Over the ship wide news feed, the report of the Orion spread in an instant. And with it came a flood of suggestions from military and civilian sources. Apparently Ophelia’s concern was shared by several others.

Only reading a few of these messages gave Franziska a headache. “Enough of this.” She turned them off, rose from her seat, back in the briefing room. Leading officers were in it instead of governors. Staring at the tablet, as his eyes had strained from reading on his glasses, Gregory Illchiev moved his lips in silence. “I see no indication of deflection, or counter measures.” Still staring at the readouts from sensors. “Their hull must have more resemblance with a sponge than a protective shielding against the harshness of space.”

Interested in the telemetry, and after the somewhat successful mission to Ark1, Jason and Daria too attended the meeting. “Upgrading their communication is the easiest part of the job, it has better performance, and is less of a power hog.” Explorer’s communications officer concurred with Darias conclusion. “Getting them to learn the new systems will be harder.”

Same conclusions were made by Jason concerning an upgrade for their computer systems. “Alright. Prepare comprehensive manuals, learning instructions and tutorials. If need be, they have to be autodidactive.” Leaning her face against one hand the Admiral wished she never had gotten the idea.

I have a feeling I won’t like the outcome of this. Swallowing his doubts and concerns, Jason turned his attention back to the information in front of his eyes.

Already he felt the thrust of the pod rocking his entire body, he was going to be assigned to the team installing the new gear on the Orion.


“Aren’t you used to this by now?” Daria sounded amused, just as a few days prior on the round trip to the Ark1 her face was invisible inside a spacesuit’s helmet. “Nope. Never will be. After we get home, there are no more pod missions for me!” Hoping his voice didn’t sound as distressed as he felt, Jason held on to the armpieces with a fierce grasp.

How did they iron out an agreement for a visit that fast? Perhaps the crew of the Orion was curious to see some new faces? As the acceleration kicked in, he had to chase the thoughts away. “Hold on tight, that was just the breakaway. There is more to come!” Sylvie van Froon had the helm, her co pilot Jorge D’Silva at her side.

More thrust pressed him into his seat once the pod had sufficient distance to Explorer, small charges detonated behind them, pushing them onward.

“We have our cruising speed, in about an hour we’ll dock with Orion.” None of the people left their seats. Unlike the pilots and two military officers, no one had, had sufficient training in zero G. Hoping to catch a fleeting glimpse at the faces of the other technicians inside their dark helmets Jason looked around.

Achmed Kurt, the guy who was assigned to install the computers with him, just sat there. As if he was frozen, or petrified. Doctor Sven Lederlappen, assigned to explain modern medical equipment to the crew of Orion, too was a petrified figure. “Why are you guys all sitting there like modern clay statues in an emperors tomb?”

Jason had to chuckle at the doctors remark. “Because the suits don’t allow for much movement? I’m looking around and see the same thing!”

Laughter from all around filled the radio. Even the six technicians Jason didn’t know by name yet, laughed. They had taken seats in another room, an ill fated one if the reports from Ericsson were to be believed.