Posts tagged ‘sci fi’

Rings of Fate S2xE5 – Horizon – DEHumans III (pt.4)


Once back in the command centre he was informed that the DEHuman ship had powered down weapons and reassumed its previous position, ready to collect the others leaving the Horizon. “I have an estimate of the loss.” 

Raising an eyebrow as he sat down Frederick waved for Bettina to go on. “Nearly a third of our population.”

Struck by the immense number of people he would lose if he let the linkers go, Frederick took a few deep breaths. 
Who knew that in their war ridden, and slight undermanned, population there were so many linkers? Was it that the maximum number of permitted children per couple had been raised to four? Or did the people need the escape mechanism? 
“Guess we won’t need the implants for a long time then.” He grumbled, opening a channel to the beta ring’s speaker and public broadcast system. “This is Admiral Doherty speaking, to all non linked individuals in the beta ring. I strongly suggest for you to leave, as the separation process will commence shortly.” 

Before he could give the command an alarm began beeping. 

“Bufferzone is disengaging!” Lieutenant Fohler couldn’t help but feel utterly helpless, she found herself locked out of every control that the beta ring had to offer. 

“Can’t halt it, they locked us out.” 

Resigned Frederick leaned in his chair. “Figures.” He grumbled. Behind him the doors opened, Jane entered, intercom had been disrupted, so she came on foot from the infirmary. “Sir, I bring you the grim news of Admiral Grienberg’s death. Apparently the shock dart had caused a heart attack, from which he didn’t recover, after a second heart attack some ten minutes ago he died.” 

“We’re loosing too many good people today.” He nodded, “take that station there.” He pointed Jane to Joleen’s former post. 

“Buffer pods are orbiting as planned. It seems the linkers at least will leave us with that much.” 

“Not funny.” Jane commented, immediately she put her hand over her mouth. Bettina was a superior officer after all. “I agree.” The Admiral grumbled. He has gone to another station, was observing the situation as well. 

One by one the landing crafts disengaged from beta, floated over to the Ark1, where they stacked up on the other parts already lifted from Explorer. 

“They’re taking more than allotted.” Jane had familiarised herself with the planned evacuation while she had stayed at Solomon’s side, of course only after the former Admiral had given her the access codes to the secret files. 

“Can we stop it? No, so we have to watch and see what they leave us with.” Still grumbling Frederick wanted to shoot the Ark1 out of the sky.

But he had nothing in his arsenal that would do the job. 

“Where are you from Mulgrew?” Almost sounding disinterested the three watched the same data on the main viewscreen. A lieutenant commander entered the room, and took post at the security console. “Beta, sir. Born and raised. That’s my neighbourhood floating off.”

“There will not be much of a beta ring left after today, Private.” Lieutenant Commander O’toole too turned his gaze at the main screen. “All sections are secure Sir, except, that of course.” He nodded to the ships leaving the beta ring. “Emitters are in place, once they leave and are out of range, activation will commence.” 

“Good work O’toole. Stand ready.” 

The last ships disengaged, leaving only the central garden and the first two decks outwards. Preprogrammed the buffer ships docked again. 

Far from where the new surface of the beta ring was. “I hate these creeps.” 

“Me too sir, me too.” Jane concurred with O’toole’s words, as did Fohler. 
A few minutes passed after the docking of the bufferpods and the last ships on the Ark1 had finished. O’toole had his finger poised over the button to activate the emitters. 

It was a field that would probably kill every linker hidden amongst their midst. Only their prisoner and the harpies were shielded from the emitters. 

“Sir! Look!” Fohler pointed at the screen, some of the ships that had docked with the Ark1 began to break apart, but in a strange, orderly fashion. “They’re breaking it apart.” Assuming to mold the components and alloys into new equipment Frederick watched in awe how fast and efficient the linkers were.
“No sir, they already broke it down. That which we see here is behaving weirdly.” Jane enhanced the image. “Nanotechnology?” 

“Yes, for now it is a mass of tiny robots, behaving like a controlled liquid. Once the desired form is reached, the machines bond together on a molecular level in the new configuration.” Looking at her with disbelief in his eyes, Frederick had to acknowledge the genius in both her, and the plan of the linkers. 

“What will they produce? Doctor Mulgrew, I presume?” He put the emphasis on the title. “Master of Nanotechnology, sir. Hard to say, looks like a massive ring,” the moment she had said it both she and the Admiral knew that they had just increased their power capabilities. 

“Antimatter!” They yelled simultaneously. As if they had given the other ship a que, it vanished in a bright flash. 
It took a second or two, before the alarms went off again. Not the antimatter alarms, but proximity alerts. “It’s the harpys again, we would’ve seen them sooner with the whiskers intact.” Fohler reported her sensor readings. 

“Great. The vultures come.” Frederick shook his head.

“Weapons cold, they’re hailing on the frequencies provided by Admiral Grienberg.” Fohler seemed more than relieved about these circumstances. “Accept their call.” 
After formal introductions were over Frederick begged the Harpy commander to send the program to inhibit the link, not only to the Horizon, but the Destiny. He had to force himself to give up their position in space, and admit their existence to the Harpy in the first place. In the long run he figured the linkers posed the greater threat.

There was no reply from the Harpy ship for agonising moments. 

“We agree to give you the information you seek, as the threat from the conjoined minds outweigh the difference between our species.” The computerised voice, he was all too familiar with from Hylia, gave the reply from the Harpy commander. 

Thanking her with quite a lot of relief showing in his voice, Frederick turned to Jane, his joy was dampened by the fact that he didn’t find Joleen there.

“New Whiskers are ready, sir. We can launch them right away.” Jane tried not to feel offended by the sudden diminish in the Admirals joyful expression. 

“When the Harpy left.” He nodded, forcing himself to smile harder, attempting to mask his true feelings.

“I doubt that they’ll reach Destiny in time.” As the transmission from the Harpyies was received Fohler couldn’t help but muse about the situation.

“I believe that there is hope. The Harpies have more experience in that mode of transportation, plus, the superior engines, and thus can outrun the linkers.” O’toole replied. Before the Admiral could say a word of his own, the Harpy ship sent a final message that they’d attempt to reach Destiny in time, before they too vanished.

“Alright, we’ll know soon enough. O’toole, activate the emitters. Mulgrew, launch the Whiskers. It’s time to end today’s shift. It has been a long day.” 

Rings of Fate S2xE5 – Horizon – DEHumans III (pt.3)


After he had left the others Solomon had wandered around the ship aimlessly, found himself in a cab going to subalpha. The zero G bit was his favorite. 

For a few brief moments he didn’t feel the chronic pain in his joints. When I die, I hope it is in zero G. No worries here. Closer to the universe that gave birth to me. A faint smile was still on his lips as he entered Hylias quarters. 

Gérard had left, his shift had ended, some other man sat there monitoring her condition, he saluted as he saw the former Admiral, but soon continued to work in silence. 

“Johannes is dead, we just had his memorial service.” There was no apparent reaction from Hylia. “One day, you have to tell me what you do with your dead.” Not speaking another word Solomon stayed in front of the glass wall, he wept in silence, undisturbed by partying friends of Johannes, or the technician.

“We incinerate them. Mourn them. Mammal or not, we are more alike than some would like.” 
It was a painstakingly effort to hold the conversation with Hylia, but it was worth it. She had recorded the message he intended to send to the harpys. Even if the Admiral was against using the program he hoped to procure from them, it was good to have it, in case they ever needed it. 

Hylia also provided him with information on how best to contact them, concerning frequency and modulation. 

Slowly he walked through the hallways, weary that at any time he could be ambushed by one of the linkers. Surely not all had gathered in beta, paranoid that Gérard’s replacement might be one of them, he took detours and stayed away from others. If it couldn’t be avoided to be in close proximity of other people, he tried to have a multitude of others around him. 

There were four people in the corridor outside the tube. 

He felt safer, but still haunted by his paranoid fear that one or all of them might be linked. 

The two deck ride to the command centre should be short, there he was sure to find Frederick, or in his den, only a one minute walk from the command centre. 

With one ear he listened to their chattering, about some mundane stuff they were interested in. An infirmary based TV show from Destiny if he wasn’t mistaken. 

“You can’t take us down.” One of the four, a young woman, turned around to him once thendoors shut. He, as well as the three others were surprised. 

A moment later he felt a sharp stinging pain in his abdomen. His muscles twitched, the world grew dark, as he also felt an indistinguishable pain in his chest. 
Quickly private Thompson got disarmed, she grew unresponsive the same moment the former Admiral hit the deck.

“Alter heading: infirmary!” Private Jane Mulgrew barked at the computer. “Get her to a cell!” The two men holding Thompson saluted. 

“Medical emergency,” Jane had meanwhile raised the infirmary on her glasses. “have medics at the tube access!” 

A shaky hand rose from Solomon, he grabbed her by the shoulder. “Bring, my tablet, to the Admiral!” His voice was more a whisper than a tone, once the doors opened medics streamed in an heaved the former Admiral on a stretcher, hurried off with him. Her two fellow colleagues left, heading to the brig a few corridors down, leaving Jane clutching the tablet. 

“Command centre.” She ordered the cab. Doors closed, during the ride she began drafting her report on the incident on her glasses, typing with eye movement and blinks. 

All the while clutching the tablet with her hands. 
“They have powered up weapons.” Were the first words Jane head as she entered the command centre. “Brace for fire.” 

“We’re not the target!” In horror Jane saw the ship move off, heading towards the Harpy vessel, on the way there the DEHumans eliminated the whiskers. “Harpys left.” A flash lit up the screen, the hHarpy vessel had abandoned them.

For now at least.

“What do you want?” Harshly emphasising the “you” Frederick turned around with his seat. “Admiral Grienberg got shot by a linker, Private Thompson, he tasked me to deliver this to you, before medics took him to the infirmary.” Keeping her disciplined demeanour and posture Jane handed the tablet over. 

Equally shocked by the news and curious what his predecessor had him delivered Frederick took the tablet. “Have the technician currently in Hylias quarters arrested if I don’t deliver this personally.” Solomon’s voice came from the tablet. By his tone and the background noise it was easy to deduct he rcorded that message in a narrow hallway. 

With a nod to his chief of security Frederick confirmed the order of the old Admiral. 

In silence he read through the transcript of the conversation with Hylia including the details of the Harpy communication frequency. 

“Helm! As soon as you so much as catch a glimpse of the Harpies, contact them on this frequency.” With a few simple commands he sent the information to the console of the navigation officer, currently also doubling as communication officer. 

After reading through the rest of the transcript he turned back to Jane. “Private?”

“Mulgrew, sir.”

“Right, excellent work. Now return to the infirmary and keep me apprised of Admiral Grienberg’s condition. You’ll also double as his security guard.” 

Jane saluted, containing her surprise until she was out of the door again. Displaying an excited smile she hurried off.
“Looks like they’re chasing after the Harpies.” Bettina Fohler on the navigation post observed the Ark1 disappearing. 

“They’ll be back. I suspect they’re lacking the power to mount a full scale chase.” Frederick seldom voiced his fears, even though the linkers had the capacity to destroy the Harpy vessel, he feared that they lacked the engine power or scientific advancement necessary to chase them through space. 

“Registering them, they entered range of our sensors again, moving towards us.” Here we go. Pinching the base of his nose Frederick sat up straight. 

“They’re demanding the release of the linkers aboard Horizon. Now.” Dismissing the urgent call Frederick left the room, in the adjacent room, formerly the bunk room for command centre staff, he went to a chair in which Joleen was sitting. 

Strapped in.

“Are you still in there Joleen?” Empty eyes stared back at him. With a grim expression he reached into his pocket. “Your friends are currently out of range, for a few moments at least.” He activated the cellphone like device he had fixed by an engineering junior. 

Disturbed, almost angry Joleen snapped back to reality. 

“Do you want to join them?” Knowing that he probably had only moments before the device was fried again, he didn’t waste any time on pleasantries. “Oh, sir, you have no idea. All my life I felt out of place, out of touch with the rest of humanity.” She sat up a bit more comfortably, as much as the straps allowed her to.

“In the link, I was one with all. No longer was I the freak, the misfit, the highly intelligent but socially awkward one. I am one of many. So yes, I want to. I belong there.” Almost on que the device in his hand got hot and he dropped it. 

“So be it then.” He stood up straight. “I am keeping Private Thompson, she has committed a crime and must be punished accordingly to our laws. The rest of you can leave.” Two guards in the room with them stepped to his side as he waved them over. 

They helped Joleen to her feet, once she was unstrapped. 

Rings of Fate S2xE5 – Horizon – DEHumans III (pt.2)


Eyes squinted into small slits, the jaw clenched close. 

Her entire body tensed up. 

Almost unrecognisable to Solomon. He found Hylia sitting in her quarters. “It costs her a lot of effort to keep her implant offline.” Gérard Maiziere monitored the frequency of the implant, he sat next to the glass wall behind which Hylia sat. 

Hylia had been drifting in and out of responsive phases, during which she had told Gérard of similar events in Harpy history. Keeping his attention on the instruments Gérard handed the former Admiral a tablet, with the words that he needed it back. 

Sitting down as well Solomon began reading the transcript. 
A few months after large scale deployment of the implants began in ancient Harpy society, a fraction of the population linked together, just like the DEHumans. 

Unlike their human counterparts the ancient Harpy linkers succeed in actively forcing the link upon others. Soon the entire colony of the linkers was conjoined, and they started genetic diversity breeding. 

Solomon had read the recent reports from Explorer that were still on file, the crew of the Orion had just done the same with at least two members of the Explorer away team. 

The rest of the Harpy society looked at this development with unease. Fearing forced assimilation they attacked the linked colony with little success. Until they brought in weaponry to destabilise a large number of asteroids in the solar system. Too many for the colony to handle. Once the defences were down, and the offences largely destoryed the colony was bombarded from space.

To be sure, the entire system was declared uninhabitable, and off limits. Solar powered turrets were left in orbit around the planet, shooting everything that came from it or approached it from space.

“Interesting. There were no attempts of any kind to ever recreate such a collective?” 

“There were, but in our colonies and ships we have routines active to disrupt such linking.” Hylia spoke with a pronounced growl in her voice, the computerised voice did not carry it over, but it was audible through the wall. 

A glimmer of hope rose in Solomon, but he had to ponder on it for a while. If the Harpies shadowing them had such a virtual defense against the linkers, it was a question of getting it from them, and a second one to get it into the DEHuman network. But, was it the right thing to do? 

Doubting that it would be correct to enforce his view on the linkers, born into it or freely chosen to participate alike, Solomon shrugged his thoughts away.

First he had to attend something he had dreaded for the past two days.

Johannes’ memorial. 

Having known him since childhood, and having had a friendship for all of that time, his death had hit him hard. Working, despite his retirement, kept him afloat mentally, emotionally.  

Attending his memorial gave no relieving distraction, he would be forced into his pain, his memories, his loss. 

“I hate this.” He repeatedly mumbled on his way to the alpha ring. 
Clad in black, Sharon met him there. At first the rules of the closed ecosystem seemed weird, but Solomon had gotten used to them. There were no graveyards, or space burials. The nutrients in a human body were valuable to the plant life, and in turn for the following generations. 

“We have gathered here to remember Johannes Falkner. Doctor, husband, father and a close friend of mine.” Solomon had the doubtful honor to lead the ceremony. I hate this even more than just attending. “He will always be in our hearts, in our memory and for those of us that do it, in our prayers.” He looked at the crowd, there was Oleksandra, Johannes’ wife, Karl, his son. Of course Sharon and Solomon’s own children. Solomon jr. and Sara. The latter with her fiancé, and the baby the two had half a year ago. 

Colleagues and friends. It saddened him that Hylia couldn’t attend. Had she not gotten under the influence of the DEHuman link, it would’ve been possible to get her to the ceremony. 

“I once heard an ancient proverb. Sadly I forgot where it originated: Some things live only as long as the last person who remembers it. If that is the case, Johannes hasn’t died. His son will remember. His wife will remember. I shall remember! My children had always liked Uncle Joe, so they will remember. It is my firm hope that he will be a true immortal, never forgotten, meaning never dead. His body has passed on, but he will be always among us.” 

After he had spoken, Karl had his turn, Oleksandra couldn’t bring herself to it. She was too grief striken. 

Once the body of his old friend had been carried off inton the interior of the morgue Solomon stayed in his seat. 

“Distract me.” Oleksandra sat down next to him. Both their sons had led the guests off, including Solomon’s wife. “We face a secession on beta by the linkers. How’s that for a distraction?” 

Answering with a weak and faint smile, Oleksandra stared at the wall behind which her husband’s remains were treated to become fertile soil one day. “I could use his advice on this. He had an understanding of different cultures and cultural ramifications, that I lack. Look how well he got in touch with Hylia.” Solomon couldn’t help but start tearing up again. “And I could just use his company. Our jokes, jests, and old stories. New stupid stories to be added to the anthology of our friendship.” 

“I miss him too already.” Surprisingly stout Oleksandra shook her head. “I guess, I knew it was coming when he had slipped into that comatose state then. It prepared me, more than it prepared you.” Sighing she got up, patting Solomon on the shoulder. “Come on sir, let’s celebrate.” 

Celebrate! With a swift motion he wiped his tears away. Why is death celebrated? After someone died there was a sad memorial, and then the reltives and friends gathered for a feast and a party. Solomon didn’t feel like celebrating. 

Never the less, he visited the party, stayed for about an hour, mingled with the other guests. 

Rings of Fate S2xE5 – Horizon – DEHumans III (pt.1)


“Open the frequency.” Admiral Frederick Doherty ordered to his baffled first officer Joleen Jenkins. Next to her was the frail small frame of the elderly Harpy Hylia. 

“They are communicating to my implant.” She mumbled, Hylia too was mesmerised. 

“We are the Digitally Enhanced Humanity. We request you let our brothers and sisters travel peacefully to our ship, as you have seen how we dispatch of those who oppose us.” Her voice was monotonous, but yet filled with the emotions of many people. 

“The woman you are communicating through, is not one of your kind. She was implanted Indirectly by the Harpies!” Frederick jumped from his seat, a little easier than he anticipated, he paid no attention to that in his rage. “The only people on board this ship who carry an enhancement have been implanted by the Harpies! So do not feed me your nonsense!” 

“Fred.” Solomon got up, also easier than thought, he noticed and paused for a moment. There was an awful similarity to the situation. 

A quick glance at Joleen’s console relieved his worries. The shockwave momentarily slowed the roation speed of the ring, he wasn’t going to have to float away from the command centre. 


Still weirded out Solomon had to concentrate to continue the conversation. “They know better than we. I always suspected that we didn’t catch them all back then, there surely are some aboard who still bear the implant. Just now they fried all that dampens or suppresses their frequency.” He pointed at the smoking cellphone object at Joleen’s feet. 

Begrudgingly Frederick agreed with Solomon’s assessment of the situation. “We will not hinder them from leaving, but tell me, where will you go with them?” 

“Our evolutionary paths diverge here Admiral, humanity and DEhumanity will walk separate paths from here on out. Where our kind goes is none of your concern.” 

Anger and rage showed clearly on Frederick’s face, he was infuriated by the choice of words by the other side. A calming old hand laid on his shoulder. 

“The people you are about to take with you, they are our friends, as close as family in many cases. You know the feeling of loss as well as any human. We kindky ask you to tell us where you are going.” 

An empty expression stared back at Solomon. Twitching her facial muscles Joleen showed a hint of compassion. “Bernards star, SF-p15.” 

Thanking her Solomon bowed slightly. Having learned when to accept defeat, Solomon nodded to Frederick. “Let them go.” 

“How? The outter most rim of every ring is a vital buffer against Harpy attacks.” 

An amused smile appeared on Joleen’s kips. “We can dock with you.”

Alarmed both of the Admirals turned to her. “An umbilicus, not more.” Suddenly frowning Joleen stepped towards the Admiral in charge. “What’s the matter? Don’t you trust us?”

“No, we don’t.” Solomon pushed his younger successor to the side. “If you don’t like the umbilicus, we can figure out something else.”
“Sit rep!” Feeling as if he was still in charge Solomon entered the meeting room. Two of the governors were present, the third had gathered with other DEHumans in the beta ring. “Governor Thomas Dyson has defected.” Freya Lånden, Governor of the alpha ring grumbled. “He hasn’t defected per se, he didn’t switch loyalties because of a liking of his, he is one of them! Always has been.” Wanda James, gamma ring’s Governor replied in a calm, but somewhat resigned tone. 

Frederick Doherty pressed a button on his tablet, bringing up a detailed list of people transferring from and to beta ring. 

“People leaving beta reported that they are overrun by the linkers, they leave because they feel insecure. Those who flock there are most certainly linkers. And journalists.” In a small inset frame video footage played from beta. 

Worried Solomon squinted his eyes. 

Only minutes ago Frederick had asked him why he was there. After Johannes’ had died Solomon felt the urge to work, not to sit around and contemplate his dear friends death.

Understanding the situation, the current Admiral had invited the way more experienced Admiral to join the action on this one. 

“They are trying to secede.” 

Shocked Frederick jumped from his seat. “What?”

Thoughtful Solomon paced around the table. “Two years before my retirement beta ring had tried to secede. They blocked all traffic going through beta, and had planned to break away, waiting for Destiny to come and pick them up.” With a moaning sigh he sat down. “In light of the current development, perhaps they had been lead by a member of the DEHumans back then as well.” 

Shrugging his shoulders he turned around to face the other members of the meeting. Another image flashed up, it was the Harpy ship. They kept their distance, but followed the Horizon like a foreshadow of ill omen. “As soon as the Ark1 leaves, they surely will come and take us head on.” 

“Unlikely.” Tired, somewhat exhausted, and weighed down by his personal grief, Solomon leaned back in his chair. “They had fourty years and more to come and wipe us from space. Yet they chose to monitor us and always send in a small fighter or two to keep us busy. I don’t understand it, but I doubt that they choose now to destroy us.” 

Agreeing nods came from the Governors, Frederick was alone in his worries. 

“What boggles my mind more is, how are the linkers powering their ship? We can’t read through their shielding. Ideas?” 

A round of silence followed Solomon’s words. No one wanted to say the most obvious probability. 


Shrugging Solomon looked to Frederick with a gaze prompting him to speak.

“The real question is, how do we get the linkers off the ship over to the others? Our estimation is, that they’re running out of room, they’ll demand parts from Horizon, if we’re unwilling, they have the power to take what they want. Suggestions?”

Attentively Solomon studied the faces of the Governors. 

They were clueless, frightened and worn out. A mixture of feelings he felt way too familiar with.  

Letting out a tired sigh he turned to the screen. “Disengage the buffer pods, let a series of the landing crafts go, reengage the buffer pods.” 

As he returned his attention to the others he found astonished faces looking at him. Was there a hint of shock in their eyes? Already he knew what they were going to say. Not to take any of the living space away from their rings, where to put the now homeless refugees and so on. 

It was all written out on their faces. 

In all his years as Admiral he had learned to read the faces of the Governors well. Even though they changed, some things always stayed the same. “In absence of the beta ring government, and the obvious intent of their current ruling body, I vote for this plan to be conducted from beta ring.” Freya raised her hand, followed by Wanda. Frederick and Solomon exchanged a knowing glance then agreed. 

The umbilicus was a notion soon dismissed as impossible. Material for it was in abundance, but with all the fragments from the destroyed Harpy vessel it would’ve ripped, or gotten otherwise damaged beyond practicality. Having the DEHuman ship dock with the Horizon was out of the question. Too great was the risk of being hacked by them. With wireless data communication to external sources blocked, both Admirals felt relatively safe.

Rings of Fate S2xE4 – Horizon – Confrontations (pt.5)

​”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.

Rings of Fate S2xE4 – Horizon – Confrontations (pt.4)

​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. 

Rings of Fate S2xE4 – Horizon – Confrontations (pt.3)

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.”