Archive for December, 2017

NYE 2017/2018

Party animal, alright. 

Ever wanted to see a bull or a moose regurgitate wine, or champagne, or vinegar, or oil, or sauce from a bottle? Here you go! 

Whoever needed these was a sick person who needs counseling rather than be allowed corporate decisions.

I hope your new year turns out to be the worst ever if this is how you decide to celebrate it.

Crappy new year.

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Thanks… For nothing.

Firstly, “1 birthday wishes” EXCLAMATION MARK.

Thank you. For nothing. (I am a garbage programmer, but even I could write code that would check for singular case)

Secondly, what will 2018 bring?
0 wishes exclamation mark?
A lottery win? A house?
My Hogwarts letter or an elderly wizard asking me if I want to go on a journey perhaps?
Who knows?
Certainly not you, Fecesbook, certainly not you.

Thirdly, three days. Really? Got this on the 28th, applying simple math…damn you’re right!
Better get my shit together then and hurry.
Can we squeeze in another 21st of August in those three days and cash in more birthday wishes?
No?
Crap…

RoF S2E4 – Horizon – Confrontations

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As so often the floor of the Horizon was shaking under a harpy attack. Unfazed by this Admiral Doherty kept walking down the hallway to the command centre, at a calm pace. For decades the harpys showed up every now and then, fired a few shots, and retreated. Seldom a real battle ensued. 

No one, not even the Harpy prisoner, knew what that tactic was supposed to accomplish. Wear them down? Find a weakspot? Frederick Doherty knew the Harpys had no need for a weak spot, if they wanted the Horizon destroyed, they would come in force. 

“Sit rep!” He went straight for his first officer, Joleen Jenkins. “Minor damage, the usual hit and run. But you’ll like this,” she handed him a tablet with a report from Explorer. 

Curling his mustache with one hand Frederick read over the report. “They made contact with an ancient ship from earth and there is still someone alive there. What are the odds?” 

“Astronomical.” Joleen replied with a cold smile. She always smiled coldly. Thanking her Frederick turned to his seat. “What else can you tell me of this attack?”

“Beta ring shielding, they’re never hitting the same spot twice. As usual. They too suffered minor damage.” An alarm went off. “Incoming harpy vessel!” Lieutenant Commander Konrad Hansen from tactical yelled, much to the dismay of the others. It was sooner than anticipated. Normally they attacked, left and didn’t return for a few days. 

Flickering the main screen came to life and showed the harpy vessel coming towards them, as a small red dot approaching a large green oval in the center of the screen. It was an extrapolation of the combined data streams from the Horizon itself and her whisker drones. Approaching on a highly irregular path, the harpy ship darted through the return fire the Horizon canons opened up on it. 
In silence the small one-seater attack vessel had managed to get awfully close, was mere centimeters from the hull of the human built behemoth, moved along side it, stopped, relative to the Horizon, above the sub alpha ring. One moment later it opened fire at the antennae that enabled long distance communication. 

It just had been moments since the pilot had received information about the mission. An ancient ship from the humans had been detected, and it had destroyed the scouting ship. 

Growling in his ancestors fashion, the pilot activated the anti photon shield, turning all other systems off, or low. 
“It is gone.” Joleen stated before Hansen could. An eerie silence followed as she and the others assessed the ramifications of the recent attack. “Read the report.” Joleen suggested to the Admiral as he turned to her with an unspoken question on his face. 

Again he took up the tablet and began reading, more thoroughly than before. The last message from Explorer had told him of the Ark1 and a rescue mission. “Dang.” He exhaled as he reached a portion of the message stating that the rescue operation had been interrupted by the arrival of the Harpies, which in turn had decloaked and moved to intercept the Orion, the name of the ancient human ship. Only to be blown to bits by the Orion. 

“Can I assume that the Orion has had dealings with our saurian foes before?” He glanced over the top edge of the tablet computer to Joleen. 

“It is very likely.” She didn’t even look at him, punching away at the controls. “Rerouting long distance communication through the whiskers, but it is on receive only.” She leaned back, looking to the communication officer, Fernanda Maria Magdalena Alvarez. 

Angered but otherwise complacent Fernanda returned the gaze. Everyone on the command centre crew knew of Joleen and her special talents. That she made no secret of. Highly intelligent, but social skills that were doubtful, she still managed to hold out. Everyone just kept hoping she’d never be commanding officer, including Joleen herself.

The part of her that was success driven wouldn’t be able to refuse such a promotion, but she knew that she’d be an awful leader.

“Notify Solomon of the newest development.” Konrad returned to reading. 
As every workday at noon Solomon Grienberg, former Admiral, sat at his favorite table in a dining hall on the alpha ring, just two levels outward from the central gardens. Opposite of him was Johannes Falkner, formerly the chief medical doctor of the Horizon. The two men enjoyed their lunch schedule, which they had carried over from their late years in active duty. 

Johannes sat in a wheelchair, more for convenience, as his leg was often acting up, than actual necessity. “How’s your kid?” Solomon moved a cup slightly around, retirement wasn’t exactly for him, but he couldn’t overstay his command. 

“Good. Good, he tells me that the military is doing better these days.” Winking Johannes referred to Solomon’s retirement being a good thing for the entirety of the ship. A young woman walked up to the table, she was displaying a prime example of a tidy uniform. Under Solomon’s command the uniforms had been just as tidy, and regulations were just as strict, albeit the attitude within the command structure was a bit less strict. 

In most areas of the command structure it still was, and still the admiral held supreme power over the governors, as the military crisis with the Harpies was still unresolved. 

“Sir?” She saluted, only now did Solomon notice that she didn’t have tight bound hair, but really short hair. 

“The Admiral sent me to give you this.” She handed him a tablet computer. Thanking her he took it and dismissed her. “Still working, eh?” Johannes remarked with a dismal smirk. 

“Harpys took out long range. And they found an ancient human ship, the Orion.” Knowing well that his old friend wanted to know too what was going on, but was incapable of reading for longer than a few lines on the tablet computer Solomon gave him a synopsis of the reports. 

“You know as well ss I do that they have a cloaked ship around us. That other thing was just to draw our attnetion away.” 

“I know.” Growled the former Admiral. “Now they have two.” Reading on a few remarks added by the current Admiral, Solomon kept yearning for the days of his command. “Looks like were going to pay a visit to our permanent house guest.” 
Hissing door sounds woke Hylia, she rose from her spot, tired she shuffled away from her bed. The mammals had made her a comfortable home. Her children as well, although in recent years she was asking herself what kind of life they would have, imprisoned on the ship. But at least they were alive, and if they were ever to join their kin, they could tell stories no one has ever heard.

The ship had rocked twice that day. Were there two attacks? She didn’t know. Around them there always was a dampening field active. 

After all these years, had they finally found out that her kin had implanted other humans?

She sat down at a small table, on the other side of a glass wall the old mammalian leader wheeled in the man who had always been trying to understand her better. Both of them had aged since they first met. 

So had she. 

“They found Orion.” Johannes still used sign language, Hylia tilted her head. “What’s that?” 

“Ancient human ship.” 

Hylia changed the side to which she tilted her head. There was something she recalled. “Harbinger of ill fortune.” She replied, typing the answer however. Over the years the two sides had mastered each others written language. “I recall it. We made contact with them some time ago, it was believed to have been destroyed, along with the ships it came in contact with. When the antimatter poison spewed into our territory we back tracked it,”

“And found us, thinking we are the ancient enemy.” Solomon said, a translation program wrote his words out on the screen for Hylia to understand. 

“Yes. So it is still out there?” A flicker of old hatred lit up in her eyes as she replied, also verbally, the same translator was active for the mammals. 

“Apparently so. Sadly, one of your ships surveying the remnants of the Ark1, the antimatter ship that brought your kind to us, attacked the Orion, but got destroyed.” Johannes used sign language. He made a genuine saddened face.

“Well,” Hylia propped herself up against the table. “if they attacked, it is a risk we all face when entering battle. Remember my sisters going in against you. But I thank you for the implied sympathy.” Gently Johannes smiled. “Any idea why our long range communication has been attacked?” 

Hylias mouth snapped shut. She closed her eyes, and could see it infront of her, a single V shaped attack vessel, taking out the long range communication antennae. “Color?” She opened her eyes, hoping desperately that it was just a scheme from her sisters to identify all the human ships while keeping them from communicating with each other. 

“Do you mean the color of the attack vessel? Because we don’t have any information about,” 

“Alert your people. Bring me to your current leaders.” She was very well aware that both Solomon and Johannes were retired, an age seldom reached by any of her sisters, or brothers, except her of course. 
“A rival faction within the Harpies?” Frederick raised his eyebrows, Hylia sat on the other side of the table. “More like a more radical faction within our society. You unite several cultures yourself on your ships. So do we. These are very radical. They hate everything and anything that is not our kin. Unlike the majority of our cultures they are not governed by mothers, and our understanding of life, but by patriarchy.” Feeling a little offended the Admiral looked to Solomon and Johannes who also attended the meeting, along with Joleen and the three governors.  

“They also attack our ships, taking out long range communication, and then they board the vessel in secret. Mostly by use of a suicide agent, there is personal cloaking technology, but it is lethal to the wearer. Sadly I can’t tell you how it works, as my knowledge of it ends there.” She too looked at Johannes, who in turn stared straight ahead.

“Assuming that is the case, what will the agent do, once he has identified us as humans?” Joleen took over the questioning, seeing that her superior was overwhelmed by the situation. 

“Call for his vessel to self destruct.” Hylia closed her eyes, recalling the eggs she had laid shortly after her arrival. The hatchlings, and how they had grown. Her maternal instincts took over. “We mustn’t let that happen. We have to eliminate the agent, if there is one.” Once again she glanced to Johannes, still the human she felt most sympathetic to, stared forward. “I suspect that there is another cloaked ship following us. Orbiting counter ring rotation, probably around beta, as it is the middle of the ship.” And where the people settled that you picked up from outter space, who are surely the implantees. Hylia fixed Joleen with her eyes, although different species, the two women seemed to resonate. 

In awe Hylias eyes widened. 

“We need to find a way to disrupt the cloak, any ideas?” Retaking the conversation Frederick spoke up. “We have no technology to uncloak them.” Joleen replied immediately. 

All eyes, except Johannes’ turned to Hylia. “The cloak is used against our kind as well. If there is a malfunction, or sabotaged ship, we can indirectly detect it, but that is it. No heat, no EM of any sorts. If you hit it, you’ll know.” Finally able to shake loose her gaze from Joleen, Hylia returned her gaze to Johannes. “Is he alright?” She finally dared to ask. 

Solomon bowed over to his old friend. “He is breathing, but otherwise I think he fell asleep with his eyes open.” 

Old people. With a nod the Admiral signaled that Johannes be wheeled out. 
Personally the former Admiral escorted Hylia back to her quarters. “Beware.” She groweld, the first human word she ever produced. It was impossible for her to speak any human tongue, mimicking the sound was hard on her throat and tongue. 

Alarmed Solomon looked around, other than the guards there was no one around. “Leave us.” He hissed at the two men, sparking protest the very same moment, but he dismissed it. From his pocket he produced one pair of glasses. He hated them, but they were reasonably small, so he took them with him instead of a clunky tablet. 

“I’m sorry, but I don’t understand your language that well.” He explained, bowing down to her face. 

“The first officer is a listening post.” She explained that she had her implant deactivated, every few moments it tried to activate once she had gotten away from the dampening field, she turned it off right away every time. But at one point she caught the frequency of another implant.

In Joleen. 

“She was born on Horizon, how” Solomon paused. He squinted his eyes. “Her parents were the Ericsson survivors, they got intercepted and implanted, and there is an implant in her too. Right?” 

In accordance with the humans customs Hylia nodded. Cursing Solomon got up, faster than he should, immediately his joints protested, but he ignored the searing pain. “Come on, you need to get back.” He urged her on, but Hylia portested. “I believe I made a grave mistake. The patriachy ship will be here, around the sub alpha ring.” 

He had figured as much, thanked her anyway. 
Haunched over his desk Frederick studied various ways on how to detect the enemy vessel. If you hit it, you’ll know. These words haunted him.

Various sections of the ship had been tasked to come up with solutions to the cloaked vessel orbiting them. 

A notorious beep woke him from thought, glad for the distraction he turned around, opening the door remotely with his glasses. 

“Admiral! Come on in.” Despite him being the Admiral now Frederick still greeted Solomon like he was the commanding officer. There had been an Admiral between the two, but he had died of a heart attack during a Harpy attack. “What brings you to my den?” Complimenting the older man in, Frederick also offered some water, which Solomon thankfully denied. “Your first officer brings me here.”

“What about Joleen? She is a bit awkward, but high intelligence comes at a cost, you know?”

Gently Solomon shook his head. “That isn’t the issue. Hylia thinks she is a listening device. Or rather, has one implanted in her.” Before Frederick could rebut Solomon carefully explained the suspicion uttered by the elderly Harpy.

Devastated Frederick sat down, he produced a small bottle of alcohol, legal only on the Horizon, and again offered his predecessor a drink, this time Solomon gladly accepted. 

“I suggest dampening field.” Solomon eagerly swallowed the drink. It had been some time since he had one. 

“Should I confine her to her quarters too?” Clearly enraged Frederick raised his voice, caught himself midrage, and tried excusing himself, but Solomon’s understanding expression stopped him. “Raise a dempening field around her workplace, explain her the situation and as far as I know her, she’ll build a portable dampening device herself.” He winked. Thanking him for the drink Solomon got up, halfway to the door he stopped and turned around to Frederick. “And I suggest you look for the Harpy around sub alpha. And dampen Joleen’s parents and sister as well.”

Nodding Frederick thanked his predecessor for the advice and got up too. “Your lead taught me well, I know to dampen them as well.” Both men knew that the suggestion to look around subalpha came from Hylia, but Solomon didn’t want to admit it, and Frederick didn’t want to embarrass the old Admiral. 
Glum Solomon sat at the table, lunch wasn’t the same without Johannes. Oleksandra, Johannes’ wife, had informed him that the good doctor had in fact not fallen asleep, but slipped into a comatose state. She told him why, but he couldn’t remember for the life of him. Medical terms, and issues, were as alien to him as the next thing. 

“Mind if I take a seat?” The words directed at him were spoken with a distance to them, just as if he had tried to say what was troubling Johannes. “Sure, sit.” He leaned back studying the woman. Joleen had never showed any interest in company, unless it was for professional reasons, why did she want to sit there with him?

“I must thank you for relying the information about the implant in my brain to the Admiral. I don’t know how much information could have been gleaned through me otherwise.” Or how much they have already gained. She showed him a ddvice that looked like a cellphone. Not that anyone in Joleen’s generation knew what a cellphone was. With the press of a button she activated the diaplay, it was emitting a dampening field. 

Just as he had suspected.

“I figure, since I am not connected permanently, or in a two way communication line, the suppression field emitted during the DEHuman cleansing didn’t have any effect on me or my parents?” 

“Ask that our permanent house guest.” Solomon smiled gently. Joleen nodded. “Do you think it possible that my intellect has arisen from said implant? All my life I sometimes asked myself why I have been given that high an IQ.” 

Sighing Solomon kept his eyebrows risen as he reached for the water on his table. “You do have a sibling, a sister, if memory serves? Does she show signs of high intelligence?” Nodding with his words Joleen finally shook her head. “Britney does not.” There was a hint of relief in her words, but also one of disappointment. 

Figuring that she both loved and loathed her gifted mind, she must have pinned her hopes and fears on the implant. 

“Sir, you know the Horizon better than most,” Joleen shuffled in her seat, nervously, “it is my conviction that we can do without some of our dust.”

All of Horizon was a closed system. Everything found a second purpose, everything got recycled. “You have turned the outter most sections of the rings into a giant buffer zone, uninhabited for the most parts. We could jettison dust out and see where it disappears in the harpy cloak. Not hightech, I admit, and I think you would expect more from me, but,”

Solomon had raised his hand. “I think you’re right, but please take it up with the Admiral. I’m retired.” 
Sitting at the Admiral’s desk in the little office he called his den, Joleen again felt nervous, she had every confidence in her plan, but doubted that the Admiral would have confidence in her. Meanwhile it had been confirmed that both she, her sister and her parents had the implant. As did her neffpew and niece.

Good thing I’m not interested in procreation. She thought when receiving the news. There were not enough handheld emitters available, so her sister and her children had been confined to their quarters. 

“Environmental department concurs with your idea.” Frederick pinched the base of his nose, as he put down the tablet. Although he had grown up using glasses he had started disusing them. Notifications of all sorts just popped up on the HUD, you couldn’t get away from it. Unless you took them off, and transferred business to a tablet computer. 

“But you’re having reservations, since it came from me.” 

“No!” Was he too quick with his dismissal? “No.” Slowly he blinked a few times, “I don’t know where to look for the Harpy vessel. Sub alpha where you are, beta, where your family is? Subgamma where the main reactor is located and guarantees total annihilation if the ship is detonated?”

Joleen understood his dilemma. She had worked up the plan and knew that they didn’t have a lot of dust to spare. Enough for one, perhaps two attempts. “We need to figure out who the Harpy was tuning in to.” 

“Me.” Joleen said, filled with a certainty that sounded narcissistic, even to herself. “Not because I’m the brightest of the listening posts, but because I’m in the command centre. I’m posing the most valuable of the information sources. Stay close to me, and you stay close to tactical information.” 

As always her reasoning was flawless, convinced the Admiral nodded. “You have a go.”

“One thing sir, we should probably fake some information and transmit it on the frequency of the implant.” Stunned Frederick looked at her with an intense gaze. Could they even mimic the information? It was data extracted from thought patterns. “If you can, prepare something and have it on my desk in the morning.”
A faint, but constantly repetitive beep, kept Solomon awake. It was also a sign that his dear friend was still alive. Although he took comfort from that, and dozed off for a few minutes every now and then, he always had nightmares of the beep ending, or going erratic, which woke him again. 

“That smart girl is going to try spraying some dirt at the Harpy that destroyed our long range.” He found himself spilling the news to his comatose friend. “And you lie here sleeping through it, remember when we first met them in the tube? You wouldn’t have slept through that!” 

Earlier that day Joleen had paid a visit as well. In order to thank the doctor for the help he provided to her mother during her time on Ericsson, and to see if he was better. She had told the former Admiral that she could’ve used Johannes’ help on creating a false transmission to the Harpy, but had to abandon the plan since he was way more experienced in the field. 

“I’m certain they’re recording that great event for posterity, I’ll be sure to watch the reruns.” Faint but not lacking his old wits and humor, Johannes whimpered more than he spoke. 

“You’re awake!” As before in Hylias presence Solomon got up too fast for his joints liking. This time he heeded the pain and sat back down. “That’s great! And we can watch the news feed here.” Solomon winked. 

“I need help, not news, man.” Once again Solomon got up, slower that time, and hurried to get a nurse. 

“I don’t know what got you, but it’s good to see you are recovering from it.” Smiling he sat down, noticing only then that there was no beeping. 

“Joe? Don’t do this to me. Don’t die!” Tears welded up in his eyes. “Don’t, please don’t, ” they started flowing down his cheeks. 

Finally the nurse arrived, she checked the equipment, felt Johannes’ pulse. Then she shook her head. “He’s dead, sir.” 

Overwhelmed and devastated Solomon let his head sink, he started sobbing uncontrollably. His close friend had gone.
In silence the dust streamed from the sub alpha ring, influenced by all the media she had watched, Joleen heard a soft ringing noise in her imagination as she watched the life feed from the whiskers. Most of the crew in the command centre did probably.

“There!” Tactical officer Uma Hotchkins exclaimed, within moments she had the guns aligned to the gap in the dust band around sub alpha, just waiting for Frederick’s command to fire.

A discharge from the aft section of Horizon hit the gap before the Admiral could give the command, only a fraction of a second later the gap exploded in a bright ball of fire and light. There was a slight shock wave, but the buffer zone caught most of it, so naught more than a slight rumble echoed through the ship. 

“I did not fire that!” 

Joleen was faster than Uma’s reaction, the video feed changed to the back of the ship. Another harpy vessel had decloaked, the weapons emitter still hot from the fired shot, but otherwise sensors reported that the weaponsystems were powering down. 

“Reading a massive ship.” Again it was Uma, Joleen read the same data, simply adjusted the whiskers. “I’m reading a second one.” She sighed. 

Frederick felt a knot in his stomach. 
“All hands, battlestations! We have incoming.” 

These words caused immense chaos on the ship, hurrying down hallways, civilians and military personnel went to shelters close to the center of the ship, in their quarters, or barracks. Weapons were handed out. 

Wesley Smith sat down in a small cabin. “I never hoped this would be necessary.” Some tricky engineer had built a few small fighters for space combat. Fueled by methane from the sewage treatment facilities on the ship. Inertia should keep them at Horizon’s speed, otherwise they’d be lost in space. 

“Their weaponsystems are running hot.” The voice of his daughter came through the intercom. As the leader of the fighter squadron, all voluntary veteran pilots, Wesley started preflight. “Alright boys and girls, this will not be pretty. Get ready to meet these Bastards in the hell we’ll inflict on them!” 

He kept his ignitors hot, but dared not waste a single drop of methane yet. 

“They’re targeting,” Joleen paused.
“each other.” Surprised she glanced at the large view screen, which was split in the middle to view the ship approaching from the front and the one from the rear. With one leap Frederick rushed to her console. He punched in a code given from one Admiral to the next, and only known to the Governors as well, who in turn could never use it from their offices. Solomon had come up with it. 

“You armed the nukes!” Still stacked with the nuclear bombs used to propel the Horizon, in case they had to slow or pick up speed, Frederick hoped he would only have to deactivate them again. 

“Options?” He turned to her. “I can give you evasive to the sides, but slow down and we’ll hit our friends in the back, faster we crash those in front, so why did you” she didn’t finish her sentence, targeting programmes adjusted automatically.  

Frederick didn’t intend to slow down or speed up.

“They aren’t tactical nukes, but they’re all that we’ve got.” He wrinkled his forehead. 

“Picking up transmissions.” Fernanda didn’t look up from her console. “Can’t decipher it however. Joleen, care to try?” She looked over her shoulder to the first officer of the Horizon. Reluctantly, but still determined Joleen rushed to the communication panel. 

“We can’t waste time for their chatter, patch the translator through here!” Still staying at Joleen’s post the Admiral yelled, nodding Joleen did what he wanted and signaled him when she had completed the task. 

“This is Admiral Frederick Doherty from the Horizon. We request you leave us in peace. Please respond.” 

Agonising moments of silence passed with no reaction. “There is your reply sir.” All in the command centre watched their instruments in horror as the ship in front of the Horizon also targeted them, im addition to the other Harpy vessel. 

With a few button presses Frederick replied in kind, all forward facing ray guns had been locked at the Harpy ship, the release port for the propulsion nukes on the forward facing dish were opened. “You have the capacity to annihilate us, but it will not be without a,” he couldn’t add the word fight as a massive energy blast struck the harpy vessel’s weapon systems. 

“Where did that come from?” A swarm of small vessels disengaged from the forward lying ship, they maneuvered around it like a cloud. “Standard procedure in case the shielding fails.” The computerised voice of Hylias translator informed them. Solomon stood behind the Harpy, two security guards escorting her. 

Another engy blast undid a large portion of the small vessels. “That is not Harpy weaponry!” Joleen yelled, although they had not been hit, an atone symphony of alarms and notifications from various systems filled the command centre. 

Discharges from the Harpy vessel in their back joined the unknown source of fire, first disabling, then destroying the ship. 

The Horizon was shaken badly in the shock wave of the final explosion, and the debris of the harpy vessel hitting the hull.

“I want to know who just destroyed them!” Yelling over the noises Frederick had reached a stress level previously unknown to him. Although plagued by his loss and arthritis Solomon hurried to his side, deactivating the nukes before they went off inside the ship. 
“Sir, there!” Joleen enhanced a section of the view screen, a weirdly shaped object hurtled towards them. 

“Parts of it read as,” pausing in irritation Joleen took another scan. “Pods from Explorer and the Ark1?” 

Stunned Frederick stumbled to his chair, Solomon sat down at Joleen’s post. “Confirm that.” 

“I already did. It is parts from Explorer and an Ark1 remnant.”

The oddly shaped vessel closed in on the Horizon fast. Seeing as they dispatched of the other Harpy vessel with ease the one ship that had moved up from behind the Horizon retreated to a greater distance, weapon systems were powered down, but the shielding was maintained. “I didn’t read the reports from Explorer these days, but the headline of one was suggesting that they had trouble with the Ark1 at one point.” In a mix of relief from the avoided all out battle with the Harpys and renewed tension concerning the weird Ark1 ship, Frederick was left to gasp for air. 

The atone symphony of alarms and notifications started a new, as the Ark1emitted a powerful signal to the Horizon. A squeek came from the dampening device in Joleen’s pocket, followed by her tossing it to the ground. A small cloud of smoke rose from it.

Both she and Hylia looked at each other, then at the view screen. “They’re hailing.” Joleen mumbled.

4. Advent 2017

Aw. The Wittwe porcewain cwoud is sweepy….

Then smash it with a hammer!
Throw it to the floor!
Burn it with acid and flame!

This thing is worse than those fucking angels religitards put everywhere, they at least believe in those things.
But this?!?! 

Go outside.
Look up.
CLOUDS!
Big clouds, small clouds, dark clouds, bright clouds, rain clouds, dust clouds, smoke clouds, natural clouds, artificial clouds (contrails), on some maps the tinfoil hat lunatics even have radiation clouds.

But nowhere you look will you have drowsy clouds with eyes!

The devastating perplexity of this things existence, this things inception, will drive the sanest person insane!

Which makes it the perfect gift for Christmas.

Crappy Crapmess.

Drive people over the edge, give them clouds. 

Good night.

Headspace

By now I am certain that most, if not all, of you have heard of pay to win games. You know, games where you have to pay in order to win, or progress faster than the non-paying fair-playing troglodites?

Sure you have.

Now there’s a similar app for the mordern hippies out there, called headspace. The basic version which teaches you how to meditate is free, but additional courses/techniques/etc. will cost you.
Pay-to-ascend, essentially.

Listen here, snowflakes, if you need an app to teach you how to meditate, you’re doing it wrong.

• For starters, there are more ways to meditate listed on the internet for free, than there are ways to blow your money in the app store! 

• Secondly, meditation isn’t something you can strap the prefix ‘speed’ in front of and still run with it. 

Meditation requires a certain calmness, an introspection, shutting out the disturbances – both from within and from outside. 

This isn’t something you can squeeze in, between two meetings and calm yourself, gain focus and ‘mindfulness’ (what ever that gobshite is supposed to mean).
Meditation requires time, quiet and peace.
Not the presence of a disturbing gizmo that is telling you how to do it, like smartphone. 

The principle of this is neat, but once you start to consider it – this isn’t the product of love, this isn’t the tireless labour of a man-turned-one-with-himself. This is a materialistic piece of shit made by greedy fucks. 

If this person (someone whose name sounds like someone tried to come up with a jokename by combining pudding and combe) truly wanted to spread the word to the masses about how to reach enlightenement, how to become more peaceful and create ‘mindfulness’ – he would’ve given it all away for free. Like all the other schmucks on the internet. 

People who use this app are probably the same kind of disturbing cretins who wear sandals with socks, have dreadlocks while being whiter than sourcream, and smoke pot like kids eat candy. Despite the claim that it was created to reach business men. Men who would squeeze this shit in between two meetings to flee the stess, making their schedule busier instead of relaxing a bit. 

BTW: Emma Watson endorsed this shit. You, Ma’am, have lost some of my respect. If you think it is genius to teach people how to meditate – USE GOOGLE! It comes preinstalled on EVERY smartphone, just open the browser type in google[dot]com and go for it. Countless, innumerable sites will teach you. Blogs, sites, groups, videos, made by individuals, collectives, and what not else. 

How did I come to this piece of shite? 

Kindergarten. 

Our kindergarten is fairly moderate with madness, unlike others. There was the waterbottle incident sure, but other than that, peace. 

Until now. 

Not just that we have one of the parents who greets people in e-mails, NOT with “good morning” “G’day mates” or anything like the ordinary. NO. He starts his Mails with “SUN dear parents!”

Also, Christmas collection went around to give gifts to the teachers and assitants. Coupons here, coupons there, amazon, retailers, supermarkets. 

Fine. No problem. 

Until we came upon the decsion to make whether to get amazon coupons, or headspace coupons.

Which made us look into this stuff. 

Guess what the SUN dude would prefer to give away.

Take care,
A.

RoF S2E3 – Explorer – DEHuman pt2

image

Blanketed by forgiving darkness, a silence that was comfortably numbing, so silent in fact it drowned out even the noise in his head, Jason did not regret hacking into the cab controls. Halted mid section in the central spinal tubes of the Explorer he also had turned off the lights. As well as other equipment in the cab that would create either noise or light.

Just him. Alone in the dark. Weightless.

What did “We are sorry” mean? Daria’s message haunted his mind.

After the pod had returned to Explorer he had gone through the radio transmissions. An EM signature had been detected, aboard the Orion. It was the same frequency that the linkers from the Digitally Enhanced Humans initiative had used. 

Young had said that the implant had taken a lot of pressure off his mind. At the time Jason had thought that he had gotten an implant like the Explorer crew, one that regulated his reproductive capabilities, and functioned as a medical monitor. 

Now he saw it in a different light. 
Refreshed, after his zero G pause and a shower, Jacob sought out his mother. In difficult times he always sought her out. Perhaps she could provide him with insights or answers. 

“Mum?” Her office was dimly lit. A quick look at the time told him that she should be there. “Mum!?” An uncertainty clutched his heart he hadn’t felt since his childhood when he and his family were in the gardens and he had lost them. Little did he know then that he could be tracked, as well as his parents. “Locate Doctor Nye Charles.” 

At home? Grumbling he turned away from her office, in the hallway he saw her colleague Karla, whom he knew as aunt Karla. “It’s your father. He had a heart attack. But he is recouping.” She immediately recognised the look on his eyes. 

“Just give her my best wishes!” She yelled after him as he ran to the tube. A message came in on his glasses as he waited for the tube to deliver a cab to him. “Sorry about your father, hope he is recovering? Love.” It was from Daria, should he reply?

Deciding just to reply with a simple and short “Thanks” he entered the cab. Moments later he stood before his parents’ quarters. 

“Mum?” Had he uttered just that word half the day? Did he thank aunt Karla? He honestly couldn’t recall. 

“Hi honey. I thought you still were being debriefed, or I would’ve called.” She took him in her arms. “Aunt Karla told me.” He whispered, suddenly the tears shot to eyes. 

“How is he?” Sobbing at her shoulder he looked around the room. “Sleeping. Doctors said he is going to need some rest, his implant keeps them apprised of the situation.” Figuring that a more severe case would’ve been kept in the infirmary, Jason felt relived. Only a little, but still. 

His zero G experience, all the stress reliving effect it had, was wiped away. The gravity of the past days experiences weighed him down again. “I need to tell you a few things as well. Hope you can help me.” He sat her down on the couch. 
As if on hot coals, the Admiral sat in the meeting room, Louis Walsh and Harald Rüttli had just discussed the possible ramifications of the detected frequency on Orion. Afterwards the Governors had begun a similar discussion. Although seemingly relived that her fears of racism were uncalled for, Governor Mbuntu was for strict measures. Such as sending out a probe to Orion which would be emitting the suppression signal developed on Destiny and also deployed for a while in all the ships from Earth. 

“Our own constitution forbids such an action!” Governor Rostova had replied, referring to the article that stated that every other vessel has its sovereign rights, and couldn’t be subject to policy from Explorer unless it posed threat to the safety of the ship or its crew.

The other two governors were only calling in, while Ophelia had the dignity of being present in person. A meeting even more important than the discovery of Orion, and the other two governors had not come in person. 

“We must at least reactivate the suppression field on Explorer!” Ophelia slammed her hand on the table, suddenly standing. “We can’t.” Rüttli sighed, leaning back in his seat. “After all users of the Enhancement were found and rounded up, we let their devices emit the signal for a while, then turned the signal off, removed and destroyed the devices. Each individual once part of the link, is closely watched and none have relapsed.” 

Bringing up a detailed list of the frequencies he pointed to a marked section. “Running this frequency with the suppression field over our internal network would be a huge power drain. At least if we did it continuously.” Ophelia turned her head to the Admiral with a pleading gaze in her eyes. 

“Alright.” Franziska too got up. “Emit the signal, for twenty four hours. Check random bio signs from implants for signs of a comatose state.” Turning to Louis she started walking around the table. “And I want every member of the away team detained, interrogated and closely monitored. It is beyond me why and how we set them lose on this ship again after we detected that signal.” The screen went blank and dark as she left the room, Ophelia hard on her tail, leaving Louis and Harald bewildered and speechless behind. 

“Do you think this is enough, Admiral?” Stopping dead in her tracks Franziska allowed Ophelia to catch up. “Honestly, no. But it is all I can do. We don’t have enough power to run that signal continuously, without restricting other systems. And people would want to know why these other systems were shut down, or limited in functionality. Widespread panic, or at the very least paranoia would be the logical conclusion if they were told the truth. That is something we can’t have. Not while we still have to evacuate half of Ark1’s cryogenic chambers, Harpys in our back and the Orion possibly linking up to become a fully Digitally Enhanced Human ship.” First, both women knew, non essential systems would be limited in functionality, or shut down completely. The ship wide news and entertainment networks. All the backups from earth would be offline. And that was what people would feel immediately. 

Ophelia nodded in agreement. “Please, can I stay on the command centre when the suppression signal is turned on?” 

“No way. That place is off limits, but I’d like you near when we bring in the away team.” Franziska entered the tube, Ophelia with her. Both women sat down. Although each ring, especially sub alpha, had a detention center, the main brig, or cellblock, was on subgamma. Right after she had given the command, security personnel moved to detain the members of the team that had went to Orion. 
“Any idea why we’re here?” Clearly nervous Julio wiped away a bead of sweat that ran down his forehead, the work team assembly from Orion had been gathered, he and Jason sat in the interrogation room. 

“Not because of the Lieutenant. That much I am certain of.” Jason crossed his fingers behind his head, leaning in the chair. The room was well lit, held in grey colors, a table that was bolted to the ground, the chairs were mounted on rails, you could move them, but not throw them. 

These measures had been taken after interrogations had gone violent concerning a powerful new drug, synthesised from engineering lube. It was all over the news back then, afterwards they had refashioned the interrogation rooms. 

“Why then?” Julio wiped another sweat bead away. “D.E.Humans, linkers, what ever you want to call it. Borg for all I care.” 

Suddenly Julio relaxed a little, but he still was sweating, he too leaned back, awkwardly at that. “I thought their network was shut down? The EM signal from Orion was supposed to be naught more than a glitch.” 

“It wasn’t, trust me.” 

With a harsh sounding hiss the door opened. “So you know about it?” A security officer entered the interrogation room, at his side he noticed Harald Rüttli, behind him the Admiral and a tall black woman, he assumed it was Governor Ophelia Mbuntu.

“I have suspicions.” Jason leaned forward, putting his weight on his elbows on the table, fingers still crossed. 

A cold smile appeared on the lips of the security officer, only for one fleeting moment, then it vanished again. 

Rüttli and Lieutenant Oleson entered the room completely, the Admiral and the Governor remained outside. “What was that business about concerning a Lieutenant?” Oleson sat down in front of Jason, next to Julio on the square table. 

With a nod and a knowing expression Jason looked to Julio. Again a sweat bead formed, this time Julio didn’t wipe it away. 

“I may have had an encounter with a Lieutenant on Orion.” 

Raising his eyebrows, wrinkling his forehead Lieutenant Oleson also looked at the man. “An encounter?” 

“Alright, it was unprofessional, and sexual!” 

“In that respect,” Jason cleared his throat, “I was behaving unprofessionally too. My girlfriend, Miss Daria Fulton, brought a Private to our quarters, hacked my implant so it would turn of for a few days, and returned with said Private the following night.” 

Staring at Jason with his mouth open Lieutenant Oleson paused for a moment. “Your transgressions with the personnel of Orion are not subject of this investigation, but it is on record and disciplinary action will follow.” Theatrically he opened the protection flap to his tablet as if he was opening a case file in an old movie. 

“We suspect that the Orion and its crew got infested with the D.E.Human technology, and we’re here to investigate this, as it can only have come from the away team that went there.” He glanced at the two suspects while still facing his tablet computer. “Let’s start with you Doctor Charles.” A sign of relief came from Julio, he didn’t react well to pressure. 

“Yes, my field of study, would make me the logical candidate of us two.” Jason raised his eyebrows. “We have turned on the suppression signal two hours ago, bio signs from your father are weak. Is he part of the link?” 

“Heart attack, prior to you turning on the signal. Look it up.” Although angry, Jason retained a calm demeanour, albeit less respectful than he intended. “You two gentlemen worked together on the Orion’s new computing systems, has there been a time you worked separate from each other?”

Both men shook their heads. Except for lunch breaks and the evenings, they had spent each waking moment together aboard the Orion. “Is it possible that your equipment might have been corrupted before leaving the Explorer?” 

“It is possible, although unlikely.” Julio leaned back in further relaxation, although facing disciplinary action for his transgressions with the Lieutenant, he was guilty of nothing else, he basked in that feeling. “All the checksums upon installation came back as they were supposed to, check our logs.”

“Tablet computers were clean too.” Scratching his head Jason shifted in his seat. “Or appeared to be?” Oleson stared at Jason with an icy glare from blue eyes. “Or appeared to be, but I am certain that they were clean.”

“How so?” Rüttli was unable to contain his curiosity. “Glad you asked.” Jason smiled over his shoulder, “As I told you, my girlfriend, Miss Fulton, hacked my implant.” turning back to Lieutenant Oleson he continued. 

“At first I thought nothing of it. Later I found an implanting device in our quarters. Convinced she was giving the woman we had over for two nights in a row the usual implant and the entire technology to increase their chances of conceiving sons, I still thought nothing of it.”

All the while he was speaking Oleson’s expression got progressively darker. “Now you do?” 

“Now I do. She’s not in the medical field, and a little research in the meantime, revealed that the normal implants can’t do that.” 

Lieutenant Oleson looked down at the tablet, back to Jason. “Have you spoken to Miss Fulton since your return? Confronted her with your findings?”

In a few words Jason explained that he had not, and why he had not, spoken with Daria since their return. 
》Daria Jane Fulton, born Kraemer, PhD, communication department, orphaned, adopted by Michael and Susanne Fulton.《 Jason stared at the lines before his eyes. 

“Her natural parents died?” He turned to the Admiral. “Yes. During the suppression signal emission. They were too close to one of their emitters when it was turned on. Field density was too strong, and it killed them.” Franziska said in a low voice. Apparently Jason had not known, and his suspicions concerning Daria’s involvement were somewhat validated. She felt sorry for him. Julio had been lead from the interrogation room, but was still in custody to prevent any information from leaking to the public. 

“She’s a linker!” Tears shot to Jason’s eyes. All of his world began to crumble, although hurt and mad at Daria for sending the two women to their quarters fin, he still loved her. 

All the time he had hoped that his suspicions were wrong, that once he had brought forth his observations they would be dismissed. Some secret mission she was on to help the Orion population. 

Anything.

Something. 

Crushed hopes weighed down on him. 

Sobbing, he let his head sink to the table. “It isn’t confirmed, after all, she is still doing well although the suppression signal is on.” The Admiral tried to comfort him with little effect.

“Don’t you think that they hadn’t adapted?” Jason rose his head, wiped away his tears. “It is not that difficult to create a checksum based communication protocol, immune to suppressing signals. All the signal does is limiting the linkers ability to communicate, but they themselves are probably fine. One or two will sacrifice themselves for the rest of them, maybe a few more, but the majority will remain hidden.”

Ophelia and Oleson exchanged a look, then nodded. “You know an awful lot about them.” The Governor edged a little away from Jason. “I know nothing. But we implemented similar systems throughout the fleet, in order to prevent any external, or unauthorised internal, influence from hacking, or disrupting our systems.” 

All present looked to Harald Rüttli, who nodded in agreement with Jason’s words. “Checksums were always part of computer communication, but it got strengthened, and improved. He is right. They have taken our own measures and used them against us. Probably.” 

Jason stared blankly in the distance. “In addition, they probably had devised a means of shortrange communication, allowing them to communicate freely with one another, without the aid of the nodes previously installed throughout the ships. On Orion one is monitoring the frequencies, they could install and use the nodes, so they wouldn’t have to stay relatively close to one another for communication.” He reached for the tablet with Daria’s file on display. 

Moments later he had the information about the D.E.Human chips on screen. “I estimate, based on this data, that they have a range limit of three to four meters, probably less.” Intentionally pushing his sadness and anger away with the technological topics to occupy his mind, Jason stared into the tablet. 

“We still have to scan you, you know?” Lieutenant Oleson put his hand on the tablet, covering the screen. If a gaze could kill, Jason would’ve committed murder that instant. “I know. But I have to do this.” 

Putting her hand on the Lieutenant’s arm in a calming manner Franziska slightly shook her head. “You can continue this line of work, if it helps you get over this hard time, but now,” she got up and reached for his hand. “you have to get scanned.” 
My father had a heart attack, my girlfriend of many years is a D.E.Human, and I’m in a tube to have my brain scanned for a chip. Staring at the ceiling of the tube Jason ground his teeth. Oh, and I might have quite successfully made a baby, or two, with a woman on a ship, whom I will never see again in my life time. That ought to make an uplifting story to tell the kids. Or to be discovered in my journal. “You’re clean.” 

Not that he had doubted it, Jason couldn’t help but feel relieved. After all, Daria could’ve given him an implant somewhen during their endless nights, both on Explorer and Orion. As he got up from the bed that had transported him into the tube Lieutenant Oleson handed him his own tablet and glasses. “Sorry for the inconvenience. But I had to be rude.” 

“No apology needed. You’re doing your duty, and I need to do mine.” He immediately began working as he left the room. 
Worried Franziska watched the security footage of Daria in her cell. She seemed frightened, always trying to get close to the guards. But even if they were linked too, the suppression field blocked their communication. Slowly she seemed to succumb to isolation, although she wasn’t isolated. 

“How is she, Admiral?”

“Not as good as I’ve hoped, Governor.” Franziska greeted Ophelia, who in turn took place next to her, staring at the screen. 

“They don’t seem so menacing, do they?” Ashamed Governor Mbuntu had to shake her head. “I’m guessing that she had the others in her head all her life after we shut the nodes down, now she doesn’t.” Although Daria’s adoptive parents were clean, Franziska suspected that other children, other grow ups, disconnected at the time of the suppression signal, had kept close to Daria. 

“Time is almost up.” Ophelia noted, she wore her glasses, had a countdown running for only a few more minutes until the suppression signal was turned off again. 

It reached zero. Almost immediately a cry of anguish came from Daria’s cell. “She senses the blockade gone but no one is contacting her.” Ophelia leaned closer to the screen. Gently shaking her head Franziska agreed. Assuming that no one would do so either she felt pity for the young woman. If anyone did contact her, they would run the risk of being exposed too.

“Will she lose her mind?” Ophelia turned around to the Admiral. 

“Maybe. I’m talking to her.” Leaving the surveillance room with the Admiral, Ophelia had doubts about the success or outcomes of that endeavour. 
In silence, and a stern expression, Admiral Franziska Hardwick pulled up a chair to the cell, it was a rather old fashioned designed cell. Bars, instead of walls and a hard door, truly isolating the imprisoned person.

“You are in anguish. What is it that you fear?” Daria looked at her with a pleading gaze, but kept sobbing. “Is it the silence?”

“You know nothing!” She hissed between sobs. “Relying on the auditory and visual senses to communicate, it feels so limiting. Time consuming. As if my limbs are hacked off, my voice is gone and my ears gone deaf and my heart gone cold. Help me.” 

“How?” Franziska saw an opportunity to find at least one more linked person. 

“Set me free! Let me go to my people.” 

“We are your people. You are human, as am I.” darkly Daria stared at the Admiral. “Human. We are more than just that. We are digitally enhanced humans. They are my people.” Since the signal had first been detected Franziska had read old case files concerning the D.E.Humans, none had ever gone through such a hard and violent time as Daria. But she had been born with the implant, had always been connected to someone. 

Forgetting that, could spell death for the young woman. 

“I can bring you someone who understands, maybe that one can connect with you?” 

Seeing the temptation inside Daria’s eyes Franziska hoped she would do it. “Tempting offer Admiral, but I must decline. I will not bring others into your clutches. We have accomplished so much, soon we will rid ourselves of your rule.” Daria leaned back, softly rocking back and forth, humming a lullaby. 

Quickly the Admiral looked at Ophelia. “Get me a doctor. I have a hunch.” 
Together with Harald Rüttli, Jason sat in a room, large displays showed various data concerning the frequency of the link, both men worked in silence, but couldn’t find a way to access the network of the D.E.Human in order to send a shutdown message to the implants. More a sigh than a hiss came from the doors, Admiral Franziska Hardwick and Governor Ophelia Mbuntu entered the room, looking equally glum.

“I guess congratulations are in order.” The Admiral threw a tablet on the table in front of Jason, she seemed very agitated. Confused Jason picked up the tablet and read the information on it. “Is this certain?” He rose to his feet. 

“It is. Dad.” There was anger and a hint of hatred in her voice. “She not only hacked your implant, but her own. Circumventing rules and regulations.” The world around Jason began to spin, quickly he sat down again. 

“I see no way into the network.” Rüttli exclaimed in helplessness, burying his face in his hands. “They have shielded their communication better than anything we have to crack it.”

Still staring at the tablet Jason nodded in agreement. He was going to be a father, definite proof of that was before his eyes. “Her bloodstream is swarming with nanotechnology robots. Shutting down the implant might deactivate them too, but the tests conclude that they are acting as her immune response. She is immune to any virus or bacteria, known or unknown to mankind.” Franziska pointed at the tablet in Jasons shaking hands. “It would probably kill her and the child in her womb.” Ophelia put it in layman’s terms. 

As if he was caught in a space suit again, Jason felt the room closing in. Feeling claustrophobic he jumped to his feet. “I need to get out of here.” Gasping for air he ran to the door, but before he could leave, a security guard blocked the way from the outside. “Gardens.” He breathed. “Send him with me.” Franziska nodded and let Jason leave for the gardens with the guard as escort.
“He shouldn’t be allowed to participate in this project any more.” Harald spoke softly after Jason had left. “If it was me, and my girlfriend was pregnant with my child, I wouldn’t allow them to be harmed.” Both the Admiral and the Governor agreed with a gentle nod. “Restrict his access, and monitor his activities.”
After agonising minutes of transport and walking Jason finally entered the large garden in sub alpha. It was more funtional than recreational, unlike the gardens on alpha through gamma. Fruit trees lined up next to rows of hydroponics for vegetables and fish. Still it had the liberating effect that Jason had sought. 

“What are we doing here?” The guard followed Jason to an apple tree. 

“I need the open space here right now, a hint of claustrophobia rushed over me. You are guarding my sorry ass, so I won’t do anything stupid.” Gnarling back, Jason felt sassier than ever, empowered by the feeling that he had nothing left to lose.

“You have ro rescue her, your children.” The guard handed him an injector and his gun. Baffled Jason looked at the things in the guards hands. “You have to rescue us.” He added, putting the gun and injector in Jason’s hands. 

“If they turn the signal against us, and they will, in time, we all will die. At least part of us. They will abort the pregnancy. You can’t let that happen!” 

Before Jason could object the Guard bowed down his head and ran against the tree as fast as he could, collapsing unconscious to the ground. 

For a moment Jason didn’t know what to do, but either way the fact that an unconscious guard was lying next to him would get him, at least temporarily, in trouble. 

Time, he couldn’t afford to lose, would be wasted trying to explain what had happened, and that the guard himself was part of the D.E.Humans. 
Quickly Jason left the scene. Once inside the cab of the tube network he used the injector on himself, even before he learned that he was locked out of several command structures. 

Welcoming feelings rushed by him as the cab moved through the bowels of the Explorer, left him yearning for more as he found himself weightless again. Helpful thoughts entered his mind, codes, security lockout circumventions.

And the echo of his own warning, that in time the implants would be turned against their owners. An idea echoed through the minds he touched on his journey to the detention center. 

An idea that would’ve frightened him to death, was he alone in his mind, but the confidence of the others brought confidence to him. In front of the cellblock he stopped. Although the implant was already working, it wasn’t fully integrated with his brain yet. Part of him refused losing his individuality, rejected the implant. Closing his eyes he took a deep breath. A security code floated through his memory, and he opened the door with ease. Immediately two guards sprang into action, before knowing what he did, he rose his hand, pulled the trigger and sent both of them to the ground, sedated by the high voltage darts. 

With another deep breath he turned the transmission function of his new implant off, hopimg not to lose the implant altogether that way. 

“Hi.” He stopped in front of Daria’s cell, the security system repeated previously recorded footage of her and the empty hallways. “Hello.” Daria replied, surprised. 

“So, you’re pregnant?” He rose an eyebrow, toying with the tablet in his hand, the gun was tucked in his pants.

“A boy and a girl, just as Danielle.” She replied dryly. “I’ve come to save you, and our children.” Daria sprang to her feet, he had not spoken a word, sent her that information through the implant. She pressed against the bars, basking in his presence in her mind. A moment later the cell door opened, and the two hurried off. By now she knew of the plan he and the others had hatched on his way to her. 
“Admiral!” Crying out in shock Harald Rüttli ran into the command centre. Sitting next to Franziska was Ophelia, engaged in conversation. “I’m reading communication on the D.E.Human frequency, all over the ship. They hijacked our communication network!” the two women exchanged a glance thinking the same thing. 

Jason Charles. 

While Ophelia called her secretary to lock down her ring, Franziska ordered the computer to locate Jason Charles, with little success. “There’s activity all over the board.” The navigation officer reported, as did her first officer Louis Walsh. “They are copying everything we have.” Louis yelled, punching in one lockout command after another, with no success. 

“Where to?” 

“Unknown, they have established a virtual shadow network, I can’t trace it.” 

Petrified Ophelia stopped pacing around in the midst of the Chaos in the command centre. “They’re on Beta.” She hissed, more angered than afraid. 

“How do you know?” Franziska had already jumped up, leading her to the exit. After a while she had granted the governor access to the command centre, but the hectic nature of the situation called for the civilian to leave. “Because there are numerous transports coming in from all parts of Explorer, and the outer most sections have sealed off.” It was Franziska who now became petrified. 

“Louis, send in,” 

“Can’t. Tube’s are empty. No cab anywhere near our position, even maintenance cabs have gone.” With a mixture of helplessness and anger Franziska turned back to Ophelia.

“Attention all beta ring security personnel, you are ordered to apprehend all people trying to reach the outter most rim. Return cabs to sub alpha and sub gamma rings for reinforcement.” Her face turned from determined to questioning. “Hello? Beta ring?” 

An inquiring look to the com officer conformed that regular communication had been cut off. 

“Suits, guns, march there!” Franziska yelled at Louis, who saluted and hurried off to the barracks.
I still don’t like this. Jason sat at the helm of a pod still locked with the beta ring. Preflight checks ran, and a more experienced pilot, who was sharing his knowledge, oversaw the progress. 

Memory from the shared thoughts informed him that all the cryogenic chambers from the Ark1 had been transported to the ships on beta, officially for research purposes. 

All accounted for.

“Ignition.” The pilot couldn’t help but smirk, as the docking clamps released and a short burst moved the ship off. 

The ships from the civilian rings were larger than the pods Jason previously had known, after all they were supposed to function for colonising RV-p296. 

Ruttling the ship’s thrusters maneuvered the craft away from Explorer, weightlessness set in, and soon after they docked with the broken Ark1 next to Explorer. 

All of them. A last quick glance out a small viewfinding window confirmed that most of the outter rim from Explorer’s beta ring was gone. 
“We have back communication.” Rüttli sighed. It wasn’t his doing, or that of anyone else but the people who had originally blocked the communication. After they left, the blockade of communication was no longer required. 

“Receiving reports from beta.” Simultaneously with Harald’s statement, Ophelia regained communication with her office. 

“We have sensors back.” Navigation. Franziska immediately loaded the current data onto her glasses. Bewildered by her findings she cussed, turned away from Ophelia who remained in the command centre. “They docked with the Ark1. What could they want with that wreck?” 

“Gather the rest of their people and leave?” Ophelia put her hand on Franziska’s shoulder. 

Determined to continue work on the shutdown signal Franziska leaned back. “Let them have it. We can’t help them right now. I want a list of all missing personnel, change all codes, go through our systems with a fine toothed comb and close all back doors these bastards might have left.” 

Louis, returning from the tube network manned his post. “Ma’am. Reading unusual power output from Ark1.” Explorer’s whisker probes delivered a deailed image on the main screen. The attached ships had fired their engines, slowing down the Ark1 considerably. 

Within moments after the Ark1 began her deceleration she had fallen so far behind that any operation from Explorer was impossible. 

“They are gone, only on long range scanners.” Louis commented dryly. 

Breathing heavily, inside boiling with rage, Franzsiak groweld “They’ll come back. One day.” 

3. Advent 2017

There is so much wrong with this pig on so many levels it would be nearly impossible to list it all. 

Nearly.

1. This pig obviously just suffered through a stroke.
2. It wears a tutu.
3. How does it get into those clothes and necklace, when clearly all four appendages are heel clad feet?
4. Why is the ONE region that normally is covered by a dress – the nether regions – NOT covered?
5. Is this perverse?
6. Who designed this?
7. Do they know anything about pigs?
8. What drugs have they been scoring?
9. Isn’t it against humanitarian laws to produce, sell, purchase and take those drugs?
10. Who is this for?
11. Seriously. WHO IS THIS FOR???

Gift at your own peril. Anyone giving this as present should be on a watchlist somewhere, anyone receiving this should be too, just to be safe.

Merry Crapmas.