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​”All hands, battlestations! We have incoming.” 

These words caused immense chaos on the ship, hurrying down hallways, civilians and military personnel went to shelters close to the center of the ship, in their quarters, or barracks. Weapons were handed out. 

Wesley Smith sat down in a small cabin. “I never hoped this would be necessary.” Some tricky engineer had built a few small fighters for space combat. Fueled by methane from the sewage treatment facilities on the ship. Inertia should keep them at Horizon’s speed, otherwise they’d be lost in space. 

“Their weaponsystems are running hot.” The voice of his daughter came through the intercom. As the leader of the fighter squadron, all voluntary veteran pilots, Wesley started preflight. “Alright boys and girls, this will not be pretty. Get ready to meet these Bastards in the hell we’ll inflict on them!” 

He kept his ignitors hot, but dared not waste a single drop of methane yet. 

“They’re targeting,” Joleen paused.
“each other.” Surprised she glanced at the large view screen, which was split in the middle to view the ship approaching from the front and the one from the rear. With one leap Frederick rushed to her console. He punched in a code given from one Admiral to the next, and only known to the Governors as well, who in turn could never use it from their offices. Solomon had come up with it. 

“You armed the nukes!” Still stacked with the nuclear bombs used to propel the Horizon, in case they had to slow or pick up speed, Frederick hoped he would only have to deactivate them again. 

“Options?” He turned to her. “I can give you evasive to the sides, but slow down and we’ll hit our friends in the back, faster we crash those in front, so why did you” she didn’t finish her sentence, targeting programmes adjusted automatically.  

Frederick didn’t intend to slow down or speed up.

“They aren’t tactical nukes, but they’re all that we’ve got.” He wrinkled his forehead. 

“Picking up transmissions.” Fernanda didn’t look up from her console. “Can’t decipher it however. Joleen, care to try?” She looked over her shoulder to the first officer of the Horizon. Reluctantly, but still determined Joleen rushed to the communication panel. 

“We can’t waste time for their chatter, patch the translator through here!” Still staying at Joleen’s post the Admiral yelled, nodding Joleen did what he wanted and signaled him when she had completed the task. 

“This is Admiral Frederick Doherty from the Horizon. We request you leave us in peace. Please respond.” 

Agonising moments of silence passed with no reaction. “There is your reply sir.” All in the command centre watched their instruments in horror as the ship in front of the Horizon also targeted them, im addition to the other Harpy vessel. 

With a few button presses Frederick replied in kind, all forward facing ray guns had been locked at the Harpy ship, the release port for the propulsion nukes on the forward facing dish were opened. “You have the capacity to annihilate us, but it will not be without a,” he couldn’t add the word fight as a massive energy blast struck the harpy vessel’s weapon systems. 

“Where did that come from?” A swarm of small vessels disengaged from the forward lying ship, they maneuvered around it like a cloud. “Standard procedure in case the shielding fails.” The computerised voice of Hylias translator informed them. Solomon stood behind the Harpy, two security guards escorting her. 

Another engy blast undid a large portion of the small vessels. “That is not Harpy weaponry!” Joleen yelled, although they had not been hit, an atone symphony of alarms and notifications from various systems filled the command centre. 

Discharges from the Harpy vessel in their back joined the unknown source of fire, first disabling, then destroying the ship. 

The Horizon was shaken badly in the shock wave of the final explosion, and the debris of the harpy vessel hitting the hull.

“I want to know who just destroyed them!” Yelling over the noises Frederick had reached a stress level previously unknown to him. Although plagued by his loss and arthritis Solomon hurried to his side, deactivating the nukes before they went off inside the ship. 
“Sir, there!” Joleen enhanced a section of the view screen, a weirdly shaped object hurtled towards them. 

“Parts of it read as,” pausing in irritation Joleen took another scan. “Pods from Explorer and the Ark1?” 

Stunned Frederick stumbled to his chair, Solomon sat down at Joleen’s post. “Confirm that.” 

“I already did. It is parts from Explorer and an Ark1 remnant.”

The oddly shaped vessel closed in on the Horizon fast. Seeing as they dispatched of the other Harpy vessel with ease the one ship that had moved up from behind the Horizon retreated to a greater distance, weapon systems were powered down, but the shielding was maintained. “I didn’t read the reports from Explorer these days, but the headline of one was suggesting that they had trouble with the Ark1 at one point.” In a mix of relief from the avoided all out battle with the Harpys and renewed tension concerning the weird Ark1 ship, Frederick was left to gasp for air. 

The atone symphony of alarms and notifications started a new, as the Ark1emitted a powerful signal to the Horizon. A squeek came from the dampening device in Joleen’s pocket, followed by her tossing it to the ground. A small cloud of smoke rose from it.

Both she and Hylia looked at each other, then at the view screen. “They’re hailing.” Joleen mumbled.

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