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“Your conduct was out of line!” Although the Harpy had been apprehended, and jailed after it was treated for the injuries caused by both the laser and the radiation from the cloak, O’toole was still furious.

The tone with which Jane had addressed him in her call was showing no respect, and the Sergeant she had spoken with said she hadn’t treated him with the proper respect for his rank either.

“Because I did what needed to be done? Or because I made you aware of a situation as quickly as possible without delaying everything by using the proper wording?” Admiral Doherty sat in a corner of the room, he had returned from his vacation because O’toole hadn’t let him stay hidden. After tracing the Admiral’s call, O’toole had searched for him, and contacted him. 

Mostly because he thought Mulgrew unfit for her assignment. 

“Enough. Both of you.” He rose to his feet. 

He felt all the relaxation, he had been gathering, fade away in an instant after the hearing began. “O’toole, I’ve been going over the logs and reports of her actions, and find nothing wrong. Let it go. Mulgrew, although you did an excellent job, learn some god damn respect for the chain of command! Dismissed.”

O’toole gasped for air to protest, but the Admiral repeated the dismissal. 
In the corridor Jane headed for the tube network, ignoring the blooming plants, that seemed to capture the attention of some other people aboard. Every so called spring people were fascinated anew by them.

“Ensign.” The Lieutenant Commander’s voice stopped her. “Yes, sir?” She rotated on her heels, all stern and official.

“I believe I owe you an apology.” Thrown off by these words, Jane almost lost her composure. “No, sir, you do not. It is I who must apologise for my disrespectful demeanour.” Although she didn’t believe her words, she uttered them so convincingly that O’toole seemed to believe them.

“I was certain that I was going to be promoted to become the first officer, instead you got promoted one rank, and now occupy that very position. So, yes, I must apologise. My petty feelings of jealousy shouldn’t influence our working relationship.” 

Grinding her teeth, Jane could her that he didn’t want to apologise, but felt it was his duty. “Sir, I didn’t mean to address you, or the Sergeant, in a disrespectful manner. The sarge was petrified, and you needed to be made aware of the situation as quickly as possible. Any disrespect on my part only resulted from the situation, and was not intended.”

O’toole stood in front of her, also grinding his teeth. As he closed his eyes he shook his head. “Let us forget this incident. Care to join me in the interrogation of our culprit?” 

For a moment Jane wanted to decline the offer, but then decided otherwise. “I would like to bring subcommander Cyril into the fold, sir. The female Harpies have experience with the patriarchists, so it would only stand to reason that they might be of help in this.” 

Clearly weighing his options O’toole gazed at Jane, through her in a sense. 

“Alright. Interrogation takes place in the holding cells on sub alpha. You have fifteen minutes.”
Half the time she was given, Jane had needed just to find Cyril. After the patriarchist was apprehended she was made aware of the situation, confirmed that the injured Harpy was none of her crew, but after that, she was returned to the garden while the prisoner got taken away.

After convincing the Harpy, Jane raced back to the tube network with her. Two security guards accompanied them, sat down in the cab. 

At first Jane felt irritated by their familiar faces, but when she read their name tags that cleared up. Falkner and Grienberg, the sons of former Admiral Solomon Grienberg and former head medical officer Johannes Falkner. 

By the way they were talking with each other Jane figured they had formed a friendship similar to that of their fathers. 

The weightlessness set in as the cab entered one of the central tubes to cross from beta ring to sub alpha. Checking the time Jane realised she was almost out of time, three minutes left to go, when suddenly an alarm rang, and a rocking of the cab ended their ride.

Alarmed but remaining relatively calm Jane looked to the two men, who were as clueless as herself, while the alarm continued to ring. 

“This is Ensign Jane Mulgrew, raising the command centre, please respond.” Static. 

Chaim Grienberg also tried raising someone on the intercom but also only received static. All eyes laid on the Harpy which seemed as frightened as can be. “I believe there has been,” she paused turning to Jane, “an incident.” Quickly she explained that her neural implant, although prevented from networking, had received a short signal.

A suicidal one, like the death cry of a warrior.

“Alright.” Jane concentrated. All of a sudden the walls of the cab seemed to move in on her, and she felt as if every breath of air was pressed from her lungs. “We need to figure out where we are, and what had happened. Next steps depend on our findings.”

Immediately the two men and Jane tried raising alpha, beta and gamma, Falkner tried reaching his mother on subgamma in engineering, but no call succeeded in getting out. 

Was it possible that another saboteur had destroyed the tube and they had been flung out to space? Immediately as she had that thought Jane chased it away, as her claustrophobia only worsened. 
There was a jolt. Although they had no weight, there was inertia. 

Jane’s fear felt validated as they rocked in various directions. She had seen videos of theme park rides on earth, and couldn’t believe that some people went willingly into a device to be rocked in various directions without any sense of where they were. 

“Still, nothing on the radio.” Falkner sighed, continuously trying to reach anybody, for nearly an hour. 

Rather worried Jane took out her tablet computer. Was it her claustrophobia, or actual sorrow? “How much air is in here?” 

Without saying a word Chaim opened his seat belt and floated to one of the doors, accessing the computer panel on the wall. “Not much left to breathe,” he sighed further punching at the touch screen, “either we have another power out, or we were flung to space, the cab can’t establish a connection to the magnetic fields.”

That’s it. We’re going to die in here. 

Falkner pulled out his gun. For a moment Jane thought he was going to shoot himself, but he took out the container with pressurised oxygen that propelled the darts out of the gun, and vented it.

“How about now?” 

Chaim smiled. “Better, but it isn’t going to last forever.” 

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