Posts tagged ‘sci fi’

Rings of Fate S2xE8 – Destiny – Life (pt.1)

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​Well lit hallways, lined with plants on the sides, lay in a dormant state of early morning anticipation. Soon people would walk through them. Chat, both with their devices and in person, jest, laugh. 

Hurry through them with important news on their minds. 

Like Phineas Branston was, news he thought he’d get from the command centre, but obviously the communication officer just routed information along, without reading much into it. 

Phineas scrambled around a corner, hurried onward to the tube access. Already in sight, he ordered a cab to the port. That was usually frowned upon, as one should use the access terminal next to the entrance to call for one. 

But he didn’t have the patience to wait.

Too much was at stake. 
“Morning!” He was greeted as he entered the meeting room. “Why did you call this meeting?” Clarissa Neubacher continued with a yawn. 

“Because of this.” He pointed at the big screen in the room, after throwing a “Good Morning” to Clarissa and the others. 

On the screen a planet appeared. On the side of the planet that was faced towards the camera that took the still image, was a continental mass spanning from one ice covered pole across the equator, ending in the south sea, and a smaller continental mass sitting on the equator. The rest was blue sea. 

Patches of clouds covered parts of the planet, but it seemed to be a beautiful day on most of the shown side. 

“I have gone over data sent from Explorer, and I proudly present to you, RV-p296!” 
Anticipation in the room was almost tangible, Admiral Mirella Jagodic sat, waiting, at the head of the elongated table. The governors of the rings were present, seated to one side of the table, most of the other side was taken up by various scientists. Biologists, Geologists, Astrophysicists, Physicists, what not.

Phineas Branston, head of Destiny’s planetary development department sat on the other end of the table. 

Normally he and the Admiral crossed paths only once a year, for the annual presentation of the proposed Destiny-colony once the ship reaches RV-p296. “I thank you all for coming!” The man with the curly blond, although receding, hair rose up. “A data package from Explorer revealed the first images of our future home planet.” He stated outright the reason why they all had been summoned. On the displays built into the table the images taken by the advance probes appeared. The north-equatorial continent, the separate equatorial continent, and two landmasses that are seprated by a narrow sea strait around the equator. Then there was a huge sea, only small islands were in it, over a presumed volcanic hotspot.

“It is beautiful.” Mirella smiled benignly, but she still didn’t fully understand why the meeting had been called. 

“After the probe took these images, the onboard AI dislogded the ground surveyors. A group of drones designed to scout the planet and map out for potential sites so we could establish colonies right away when we arrive.” Phineas opened a schematic detailing the ground surveyors.

“There had been a lengthy discourse on Explorer already before the data was sent, Horizon forwarded it right away, but the discourse is still in progress there.” He opened up the image of the two continents that were separated only by a sea narrow. It was a series of still images. Four dots against the image of the planet indicated the descending surveyors. “The probe continued orbital survey as the drones landed. One was destroyed upon landing, due to faulty equipment. A replacement was dispatched.” He explained another dot in the following image. 

After that he followed up with a zoomed in image taken from the landing site of on of the probes directed at the continents with the narrow. After a while he stopped. 

A small red circle appeared. “This is the landing site of the eagle ground surveyor, Hawk landed on the southern continent. Another circle appeared around something in the thick green of forests that seemed to spread over much of the continent. 

“This, is the cause for this meeting.” 

Puzzled the others stared at the screens before them. Only Gale Whittaker, a geologist,  raised her eyebrows and let out a whistle.

“It isn’t a natural formation. Is there a better image?” A sly smile appeared on Phineas’ lips. “The AI was as curious as we are, and therefore, yes there are better images.” A series of pictures opened up. 

“What is it we are seeing?” Mirella asked what was on the minds of the others as well. “Stone structures.” Replied Gale. “A town? Temples? Your guess is as good as mine. But that is not all.” Phineas wiped his hand over the screen, bringing up more footage. A small line of text in the upper right corner revealed it was footage recorded by the eagle drone.
After the landing, it established a connection with the orbiter, a clear line of sight was confirmed with a laser beam. 

Following the connection establishing, the drone underwent a series of self tests, which took up an hour. After that time the Eagle began a preliminary examination of its surroundings, accompanied by a few snap shots. There were green leaves of plants around, not surprising as RV-p296 was earth like, orbiting around a G-type star like earth’s sun. 

The eagle’s commands were simple in the first stage. Scout the land, map out dangers, landmarks, rivers, and coastlines. Only later once a preliminary scouting had been done, would phase two commence. Biological cataloguing. 

Quickly the balloon of the Eagle filled with gas. For now, bottled gas sent along with the drone, soon it would produce its own. It hovered in the air, adjusted the electric fans used to steer and for motion.

Something moved in a shrubbery like growth near the drone, immediately the primitive AI scanned the place. A small animal crept out from underneath the branches, and looked quite curious at the unusual sight, assessing whether it posed a threat and should be feld from, or not. 

Eagle took higher, and steered clear of the tree like plants. Soon after leaving its landing site the orbiter redirected Eagle to investigate the unusual structure. 

If it truly was artificial that meant that the continent was inhabited, possibly not suitable for colonisation. 

An hour of flight had passed, from a distance Eagle noted a volcanic mountain, reported the position to the orbiter, when Eagle’s sensors picked up a column of smoke. 

Slowly Eagle approached the site, way above the trees. 

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Rings of Fate S2xE8 – Destiny – Life (pt.1)

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​Well lit hallways, lined with plants on the sides, lay in a dormant state of early morning anticipation. Soon people would walk through them. Chat, both with their devices and in person, jest, laugh. 

Hurry through them with important news on their minds. 

Like Phineas Branston was, news he thought he’d get from the command centre, but obviously the communication officer just routed information along, without reading much into it. 

Phineas scrambled around a corner, hurried onward to the tube access. Already in sight, he ordered a cab to the port. That was usually frowned upon, as one should use the access terminal next to the entrance to call for one. 

But he didn’t have the patience to wait.

Too much was at stake. 
“Morning!” He was greeted as he entered the meeting room. “Why did you call this meeting?” Clarissa Neubacher continued with a yawn. 

“Because of this.” He pointed at the big screen in the room, after throwing a “Good Morning” to Clarissa and the others. 

On the screen a planet appeared. On the side of the planet that was faced towards the camera that took the still image, was a continental mass spanning from one ice covered pole across the equator, ending in the south sea, and a smaller continental mass sitting on the equator. The rest was blue sea. 

Patches of clouds covered parts of the planet, but it seemed to be a beautiful day on most of the shown side. 

“I have gone over data sent from Explorer, and I proudly present to you, RV-p296!” 
Anticipation in the room was almost tangible, Admiral Mirella Jagodic sat, waiting, at the head of the elongated table. The governors of the rings were present, seated to one side of the table, most of the other side was taken up by various scientists. Biologists, Geologists, Astrophysicists, Physicists, what not.

Phineas Branston, head of Destiny’s planetary development department sat on the other end of the table. 

Normally he and the Admiral crossed paths only once a year, for the annual presentation of the proposed Destiny-colony once the ship reaches RV-p296. “I thank you all for coming!” The man with the curly blond, although receding, hair rose up. “A data package from Explorer revealed the first images of our future home planet.” He stated outright the reason why they all had been summoned. On the displays built into the table the images taken by the advance probes appeared. The north-equatorial continent, the separate equatorial continent, and two landmasses that are seprated by a narrow sea strait around the equator. Then there was a huge sea, only small islands were in it, over a presumed volcanic hotspot.

“It is beautiful.” Mirella smiled benignly, but she still didn’t fully understand why the meeting had been called. 

“After the probe took these images, the onboard AI dislogded the ground surveyors. A group of drones designed to scout the planet and map out for potential sites so we could establish colonies right away when we arrive.” Phineas opened a schematic detailing the ground surveyors.

“There had been a lengthy discourse on Explorer already before the data was sent, Horizon forwarded it right away, but the discourse is still in progress there.” He opened up the image of the two continents that were separated only by a sea narrow. It was a series of still images. Four dots against the image of the planet indicated the descending surveyors. “The probe continued orbital survey as the drones landed. One was destroyed upon landing, due to faulty equipment. A replacement was dispatched.” He explained another dot in the following image. 

After that he followed up with a zoomed in image taken from the landing site of on of the probes directed at the continents with the narrow. After a while he stopped. 

A small red circle appeared. “This is the landing site of the eagle ground surveyor, Hawk landed on the southern continent. Another circle appeared around something in the thick green of forests that seemed to spread over much of the continent. 

“This, is the cause for this meeting.” 

Puzzled the others stared at the screens before them. Only Gale Whittaker, a geologist,  raised her eyebrows and let out a whistle.

“It isn’t a natural formation. Is there a better image?” A sly smile appeared on Phineas’ lips. “The AI was as curious as we are, and therefore, yes there are better images.” A series of pictures opened up. 

“What is it we are seeing?” Mirella asked what was on the minds of the others as well. “Stone structures.” Replied Gale. “A town? Temples? Your guess is as good as mine. But that is not all.” Phineas wiped his hand over the screen, bringing up more footage. A small line of text in the upper right corner revealed it was footage recorded by the eagle drone.
After the landing, it established a connection with the orbiter, a clear line of sight was confirmed with a laser beam. 

Following the connection establishing, the drone underwent a series of self tests, which took up an hour. After that time the Eagle began a preliminary examination of its surroundings, accompanied by a few snap shots. There were green leaves of plants around, not surprising as RV-p296 was earth like, orbiting around a G-type star like earth’s sun. 

The eagle’s commands were simple in the first stage. Scout the land, map out dangers, landmarks, rivers, and coastlines. Only later once a preliminary scouting had been done, would phase two commence. Biological cataloguing. 

Quickly the balloon of the Eagle filled with gas. For now, bottled gas sent along with the drone, soon it would produce its own. It hovered in the air, adjusted the electric fans used to steer and for motion.

Something moved in a shrubbery like growth near the drone, immediately the primitive AI scanned the place. A small animal crept out from underneath the branches, and looked quite curious at the unusual sight, assessing whether it posed a threat and should be feld from, or not. 

Eagle took higher, and steered clear of the tree like plants. Soon after leaving its landing site the orbiter redirected Eagle to investigate the unusual structure. 

If it truly was artificial that meant that the continent was inhabited, possibly not suitable for colonisation. 

An hour of flight had passed, from a distance Eagle noted a volcanic mountain, reported the position to the orbiter, when Eagle’s sensors picked up a column of smoke. 

Slowly Eagle approached the site, way above the trees. 

Rings of Fate S2xE8 – Destiny – DEHuman IV (pt.4)

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​Left with no alternative other than wait, the Admiral sat in the mess hall. Air condition, water refinement and food dispensers worked fine, despite the lock out. It definitely showed that the Linkers had no desire to kill the non linkers. 

Disinterested she chewed on her lunch, but rather would’ve had her ship back under control. “Admiral?” An ensign from the engine room stood in the door, hurried to her as she looked up. “The download stopped!” He spoke under his breath, prompting her to jump from her seat and hurry off. 

“They’re jamming analogue frequencies, I’m getting only static now.” Justine informed her as soon as she entered the room. “How much did we get?” 

“Ninety five.” Was the short answer. Devastated, so close to reaching her goal she turned to Schultz who still worked on the device. “I’ve got someone working on the code.” He sensed her gaze in his back. “In the meantime,” he closed the lid on a box, after tucking some wiring inside it, “I got you this.” 

Proudly he wheeled the tiny table over to Mirella, on it the node. “I outfitted it with a strong battery, but it’ll still run out pretty fast, keep it close to the induction chargers.” He referred to the many places aboard the ship where wireless charging of handheld devices was possible. Tablets, glasses and other devices, such as the node.

“How were you able to build this thing without taking the other device apart?” Justine asked, what Mirella hadn’t questioned. 

“Blueprints. They were in the same space as the other device.” Again he tipped at his glasses. “I presume you want more of these, so if you’ll excuse me.” He shuffled off to gather parts. With an inquisitive expression Justine stepped closer.

“It’s time to bring the lockout to the linkers.” Mirella’s voice had a dark tone to it.
Galeson stood in his spot, unmoving, eyes closed. 

Just as the others around him. None of them paid any attention to the Admiral entering once again. 

“Will you return control over my ship?” Mirella stared at the man with a sinister glare. “We will, once we have been cleared a path to the beta ring. That portion of your vessel will be our departure point.” 

“I’m guessing you want to take some of our crafts and pods with you?” She replied, with quite some irritation at the fact that all of the detained people spoke as one voice. 

“We need room to grow.” Squniting her eyes at the man whom she had selected as the face of the linkers for herself, Mirella was grinding her teeth. “I won’t allow that. I can’t in fact, allow that. And I will fight you.”

“Admiral,” Galeson opened his eyes, speaking soothingly and without the others as support. “you can’t truly think that you can win. We have destroyed a Harpy vessel with a few blows. We are taking what we need to fulfil our goals, without destroying you. But if we must, we will.”

Mirella stepped closer to the bars. “Would your friends attack us if we were to lock you out of the link?” Did he flinch? Mirella wasn’t sure. 

“We are linked, and the device in your engine room can’t harm us here.” 

Raising her eyebrows Mirella turned to Justine, gave her distinct nod, after which she flicked a switch on the outside of the box that Schultz had made. 

Immediately the detainees opened their eyes, yelling in protest, screaming in fear, and giving the assembled security detail angry looks. 

“This decice can also bring harm to your kind, as far as I recall. Shall I dial up the intensity of the jamming signal?” 

Galeson’s eyes narrowed to mere slits. “Please don’t. We are not human anymore. We are a new species, DEHuman. Aren’t you obliged to savour any new lifeform you encounter by the rules and regulations of the fleet?” 

“Not if that new lifeform threatens my ship!” Calming herself with a few deep breaths Mirella stepped back a pace. The noise around her quited down. 

“Your friends out there won’t destroy us, with you on board, after all, now you’re not linked any longer. Return me my ship, and I’ll let you go, without compromising my ship however.”

Andrew stared at her angrily, desperate to return to the linked consciousness of many. “What guarantee do we have that you won’t sabotage our exodus?” 

“My rules and regulations. If you hand me back control over my ship, and won’t take any parts of it with you, I will let you depart.” Striding to the device Mirella sighed. “Consider it, in your entirety.” Flicking it off she left the cells, bound for engineering. 
As she had expected, there was no progress worth mentioning with the Harpy program. Suddenly there was an alarm sound howling through the rooms and hallways, just once, immediately followed by all screens that had been locked out, flickering and coming back to life. Justine called her. “We have intercom, and full computer access, however, communication with the outside of the ship is still locked.”

Feeling that her plan had succeed Mirella had the sensation of triumph, at least for a moment. There still was something feeling odd.

And it wasn’t the cut off communication. 

It was too easy.
The still disconnected engineering computers would remain that way, to avoid any hidden programs from seeping in and taking the entire ship. 

Other limitations popped up. Although intercom was back, it allowed for audio only, not the suppression signal, beta ring was inaccessible and the sensors had been disabled. The DEHumans probably figured that the crew from Kismet could’ve found a way to send the Harpy program to Destiny via their external sensors. 

Mirella sat in a darkened room near the engineering section, trying to find some rest. 

It had been seventeen hours since the Harpies showed up, alarms blared and woke her, drew her to the command centre. And before that, two, maybe three hours of sleep. 

Exhaustion pulled on her limbs, her legs felt heavy, and almost hurt. 

But her mind was too busy to allow for her to sleep. Stil desperate for rest she reclined on the bunk bed.

It had been too easy, but if the linkers tried to leave with beta rings landing gear, there was not much she could do. At the moment she couldn’t shoot them down, as weaponsystems were tied in with the external sensors, and locked too.

There had been discussions to form small fighters and train pilots, but seeing that the Harpies never attacked Destiny, the governors always vetoed. 

Besides, Mirella doubted that the crafts they could’ve built, would’ve been effective. Probably the entire force of their nonexistent fighters would have been locked out too, and remained that way. 

“Admiral?” Justine stood outside the door. “Come in. Door’s open.” The young woman looked terrible, she had been in nightshift, was awake for much longer than herself. “Come, you need rest.”

Pale, with rings under her eyes Justine approached the bed. Sat down next to her Admiral. “Still no way into Beta, no communication with beta. We can’t monitor them however. Occasionally the crews need fresh oxygen, and they can’t stay there indefinitely, we also haven’t got enough maintenance cabs, to keep up a rotation. Cussing Mirella got up, ignoring the pain that shot through her legs.

“Were there any transports from beta? You know, people who had been deported from there?” Justine gave no reply, when Mirella turned to look she found the other woman had fallen asleep leaning against the wall. 

Envious Mirella gently took the tablet from Justine, and snuck from the room. In the displayed text she found all of what Justine had told her before, at the bottom it read that Schultz had managed to get another device ready, and his programmers had made some progress on reconstructing the harpy code, it was estimated that the program now was 96% complete. 

Intrigued Mirella wandered down the hallway. Instead of bothering the hardworking engineering crew in their efforts, Mirella instead turned to the brig. 

“Admiral!” Came the voice of Andrew from down the hall as soon as the first detainee had seen her. “We were wondering when you’d come back.” Trying not show the extent of her exhaustion Mirella forced herself to his spot. “We kept up our end of the bargain, with a few alterations. You see, we need beta. Or at least part of it.” He smiled benignly. “We have women, children, and we need to incorporate an entire colony. Whilst you will adapt, we have less time, as we have faster means of transport.”

Her raised hand stopped him, or them, from further talking. “You can’t have beta. Not even parts of it.” 

His benign smile became less friendly, more fiendish. “Look at us, Admiral. We have already linked, and we linked up, in case you cut us off again, or we get killed, we will continue on in the greater mind of us. You can not use us as leverage again. Still we have returned you control over most of your precious ship. We are not the enemy, we just want to leave.”

Tired of the conversation on top of her whole exhaustion Mirella had to force herself to keep standing. “Just for the sake of the argument, what if we were to give you beta, what will keep you from coming back and taking more?” 

“We built the propulsion to cross the interstellar in moments, instead of generations. We need the room for our departing people, once we have left, you, your ship, your species, are of no interest to us any longer.”

As Mirella was pondering how to reply, a rumble went through the ship, or at least subgamma. “Are you already attacking?” She furiously spat her words at Andrew. 

“No,” if she didn’t know better, Mirella would think he was pondering, “it was your friends who fired at you.” Laughing he turned his gaze at her. “Perhaps they are afraid you were overrun by us, and now want to eliminate the threat?” 

Not listening to such ramblings Mirella left the brig, suddenly her exhaustion was pushed to the far corners of her mind, adrenalin shot through her veins as she hurried through the hallways to the engine room, where she had established a makeshift command centre. 

Crews had disconnected the computers in the command centre from the network, but still she had more confidence in the system that had already proven itself. “Sit rep!” 

“Kismet sends it’s regards.” Schultz greeted her with a broad grin, the intercom blared an automated signal, already the chief engineer had dispatched an armed team to the impact site. “To what end?” 

“Just listen!” 

As the Admiral stood there and listened to the signal over intercom her tense expression was replaced by the same broad grin that the chief engineer displayed. “They sent a probe containing the program!” 
After the program had been retrieved, Mirella went back to the brig, only to find Andrew and the others in their linked up state. “I know you can hear me.” She felt the exhaustion returning, but pushed on nonetheless. 

“I am giving you one more chance. I even am willing to compromise.” With a sudden flutter Andrew’s eyes opened. “We are listening.” He smiled. “Did the ineffective attack from Kismet scare you?” 

Smiling viciously Mirella tapped her glasses. “You have disabled data transmission on the intercom, but our glasses, tablets and other devices can transmit data. The ineffective attack as you call it, was a probe bringing us the Harpy program designed to take out your link.” Suddenly all color feld Andrew’s face, followed by the others around him. “I am willing to give you the outter most layer of beta, if you cram in there really tight, you can get all your people across to Ark1. As you said, you have the faster transportation technology, therefore it will not be too inconvenient for you. Soon you will have reached your destination, and the question of room is moot.”

Still colorless Andrew’s features hardened. “If we take more than allotted?” 

The vicious smile on Mirella’s lips turned malevolent. “We are ensuring that you won’t.”
Working in spacesuits was not Justine’s foray, but she kept her concentration up. The few hours of rest she had gotten were enough, although not enough for her liking. 

She cut the wires of the mechanism controlling the doors in the tubes that lead into the beta ring, then she proceeded to hardwire it to a modified tablet she had been given by Schultz. 

With a few presses on the display the doors opened, simultaneously she felt a yank at her shoulder. Her colleagues pulled her back up into the maintenance cab. It had already docked with the siphon, but all doors were open. In the weightless section two more cabs sat in wait to access beta. They were filled with armed men and women, as resistance was expected. 

Silently the doors closed, pressure was reestablished, and momentarily the cab set in motion, down into beta.

After a few minutes the cab docked with a door, and released them into the hallways of beta. Oddly enough, no one awaited them. Behind them the door closed, and opened again some eeconds later, releasing the crew from the other cab. That repeated until all people from the cabs had assembled, except those who maneuvered the cabs, since automatic controls had been disabled to avoid the linkers from tampering. 

Quickly they went through the rooms adjacent to the hallway, determining that they were empty, and uploaded the Harpy program into the computers of the individual landing ships.

Instead of using the tube network they used the ladders, so there wouldn’t be a surprise attack force waiting for them in front of the doors.

Justine had seen too many identical computer interfaces for one day already, although the others always worked with the adjacent ships too. 

“We’re afeaid we can’t let you continue on.” Standing in the center of the hallway was a single man, Justine felt as if she had a heart attack when he suddenly spoke. 

“Do you intend to stop us?” A security officer behind Justine spoke, shoving her aside. “We will at the very least slow you down.” 

An alarm rang through the hallways, emergency doors shut throughout the hallways, forming them into small rooms. The emergency decompression program! 

Immediately the men took up their guns and started cutting through the thick doors with the lasers. 
As the door between them and the sole linker fell to the ground, the man was hit with a stunning dart and fell to the ground twitching. Quickly they proceeded onward, uploading the program to the ships around while others cut through the next blast door. 

“We have contact!” Justine heard them yelling from outside after the third or fourth blast door. The unmistakable hissing of the oxygen discharges and propelled darts sounded from the hallway. Undeterred by this, Justine hooked her tablet to the computer after isolating it from the network, she uploaded the program, and executed it.

After a moment the calls from the hallway changed. From distraught security personnel facing an armed force of the DEHumans, to linkers cut off from the network. 
“Alright!” Andrew yelled. Mirella had been sitting in the hallway all the time since her teams had infiltrated beta. Almost wincing he shook his head. “We will retreat, claiming only the outter most vessels.” Feeling victorious Mirella got up. She gave the order to proceed, but not incapacitate the link further unless provoked. 

“I have no grudge for your kind.” She declared, although she felt a deep betrayal had been done to her by the linkers, especially the Conroys. But she also remembered earths history, new societies almost always caused new conflict in their birth. In retrospect Destiny and Kismet had gotten away with a black eye, compared with other historical conflicts of the sort. “Now, give me back the rest. These men will accompany you to beta.” She pointed at a security detail standing ready. 

As Andrew nodded Mirella’s glasses were immediately flooded with calls from Kismet, smiling she gave a gentle nod to the security guards.

“I’ll gladly talk with you dear prince,” Mirella allowed herself a heartily yawn, “but first I need sleep.”

Rings of Fate S2xE8 – Destiny – DEHuman IV (pt.3)

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

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

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

50%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Don’t underestimate us!” All the detained people shouted as one after her as she left.
75%

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

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

No change. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rings of Fate S2xE8 – Destiny – DEHuman IV (pt.2)

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Strains of her dark hair floated in front of Mirella’s face as the entered the central tube hub, where gravity was non existent. Surface tension kept the sweat beads on her skin. “I have pressurised the cryogenic chamber tube, we can go.” 

Why am I even here? I hate zero G! “Alright, move on out, people.” I’m the Admiral, I should remain in the command centre, or close to it, instead I’m floating through a tube in the spine of the Destiny. What am I? Insane?

The lights came on as soon as they opened the pressure seal doors. Seemingly infinite the tube stretched out before them, running on until it reached the hub on alpha. It was narrow, as the cryogenic chambers with people from earth took up place on one side of the tunnel. 

“Where are we going?” Justine asked one of the questions that Mirella had dreaded. “Engineering.” Good one. “They cut off our access to the computers, we cut off their power. If possible.”

Sounding way more confident in her plan than she felt, Mirella continued to move on. 
Communication with the Kismet was lost near the center of subalpha, and impossible in the central tube with the cryo chambers. Too much interference, too much stuff in the way for a radio signal to penetrate. 

The thing that Mirella hated the most about their journey to subgamma, were the hubs, with the fast spinning siphons. At the last siphon of the journey Mirella feared to be smashed against a wall, and subsequently falling to her death, but found a rather pleasant surprise waiting. On the other side of the hub was a recess with a maintenance cab in it.

Being as they were manually driven, the computer lockout didn’t have an effect on it. As she entered the open cab she thought she needed to make sure such a cab is always parked at the other end of the spine as well. Just to be sure in the future.
“We have some control over subgamma.” The voice of her chief engineer, a man called Schultz, of german descent, came over the intercom as they left the tube network. Continuously Justine had tried to raise someone, now her efforts were rewarded. “But we are out of contact with the rest of the ship.” Two men in armor and guns turned the corner, raised their weapons. “Linkers?”

“No.” Mirella remained calm, despite having a gun pointed at her face. Uncertain the two men exchanged a look. “How can we be certain?” 

Mirella looked over her shoulder. She wished she knew how to be certain, as far as she knew each of her team could be linked. “Would we be travelling with a maintenance cab after crawling through the cryo tube in zero G if we were linkers? They are in control of everything, remember?” 

Somewhat satisfied with her repkly the two lowered their guns. “Schultz has set up a command base in main engineering.” They waved the Admiral and her entourage to follow. 

Although she had seen main engineering before, Mirella couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the look of it. 

Only half of the displays showed the lockout screen that had crippled her command centre. Subgamma’s barracks must’ve been empty, as all the privates, ensigns and trainees were running around in engineering.

“Greetings Admiral.” The chief engineer approached her, mustered her and her group with an alert eye. Out of nowhere a satisfied grin appeared on his lips. “I hereby transfer command to the Admiral!” All personnel in the room saluted her, and remained standing still. 

“Carry on.” She stammered. “How could you be certain that we’re not linkers?” 

Schultz pointed at the displays in the back of the room, the ones that displayed the fusion reactor stats. “My predecessor from the time the linkers made trouble, kept one of their reprogrammed nodes hidden, and easy to turn back on. He also disconnected engineering from the main computer. Closely linked, but separate. When they showed up and took over the ship, his firewalls kept them from taking engineering, we just severed the physical connections, to keep it that way.” 

Intrigued by that paranoia driven ingenuity that seemed to have paid off, Mirella felt relief. “We need to retake the ship.” She sat down on a console in locked mode.

How had Bill Wallis been able to achieve that level of tinkering with Destiny’s systems without knowledge of the admiralty? Under normal circumstances Mirella would call for an investigation, maybe even a tribunal hearing, but she was actually quite comfortable with those developments.

“I thought so.” Herman Schultz nodded, “Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do with the locked computers.”

Both the chief engineer and the Admiral turned to Justine who was in contact with the Kismet again. An idea came to the Admiral’s mind.

Rings of Fate S2xE8 – Destiny – DEHuman IV (pt.1)

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​Howling alarms had driven the command crew of Destiny to the command centre. Admiral Jagodic reached it first, relieving the nightshift of their command.

Icy fear grasped at her heart, as the viewscreen displayed a Harpy ship, one by one her officers arrived. First officer commander Sioban Conroy, and her husband, lieutenant commander Sean Conroy, security officer.

Nightshift’s commanding officer Justine Lacroix manned communication. The navigation panel remained with Frédéric Belle. “What’s going on?” Mirella Jagodic barked in the middle of all the chaos.

“They appeared out of no where, hailing on all frequencies.” Justine gave her initial report of the situation. “Lasers at maximum.” Came Sean’s ready signal. 

“Kismet reports readiness as well.” 

“What do they want?” Mirella remained concentrated, despite sleeping for only two hours before the alarm came. 

“They’re warning us that,” Justine paused, “the networkers are going to arrive at any moment, to prevent them from prying away too many of our crew we must set lose a program in our communication network. They have an authentication from Horizon.”

For a moment the Admiral pondered what a networker might mean, but it hit her after a second or two. 

“Linkers!” She jumped from her seat. “Do it!” 

“I must object, it might be a trick from them to wreak havoc on our systems, so they can overpower us.” The lieutenant commander’s objection caused the Admiral to gaze over her shoulder. “They could overpower us in any case, they don’t need these tricks.” She raised her eyebrows, punching in the codes sent from the harpies. 

“Program is fully uploaded. Setting it free,” Mirella paused, an alarming beep from the navigational console drew her attention. 

“Another vessel on approach, Ma’am.” And I thought space was vast and quiet!

“It’s the Ark1, sort of.” Immediately the nav officer put the image on the main viewscreen. Misshapen, more resembling a technological potato than a ship, the Ark1 moved closer. Without warning they began attacking the Harpy ship, which took a few hits, before retreating to a safer distance, where they had an easier time evading the beams sent from Ark1.

After a few moments of that dance the Harpies vanished, presumably jumping away. “Incoming transmission!” Justine sighed.

“Put it through.” 

“We are the collective mind of the Digitally Enhanced Human race, aboard your ships are members of our kind. Let them go unharmed and no harm shall come to you.” 

With an audible signal it was clear the transmission ended. 

Quite surprised, if not stunned Mirella turned to her crew with an inquisitive expression on her face. “Options?” 

“None.” Sean Conroy stepped back from his console. “We suggest you let us proceed to our people, Ma’am.” Sioban also left her post. 

Not noticing her mouth was open, Mirella sat down. 

The others in the command centre had pulled out their side arms, aimed at the two Conroys. With a wave of her hand she gestured them to lower the guns, as they surely had established a connection with the Ark1. 

“Your demands?” For a moment the two seemed to think, but replied with one voice: “We need more of the ores in storage, storage capacity, and free passage for our people. The ties between our species diverge from this point forward.” 

Without further word the two left the command centre. Trying to access the computer Mirella swung around in her chair, but found she was locked out, and the program received from the harpies had been deleted. 
Plain metallic walls spanned all around Mirella and Justine, followed by a team of seven security guards, as they climbed up a tube. Three technicians tagged along to ensure that no cab was going to run them over.

Cursing herself and her predecessors for not following the DEHuman threat up, Mirella was in the vanguard of the group. It would’ve been relatively easy to sneak the jamming devices away and turn them back on every year or so, compared with the problems they faced at that very moment. 

Locked out of every major system, no intercom, in an instant Mirella had lost control over her ship! “Ma’am!” The yell came from Lacroix. 

“Yes, Justine?” 

The young woman smiled as Mirella glanced down the ladder. “I’m getting something on the radio! It’s old fashioned, and distorted, but I believe it’s the Kismet.”

Hastily Mirella fumbled with her glasses. Indeed she too could make out a radio signal from Kismet. 

It was faint and hard to make out, but as far as they could gather, Kismet had been able to implement the program from the Harpies, still they had a group of implanted people asking for release. 

“Aprise their commander of our situation, and that we’re working on retaking the ship.” Hoping that Justine wouldn’t ask how she planned on doing that, Mirella continued to climb. 

Rings of Fate S2xE7 – Horizon – Harpies (pt.5)

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

It opened with a noisy hiss. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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