Torn from her thoughts by the hiss of the opening airlock Jane straightened up. Behind her she sensed the guards tensing as well, but a short glance over her shoulder eased them again. “We’re here to greet them, not take them into custody!”

A Harpy left the airlock, she was unarmed, but the hHarpies behind her seemed to be just as tense as the guards from Horizon. 

“I am Jane Mulgrew, and I welcome you to the Horizon.” 

“I am subcommander Cyril. We request treatment for our wounded, and supplies for repairs, if you have any left.” Not going to hold herself back with diplomacy Cyril cut right to the chase.  

Pointing down the hallway after dismissing the guards, Jane took the lead. “I was authorised to negotiate these matters with you in behalf of our Admiral.” She waited at the tube network, other Harpies followed them into the cab, only once it was full did she embark the cab to the gardens.

As proposed the hallway to the entrance was lined with guards, behind makeshift fortifications, which were O’toole’s contribution, and which made the Harpies tense up again. 

“You must forgive our chief of security, he is cautious about you.”

“Understandable. I wouldn’t do it differently.” Cyril’s reply lacked emotion, not due to the translator, but in her natural voice as well. 

Jane caught a glimpse of awe from Cyril however, as they entered the garden. The other Harpies in the group were as surprised as she had hoped.

“We have set up an encampment for you, as you know, we are short on other accommodations.” Jane had linked her translator with her glasses, was reading the reactions the other Harpies gave. “It’s beautiful!” 

“A wonder what these creatures have here.”

“I might just stay.”


The monotone voice from the translator for Cyril broke Jane’s smile of triumph. “It is adequate, we will accept your hospitality. We have medical personnel, but many wounded, we might need equipment and materials to treat them.” With a nod Jane comfirmed her request and immediately sent a message in text to the infirmary on subalpha, where they had the most experience with Harpies.
While Cyril got her people situated Jane requested the empty vessels to be moved to the port. It could also provide a waiting room for new arrivals, before transporting to the gardens, as there were only so many cabs available. 

To her surprise O’toole agreed to her proposal and went to work. 

Inside a tent Jane had set up an office. Arrivals who were in need of something had to run it through that office of hers.

Beatrix Fohler, a cousin of the communication officer in the command centre, entered the tent. Normally she worked In the sub alpha infirmary, had dealt with Hylia and her children when they needed something.  

For hours she now had gone through the gardens and checked up on the refugees.

“Most of the refugees have respiratory difficulties, due to inhaling smoke.” She began reporting. “Some have burns, the most severe ones I had assigned to be transferred to sub alpha infirmary, we have the most experience after all. There a few broken bones and other physical injuries, same result there. Here’s the list.” A short transfer of information from one glass system to the other, and Jane went over the list.

“Any information on,”

“What had happened?” The question was posed by the computerised voice of the translator. Behind Beatrix stood Cyril. “And the resident leader of the Harpies wants to talk to you.” Beatrix ended her report, saluted briefly and turned away to leave. 

Upon request from Jane she stayed, but at the entrance to the tent.

“Yes, what happened?” Jane sat down on the ground next to the desk. Cyril in front of her. Figuring that if she sat above the Harpy she implied dominance, Jane had lowered herself to eye level, in the hopes of procuring peace.

“We ran into your networkers. They dealt us some damage, but we are confident that we were able to send them the program. Afterwards we moved away.” 
Slightly damaged by the oddly shaped vessel of the human networkers, the Harrak retreated into a safe distance. Still the human ship fired after them, but they stayed with the other human ship. 

“Prepare to jump.” Commander Fyra looked over the data. Although they had sent the program and the information on what it was and how to use it, it was very unlikely that the Destiny could do much with it, since there were only a few moments between the transmission and the arrival of the networkers. “Engines at 50% capacity. We can’t jump far.” Cyril relayed information from engineering. 

“Just get us out of here.” 

Figuring the best course of action was to tell the humans of Horizon of the incident, Cyril laid in coordinates to get closer to them, after the ship told her they’d need a second jump to reach them. With a simple command the ship engaged it’s engines. 
Empty space, no trace of the human networkers. “No sign of pursuit.”

Satisfied Fyra nodded, looked to Cyril, as if to say that they had done it. “Reading a ship on long range.” A navigator interrupted the gaze. 


For a moment the navigator waited on the ship’s brain to process the data. “Negative. It reads as the Braxi. Patriarchists.” 

Immediately defensive and offensive systems were alerted and powered. 

A soft, yet uneasing chime told everyone aboard that they were about to engage in battle. The patriarchists made no attempt of communication, but fired right away at the Harrak, weakening the shielding significantly. 

Hareak returned fire at the Braxi, due to weakened power supplies their shot was less instense and devastating. 

What the Harrak didn’t deliver in intensity of the shot, she made up for in repetitions.  

Immediately after the first shot, she fired a second, a third. 

The Harrak herself wanted to live.

Another hit from the Braxi, shilding was gone, in horror Cyril oberved parts of the hull fly off. After yet another shot from Braxi various fires broke out. “Clear the bridge!” Fyra demanded, all obeyed. Hirarchy was strict.

Cyril looked back to Fyra, she had a breathing mask on.