1. Kapitel: Scientist

Glaring bright starlight of the G0-star Fhere reflected from the full side of the exoplanet Goon back into space. Grayish-greenish, racked rocks and shattered land sides rose from the glittering oceans. Distant Galaxies and globular star clusters shimmered faint and overshine by the reflection from far beyond the elliptic spiral disk of the Origo-galaxy.

The planet Goon was approaching as slowly as the clouds were floating over its surface.

The operation lever glowed green signalizing the 0.5 g acceleration of the vessel. On the piloting panel right over the pilot's seat was blinking periodically. One display showed the ships position using vertical and horizontal flat projection even though it would have been possible to drafted it as a 3D hologram for better orientation. But that was not really necessary given the planet directly ahead.

The innermost planet Helios just passed the second planet Fabulous. The vertical projection showed that the inclination distance between Goon the third planet and Labro the fourth planet was at its maximum, so that they stood nearly in a vertical alignment. The gas giant Bluesky with the moons Purentia and Petibell was on its orbit on the other side of the star, which seemed convenient for the moment, because the order to refrain from the journey to Goon flickered still unread on another display.

A athletic figure lolled half asleep on the small sleeping deck snatch out of her quiet dreaming by the automated announcement: "Atmospheric entry in 60 minutes."

The Pilot -probably about 40 years old- sat up still dozy and tangled with her finger through her chaotic straight black hair. She stood up, fixed the sleeping bag to the ground and jump softly down the few stairs to the main deck, just to sink back down on the pilot chair. Her sharp, thin dark black eyes focused pondering the order to refrain by the Humanation Peaceguards for a blink.

She was acting on behalf of the research of Humanation, so there was no possible reason why anyone should hinder her to go to this uninhabited world, but still a chilling tension gleamed over to her.

She concentrated on the controls. She hated the short phases of micro gravity and strong slowing acceleration before the entry to a planet, but it was the fastest way to travel. It was necessary to lower the velocity to a level that would not ignite and burn down the ship in the second of reaching the atmosphere. And she had to do it even before breakfast. She yawned, closed her cross stripped seatbelt and sighed in prospect of the upcoming roller coaster ride. She turned the ship around 180°. The dazzling starlight flashed directly through the well filtering front screen. She increased the acceleration to 4g to brake fast enough. Pressed in her seat she was closing the eyes. It would take a while to sufficiently slow down. Her stomach was growling. A breakfast would have been nice, she thought. The display enlarged the image of Labro behind the ship and reminded her of the warning. Usually the peacegardes were busy enough to protect the realm of Labro, the important mining facilities and space stations around Labro than to bother with a unarmed one-person research vessel.

The united Nations of Humans, Humanation, spanned nowadays over three star systems. Unified in Peace the whole sky seemed now in grasp for the Humans. It could only be a matter of a few year until the space warp drive would allow longer range jumps. The newest generation of engines of the leading Farawa Company allowed jumps up to 30 light years. However this small old research ship had to manage with just a 10 light year range. Also jumps were not much fun, because the ship was pressed into a tiny bubble of space and even the energy in the ship ceased for the duration of the jump into a complete and utter darkness.

Despite the best efforts this had not changed in any of the new drives.

The ship was nearly at rest relative to the planet. The pilot stopped the acceleration and erect the seat. Floating up the blood was rushing in her head in the sudden zero gravity. Using the maneuver thrusters she piloted the ship slowly towards the edge of the atmosphere. The automated announcement she had forgotten to turn off squawked: "We reached atmospheric entry." She sighed having lost side of the announcement control and started the atmospheric turbines. The ship slided deeper into the atmosphere and started to glow, which was noticed by a slow unexcited flashing of sensory of the heat shields.

Completely unexpected flashed another light up. The dispay turned to the radar. "What the...", she mumbled shocked.

"Imminent attack, imminent attack", the still not deactivated automated announcement blared. With a rush of adrenaline through her body she threw the ship sidewards. A small rocket missed the ship just by inches. The heat shield of the right wing protested with the doubling of the flashing period. She steered immediatly back into a stable position.

She had expected Peacegardes to hinder her, warn her, in the worst case arrest her, when she started this mission, but an attack? Something was very wrong here. What should she do now?

The way more pressuring flash lights before her, interrupted her long term planing.

"Imminent attack, imminent attack, imminent attack", repeated the announcement over and over again in shorter and shorter pulses. The radar monitored three missiles approaching the ship with high speed.

"Damned!" hissed the pilot between thatched teeth her eyes starring at the screen to find a possible evasive maneuver. Useless, shot a thought through her head, while the vessel was rubbing down the atmosphere. In the last second she teared the ship upwards as much as she could and right after left. Two of the missiles collided and exploded right under the ship. She was thrown of course and the third rocket just missed. The heat shields were now constantly gleaming supported by a deafening squeak. The outer shell deformed creaking. On the radar three further missile were already under way. The pilot opened the seatbelt hasty and stumbled towards a cylindric rescue capsule.

"Imminent attack, imminent attack, imminent at.." With the closing of the steel door the warning faded to silence, only the sound of the bending shell drained through.

"And all of this even before breakfast!" a thought moaned through her head, while she punch the release button and was shot out of the ship.

In milliseconds the missiles rushed by. With a giant blast the ship exploded just above her. She swooshed deeper. The temperature in the capsule rose. 25°C, 30°C, 35°C, 40°C, 45°C. She monitored the display, as sweat already pearled on her skin. The temperature did not matter, the velocity was her main concern. She was way to fast. 60°C and still to fast. She pulled her arms through the straps of the parachute at the back of the capsule and made it lose. 70°C the velocity was still critical but so was the air content. She pressed a button. The door was blown away. Air! she thought, while she started to lose her senses at the high. She was falling from around 7000m over the surface. While fighting unconsciousness she cursed the outdated rescue system without a oxygen mask. Her sight went dark. She pulled the line and lost consciousness.

First a deep humming, than the slow hissing of welding pervaded the darkness of the pilot. She opened her eyes and saw burred a dim, steel hall around. Gradually clearing she noticed rusty, bare, uneven metal pillars holding roof and wands of riffled and blank carved metal plates. On some of the pillars steel cable hung on huge winches. Cable, gears, wires and swarf covered the ground. Unsorted engine parts, gears, screws, tools and electric components filled selfs on the walls. Completely out of place a old skillful carved wooden wardrobe stood in a corner next to a wooden chest. A refrigerator buzzed a little further to the door, decorated with pinned pictures of the nearby star systems, lichen and planets of different planets and portraits of faces of Human, Furia -an insectode species from the omega system- and some of the four eyed Labos with there large four hole noses.

How did she get here? Where was she anyway? Was this Purentia? But how should she have been getting there? But it couldn't be Goon for it was uninhabitable. How long might she have slept? A peeping noise drag the pilot's attention from the questions. A small robot made out of different gadgetry and components rolled on small wheels through below her red hammock stitch of sail fiber and parachute lines. It did not take any notice of her with its large, round image sensor of identification systems and carried wires with its small graping tentacle build from bottle openers and nylon strings and peeped excited without any noticeable pattern. The pilot glared frightened at the passing machine.

A robot with sensory and mobility! This combination was as far as possible banned in Humanation. Cruel pictures flushed up her mind, images of the killing robots of the Cyclan shooting, lynching, smashing Humans, men, women, children, elderly alike like she learned in history class and a cold shudder run over her neck. The artificial intelligent machines were the enemies of humankind for more than half a century since the Cyberwars. The humans created the artificial intelligence by accident as kind of demons in the networks with neuronal networking components. Megalomanic scientist wanted to research them and gave them robot bodies, which allowed them to start their merciless battle against all of Humanation. The Humans barely manage to fight back but defeated the machines eventually due to there invincible courage and willpower and drove them of the planets and moons. This was 80 years ago. But ever since the machines of the Cyclan lured in the darkness of space, attacked vessels and planed for their return and the extermination of humankind.

The pictures of history laid unforgotten in the depth of the pilots mind and the warnings of her teachers echoed through again and endorsed her fear.

Listing to the peeps a new shudder shivered freezing over her back. The robot was using Morse!

From a crafting bench behind a pill of metal scrap and junk a soft human voice ringed over.

"Oh, we are out of silver wires?" -Sigh- "Well, then I'll have to go and collect some later with Jano. Thanks John!"

The small robot feeped happily a "You're welcome!" and rolled over to the table. There was standing a woman or maybe a girl. She looked not much older than 20. Her blond hair dangled over half her face. She was wearing a blue, scuffed overall to protect her while welding, but she had stopped and awaited the small robot. She was smiling with the warmest, most lovely smile at the robot and took the provided wires, while stroking gently over its sensor.

The unsettled pilot was watching the scene motionless. A human speaking to a robot in such a compassionate way didn't make any sense to her. Either the robot was not intelligent, then there was no need to talk to it, or the robot was in-fact, then any reasonable human should have gotten on their feet and run, especially in presents of all this spare parts for the killer machine.

The girl sorted the wires and glanced shortly to the hammock with the crashed woman, noticing that she had opened her eyes. The girl left the wires and came over. John was following her curiously. The pilot sat up, since her awaken was already noted.

"How are you feeling?" the girl asked worried.

The pilot gazed tensely at her: "Fine, as far as I can tell."

The girl perched on a stool right next to the hammock and smiled up: "What a relief! I hadn't thought, that I would be seeing any humans crazy enough to try and get to Goon in this century. Humanation has instoled a defense missile system all over the planet shooting any manned vessels entering the atmosphere. I'm sorry that I did not thought of manipulating it in time. By the way I am Hikari! And who are you and were are you from, if I may ask?"

The pilot glared nervously behind Hikari to the robot observing her.

"Professor Ming Guang from Yang, teaching at the Anpin University on Ying. Why is there a defense system on Goon? And where on heaven or earth are we?"

Hikari looking at the little robot and took a deep breath: "Don't be alarmed, he is quiet friendly even though or in fact because he is intelligent. We are on Goon of course. There seem to be some things about this waste deposit, that Humanation rather would not like anyone to know about. This is why rockets were fired at you, I assume."

Ming now stared at the robot even more tightening every muscle in her body: "But he has neither a soul nor a moral codex! He must be either evil or unconscious."

John blipped protestingly. With a short wince all of Hikari's mimic and expression change into an angered grim glaze, as if she wasn't even the same person anymore.

She lifted her left hand and moved her hair back from the left half of her face. Her hand was made of metal, nylon stings and electric pressure sensors and in place of a left eye silver metal shimmered in a crack of skin in her skull with a round metal iris protected light sensor that focused Ming's eyes. A cymale! Ming trembled on her back in shock.

"And what about me?" roared her deep angry voice, "Do I also have no soul? I've loved and lost and suffered deeply. Do you want to tell me I can't? I have enough compassion and ethical understanding to help a crashed person, even though she might despise me. Don't judge what you don't know and obviously don't understand!"

Ming scared stiff gasped for air and her panicking eyes laid on the sensor. Another wince shook Hikari. Her face glitched back to the kind open-hearted girl and back was her friendly clear ringing voice: "Please try to understand, not everything you were told in Humanation is true. I myself came from Purentia. I learned what they teach and what the don't teach and how they evade any critical thought. But than I saw the world actually being quite different. I would love to show you what you could not see. I could teach you, what we learned is not to be told. Please, try to see and you might really understand and not just be frightened of ghosts and shadows they draw."

Hikari gave Ming both of her hands. Ming was a scientist and she wanted to understand, so she swallowed her fear and slowly took the uneven hands, the warm human hand and the evenly gentle mechanical hand and look deep into Hikaris uneven eyes. Little by little she gained a bit trust.

"What did happen to your eye and your hand?"

Hikari smiled softly: "It was a long time ago. A accident on a trainings vessel. An explosion ripped half my body apart."

Ming tried to remember any of such accidents in the last years, but she didn't knew of even one.

"So how did you get this... this part?" she asked.

A tear glittered in Hikari's blue eye: "Someone found me and saved my life."

Despite of Ming mistrust, she could no longer deny that this mysterious Cymale was actually quiet kind and likable. Essentially she did not come to Goon for this. Ming tried to free here mind from the confusing situation, which just had overblown her mind, and to focus on her primary goal. Goon, Goon, Goon shouted her thoughts through her head.

Goon was a terrestrial planet and the third of the Fhere system with a average radius of 5980km orbiting between Fabulous and Labro on a unusual eccentric and inclinated orbit through a ring of debry of deposited space waste and natural rock occassinally falling on the planet but for the most parts evaporation as shooting stars in the 1.2 bar atmosphere of the planet.

The atmosphere consisted of 70% nitrogen, 28% oxygen, 0.5% carbondioxid, nitrodioxid, ozone and noble gases.

The swamp-like surface was covered by water to 80% without high mountains or polecapes. The landmasses were flattened by some process currently under research assumingly a supervolcanic event in the near past. In Humanation is was told that Goon was uninhabitable and could not sustain any biology, due to the common impacts. But somehow Ming was never convinced by this argument, especially since Labro haboured a large variety of lifeforms and even on the freezing cold Bluesky moon Purentia simple linches and alga had been found. Even taking into account the low momentum impacts Goon should provide a large enough habitate for life following Ming Guangs calculations. Additionally it was nearly unexplicable how such a large amout of oxygen could have formed abiotically. Ming was convienced it was her duty to humankind to examine these theories.

She was a scientist graduadeted from the academy of life science of Paradis one of the most respectable universities of Humanation. It was unusual enough that a intended worker from the colonies like her managed to get into the academy, but with disciplin, talent and devotion she succeeded in her studies. However just when she had mastered the highest classes with a lot of ambition, her curiousity thwarted her dream to become a highly noted reseacher. She had studied years on the highly evolved Labos species on Labro in the Fhere system, which were used for the mining operations on the planet als labor animals. For her thesis on the complexity of the sociology of the Labos she did not receive recoginitation and admiration as she had naivly hoped, but was rather rudely and silently degraded to a post on the Anpin university at one of the Omega system colonies on Ying to yarn undisturbed and unnoticed her ludicrous fairy tales. Since than many years had passed.

By disrespecting her she felt just more proded to new research, testing and discoveries concerning the inconsistencies in the knowledge of Humanation. This everlasting itch had now lead her to the exermination of Goon. That this was more dangerous than she had anticipated and that she should have listened to the scientific commitee forbidding the voyage or to the sincere warnings of her old friend and history professor on Ying, was now cristal clear to her.

However she had paid no heed to any of the advice and was hence trapped with a wicked potentially monstrous robot and a shady Cymale -a Human with mechanical implants- on the largest galactic waste deposit. It could not be more like a horror movie stroke a thought her head. To not despair in this situation she reminded herself on the initial goal, to study the biology of Goon.

Ming look up to Hikari: "You live here. What can you tell me about the possibility of life on Goon?"

Hikari behold her for a moment addled. Her body shrugged and her expression got stern. Her eyes seemed to cut through the air in the room as she answered with a deep technical voice: "I assume you are familiar with the enviromental condition, for there is no way to conseal them. So I guess you are asking for the specific adaptaion of life on this planet. In fact Goon has a hugh variety of carbon hydrogen based species replicating with RNA- and DNA gene information, just as you know from other systems presumably. It's almost needless to say that there is a large variety in bacteria and archaee, for eukaryonten are way more interesting for your species, right? You might find it faszinating to know that all of the evolutionary kingdoms can also be found on Goon, including Archeplastida, also Chloroplastida, and Opisthokonta, so also animals and fungi. Following the evolutionary branch towards humans you will find all sorts of vertebrates, following further even mammals. You'll find about everything here. This is quite a wide field to descript everything in detail, as you must be aware of. So what exactly are you looking for?"

Mings dark eyes brightened excited: "Everything! Life on Goon is really possible after all?"

Hikari continued: "From your questions I take you're interested in research. I am pretty much in support of this venture. So I would propose I just show it to you."

Hikari stood up and walked over to the wooden chest to get her shoulderbag. Ming got on her feet hesitatingly and followed her over.

"Don't we need enviromental suits?"

Hikari just shaked her head and opened the door to the out side world.

In the after noon starlight the wreckages and scrap, broken panels, shards and rusty instruments reflected the golden orange sky. This area covering one square kilometer must have been the crash side of a large, obsolete starship. Slowly its metallic and plastic remains were merging into the prospering nature up to the water line and surging against the coast along with the tides eventually being torn to pebbles.

The air was warm and muggy, with the smell of sea alga, perfectly adjusted for the porose stalks, with were winding over and between the pills of waste stretching towards the sun with their leaves. A hand sized creature with butterfly wings fluttered to the red blossom of these plants.

A grey, furry, mice-sized animal crouched in a can and nibbled on a root, while carefully noticing any air movement with its large straightened up skin flap, that also helped regulating the body temperature in the heat. Ming started to take notes and drafts. A yellow birdling with four eyes and a slightly bent beak swirled down in pursuit. But when it saw its small grey prey disappear between the metal scraps, it winged upwards angrily crowing.

"Fascinating!" Ming mumbled lost in her observations, while Hikari was looking for wires. Completely unnoticed by Ming Guang Jano had joined her in the search for wires, because his six light-footed senor equipped walking legs did almost cast not sound. The arms fixed on a rotation wheel between the second and third pair of legs fetched wires from the wreckage. In the center of the arms and legs the main computer was mounted with audio system and heat and vision sensors.

"Presumably the rich ocean life could also be of even more interest to you. If you'd like to follow me...", Hikari remarked and led Ming on a small track between the hills to the sea. The heavy metal plates shimmered in the water overgrown by corals, clams, algae. A green three eyed seastar with six arms was sucking up the interior of a red-white patterned shell. The four eyed birdling continued the hunt chasing for the tiny slender fishes.

Ming was enchanted by the sight unable to keep up with sketching the magnificent scenery and variety of curious creatures. Hikari stood next to her smiling mildly, starring at the horizon that was washed smooth by the hazy air. Jano filled the collected wires in her bag and asked gently: "What are you thinking of?"

Hikari laid her hand on his back and sighed: "Breeve. Gaia... "

Jano rotated his sensors in bit in her direction: "Are you sure, that you still want to stay here without a chance of ever meeting anyone else, seeing any new face, to evolving your self or evolving event, changing the galaxy?"

Hikari shook her head: "I'm tired. I'm too tired to fight. And what for? There is nothing left worth fighting for, nothing left to win."

Jano cocked his sensors: "Is Karina thinking the same?"

Hikari winced and look benign to the waist-high robot: "It seems the pain inside can not ease. I don't want to lose Cya. And I wouldn't know of anything we could change to better by leaving, not even mentioning the dangers threatening our lives. Maybe we were hurt enough for two life times."

Soon the planets rotation had hidden the star Fhere behind the horizon. Thick fog lowered on the hills and sea due to the rapid surface cooling and covered the night in a dusty, milky darkness.

Ming, Jano and Hikari had returned to the hall between the scrap pillars.

Ming still could not get her self to trust the robots one bit. She sunk down on the stool in a corner overlooking the whole hall. She had placed a metal rod next to her just in case. Exactly 82 years ago the bloody war between robots and Humans had ended. The development in robotic, intelligent computing and artificial intelligence had been stopped. Many research topics like electronic neuronal networks, mobile high function machines, bio-mechanical implants had become prohibited. The war should never be forgotten, so that never again humankind would create such horrible machinery. Starting in elementary school everyone learned about the cruelty of the machines and pictures of burning cities and slaughtered Humans settled deep in the children's memories. So also Ming Guang could not free herself from it. An instinctive deep mistrust against the machines kept her alert, even though she steadily grew closer to Hikari. From a purely rational point of view she was aware of the absurdity of rescuing her, caring for her and showing her the landscape just to kill her anyway. At least Hikari was a Human and strictly logically speaking implants without neuronal networks could not possess people, as often claimed in falsely reduced arguments. Jano however represented a very real threat to Ming and she would not take her eyes of him.

"You must be hungry, Ming! Please, have some dinner!" Hikari said and offered Ming a bowl with a red puree and sat with a own bowl on the ground next to her. Ming took suspiciously the bowl from her hands and started eating after Hikari had taken the first bite. It tasted delicious a bit spicy, somewhat sweet and to Mings surprise more intense and delightful than any food she was used to.

Supping Ming asked: "You said you came from Purentia? So you are a recruit than, aren't you?"

Hikari corrected: "Well, to be exact I WAS a recruit training to become ship engineer. But I can not see myself being a guard anymore."

Ming smirked looking at her eyes: "I can see that. Even though I must have been tough on you, hasn't it, giving up the fast track to success? Well I wouldn't be suited for the peaceguards either. I just have a hard time following any orders."

Hikari smiled: "I was never very keen to rise up in rangs. I just wanted to be of help."

Looking around in the workshop Ming noted: "You must have lived here quite a while all by yourself."

"Well, I have been here a while, but I was never alone. I mean Jano and John were with me most of the time."

Ming was disturbed: "But they are machines. Aren't you afraid of them?"

Hikari chuckled: "We are all friends here! I am not afraid of my friend. I enjoy their company."

Ming nodded: "So you did build them then, right?"

Hikari answered hesitating: "Yes... I did."

Ming was relieved. At least she now knew that the robots were build way after the war and surely Hikari had known what, she had screwed together. These robots could not be the killing Cyclan machines from the war.

Hikari tried to change the topic: "So you are a Professor, when I remember correctly. May I ask, what your subject is?"

Ming responded: "Behavioural genetics, behavioural biology and exosociology."

"I see, so this is the reason for your interest in Goon. That is faszinating."

Hikari shivered briefly, stood up and went over to the chest and started to rummage in it: "Biology is my life. I hadn't thought that after all those year the first Human to cross my path would be a researcher of all people and not military. What a nice turn! This way my work here even proofs useful after all. Here it is!"

She held a big sailflax bound Book in her hands. The pages were a bit tattered and single sheets peeked out between many sides. She again sat down next to Ming and gave the book to her. Ming opened it on a random page. The page showed a picture of a six legged lizard creature and listed properties like lifespan, size, behaviour, food, habitate and more. Additionally a probe of the scaled skin was fixed on the page.

Hikari explained: "My thinking was, a book lasts a while longer even if I am no more and by any chance someone might find it and continue the research I started."

Ming gazed at book with the eyes of a child seeing its birthday present: "This is amazing!"

She thumbed through it: "It's fantastic. You must have found more than hundreds of species. Incredible! May I?"


Ming immersed herself totally in the encyclopaedia. Form time to time she compared with a database in her small cuff computer on her left arm. Hikari continued her work on the work bench. Much later in the night, when she had finished the radar electronics she was working on, she look up wiping the sweat from her face and found Ming in the hammock lapped against one side asleep the book still held under her resting arms. Hikari sneak over to her and covered her with a blanket smiling: "I had never thought, that we'd ever meet anyone from Humanation again, who doesn't try to kill us."

Arms officer highlieutenant Riano dashed to his canon post. All of the sudden pirates had emerged from the ring around the planet Alpha. The vessel took a hit, smashing Riano against the wall. He pushed with both legs off the wall and directly to his chair. They were under attack, which was in no way unusual in the Omega system. The Omega system with the new Humanation colonies was the most dangerous system of all.

The clanging of the protesting steel was overshrieked by the alert siren. Riano was in position, fixing his seatbelt. He released the canon on the upper side of the K-7-alpha peaceguard crusser and started the guidance. The radar showed four fast swirling smaller ships maybe of the L or T class size. The pirates were well organised. They all shot one after the other on vulnerable sections and battle stations.

Rianos light brown eyes focused the last of the four ships. He locked the aim and fired his railgun. He hit the right side of the pirate ship, forcing it to retreat fuming and staggering. Riano shot again and hit the other side. Plates losened and broke. With the last maneuver thruster the pirate ship accelerated on a collision course with the peaceguard crusser using up all remaining power in the sublight drive. Riano shot. The front bursted off sucking bodies into space, but the vessel did not lose speed.

Smoke streamed of the canon right before Riano. The battle station was hit. It exploded. That had been Fren's. Insufficient work, Riano thought, while shooting two large rockets against the still acceleration wreckage.

A blast shaked the vessel. The pirates had severely damaged the left shell. An other blast stroke. The wreckage crashed on the left side. Riano sighed. He expected better work from himself. He turned the canon around searching for the remaining three attacking vessels. A second one just exploded. The last two splitt and attacked on both sides the already weakend shell. Riano could already hear the steel crumbling. The crusser was beyond repair. He sighed again -insufficent- and aimed at the vessel on the right. A shock pressed him against his seat. A hugh explosion on the left side had torn off the mantle. A shot blast buzzed in his ears, before he was ripped into space. Instinctively he hissed the air out of his lungs, so that they would not burst in the vacuum. With an unhearable scream of pain he turned towards the crusser, just to see it break and shatter by numerous explosions. His blood was boiling under his inflating skin.

"Deficient", he thought before losing conciousness.

A buzzing in his head, feeping in his ears and horrible pain in his orbita greeted his wakening. Riano tried to listen, but all he heard were flannelly sounds in his left ear. Obviously he was still alive, because he did not know how to explain his ability to think otherwise. He opened his eyes blinking. It was dark, besides a dim red emergency light. He looked around. He floated in a small steel room, rounded walls covered with metal pipes and ventils, a few seats and boxes at the side, approximatly 16 square meters. Where was he? He squinted again. His eyes needed time to adjust to sight again.

In the front was a control panel and through a wide screen he could see the stars ahead. He slowly drifted towards the Moth system. Riano rubbed his itching hurting wrists. His whole body was sour and aching. It seemed as if he was stranded in an abandoned vessel. But how did this happen? He tried to ignore the tinnitus in his ear and the pain, to concentrate on how to get going. After all he was a peaceguard. He push off and floated to the pilot seat. All systems were shut down, except for the life support. Though the air pressure was down to 0.17 bar with 10% nitrogen partial pressure. However he had trouble to identify anything on the control panel.

The vessel seemed unconventionelly crafted and fullfilled in no means the Humanation space vessel guild lines. After searching a while he discovered the button to boot the system. The engine started again. He had to get to the Humat moons as fast as possible to report the lose of the K-7-alpha. Communication was collected with speed of light and only send once or twice a day with a automated space satellite between the systems. If the peace crusser did not managed to transmit a distress call, it could take days for the message to reach the home worlds Greenearth, Paradis and Newland in the Moth system. He could be faster. He browsed for the superlight drive. Eventually a display revealed that only 10% of the potential antimatter capacity for the jump was charged. This would barely allow a jump of two lightyears. He called navigations. He was somewhere between the stars Omega and Moth 7 lightyears to Moth and the homeworlds the Humat moons. He respired and started the superlight drive. Perfect darkness drown him. He tried to imagen how he was now in subatomic-sized space-time bubble darting through the surrounding regular space-time. Absurd, thought Riano. He had never had a decent understanding of high physics and It was nothing but a inadequate model of the real interaction, a heuristic view. Wasn't it irrelevant in any case, how he had to picture the process and how did he get so childish ideas, he wondered.

Faintly the star light lit up again in the inconcievable distance. He was back at sublight speed, still 5 lightyears to go to Moth. But the antimatter for a further jump was depleted. It would take a while until the fusionreactor had produced the energy to create more. He set the vessel at drifted towards Moth using Autopilot. He floated in the back of the cabine and found some inconventional proviant, water and a sleeping bag he fixed on the wall. After drinking, he croched inside the bag, shut his eyes and wispered half asleep: "Unexplicable... I am alive."

His sleep was uneasy. He rolled in the sleepingbag. Pictures, faces, words of the K-7-alpha Crew flashed up. His brain tried to measure the damage inflicted by the lose of the ship and the 175 crew members. He had served the crusser for 5 years. Now the ship was lost and a deep unease plagued him. He had thought of the crew as more competent, he had thought of himself as more competent. Obviously a misjudgement. What would now become of him?

Ming waked up and blinked yawning. Hikari smiled over to her from the work bench: "Good afternoon!"

Ming sat up drowsy and asked: "Have I slept that long?"

"Well, more than one Goon day, about 14 hours."

Ming sweeped her black shining hair back and peer at the book lying next to her on the stool.

Hikari had turned back to her work: "So did you find anything in particular interesting yet?"

Ming stumbled on her feet and shuffled over to the refrigerator as if she used to and explained: "Well, when you compare the species in the Moth system with theses ones, you will find they have many simularities even in the higher evolved species. That leads to a sum of possible conclusions. The first one is: Animals in the wreckages survived and populated the planet. However that could not explain the incredible diversity. The second is: Humanation populated Goon, as a kind of experiment or something of the sort. But why would anyone want to keep that a secret and throw trash on the planet? The thrid would be: The life on the Humat moons originated here. But how should celluar organism -not even talking about animals- travel with sublightspeed to the Mothsystem on evolutionary small timescales, concluding form all I've seen. It is in itself strange that Humanation would use a habitable world a waste deposit, instead of exploring it or building colonies. Goon is way better suited than Purentia."

Hikari put the screwdriver aside: "Indeed, that does not make much sense."

Ming sighed and took a bite of slice of beard.

"And I can't make any more sense of it, as long as I am here. And... yeah... my ship... is... destroyed", she chewed.

Hikari smirked: "If you could overcome your differences with the artificial intellegence, I would a solution. I acctually know a ship. It is just a bit headstrong and pretty curious and at the moment off exploring space. But I am sure you would get along just fine, given your thirst for discoveries. I could call it, if you like."

Ming scowled shocked at Hikari, speechless. She could not trust machines that easily. After two days she still flinched, when Jano appeared before her, and shuddered, when John peeped. Eventhough it seemed more unlikely as time passed, that they would turn around and attack her, but her distrust was burned into her thoughts and burried deep in her mind. If she some how got the chance, she always prefered being around Hikari, because she was at least Human for the most parts. She trusted Hikari by now since she had never been anything but helpful, kind and knowledgeable and had taken her in as if she were a friend. But yet alone the thought of being trapped in a unpredictable robot rose her heartbeat.

Ming draw a long breath and clarified: "Actually... for the research... to eximane the issue, it would be great if you'd accompany me. I mean it is very important research, it is about the origin of life itself you could say. And you are the only one, who has the necessary knowledge about Goon."

Hikari look at her first fearful suddenly more sceptical: "You are a Human and I am a Cymale. You work for Humanation. That is not the ideal basis for a trustful collaboration. Furthermore this is my home now. Why should of all I support the reseach of Humanation and risk my life doing so?"

Ming glared churning at Hikari: "Why should they shout me down, if I worked for them? I work for people not any nation. I have lost so much to discover the truth against what Humanation teaches. I will not let you tell me, that I research for Humanation or anyone else. Research is only commited to itself, the facts and the truth. How can you think of me as such a weak character, that I would care for any interests of powerful elite or intitutions. Knowledge is not negotiable!"

Hikaris lips formed thin, approving smile: "Indeed the courage or mania needed to want to understand what happend on Goon shows a strong charakter. I sincerely respect you. I could not have better summerized what research is about."

"If you see it that way, you are obligated to join my cause."

Hikari's mechanical eye focused MingGuang analytically: "That is a valid argument, that I can not deny. A voice in my head is convinced it is the right thing to help you. But you must be aware, that this is a unbelievably risk for me to take. Humanation will not hesitate to kill me, as soon as anyone sees what I am."

Ming nodded: "That is possibly true. But I promise I will do all in my power to protect you. You helped me and I learned we don't have to be enemies. I learned to have faith in you so isn't it time that you have some faith in me? Furthermore this is not about us. It is about -you could even say- the truth!"

Hikari respirated: "I can't disagree with you. You are absolutly right with all you said and this research is deeply faszinating. I just don't know if I am unselfish enough to do it."

Ming noticed Hikari scretched pensively here neck. She had to be really thinking about it. Ming herself was not as sure about it as she would have liked to present herself. Hikari's implants did not end to cause Ming revulsion. But it was true: Hikari was the expert Ming needed, if she wanted to investigate the evolution of Goon. And it was worth the risk. Hikari stared motionless in the air for a while and looked eventually back at Ming: "Okay, you have won... Professor Ming Guang you have won. Science is worth it, even if there was nothing else of any value. I will accompany you until the project is completed. I will call Syfor to give us a ride."

Riano snaped awake by a blaring siren. Groaning he tried to get on his feet, quickly realising that he could not, because he was floating. Apperently the drive had fail. A tiny voice anouncement declared: "Damage on the outer mantle. Mantle threatens to breach. Damage on the outer mantle. Mantle threatens to breach."

He draw a breath and sprang toward the control panel to find a way to analyse the damage. Luckily the display already showed the damaged section. The front roof right next to the screen seemed to be hit. This was probably the reason why the drive was disabled. Riano tried to find a voice message system but failed cursing.

Repining he floated toward the space suit next to the air lock. He ransack through the drawers for some tool, drunk some water and started to get in the suit. He was a arms officer and not a tinsmith, he moaned to himself. However he had to learn such things in the basic training and so the entered the air lock and floated secured with a line outside.

He soar along the upper section. But there was no way how he could tell what was defect and what was not. Everything just looked scrambled together. It amazed him that this ship made by such uneven, unfitting patched plates was able to do anything let alone float. He had not believed that high technology chould be build using so junk-like components. There was a dangling cable, maybe that was the damage. He turned himself towards it. He stumbled startled. That was not a cable that was the line, supposed to hold him. A sudden jerk stroke and the ship bolt with maximum acceleration away from under him.

"What the...!" he cried. Sighing he only thought: "Deficent!", while the ship disappeared in a space time warp and left him stranded in a space suit.

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