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Personally the former Admiral escorted Hylia back to her quarters. “Beware.” She groweld, the first human word she ever produced. It was impossible for her to speak any human tongue, mimicking the sound was hard on her throat and tongue. 

Alarmed Solomon looked around, other than the guards there was no one around. “Leave us.” He hissed at the two men, sparking protest the very same moment, but he dismissed it. From his pocket he produced one pair of glasses. He hated them, but they were reasonably small, so he took them with him instead of a clunky tablet. 

“I’m sorry, but I don’t understand your language that well.” He explained, bowing down to her face. 

“The first officer is a listening post.” She explained that she had her implant deactivated, every few moments it tried to activate once she had gotten away from the dampening field, she turned it off right away every time. But at one point she caught the frequency of another implant.

In Joleen. 

“She was born on Horizon, how” Solomon paused. He squinted his eyes. “Her parents were the Ericsson survivors, they got intercepted and implanted, and there is an implant in her too. Right?” 

In accordance with the humans customs Hylia nodded. Cursing Solomon got up, faster than he should, immediately his joints protested, but he ignored the searing pain. “Come on, you need to get back.” He urged her on, but Hylia portested. “I believe I made a grave mistake. The patriachy ship will be here, around the sub alpha ring.” 

He had figured as much, thanked her anyway. 
Haunched over his desk Frederick studied various ways on how to detect the enemy vessel. If you hit it, you’ll know. These words haunted him.

Various sections of the ship had been tasked to come up with solutions to the cloaked vessel orbiting them. 

A notorious beep woke him from thought, glad for the distraction he turned around, opening the door remotely with his glasses. 

“Admiral! Come on in.” Despite him being the Admiral now Frederick still greeted Solomon like he was the commanding officer. There had been an Admiral between the two, but he had died of a heart attack during a Harpy attack. “What brings you to my den?” Complimenting the older man in, Frederick also offered some water, which Solomon thankfully denied. “Your first officer brings me here.”

“What about Joleen? She is a bit awkward, but high intelligence comes at a cost, you know?”

Gently Solomon shook his head. “That isn’t the issue. Hylia thinks she is a listening device. Or rather, has one implanted in her.” Before Frederick could rebut Solomon carefully explained the suspicion uttered by the elderly Harpy.

Devastated Frederick sat down, he produced a small bottle of alcohol, legal only on the Horizon, and again offered his predecessor a drink, this time Solomon gladly accepted. 

“I suggest dampening field.” Solomon eagerly swallowed the drink. It had been some time since he had one. 

“Should I confine her to her quarters too?” Clearly enraged Frederick raised his voice, caught himself midrage, and tried excusing himself, but Solomon’s understanding expression stopped him. “Raise a dempening field around her workplace, explain her the situation and as far as I know her, she’ll build a portable dampening device herself.” He winked. Thanking him for the drink Solomon got up, halfway to the door he stopped and turned around to Frederick. “And I suggest you look for the Harpy around sub alpha. And dampen Joleen’s parents and sister as well.”

Nodding Frederick thanked his predecessor for the advice and got up too. “Your lead taught me well, I know to dampen them as well.” Both men knew that the suggestion to look around subalpha came from Hylia, but Solomon didn’t want to admit it, and Frederick didn’t want to embarrass the old Admiral. 
Glum Solomon sat at the table, lunch wasn’t the same without Johannes. Oleksandra, Johannes’ wife, had informed him that the good doctor had in fact not fallen asleep, but slipped into a comatose state. She told him why, but he couldn’t remember for the life of him. Medical terms, and issues, were as alien to him as the next thing. 

“Mind if I take a seat?” The words directed at him were spoken with a distance to them, just as if he had tried to say what was troubling Johannes. “Sure, sit.” He leaned back studying the woman. Joleen had never showed any interest in company, unless it was for professional reasons, why did she want to sit there with him?

“I must thank you for relying the information about the implant in my brain to the Admiral. I don’t know how much information could have been gleaned through me otherwise.” Or how much they have already gained. She showed him a ddvice that looked like a cellphone. Not that anyone in Joleen’s generation knew what a cellphone was. With the press of a button she activated the diaplay, it was emitting a dampening field. 

Just as he had suspected.

“I figure, since I am not connected permanently, or in a two way communication line, the suppression field emitted during the DEHuman cleansing didn’t have any effect on me or my parents?” 

“Ask that our permanent house guest.” Solomon smiled gently. Joleen nodded. “Do you think it possible that my intellect has arisen from said implant? All my life I sometimes asked myself why I have been given that high an IQ.” 

Sighing Solomon kept his eyebrows risen as he reached for the water on his table. “You do have a sibling, a sister, if memory serves? Does she show signs of high intelligence?” Nodding with his words Joleen finally shook her head. “Britney does not.” There was a hint of relief in her words, but also one of disappointment. 

Figuring that she both loved and loathed her gifted mind, she must have pinned her hopes and fears on the implant. 

“Sir, you know the Horizon better than most,” Joleen shuffled in her seat, nervously, “it is my conviction that we can do without some of our dust.”

All of Horizon was a closed system. Everything found a second purpose, everything got recycled. “You have turned the outter most sections of the rings into a giant buffer zone, uninhabited for the most parts. We could jettison dust out and see where it disappears in the harpy cloak. Not hightech, I admit, and I think you would expect more from me, but,”

Solomon had raised his hand. “I think you’re right, but please take it up with the Admiral. I’m retired.” 

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