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Half of an agonising hour passed, before another series of jolts rocked the cab around. Retreated into her mind Jane looked around as if she watched a movie. Suddenly gravity kicked in, and a pressure seal was established at the door that chaim had used the interface at. 

It opened with a noisy hiss. 

Three people were in the other room, the two women were dirty, the man sitting at the computer panel was only using one arm, the other was in a sling.

“Technician Junkic to command centre, we have them.” Relieved Jane opened the seat belt and hurried out of the cab, Cyril closely behind, followed by Grienberg and Falkner. 

“What happened?” Jane and Chaim simultaneously asked the same question, instead of a reply Jane received a call from O’toole on her glasses, informing her that the Braxi had showed up and decided to shoot at the Horizon. Retaliation was not very successful at first, but after the Harrak had weakened the Braxi’s shields sufficiently, the lasers from Horizon dealt enough damage.

“Enough for what, sir?” Figuring it meant that they retreated, or were left adrift and unarmed for Harrak to deal a final blow to them, she received damage reports instead of an answer to her question. 
Damage reports from all over the ship. Subalpha was in bad shape, alpha had a hole in it, gamma had lost much of their buffer zone. The only thing intact were subgamma and beta. Even the tubes between alpha and subalpha had taken a beating, which had delivered them out into space, where a beak had taken them to the bea ring remnants, and later docked them.

“What happened to Harrak?” She noticed that all scheduled deliveries to the harpy vessel had been cancelled. “She’s not going to be repaired. What was left of the crew is abandoning ship and sending for help.” Finally having arrived in subalpha Jane sat in the briefing room near the command centre. 

To her relief Wolfgang had been on duty at the beta garden entrance. 

“You still haven’t told me what happened to Braxi, sir.” 

Instead of telling her O’toole pointed her attention to the large screen. Cyril and Jane looked. A series of harpy glyphs on the edge of the frame told them it was recorded by a beak affiliated with the Harrak. 

The vastness of space opened up before them, and the grueling image of the badly beaten Horizon. Hovering at beta was the beak with the cab in tow. 

In front of the Horizon was the intimidating Braxi, although her shields had failed she still was impressive. 

An energy discharge from the Harrak behind the beak, mand thus the camera, opened up a gap in the Braxi defenses, as the beaks had scrambled after shield failure. 

That’s when the lasers from Horizon followed, bombarding the hostile Harpy ship, until the beams of UV light emerged on the other side of the ship, tearing the beaks there to shreds.

“We wanted to fire a nuke at that point, but, see for yourselves.” O’toole spoke at that point. There was satisfaction in his voice. 

A series of explosions ripped through the Braxi, Cyril clawed the seat she sat in as the explosions moved from the hole in Braxi outwards, until reaching the engine core, from where a singular explosion tore the Braxi apart. 

“Yes!” Cyril hissed, with an angry victorious grin on her lips.

Her fallen sisters had quasi been avanged. Overwhelmed by the victory the Horizon had achieved, Jane too couldn’t hide her satisfaction. 
“Our ship will be arriving soon.” Four days had passed since the destruction of the Braxi. Jane strode through the gardens on beta with Cyril. “Following your actions in this crisis, the matriarchy will consider peaceful ways with your kind, but know this, there will be no technology made available to you.”

“I understand, my superiors do too, although there certainly are forces aboard Horizon who would want it, but we have had too many cautionary tales in our own history and cultures, to ever truly follow it through. Just think of the linkers.” 

Laughing the two stopped, Hylia wandered down the path, her two children behind her. The two were excited, as they were leaving with their people, always welcome to return to Hylia on Horizon. The older Harpy had decided to stay, as she felt more at home there now, than with her people. Besides, she didn’t want to spend what was left of her life as a curiosity and story teller. 

“I’ll leave you to talk.” Jane headed for the exit. 

Still there were issues to be dealt with resulting from the patriarchists attack. Admiral Doherty had been killed in the attack, and O’toole was a prime candidate for succession of that office. Before that became truly relevant, work schedules to repair damaged areas, and replace some if possible, was more pressing. 

Jane started on the work schedules immediately upon leaving the garden. Most important was to close of the exposed tubes between alpha and subalpha. The spine of the ship, almost broken. 

“I heard you’re getting another promotion?” Wolfgang studied her from head to toe. “Unofficially, yes. Officially maybe in a year, probably two.” She winked entering the tube cab, swallowing a chilling sensation. 

Although badly beaten, Horizon had learned much from the incident. Better shielding, buffers and more effective and efficient lasers for future enfounters, could be developed with the collected data. 

Improvement and repair was her new assignment, once the Harpies left the ship.
“Good morning, sir.” She manned her station in the command centre, O’toole sat in the chair of the Admiral. “Good morning, Mulgrew. I have a task for you, find out how much our trajectory was altered by the bombardments and decompressions, and then, alter it to our previous heading.” Confident in her, he smiled, tunring his attention back to the main viewscreen, where long range scans already picked up the Harpy ship that would pick up their refugees.  

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