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In silence, and a stern expression, Admiral Franziska Hardwick pulled up a chair to the cell, it was a rather old fashioned designed cell. Bars, instead of walls and a hard door, truly isolating the imprisoned person.

“You are in anguish. What is it that you fear?” Daria looked at her with a pleading gaze, but kept sobbing. “Is it the silence?”

“You know nothing!” She hissed between sobs. “Relying on the auditory and visual senses to communicate, it feels so limiting. Time consuming. As if my limbs are hacked off, my voice is gone and my ears gone deaf and my heart gone cold. Help me.” 

“How?” Franziska saw an opportunity to find at least one more linked person. 

“Set me free! Let me go to my people.” 

“We are your people. You are human, as am I.” darkly Daria stared at the Admiral. “Human. We are more than just that. We are digitally enhanced humans. They are my people.” Since the signal had first been detected Franziska had read old case files concerning the D.E.Humans, none had ever gone through such a hard and violent time as Daria. But she had been born with the implant, had always been connected to someone. 

Forgetting that, could spell death for the young woman. 

“I can bring you someone who understands, maybe that one can connect with you?” 

Seeing the temptation inside Daria’s eyes Franziska hoped she would do it. “Tempting offer Admiral, but I must decline. I will not bring others into your clutches. We have accomplished so much, soon we will rid ourselves of your rule.” Daria leaned back, softly rocking back and forth, humming a lullaby. 

Quickly the Admiral looked at Ophelia. “Get me a doctor. I have a hunch.” 
Together with Harald Rüttli, Jason sat in a room, large displays showed various data concerning the frequency of the link, both men worked in silence, but couldn’t find a way to access the network of the D.E.Human in order to send a shutdown message to the implants. More a sigh than a hiss came from the doors, Admiral Franziska Hardwick and Governor Ophelia Mbuntu entered the room, looking equally glum.

“I guess congratulations are in order.” The Admiral threw a tablet on the table in front of Jason, she seemed very agitated. Confused Jason picked up the tablet and read the information on it. “Is this certain?” He rose to his feet. 

“It is. Dad.” There was anger and a hint of hatred in her voice. “She not only hacked your implant, but her own. Circumventing rules and regulations.” The world around Jason began to spin, quickly he sat down again. 

“I see no way into the network.” Rüttli exclaimed in helplessness, burying his face in his hands. “They have shielded their communication better than anything we have to crack it.”

Still staring at the tablet Jason nodded in agreement. He was going to be a father, definite proof of that was before his eyes. “Her bloodstream is swarming with nanotechnology robots. Shutting down the implant might deactivate them too, but the tests conclude that they are acting as her immune response. She is immune to any virus or bacteria, known or unknown to mankind.” Franziska pointed at the tablet in Jasons shaking hands. “It would probably kill her and the child in her womb.” Ophelia put it in layman’s terms. 

As if he was caught in a space suit again, Jason felt the room closing in. Feeling claustrophobic he jumped to his feet. “I need to get out of here.” Gasping for air he ran to the door, but before he could leave, a security guard blocked the way from the outside. “Gardens.” He breathed. “Send him with me.” Franziska nodded and let Jason leave for the gardens with the guard as escort.
“He shouldn’t be allowed to participate in this project any more.” Harald spoke softly after Jason had left. “If it was me, and my girlfriend was pregnant with my child, I wouldn’t allow them to be harmed.” Both the Admiral and the Governor agreed with a gentle nod. “Restrict his access, and monitor his activities.”
After agonising minutes of transport and walking Jason finally entered the large garden in sub alpha. It was more funtional than recreational, unlike the gardens on alpha through gamma. Fruit trees lined up next to rows of hydroponics for vegetables and fish. Still it had the liberating effect that Jason had sought. 

“What are we doing here?” The guard followed Jason to an apple tree. 

“I need the open space here right now, a hint of claustrophobia rushed over me. You are guarding my sorry ass, so I won’t do anything stupid.” Gnarling back, Jason felt sassier than ever, empowered by the feeling that he had nothing left to lose.

“You have ro rescue her, your children.” The guard handed him an injector and his gun. Baffled Jason looked at the things in the guards hands. “You have to rescue us.” He added, putting the gun and injector in Jason’s hands. 

“If they turn the signal against us, and they will, in time, we all will die. At least part of us. They will abort the pregnancy. You can’t let that happen!” 

Before Jason could object the Guard bowed down his head and ran against the tree as fast as he could, collapsing unconscious to the ground. 

For a moment Jason didn’t know what to do, but either way the fact that an unconscious guard was lying next to him would get him, at least temporarily, in trouble. 

Time, he couldn’t afford to lose, would be wasted trying to explain what had happened, and that the guard himself was part of the D.E.Humans. 
Quickly Jason left the scene. Once inside the cab of the tube network he used the injector on himself, even before he learned that he was locked out of several command structures. 

Welcoming feelings rushed by him as the cab moved through the bowels of the Explorer, left him yearning for more as he found himself weightless again. Helpful thoughts entered his mind, codes, security lockout circumventions.

And the echo of his own warning, that in time the implants would be turned against their owners. An idea echoed through the minds he touched on his journey to the detention center. 

An idea that would’ve frightened him to death, was he alone in his mind, but the confidence of the others brought confidence to him. In front of the cellblock he stopped. Although the implant was already working, it wasn’t fully integrated with his brain yet. Part of him refused losing his individuality, rejected the implant. Closing his eyes he took a deep breath. A security code floated through his memory, and he opened the door with ease. Immediately two guards sprang into action, before knowing what he did, he rose his hand, pulled the trigger and sent both of them to the ground, sedated by the high voltage darts. 

With another deep breath he turned the transmission function of his new implant off, hopimg not to lose the implant altogether that way. 

“Hi.” He stopped in front of Daria’s cell, the security system repeated previously recorded footage of her and the empty hallways. “Hello.” Daria replied, surprised. 

“So, you’re pregnant?” He rose an eyebrow, toying with the tablet in his hand, the gun was tucked in his pants.

“A boy and a girl, just as Danielle.” She replied dryly. “I’ve come to save you, and our children.” Daria sprang to her feet, he had not spoken a word, sent her that information through the implant. She pressed against the bars, basking in his presence in her mind. A moment later the cell door opened, and the two hurried off. By now she knew of the plan he and the others had hatched on his way to her. 
“Admiral!” Crying out in shock Harald Rüttli ran into the command centre. Sitting next to Franziska was Ophelia, engaged in conversation. “I’m reading communication on the D.E.Human frequency, all over the ship. They hijacked our communication network!” the two women exchanged a glance thinking the same thing. 

Jason Charles. 

While Ophelia called her secretary to lock down her ring, Franziska ordered the computer to locate Jason Charles, with little success. “There’s activity all over the board.” The navigation officer reported, as did her first officer Louis Walsh. “They are copying everything we have.” Louis yelled, punching in one lockout command after another, with no success. 

“Where to?” 

“Unknown, they have established a virtual shadow network, I can’t trace it.” 

Petrified Ophelia stopped pacing around in the midst of the Chaos in the command centre. “They’re on Beta.” She hissed, more angered than afraid. 

“How do you know?” Franziska had already jumped up, leading her to the exit. After a while she had granted the governor access to the command centre, but the hectic nature of the situation called for the civilian to leave. “Because there are numerous transports coming in from all parts of Explorer, and the outer most sections have sealed off.” It was Franziska who now became petrified. 

“Louis, send in,” 

“Can’t. Tube’s are empty. No cab anywhere near our position, even maintenance cabs have gone.” With a mixture of helplessness and anger Franziska turned back to Ophelia.

“Attention all beta ring security personnel, you are ordered to apprehend all people trying to reach the outter most rim. Return cabs to sub alpha and sub gamma rings for reinforcement.” Her face turned from determined to questioning. “Hello? Beta ring?” 

An inquiring look to the com officer conformed that regular communication had been cut off. 

“Suits, guns, march there!” Franziska yelled at Louis, who saluted and hurried off to the barracks.
I still don’t like this. Jason sat at the helm of a pod still locked with the beta ring. Preflight checks ran, and a more experienced pilot, who was sharing his knowledge, oversaw the progress. 

Memory from the shared thoughts informed him that all the cryogenic chambers from the Ark1 had been transported to the ships on beta, officially for research purposes. 

All accounted for.

“Ignition.” The pilot couldn’t help but smirk, as the docking clamps released and a short burst moved the ship off. 

The ships from the civilian rings were larger than the pods Jason previously had known, after all they were supposed to function for colonising RV-p296. 

Ruttling the ship’s thrusters maneuvered the craft away from Explorer, weightlessness set in, and soon after they docked with the broken Ark1 next to Explorer. 

All of them. A last quick glance out a small viewfinding window confirmed that most of the outter rim from Explorer’s beta ring was gone. 
“We have back communication.” Rüttli sighed. It wasn’t his doing, or that of anyone else but the people who had originally blocked the communication. After they left, the blockade of communication was no longer required. 

“Receiving reports from beta.” Simultaneously with Harald’s statement, Ophelia regained communication with her office. 

“We have sensors back.” Navigation. Franziska immediately loaded the current data onto her glasses. Bewildered by her findings she cussed, turned away from Ophelia who remained in the command centre. “They docked with the Ark1. What could they want with that wreck?” 

“Gather the rest of their people and leave?” Ophelia put her hand on Franziska’s shoulder. 

Determined to continue work on the shutdown signal Franziska leaned back. “Let them have it. We can’t help them right now. I want a list of all missing personnel, change all codes, go through our systems with a fine toothed comb and close all back doors these bastards might have left.” 

Louis, returning from the tube network manned his post. “Ma’am. Reading unusual power output from Ark1.” Explorer’s whisker probes delivered a deailed image on the main screen. The attached ships had fired their engines, slowing down the Ark1 considerably. 

Within moments after the Ark1 began her deceleration she had fallen so far behind that any operation from Explorer was impossible. 

“They are gone, only on long range scanners.” Louis commented dryly. 

Breathing heavily, inside boiling with rage, Franzsiak groweld “They’ll come back. One day.” 

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