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​Even though engineering computers were working, they only could use the analogue frequency of the radio for communication. And data retrieval. 

Watching the progress bar was a mind numbing, and painful experience, but the promise of obtaining the program sent by the harpies gave the task a silver lining of hope. “I must say, this poses a danger, what if they have control over Kismet and send their own program?” Schultz sat beside the Admiral. 

“It isn’t connected with the rest either, I may be desperate, but not foolish.” Bored Mirella kept her eyes fixed on the screen.

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“Once we have it, you make sure it is legitimate, if so, distribute it, I need to check on your detainees.” Breathing out her frustration she rose from her seat and left the room, Justine wanted to follow but was dismissed with a wave of the Admiral’s hand. 

While the plan for the analogue transmission of the Harpy program was devised and prepared, Schultz had informed her of a group of DEHumans he had detained after they broke down in engineering, trying to access the computers there. 

Well aware that everyone outside the main engineering area still might be a linker Mirella marched through the hallways. Schultz had relied on humans as communication carriers for two reasons. One was to prevent the linkers from listening in. The other was to expose the couriers to the node that Wallis had kept, to see if they would react to it. 

Feeling kind of relieved to see all those young men and women still buzzing around she navigated to the local brig. 

“Admiral on deck!” An all too eager Ensing yelled as she entered the facilities. “At ease.” Came her mumbled reply. 

Slowly she walked past the cells, packed with people, all standing still, like eerie living mannequins, with their eyes closed. Surely linked and far away with their brethren on the Ark1. 

She studied their faces, to see if there was anyone she knew personally. Sure, she had not only memorised the names of her subordinates, but also their faces to a certain extent. Everyone looked familiar to some point.

No one in the cells looked familiar enough to her to trigger an emotional response. “Where are your people gathering?” 

No reaction. Not from the person directly behind the bars, not from anyone. “I need to know, so we can coordinate your transfer.” Still nothing.

“I know that you have taken a lot of landing craft from either Explorer or Horizon, an entire ring by the looks of it, I will not let you steal that many crafts from Destiny.” She stopped at the last cell. Andrew Galeson stood behind the bars, a well known actor, from a tele novella set on Destiny’s infirmary on gamma. 

Somewhat saddened she studied his face. Looks like you will die in the series. “Listen here, we will retake the ship eventually, and then there will be no escape. We won’t let you leave, and your friends out there won’t shoot at us, because they could be killing you.” 

“Admiral!” The soothing voice of Galeson called her back. “Don’t overestimate our worth as leverage. Even if you should succeed in taking back your vessel, which is unlikely, we are linked. Our memories, personalities and thoughts are within the link. If our bodies die, we will live on.” His slick smile was something she admired in the series, but now it disgusted her. “We’ll see.” She hissed turning around.

“Don’t underestimate us!” All the detained people shouted as one after her as she left.
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Restlessly Justine paced arpund the engine room, the waiting game wasn’t her foray. “Sit down, or go on some errands, but stop wearing out the floor of my engine room!” Annoyed the chief engineer threw her a gaze that could freeze boiling water in an instant. “We need an update from the group keeping watch on deck 12, tube exit 8. If you won’t stop, I’ll send you instead of an Ensign.” 

With an angry hiss Justine sat down, looking back at the progress bar. 

No change. 

Watching Schultz act like the second in command, Justine couldn’t help but wonder about the consequences of the new DEHuman outbreak. 

Would she get promoted? Were the plans of the three ships in jeopardy, as the linkers could easily zip ahead and claim RV-p296 as their own?

“How is the download doing?” Admiral Jagodic entered the premise of the young woman. “Eighty percent.” Surprised by the high number Justine realised how long she had sat there pondering. 

“Good, Schultz, do you have another node for me?” 

Pointing at the mess of wires, chips and other things in front of him, he shook his head, ever so gently. “Sorry, not yet.” 

Not showing her disappointment she put her hands on her hips and looked at the console above which the other node was hidden. “Do we have intercom back?” 

Diverting his attention only for a fraction of a moment from his work, Herman looked at her. “No. Not for what you’re thinking off.” He tipped at his glasses, indicating that audio only was available, as signals would need to be transmitted analogue, and thus couldn’t disrupt the link. 

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