Archive for May, 2018

We are not the onion.

There’s this reputable news site in my country, let’s equate them to the New York Times.

There’s this satire news site in my country, let’s equate them to the Onion.

We live in times where that NYT equivalent dishes out an article over Facebook, and feels the need to add “We are not the onion!” to it.

The first three or four times that had happened, it was funny “Hehe, they need to tell us that this shit ain’t satire, hehe…”.

It is still happening.

At least once a week.

In what perilously insane times have we ended up in, that news outlets (two different news outlets, I must say at this point) feel the need to warn their readers, that the linked to article is in fact NOT satire, but real?!

This isn’t the news outlets fault, they report on the news, they don’t make ‘em, unlike the satire sites. (Although, it must be referenced, that SNL gave fake Palin, for lack of a fake speech, just the real speech that Palin had held, so in essence, satire reported on the news…)

The true fault lies with us, the people. We have allowed the politicians to run amok, we have allowed corporations to dictate policy, we have granted frauds to spread their filth in public, we have permitted disinformation to be presented as fact, and it’s a downhill journey from here on out.

We are not the onion.

That will be the motto of this generation, and our obituary.

Take care,

A.

Rings of Fate S3xE4 – Horizon – Confrontations (pt.2)

image

Only minutes after leaving the ambassadorial quarters did the call reach her that a Harpy ship appeared alongside the ship, so her assumption that it had been shadowing Horizon waiting for it to be called in, was confirmed.

Quickly she left beta, heading for her quarters. Sushi, or raw fish dishes served by the Harpies, didn’t quite agree with her, but still she didn’t want to risk a diplomatic faux pas by denying it.

Why Ambassador Hylia couldn’t find taste in prepared food, even the stemcell grown lab meat, like Horizon’s Hylia had, was an issue that puzzled Jane.

Perhaps the ambassador sensed her dislike for raw fish, and it was only served at these dinners? “Honey I’m home!” She tweeted as she entered her quarters. Immediately her perpetual boyfriend Wolfgang greeted her back, their teenage children were no where to be seen.

For once she felt glad over that fact. “The kids are staying with my parents, in case you’ve been wondering.” A benign smile on his lips Wolfgang explained leaning in the door to the toilet.

“Thank you.”

“What’s new?” He nodded understanding her current condition, as she always came home like this from a dinner with the ambassador.

“Harpy warship to starboard, patriarchist threat, potential structural failure following a wobble. You know, business as usual.” Laughing through her pain she cringed.

“Oh, that old hat again.” Wolfgang was uneased by these news, but since Jane wasn’t, he played it off as cool too. “Explain that wobble to me though.” His curiosity got the best of him.

There was a menacing trait to the Harpy ships, Jane had to admit, as she looked at the sensor data gathered of their protector.

Although built for space, and battle in space, they were sleak, aerodynamic vessels, odd angles to refract sensors, unless they were moving slow, or in relation to the scanning source, not at all.

Unlike the Horizon, and her sister ships, the Harpy warships had intricate paint jobs on their exterior, adding to their menacing look. Each one was different, individual.

Reflecting the biological neuro circuits controlling them, each ship was an individual, both in exterior design and in regard to their mind.

“With that thing here, there isn’t a thing daring to attack us.” Derek commented seeing her study the ship. “You might be a bit too young to remember, but the linkers made short progress with these ships. The patriarchists use the same technology, the same design. They surely would dare to attack. Although, I must say, they surely would go for her first, giving us plenty of opportunity to shoot at them.”

The smug expression in her first officer’s face vanished. “Way to kill the mood, Ma’am.” Winking he retreated to his post.

She watched him leave for his console. It was ages that she had spent at that station. It also seemed like ages since she last had worked there.

Shaking off the nostalgic feelings, she looked at the ship to their starboard. Her name was Farkahl, and according to the information that Ambassador Hylia had released to her, the Farkahl had seen plenty of battles, and always was victorious.

Since the brain operating the ship was capable of learning, and possessed a strong will to survive, only the first few battles were won by her crew, soon the brain took over. She wanted to live, wanted to win, wanted to conquer.

A true warrior.

Once Jane had spoken with Horizon’s Hylia about the brains on the Harpy ships. She wanted to know how they were made, how they first came to be.

The latter was beyond the old Hapry’s knowledge. Brains in ships had been in use for so long, no one could remember who first implemented them, where the brains first came from. Since Harpy specific medication worked on the brain matter as well, it stood to reason that it had been a Harpy donating her brain, or parts of it.

“When a ship is ready to procreate it will form a series of ovuli, and sacks of seed. Another ship, ready for procreation must be found, and the two will exchange their seeds and ovuli. The then fertilised ovuli are taken to special facilities in our shipyards. Where they will, sooner or later, be implemented into a ship. That can either be a new one without a brain, or one wherein the brain had died.”

Recalling those words made Jane shudder. Just the thought of being an incorporeal brain implanted into the husk of one that had died before gave her the creeps.

Her eyes kept studying the Farkahl. This magnificent warrior surely was a prime specimen for cultivating new ship brains.

Other than the ship to starboard, it was another quiet day. Followed by another.

After a week of quiet days Jane began to suspect that the ambassador was more interested in showing presence than actual concerns from patriarchists, after all the DEHumans had long range sensor capacity beyond what Horizon could ever hope to achieve, especially with their shipyard ahead of them. It was possibly even greater than what the Harpies had at their disposal.

As suspected, the governors were not keen on the idea of transferring pods to beta. They each engaged a corps of scientists and engineers to investigate Jake’s scenario. Again Jane believed it was due to the Harpy presence on beta, that even her proposal of shared jurisdiction was dismissed.

Their xenophobic distrust of Harpies was hard to overcome, all Jane was left with, was to hope their scientists came up with the same conclusions as Jake, if that didn’t happen she could force them, by temporarily overruling them. A step she was prepared to take if it meant bringing the ship safely to its destination, even though she didn’t like that option.

Sitting strapped into the chair of the cab Jane travelled to subgamma, she wanted to speak to Jake again, when she noticed a bump in the weightless ride.

“Computer! Halt.” She turned her glasses on. “Location.”

“Beta ring, section 22.” That was shortly after a siphon section. “Analyse cab log for anomalies in the magnetic field guiding the cab.”

A field anomaly was displayed on her glasses. When she asked the computer to analyse the cause for the field variation she got an error.

Saving the findings to her glasses she continued on her way, and had the tube locked, as there were two additional tubes tu be used.

Thunder, Lightning, Hail – Action?

So we had a nice thunderstorm the other day. Some 40 thousand lightning bolts an hour!
Rain that seemed to be taken from fantasy literature (aka Bible) or some bad B- Movie, drowning the land.
Hail!

I was asleep through most of it.

Once my wife woke me up to shut the widows completely.

Did that.
Went back to sleep.

Then she woke me up to tell me that she thinks it’s hailing.

Now what should I do about that if it is hailing?
Rush outside and protect the tomatoes and strawberries with my body?
Who am I?
Almanzo Wilder?
I don’t need pneumonia, nor a stroke!
Perhaps it’s hailing, so what?

Of course, I didn’t say any of that. I didn’t want to hurt her, or seem overly rude, although she would’ve understood everything about that argument, so I just mumbled (or grumbled) a ‘maybe’, in the hopes of going back to sleep.

After spending the rest of night lulled to sleep by rain, hail and thunder, I had to drain a few potted plants in the morning, nothing had been ruined by hail.

Hope you guys are okay, take care,
A.

Rings of Fate S3xE4 – Horizon – Confrontations (pt.1)

image

It was a quiet day on Horizon’s command centre. Admiral Jane Mulgrew liked those days. But didn’t trust them.

On a normal day there would be something. One of the two governors being a pain in the neck, jurisdictional disputes that needed settling, Harpy ambassadors complaining about something, or informing her of something else.

Ever since Hylia had passed away, with the express wish to be cremated on Horizon, and treated like a human, as she was part of the ecosystem on board, as she had put it, there was a permanent ambassador from the Harpies.

Jane had soon seen the pro’s of that.

Now Horizon had access to Harpy transponder signals, like the human IFF signals, in order to weed out any potential patriarchist ships approaching.

There was a ship docked at what remained of beta, functioning like a sensor beacon, boosting the long range scan capabilities of Horizon.

According to the treaty she had helped draft, there was to be no exchange of technologies, especially from the Harpies to the humans, but using the Harpy ship to function as an extension to Horizon’s sensors was within the treaty regulations, and even suggested by the matriarchy.

“Ma’am?” Jane felt a glimmer of hope that the quietness would find an end as her first officer approached her. “Next week’s duty roster.” Derek Harvey handed her a tablet. Hope faded away.

“Thank you.” She sighed, looked over the tables and nodded in approval. “And the ambassador asked for a confirmation on dinner plans.” Hope found a nice little corner to hide and disappeared completely. “Tell her that I will be joining as suggested by her office.” A group of twenty five Harpies resided on the beta ring.

Part of the garden was redesigned to their needs, their offices and quarters adjacent to them. Guards of both species stood at the entrance to their section, to ensure that nothing went awry.

Including methods to ensure the absence of any cloaked suicide patriarchists.

“Hey, anybody up for a little problem solving?” Jane sat in the mess hall munching on her lunch when the chief engineer sat down at her table, ending her lnch hour of solitude. “Any time Jake.” Shoving her lunch aside Jane was glad that her hopes had found a way out of their hiding spot, in form of the chief engineer, Jake Khaku. “We soon will enter the solar system, I’ve been doing a few calculations.” He tapped his glasses, sending her some data to her glasses. “When we will start slamming those breaks, we might encounter a wobble, due to the missing mass mid ship.” The displayed ship on her glasses started to wiggle.

“Up to a critical point.” The displayed Horizon broke apart, alpha and subalpha flying on in an odd angle to the previous heading, gamma and subgamma in another.

Although her hopes for variety had fulfilled, what broke the monotony made her long for monotony again.

Staring through the virtual devastation of Horizon at Jake, Jane knew where this was headed. And she knew she would have a hard time selling the yet unproposed idea to the governors. “You said we might encounter this problem?”

“If we redistribute mass we definitely won’t.”

“I’ve been Admiral for some time now, why hasn’t anybody ever come to me, or my predecessors with this?” Jane turned the display off. Knowing Jake, Jane could imagine what the answer would be, before he even opened his mouth.

“Because it is a possibility. It might not happen at all, but I have reviewed our course, and it takes us damn close to the Jovian monstrosity we call ES-p296. The gravitational tug we can get from that might set in motion the wobble, since we’re slowing down, we’ll be in that gravitational sphere longer, and there’s the moons!” He paused, lowering his voice. “We shouldn’t risk it. Before we enter the heliosphere of the system, we should redistribute the mass.”

“You know, Jake, that’s easy in simulations, but the governors would want to roast me on an open fire and feed me to the Harpies if I suggested it!” Tucking a strain of hair behind her ear she looked to her plate, somehow she found she wasn’t hungry anymore. “You can deal with those people? These pencil pushers want to live, and they want to arrive in one piece, don’t they? If we do not redistribute, there is the chance we might not arrive. Alive, in pieces or otherwise.”

Telling him she’d need more data, especially to present the governors with some evidence, Jane got up from her seat, left.

At least it wasn’t a dull mundane day any more. The display showed again the possible outcome of the gravitational tugs from ES-p296 and its moons.

She would have Derek draft a small memo to the governors about the subject. Convincing them to either give up parts of their rings to form a new beta ring, or share jurisdiction, even if it was for just the two years they’d need to complete their journey once inside the solar system, would not be easy.

Especially if there was a chance it might not come to the catastrophe at all.

As usual the Harpy quarters were damp, and not lit as brightly as Jane was used to. Ambassador Hylia sat at the small table they set up for receiving guests. At first there had been some confusion, regarding the name of the ambassador, but apparently Hylia was a popular name, and after the humans began referring to her as “Ambassador Hylia” and called the other one “Horizon Hylia”, confusion quieted down.

“Thank you for joining me this evening.” Computerised words reached Jane’s ears. “It is my pleasue, Ambassador. To what do I owe the honor of this meeting?”

There never was just a casual dinner with ambassador Hylia, it always had a purpose. Flashing her teeth in a Harpy smile Hylia took up a piece of fish. “There is reason to assume that Horizon is in danger.” I knew there was a catch. “From what source?” If you say structural imperfections, I just have all leverage I need to get the governors to agree to redistribution of pods.

“Patriarchists.” Stopping for a moment while chewing on a piece of sushi, Jane looked the ambassador dead in the eye.

For decades there had been no mention of them. Not once had a spy or saboteur been apprehended, or detected. “Why’s that all of a sudden?” Jane finally found words again.

“They are losing everywhere else they engage us. Your ship is the only thing they know we protect, and that is vulnerable. With your permission however, we would like to bring in a warship.”

Squinting at the Harpy at the other end of the table Jane knew that one was already in range. It shadowed Horizon, somewhere barely outside sensor range. Although that is boosted by the Harpy ship docked on beta, the ship following them probably had better sensors than the small ambassadorial ship. “If I refuse that might spell disaster for my ship, let alone the diplomatic consequences in case we make it through this alive. Correct?”

Again Hylia displayed her smile. “Why would we punish you? We would protect ourselves, meaning we all would leave, but if you survive any potential encounter with the patriarchists, we wouldn’t be cross with you.”

Lie. “In any case, ambassador, your warship would be more than welcome to follow this ship around and protect us from those who wish to harm us.” She toasted the ambassador with a glass of water.

With Horizon’s Hylia, she had once discussed alcohol amongst Harpies, discovering that they liked to drink fermented beverages, but only in moderation, and with close friends. If it hadn’t been fermented, juices of any sort were only a drink for the juvenile, the senile and celebrations.

Or to survive, if clean water was unavailable, but plenty of fruit.

Rings of Fate S3xE4 – Horizon – Confrontations (pt.1)

image

It was a quiet day on Horizon’s command centre. Admiral Jane Mulgrew liked those days. But didn’t trust them.

On a normal day there would be something. One of the two governors being a pain in the neck, jurisdictional disputes that needed settling, Harpy ambassadors complaining about something, or informing her of something else.

Ever since Hylia had passed away, with the express wish to be cremated on Horizon, and treated like a human, as she was part of the ecosystem on board, as she had put it, there was a permanent ambassador from the Harpies.

Jane had soon seen the pro’s of that.

Now Horizon had access to Harpy transponder signals, like the human IFF signals, in order to weed out any potential patriarchist ships approaching.

There was a ship docked at what remained of beta, functioning like a sensor beacon, boosting the long range scan capabilities of Horizon.

According to the treaty she had helped draft, there was to be no exchange of technologies, especially from the Harpies to the humans, but using the Harpy ship to function as an extension to Horizon’s sensors was within the treaty regulations, and even suggested by the matriarchy.

“Ma’am?” Jane felt a glimmer of hope that the quietness would find an end as her first officer approached her. “Next week’s duty roster.” Derek Harvey handed her a tablet. Hope faded away.

“Thank you.” She sighed, looked over the tables and nodded in approval. “And the ambassador asked for a confirmation on dinner plans.” Hope found a nice little corner to hide and disappeared completely. “Tell her that I will be joining as suggested by her office.” A group of twenty five Harpies resided on the beta ring.

Part of the garden was redesigned to their needs, their offices and quarters adjacent to them. Guards of both species stood at the entrance to their section, to ensure that nothing went awry.

Including methods to ensure the absence of any cloaked suicide patriarchists.

“Hey, anybody up for a little problem solving?” Jane sat in the mess hall munching on her lunch when the chief engineer sat down at her table, ending her lnch hour of solitude. “Any time Jake.” Shoving her lunch aside Jane was glad that her hopes had found a way out of their hiding spot, in form of the chief engineer, Jake Khaku. “We soon will enter the solar system, I’ve been doing a few calculations.” He tapped his glasses, sending her some data to her glasses. “When we will start slamming those breaks, we might encounter a wobble, due to the missing mass mid ship.” The displayed ship on her glasses started to wiggle.

“Up to a critical point.” The displayed Horizon broke apart, alpha and subalpha flying on in an odd angle to the previous heading, gamma and subgamma in another.

Although her hopes for variety had fulfilled, what broke the monotony made her long for monotony again.

Staring through the virtual devastation of Horizon at Jake, Jane knew where this was headed. And she knew she would have a hard time selling the yet unproposed idea to the governors. “You said we might encounter this problem?”

“If we redistribute mass we definitely won’t.”

“I’ve been Admiral for some time now, why hasn’t anybody ever come to me, or my predecessors with this?” Jane turned the display off. Knowing Jake, Jane could imagine what the answer would be, before he even opened his mouth.

“Because it is a possibility. It might not happen at all, but I have reviewed our course, and it takes us damn close to the Jovian monstrosity we call ES-p296. The gravitational tug we can get from that might set in motion the wobble, since we’re slowing down, we’ll be in that gravitational sphere longer, and there’s the moons!” He paused, lowering his voice. “We shouldn’t risk it. Before we enter the heliosphere of the system, we should redistribute the mass.”

“You know, Jake, that’s easy in simulations, but the governors would want to roast me on an open fire and feed me to the Harpies if I suggested it!” Tucking a strain of hair behind her ear she looked to her plate, somehow she found she wasn’t hungry anymore. “You can deal with those people? These pencil pushers want to live, and they want to arrive in one piece, don’t they? If we do not redistribute, there is the chance we might not arrive. Alive, in pieces or otherwise.”

Telling him she’d need more data, especially to present the governors with some evidence, Jane got up from her seat, left.

At least it wasn’t a dull mundane day any more. The display showed again the possible outcome of the gravitational tugs from ES-p296 and its moons.

She would have Derek draft a small memo to the governors about the subject. Convincing them to either give up parts of their rings to form a new beta ring, or share jurisdiction, even if it was for just the two years they’d need to complete their journey once inside the solar system, would not be easy.

Especially if there was a chance it might not come to the catastrophe at all.

As usual the Harpy quarters were damp, and not lit as brightly as Jane was used to. Ambassador Hylia sat at the small table they set up for receiving guests. At first there had been some confusion, regarding the name of the ambassador, but apparently Hylia was a popular name, and after the humans began referring to her as “Ambassador Hylia” and called the other one “Horizon Hylia”, confusion quieted down.

“Thank you for joining me this evening.” Computerised words reached Jane’s ears. “It is my pleasue, Ambassador. To what do I owe the honor of this meeting?”

There never was just a casual dinner with ambassador Hylia, it always had a purpose. Flashing her teeth in a Harpy smile Hylia took up a piece of fish. “There is reason to assume that Horizon is in danger.” I knew there was a catch. “From what source?” If you say structural imperfections, I just have all leverage I need to get the governors to agree to redistribution of pods.

“Patriarchists.” Stopping for a moment while chewing on a piece of sushi, Jane looked the ambassador dead in the eye.

For decades there had been no mention of them. Not once had a spy or saboteur been apprehended, or detected. “Why’s that all of a sudden?” Jane finally found words again.

“They are losing everywhere else they engage us. Your ship is the only thing they know we protect, and that is vulnerable. With your permission however, we would like to bring in a warship.”

Squinting at the Harpy at the other end of the table Jane knew that one was already in range. It shadowed Horizon, somewhere barely outside sensor range. Although that is boosted by the Harpy ship docked on beta, the ship following them probably had better sensors than the small ambassadorial ship. “If I refuse that might spell disaster for my ship, let alone the diplomatic consequences in case we make it through this alive. Correct?”

Again Hylia displayed her smile. “Why would we punish you? We would protect ourselves, meaning we all would leave, but if you survive any potential encounter with the patriarchists, we wouldn’t be cross with you.”

Lie. “In any case, ambassador, your warship would be more than welcome to follow this ship around and protect us from those who wish to harm us.” She toasted the ambassador with a glass of water.

With Horizon’s Hylia, she had once discussed alcohol amongst Harpies, discovering that they liked to drink fermented beverages, but only in moderation, and with close friends. If it hadn’t been fermented, juices of any sort were only a drink for the juvenile, the senile and celebrations.

Or to survive, if clean water was unavailable, but plenty of fruit.

Rings of Fate S3xE4 – Horizon – Confrontations (pt.1)

image

It was a quiet day on Horizon’s command centre. Admiral Jane Mulgrew liked those days. But didn’t trust them.

On a normal day there would be something. One of the two governors being a pain in the neck, jurisdictional disputes that needed settling, Harpy ambassadors complaining about something, or informing her of something else.

Ever since Hylia had passed away, with the express wish to be cremated on Horizon, and treated like a human, as she was part of the ecosystem on board, as she had put it, there was a permanent ambassador from the Harpies.

Jane had soon seen the pro’s of that.

Now Horizon had access to Harpy transponder signals, like the human IFF signals, in order to weed out any potential patriarchist ships approaching.

There was a ship docked at what remained of beta, functioning like a sensor beacon, boosting the long range scan capabilities of Horizon.

According to the treaty she had helped draft, there was to be no exchange of technologies, especially from the Harpies to the humans, but using the Harpy ship to function as an extension to Horizon’s sensors was within the treaty regulations, and even suggested by the matriarchy.

“Ma’am?” Jane felt a glimmer of hope that the quietness would find an end as her first officer approached her. “Next week’s duty roster.” Derek Harvey handed her a tablet. Hope faded away.

“Thank you.” She sighed, looked over the tables and nodded in approval. “And the ambassador asked for a confirmation on dinner plans.” Hope found a nice little corner to hide and disappeared completely. “Tell her that I will be joining as suggested by her office.” A group of twenty five Harpies resided on the beta ring.

Part of the garden was redesigned to their needs, their offices and quarters adjacent to them. Guards of both species stood at the entrance to their section, to ensure that nothing went awry.

Including methods to ensure the absence of any cloaked suicide patriarchists.

“Hey, anybody up for a little problem solving?” Jane sat in the mess hall munching on her lunch when the chief engineer sat down at her table, ending her lnch hour of solitude. “Any time Jake.” Shoving her lunch aside Jane was glad that her hopes had found a way out of their hiding spot, in form of the chief engineer, Jake Khaku. “We soon will enter the solar system, I’ve been doing a few calculations.” He tapped his glasses, sending her some data to her glasses. “When we will start slamming those breaks, we might encounter a wobble, due to the missing mass mid ship.” The displayed ship on her glasses started to wiggle.

“Up to a critical point.” The displayed Horizon broke apart, alpha and subalpha flying on in an odd angle to the previous heading, gamma and subgamma in another.

Although her hopes for variety had fulfilled, what broke the monotony made her long for monotony again.

Staring through the virtual devastation of Horizon at Jake, Jane knew where this was headed. And she knew she would have a hard time selling the yet unproposed idea to the governors. “You said we might encounter this problem?”

“If we redistribute mass we definitely won’t.”

“I’ve been Admiral for some time now, why hasn’t anybody ever come to me, or my predecessors with this?” Jane turned the display off. Knowing Jake, Jane could imagine what the answer would be, before he even opened his mouth.

“Because it is a possibility. It might not happen at all, but I have reviewed our course, and it takes us damn close to the Jovian monstrosity we call ES-p296. The gravitational tug we can get from that might set in motion the wobble, since we’re slowing down, we’ll be in that gravitational sphere longer, and there’s the moons!” He paused, lowering his voice. “We shouldn’t risk it. Before we enter the heliosphere of the system, we should redistribute the mass.”

“You know, Jake, that’s easy in simulations, but the governors would want to roast me on an open fire and feed me to the Harpies if I suggested it!” Tucking a strain of hair behind her ear she looked to her plate, somehow she found she wasn’t hungry anymore. “You can deal with those people? These pencil pushers want to live, and they want to arrive in one piece, don’t they? If we do not redistribute, there is the chance we might not arrive. Alive, in pieces or otherwise.”

Telling him she’d need more data, especially to present the governors with some evidence, Jane got up from her seat, left.

At least it wasn’t a dull mundane day any more. The display showed again the possible outcome of the gravitational tugs from ES-p296 and its moons.

She would have Derek draft a small memo to the governors about the subject. Convincing them to either give up parts of their rings to form a new beta ring, or share jurisdiction, even if it was for just the two years they’d need to complete their journey once inside the solar system, would not be easy.

Especially if there was a chance it might not come to the catastrophe at all.

As usual the Harpy quarters were damp, and not lit as brightly as Jane was used to. Ambassador Hylia sat at the small table they set up for receiving guests. At first there had been some confusion, regarding the name of the ambassador, but apparently Hylia was a popular name, and after the humans began referring to her as “Ambassador Hylia” and called the other one “Horizon Hylia”, confusion quieted down.

“Thank you for joining me this evening.” Computerised words reached Jane’s ears. “It is my pleasue, Ambassador. To what do I owe the honor of this meeting?”

There never was just a casual dinner with ambassador Hylia, it always had a purpose. Flashing her teeth in a Harpy smile Hylia took up a piece of fish. “There is reason to assume that Horizon is in danger.” I knew there was a catch. “From what source?” If you say structural imperfections, I just have all leverage I need to get the governors to agree to redistribution of pods.

“Patriarchists.” Stopping for a moment while chewing on a piece of sushi, Jane looked the ambassador dead in the eye.

For decades there had been no mention of them. Not once had a spy or saboteur been apprehended, or detected. “Why’s that all of a sudden?” Jane finally found words again.

“They are losing everywhere else they engage us. Your ship is the only thing they know we protect, and that is vulnerable. With your permission however, we would like to bring in a warship.”

Squinting at the Harpy at the other end of the table Jane knew that one was already in range. It shadowed Horizon, somewhere barely outside sensor range. Although that is boosted by the Harpy ship docked on beta, the ship following them probably had better sensors than the small ambassadorial ship. “If I refuse that might spell disaster for my ship, let alone the diplomatic consequences in case we make it through this alive. Correct?”

Again Hylia displayed her smile. “Why would we punish you? We would protect ourselves, meaning we all would leave, but if you survive any potential encounter with the patriarchists, we wouldn’t be cross with you.”

Lie. “In any case, ambassador, your warship would be more than welcome to follow this ship around and protect us from those who wish to harm us.” She toasted the ambassador with a glass of water.

With Horizon’s Hylia, she had once discussed alcohol amongst Harpies, discovering that they liked to drink fermented beverages, but only in moderation, and with close friends. If it hadn’t been fermented, juices of any sort were only a drink for the juvenile, the senile and celebrations.

Or to survive, if clean water was unavailable, but plenty of fruit.