to lay their eggs, until none escaped, none returned, none lived. For all she knew, she might be the only Naga on that world.

Amongst all her dead people she felt their despair. Hopes of having a healthy brood, of surviving the hardships of the salty deeps, all crushed. Mummified with the ines who hoped and the unborn hoped for.

“They can be avenged.” Lilly put a hand on Fathala’s shoulder. The florals, or who ever built the steps, had also raised a bridge between the two sides of the canyon. Rope and wood perfectly preserved in the dry heat. “By slaying the one who caused this?” she couldn’t turn her face away from the dead.

“By preventing others to suffer the same.” it was her ghostly vision of her dead spouse who spoke. Still he looked like a Naga man ought to look, if there were any. “Or by preventing the Naga of my world to die like this?” she repeated his words to Lilly.

“Your world’s Naga would suffer a different fate, keep in mind that the Dragons want your world for their own. They have minions in the deep who will cleanse the oceans for them. But yes, by preventing them to be wiped from the face of the world.” unlike before, tears flowed from Fathala’s eyes as she turned her head round to look at Lilly. “Minions in the deep?” with a sigh Lilly turned away and continued her way across the bridge. “Your kind has encountered them in ages past. Tentacles, hungry mouths and the powers of the eel.” a chill ran down Fathala’s spine. The doom that haunted my people from the seas into the sweetwater sea! They were minions of the Sphinxes. I should’ve known.

“The dragon that held me left that knowledge in my mind.” she explained calmly. None of it happened here, so there are no sweetwater Naga. While ascending at the other side of the canyon Fathala regained her composure.

People who….

schould be beaten with poles enscribed with facts.

These days the bullshit express ran around Facebook (and other asocial media) with the two dudes standing opposite each other arguing whether the number painted on the floor between them is a ‘6’ or a ‘9’.
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Listen here you uber pseudo-tolerant assholes out there, this is completely wrong.
This is the level of erroneous bullshit I’ve come to expect to see from people who need ‘safe spaces’ (despite there being none on the planet, unless you dig an airraid shelter without internet, TV or radio, books or newspapers, then you and your opinions are in a safe space).
There are no other sides to a debate about the “truth”.
Either something is, or it isn’t. (Unless you’re dealing with quantum physics. But that’s another can of worms.)
A friend of mine said that, while you do not have to give validity to the opinions of the other side, you have to give validity to the emotions behind them.
No.
No, I don’t.
Giving validation, for example, to these cretins who believe vaccines cause autism, even in the slightest, is too much. They squeeze their foot through the door and wiggle until they are in. And before you know it they stand in your living room babbling on about something, reeking of rancid coconut oil and herbal mixtures for their hair.

We live in a time and world where opinions and feelings are higher valued than facts, and someone coined the phrase ‘post-factual’. In such a world where I can beat on peoples ears with facts until my mouth dries up and their eardrums bleed, without changing ANYTHING, you honestly expect me to see your (erring) point of view, or the misguided emotions behind it?
No.

“Look sunshine, here’s a 4, a 5 and thus this is a 6, followed by a 7 and an 8, and, oh, look, a 9.
If you go there and argue that it is a 6, I will make you eat the paint.” Facts, people, facts.

I’m done debating feelings and opinions crowds. These window-lickers are immune to facts, why waste my time?
The earth is a globe (more or less), it isn’t hollow, moonlanding was real, 9/11 was a terrorist attack, there are no reptilians, the jewish global conspiracy is non existent, vaccines are safe, healthy, and important, chemtrails do not exist, nor do Morgellons, aliens (if they exist at all) don’t give a crap about earth – or humans in particular, safespaces are bullshit, there are only 2 genders (Genders, are facts. Identities, are feelings. Got that? Good, moving on), HAARP and weather manipulation are BS, mindcontrol does not work, and dihydrogrenmonoxide is H2O also known as water you chemistry-phobic velcro shoe wearing half wits!

I state the facts in an argument, I will not discuss the opinions and emotions. Facts.
If you do not change your mind and keep on being stupid, fuck you.
The point of ridicule has then been reached. And I will make fun of you until I get bored.
Trolling? Maybe.
Adequate reaction of a facts person to a postfactual idiot? Definitely.

Do not defend this garbage. Keep this postfactual crap where it belongs – in pre-school.

Take care
A.

Rings of Fate S1xE9 – Destiny – Routines (pt.3)

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In silence the cylindrical object was caught in the tethering, jerked as inertial forces tore at it, but after some moments of jerking, it was ready to be hauled aboard the Destiny. “What have the probes from Ericsson prepared for us?” Pryia reached for her tablet, as the inventory of the transport was transmitted from the carrier. “Ma’am? There must be an error in the systems, most of those materials aren’t what we had the drones mine for us. In this transport there are mostly silicates.”

Pryia raised an eyebrow over Stanley’s comment. “To make computers you need silicates, and our ordered materials will be in the next transports” her voice faded during the last word. “That is the shipping list for all the transports?”

“Told you.” Stanley smirked over his tablet. Both studied the list in detail.

“Weird, but only the numbers don’t add up. There probably had been a glitch in the software, it is sad, but we can upgrade our computers to no end.” Disappointment in her voice Pryia put the tablet down. She went over to Stanley’s desk and gave him a friendly pat on the shoulder. “Pryia!” He hissed, his tone implored her to stay. “Isn’t it also possible that there had been sabotage?” Whispering as not to unsettle their colleagues in the command centre Stanley pointed at his tablet. A note he had opened read three words: Kismet or Linkers?

Pryia pushed her eyebrows to form one dark bar above her eyes. “It is, but I’d rather hope for a glitch than a saboteur.” She whispered. “Investigate that glitch.” Louder than before.

“Aye Ma’am.”

 

For what seemed like ages the Rhama held audiences. “Welcome back,” for a moment the Rhama looked Dana in the eyes, “Dana. Right?”

She nodded. With a smile on his lips the Rhama looked her from head to to toe and back. “I can remember the last times, for me it was last week and the weeks before that. If I couldn’t remember that, I’d be worried.” He shifted on his cushions. “What brings you to me?”

“Fear.” She sat down on the cushions in front of him, they were now on eye level.

“Because Earth will perish?” His calm voice soothed her mind, even the dreadful demise of earth was not so frightening from his mouth.

“Of closure to be exact. There is this new trend,” she paused. How would she describe the brain implants to the Rhama?

“Of having a chip implanted in your brain, bringing you close to all the others who have it?” Stunned, but still soothed, Dana nodded. “As I understand it, this would bring you closer to the others, but at the risk of losing yourself. Losing yourself is never the answer, it is the problem. Don’t be afraid. If you take strength from within yourself you can withstand the temptation. You are never alone.”

A smile found its way on her lips. The Rhama also knew that she was afraid to be alone, just by looking at her. “How old are you?”

“Twenty.”

Again the Rhama looked her straight in the eyes. “Do not be afraid to be alone, or to be close to someone, you know where you come from, that is all you need to know where you are going. Just never let go of the most important person in your life, the only one responsible to make you happy, yourself!” He smiled.

“I understand, thank you, Rhama.” Dana rose from the cushions, bowed and left. “How is your mother?” Dana stopped in front of the door. “We do not speak anymore since I stopped going to church with her, or at all.”

“Why did you stop?” Slowly turning around she saw the worry in the old man’s eyes. “You could say that I have lost faith in god.” Slowly returning to the cushions she felt as if her mother was talking to her. “If god was really there, he wouldn’t fling a neutron star towards earth. It is not like he just wanted to wipe out mankind, but all of his creation. I however believe in the philosophy, the divine inside us. Hence my being here.” For a moment she looked into the dark eyes of the Rhama, she knew what her mother would say in that moment. “We are being tested, as we are allowed to move on!”

But the Rhama didn’t say any of the sorts. With a benign smile he nodded, closing his eyes. Again she thanked him and left.

“Is that answer enough for you?” The Rhama turned to a curtained off area behind him. Lucia Kharkova stepped through the curtains. “She doesn’t mean bad, she is a good child. Now, see past what disturbs you, and forgive her.”

Tears in her eyes the older woman nodded, turned back into the room behind the curtains, from where she could use another exit to leave without Dana knowing.

 

Hundreds of people roamed the hallways and corridors on the alpha ring outside the Rhama’s audience quarters. They would even camp there, while the Rhama rested for the night, Pryia knew. She glossed over the still images from the surveillance cameras released to the news station. Never had she thought that the impending destruction of earth would move her that much, she found herself longing for a few minutes in his presence. Her glasses beeped.

“Enable speaker.” She sighed turning down the volume on the news. “Ma’am, I’m sorry to disturb you after your shift ended.” Stanley’s voice sounded as sorry as his words implored. “No problem. What is it Stanley?”

“May I come in?” Suddenly finding a smile on her lips Pryia blushed and looked around. It was clean enough to let her first officer in, but was it clean enough to let Stanley enter? She decided it was. “Please do.”

Her door opened, revealing Stanley outside. He looked terribly tired, his uniform had wrinkles, the first buttons on his shirt were open. “I was going through,” he paused, surprised he looked around. “Your quarters are smaller than I anticipated.”

“They originally meant for the Admiral to have a bigger one, but since I am not married yet, I didn’t need the bigger ones, and took this one.” Besides I am afraid the other one isn’t as secure. “What brings my first officer here, or is this unofficial?”

For a moment Pryia thought to see a hint of a blush on Stanley’s cheeks. “Sadly I bring work.” He handed her his tablet computer. “It seemed as a software glitch at first, but then I noticed that the checksum of the transmission was off. So I assumed the glitch was on our end, but this ain’t no glitch.”

Reading through the lines on the display Pryia had to dig up her knowledge of these matters, as she was more tasked with politics and tactics lately. “Who did it?”

“That’s the disturbing part, there is no trace of an ID, who ever did it was an expert.” Concerned he took a seat on the couch chair, Pryia sank to her bed, lowering the tablet. “Digitally Enhanced?”

“Could be, they appear to be everywhere. I’ll task chief Lapierre with finding out more about them first thing in the morning.” He rubbed his face, realised that he had sat down without leave, got up again.

“Care to stay for dinner?” Stunned by the sudden and unexpected invitation Stanley took a breath, found no immediate reply, exhaled again.

“A simple yes or no would do.” She rose herself, handed him the tablet. “Just remember it would be polite to accept the invitation of your superior officer.” Winking she turned to the cupboard, after opening it, she produced dried food and water. “Of course I would like to,” she turned around, reaching for his face, laying her index finger on his lips. “Relax Stanley, it’s not official.”

Again there was the hint of a blush on his cheeks. “In that case, Pryia, I would very much like to dine with you.”

 

Dana stood next to the freshly opened transport from Ericsson. Her thoughts however were not with the huge rocket shaped object and its contents, although the Admiral was very much concerned for it. Extra security personnel was commanded to guard it, as the suspicion of sabotage or theft was uttered.

A mere month before her training was over she and her comrades had been sent to guard it. “Until everything is stored you will stay here and guard this thing and all that spills out of it, understood?” Lieutenant Kaleb Johnson, not related to Commander Stanley Johnson, had barked to his recruits. Despite him still looking rather sickly, he had not lost any of his intimidating skills as drill instructor.

Taking half the recruits with him, to be posted along the transport routes, Kaleb took off, Dana was among those to guard the transport.

“You’re in a seldomly good mood?” Julia noted after their superiors had all gone. “My mother contacted me, tomorrow I will have lunch with her.”

Smiles were exchanged before both again looked around with stern expressions. After all they had a job to do. “So what do you think? About the reason for us being here.”

Letting her gaze wander through the large room Dana did not reply immediately. “I think either the Kismet or an unknown faction. I’m not even ruling out Harpys.”

“Attention all decks, at 1800hours there will be a special cast on the news channel, followed by a five minute sermon from the Rhama. Counseling sessions are available outside normal ruster the next few days.” After the announcement silence filled the cargo room. Workers and security personnel stared blankly off into space, all knew what that meant.

Earth’s final destruction.

“Or the linkers.” Dana sighed, pacing around the room, slowly duty continued again.