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After he had left the others Solomon had wandered around the ship aimlessly, found himself in a cab going to subalpha. The zero G bit was his favorite. 

For a few brief moments he didn’t feel the chronic pain in his joints. When I die, I hope it is in zero G. No worries here. Closer to the universe that gave birth to me. A faint smile was still on his lips as he entered Hylias quarters. 

Gérard had left, his shift had ended, some other man sat there monitoring her condition, he saluted as he saw the former Admiral, but soon continued to work in silence. 

“Johannes is dead, we just had his memorial service.” There was no apparent reaction from Hylia. “One day, you have to tell me what you do with your dead.” Not speaking another word Solomon stayed in front of the glass wall, he wept in silence, undisturbed by partying friends of Johannes, or the technician.

“We incinerate them. Mourn them. Mammal or not, we are more alike than some would like.” 
It was a painstakingly effort to hold the conversation with Hylia, but it was worth it. She had recorded the message he intended to send to the harpys. Even if the Admiral was against using the program he hoped to procure from them, it was good to have it, in case they ever needed it. 

Hylia also provided him with information on how best to contact them, concerning frequency and modulation. 

Slowly he walked through the hallways, weary that at any time he could be ambushed by one of the linkers. Surely not all had gathered in beta, paranoid that Gérard’s replacement might be one of them, he took detours and stayed away from others. If it couldn’t be avoided to be in close proximity of other people, he tried to have a multitude of others around him. 

There were four people in the corridor outside the tube. 

He felt safer, but still haunted by his paranoid fear that one or all of them might be linked. 

The two deck ride to the command centre should be short, there he was sure to find Frederick, or in his den, only a one minute walk from the command centre. 

With one ear he listened to their chattering, about some mundane stuff they were interested in. An infirmary based TV show from Destiny if he wasn’t mistaken. 

“You can’t take us down.” One of the four, a young woman, turned around to him once thendoors shut. He, as well as the three others were surprised. 

A moment later he felt a sharp stinging pain in his abdomen. His muscles twitched, the world grew dark, as he also felt an indistinguishable pain in his chest. 
Quickly private Thompson got disarmed, she grew unresponsive the same moment the former Admiral hit the deck.

“Alter heading: infirmary!” Private Jane Mulgrew barked at the computer. “Get her to a cell!” The two men holding Thompson saluted. 

“Medical emergency,” Jane had meanwhile raised the infirmary on her glasses. “have medics at the tube access!” 

A shaky hand rose from Solomon, he grabbed her by the shoulder. “Bring, my tablet, to the Admiral!” His voice was more a whisper than a tone, once the doors opened medics streamed in an heaved the former Admiral on a stretcher, hurried off with him. Her two fellow colleagues left, heading to the brig a few corridors down, leaving Jane clutching the tablet. 

“Command centre.” She ordered the cab. Doors closed, during the ride she began drafting her report on the incident on her glasses, typing with eye movement and blinks. 

All the while clutching the tablet with her hands. 
“They have powered up weapons.” Were the first words Jane head as she entered the command centre. “Brace for fire.” 

“We’re not the target!” In horror Jane saw the ship move off, heading towards the Harpy vessel, on the way there the DEHumans eliminated the whiskers. “Harpys left.” A flash lit up the screen, the hHarpy vessel had abandoned them.

For now at least.

“What do you want?” Harshly emphasising the “you” Frederick turned around with his seat. “Admiral Grienberg got shot by a linker, Private Thompson, he tasked me to deliver this to you, before medics took him to the infirmary.” Keeping her disciplined demeanour and posture Jane handed the tablet over. 

Equally shocked by the news and curious what his predecessor had him delivered Frederick took the tablet. “Have the technician currently in Hylias quarters arrested if I don’t deliver this personally.” Solomon’s voice came from the tablet. By his tone and the background noise it was easy to deduct he rcorded that message in a narrow hallway. 

With a nod to his chief of security Frederick confirmed the order of the old Admiral. 

In silence he read through the transcript of the conversation with Hylia including the details of the Harpy communication frequency. 

“Helm! As soon as you so much as catch a glimpse of the Harpies, contact them on this frequency.” With a few simple commands he sent the information to the console of the navigation officer, currently also doubling as communication officer. 

After reading through the rest of the transcript he turned back to Jane. “Private?”

“Mulgrew, sir.”

“Right, excellent work. Now return to the infirmary and keep me apprised of Admiral Grienberg’s condition. You’ll also double as his security guard.” 

Jane saluted, containing her surprise until she was out of the door again. Displaying an excited smile she hurried off.
“Looks like they’re chasing after the Harpies.” Bettina Fohler on the navigation post observed the Ark1 disappearing. 

“They’ll be back. I suspect they’re lacking the power to mount a full scale chase.” Frederick seldom voiced his fears, even though the linkers had the capacity to destroy the Harpy vessel, he feared that they lacked the engine power or scientific advancement necessary to chase them through space. 

“Registering them, they entered range of our sensors again, moving towards us.” Here we go. Pinching the base of his nose Frederick sat up straight. 

“They’re demanding the release of the linkers aboard Horizon. Now.” Dismissing the urgent call Frederick left the room, in the adjacent room, formerly the bunk room for command centre staff, he went to a chair in which Joleen was sitting. 

Strapped in.

“Are you still in there Joleen?” Empty eyes stared back at him. With a grim expression he reached into his pocket. “Your friends are currently out of range, for a few moments at least.” He activated the cellphone like device he had fixed by an engineering junior. 

Disturbed, almost angry Joleen snapped back to reality. 

“Do you want to join them?” Knowing that he probably had only moments before the device was fried again, he didn’t waste any time on pleasantries. “Oh, sir, you have no idea. All my life I felt out of place, out of touch with the rest of humanity.” She sat up a bit more comfortably, as much as the straps allowed her to.

“In the link, I was one with all. No longer was I the freak, the misfit, the highly intelligent but socially awkward one. I am one of many. So yes, I want to. I belong there.” Almost on que the device in his hand got hot and he dropped it. 

“So be it then.” He stood up straight. “I am keeping Private Thompson, she has committed a crime and must be punished accordingly to our laws. The rest of you can leave.” Two guards in the room with them stepped to his side as he waved them over. 

They helped Joleen to her feet, once she was unstrapped. 

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