Log #207 – Confusion around ENOS

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Deception and confusion. The investigations into ENOS escalated.

A few weeks had passed since the Aaron-Halo conference, since Cäcilia Abendroth had agreed to designate a place where I was to decode the Black Data in the presence of TYR and Abendroth. Finally the message came from Valentin Benz. The meeting was to take place on the planet Hurston, at a place called Weeping Cove. He would have the Black Data and would fly with me to the meeting point. Hurston, Hurston of all places. The planet I least wanted to be on. Kjeld sent three mercenaries to protect me.

There was some confusion just before take-off. The TYR mercenaries flew independently to the rendezvous point instead of together with me. And Valentin didn’t have the Black Data after all. He said Cäcilia wouldn’t hand it over and would come in person.

As we approached Hurston, the pollution was already visible from orbit. The land mass was brown, there was no green to be seen. Even the scattered clouds had a dirty brown complexion. Valentin navigated me to Weeping Cove. He was ranting the whole time about what the fuck was going on and why TYR had to be there. He wouldn’t trust these guys.

“Do what you want with the data on Black Data. You can give it to TYR, I don’t care,” Valentin bristled. “But after the hack, I need the box. I have to hand over the Black Data to Vespula.”

Vespula was notorious. She was the Nine Tails’ torturer. A person you’d better not piss off. Then Valentin read me a poem that Vespula had given him. It was eerily beautiful. I didn’t know poetry could be so threatening. While he was reading, flames flickered across the cockpit window and my Star Runner was enveloped in a ball of fire. We entered the atmosphere of the planet Hurston.

It was only 100 km to Weeping Cove when Valentin opened his mobiglass and then said:

“Change of plan. There’s a new rendezvous point. We have to go to Zephyr.”

“Seriously? What the fuck? I’ll let TYR know.”


It was more than clear in Valentin’s voice that he didn’t approve.

“Because that’s the deal. Everyone is on site when I decrypt the Black Data.”

I sent Dethilion a text message via the Mobiglas. His reply and our brief exchange of messages were unsettling.

I don’t like last-minute changes of plan. It reeks of entrapment. Consider Valentin a possible enemy and try to get within our protection radius as soon as possible.

I’m on my way. Valentin is actually all right. I’ve been out with him before.

I know his other side.”

I glanced furtively at Valentin, who was sitting in the co-pilot’s seat with a grim expression. I wasn’t sure what role he was playing.

The Mercury Star Runner plunged into the clouds. Drops of water ran down the cockpit windshield, leaving dirty trails. A savannah landscape with scattered trees revealed itself as we broke through the lower cloud cover. I flew extra low into the denser layers of air to reduce the Star Runner’s top speed. This gave my TYR protectors time to get to the new rendezvous point before us.

Suddenly, several dots popped up on the radar.

“What’s going on at the meeting point?” I asked Valentin. “A party? There are more ships than people agreed.”

“Just fly to the settlement.”

“No. I’ll land outside. The TYR people have landed seven kilometers away from the settlement. That’s where I’m going down.”

Valentin’s voice became loud and indignant.

“You’re going straight to the settlement. You’re not landing at TYR and those guys aren’t getting on board.”

“Hey, we have an agreement. TYR is in on the deal.”

“Zero. I want this thing to be bloodless. Cecilia doesn’t want any bloodshed either.”

“I don’t want anyone to get hurt either. To make sure of that, we need to talk to TYR.”

At that moment, the Star Runner touched down in a rocky grassy landscape. The sun was low behind a hill. Only half the sphere peeked out from behind some trees. I looked to Valentin’s right and looked straight down the barrel of a rifle.

“You fly to the settlement immediately. TYR can fly there himself. I hate myself for this, but I have to do it now. There are people after me, they’re even worse than Vespula.”

Valentin’s voice was unusually sharp. I’d never heard him like that before. Was Valentin one of the bad guys after all? Or was he just under extreme pressure?

“Val, stay calm. I’ll inform TYR that there’s been a delay.”

I sent Dethilion a text message.

Valentin is threatening me with a gun. He wants me to fly to the settlement and follow her.

Zero, we have to get you out of there.

Now he’s put the gun away. Come to our radio frequency 189.”

Valentin had lowered the gun. I still wasn’t reassured. He was still standing next to me and looking at me grimly. I got up from the pilot’s seat and went to the door. Valentin murmured at me.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m fucking thirsty. And after what you did, I need something strong.”

Without paying any further attention to Valentin, I went into the Star Runners’ common room. As soon as the door was closed behind me, I opened a hidden entrance and disappeared into the secret smuggler corridors. Meanwhile, the TYR mercenaries were in the radio circle, negotiating with Valentin. I crawled on all fours through the narrow, red-lit shafts until I reached a hidden access to the cargo hold. Relieved to have almost reached the ship’s exit, I opened it. But I flinched back. Valentin was standing in front of the locked cargo ramp. It was the only exit from my ship.

What should I do now? Get a weapon and overpower Valentin? Then I heard the sound of the loading ramp opening. I went into the cargo hold and two TYR mercenaries came on board. It was Navaja and Dethilion.

We stood in the cargo hold and negotiated with Valentin about how to proceed. One thing was clear, the Abendroth party had not kept to the agreements. Quite apart from the last-minute change of meeting point, there were too many people and ships in the settlement. Three from Abendroth and three from TYR had been agreed.

While we were negotiating, Valentin sent me a text message. He had received information that TYR wanted to kill me. Shortly afterwards, I received a text message from Dethilion. It said that the Abendroth people wanted to kill me and that I should board TYR’s Redeemer immediately. It was getting more and more confusing. My head was spinning. Who else could I trust? I decided that I was only safe on board my White Rabbit. Besides, the truth about ENOS had to come out and for that I needed the data from the Black Data. I insisted on staying on board.

We finally agreed that Cäcilia should come to our position with a rover. But then it turned out that Darius, the head of security for the Abendroth family, wasn’t there as announced. Instead, Ray Keaton was sitting in the rover with Cäcilia. Ray Keaton was a problem, he wanted to get down my throat. Dethilion also knew that Ray was a threat. Ray’s presence changed everything.

Dethilion talked wildly to Valentin and finally persuaded him to go with him to the TYR spaceship. Finally, everyone was off my ship. I closed the rear ramp and took a deep breath. It was totally confusing. Everything was going differently than planned. Just as I had taken my place in the pilot’s seat, I received a text message from Dethilion.

TAKE OFF NOW! We’ll handle the data differently.

Unable to move, I sat in the pilot’s seat. My body refused to start the ship. I didn’t want to leave Valentin behind. Somehow I had the feeling that he wasn’t playing an evil game, but was being controlled by others. Valentin was also one of the Free Riders of Stanton, just like me. He wasn’t actually a bad guy. At least I thought so. On the radio, I heard the conversation between Valentin and Dethilion escalate. There was a disagreement between them, then a shot was fired.

Dethilion had shot Valentin. I looked out of the cockpit window in horror. To the right of my White Rabbit, I saw TYR’s Redeemer. She had changed position. Her weapons were pointing right at my ship. I was shocked and didn’t know what to believe. Who was friend and who was foe?

“Fly off to MIC-L2 and take Navaja with you.”

The tone of Dethilion’s order shook me up. I immediately launched the White Rabbit and thundered off in the direction of MIC-L2, without Navaja. I could still hear Dethilion trying to revive Valentin over the radio. The planet Hurston quickly became smaller behind me. When I crossed the Aaron Halo asteroid belt, I stopped and hid among the millions of asteroids. I needed time to think. I needed someone I could trust.


It wasn’t long before Hermieoth responded to my message and came to my position in the asteroid belt. After getting drunk with Brubacker, he was drunk as a skunk and staggering uncontrollably through my ship. I had just told Hermieoth everything when a message came from Valentin. Valentin’s imprint had been transferred to a new body after his passing. I didn’t know if it was an after-effect of the regeneration, or if he was really desperate. He offered to come to me alone to decode the Black Data. Naked if necessary to show that he was unarmed.

However, I couldn’t decrypt the data without TYR. They were not only encrypted with the XiTo code, but also with a VitalCode. TYR had this VitalCode, but I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone. In a final attempt to get the data after all, I called in Kjeld over the radio. But Kjeld refused to meet again after breaking the agreement.

I decided to stay in the Aaron Halo asteroid belt and under the radar for the time being. I had made one thing clear to everyone. If there was to be another attempt to decode the Black Data, it would only be on my terms. After Hermieoth had departed, I went to bed.


The beeping of my Mobi glass woke me up. It was a message from Kjeld. Sleepily, I rubbed the tiredness from my eyes.

In order to resolve the matter peacefully, I will contact the Abendroths’ head of security directly, as well as GRIMA, who could reorganize the order situation between Vespula and Valentin so that there is no conflict of interest. With good communication, we can then open Black Data with the conditions you requested. For tonight, Thane McMarshall has assigned me to help gather evidence regarding the illegal ENOS research. We need another hacker to meet us in MIC-L2. From there we set off to hack the commarray, for which we have chosen suitable means. In the end, Thane McMarshall will secure the central computer of the ENOS research staff so that we can paralyze the control system of the bio bots and search the system (program called Immortalitas) for evidence. Are you on board?

What a question, of course I was on board when it came to uncovering the dark machinations behind ENOS. ENOS was a weapon. ENOS was a danger, especially for everyone who was not part of the UEE, for the free peoples, for people like me. I also trusted Kjeld and I got the information that a test of ENOS was planned on a terminally ill person. The test was to be shown publicly at Harpers Point, supported by the Abendroth family. Someone was trying to sell ENOS as a panacea. That couldn’t be true. I was given the code name ‘Crypto’ for the upcoming campaign. I had to smile. The name fitted.

Kjeld had assigned Navaja to protect me. I met Navaja on the space station at MIC-L2. We were standing at the hot dog stand, fortifying ourselves for the mission, when I heard a familiar voice. It was Husky. He was out with Ella and Hermieoth looking for Brubacker.

“What’s wrong with Brubacker? Has he been kidnapped again?” I asked jokingly.

“We don’t know. But it’s not impossible. He disappeared without a trace after a drink with Hermieoth.”

I briefly told Husky what had happened the day before. It turned out that Ella was in the settlement with the Abendroth group.

“We scanned all the people who were on the Abendroth side and classified them as threats. They’re all on a shoot on sight list now,” Navaja said.

“Ella is not a threat. She’s a totally lovely person,” I replied, horrified.

“Then let’s talk to her and sort this out.”

On board Husky’s Carrack, we met Ella and Hermieoth. Navaja had a few questions for Ella. However, Hermieoth kept interrupting him. Hermieoth was furious because Valentin had been shot by TYR. He attacked Navaja quite sharply. But Navaja remained calm. He calmly tried to clear up what had happened. But he was unable to convince Hermieoth.

“Valentin was a danger to Zero. He threatened him with a weapon. We had to take him out. But that wasn’t the plan. There was no intention to kill him. I no longer see Ella as a threat. I will arrange for her to be taken off the list.”

“That’s good about Ella,” Husky said in a calm voice. “How we deal with Valentin is something we FROS will have to sort out internally.”

“TYR’s methods are excessive. I can’t condone it.”

Hemieoth couldn’t stop ranting. Finally he calmed down a little and added:

“We’re flying to Harpers Point now. That’s the last time I saw Brubacker. And let’s see what this public test by ENOS is all about. “

The crew took off for Harpers Point and Navaja got the message that we should deactivate the comm array now. We set off in a small shuttle, a Piscis.

As we flew towards the comm array, I stood at the open rear ramp of the Piscis and looked out at the stars. Navaja started counting backwards. On his command, I was to jump out of the flying ship. It was strangely quiet. We had long been within range of the defense towers, but they weren’t firing.

I reached the interior of the comm array without any problems. The indicator lights on the maintenance terminal were green. The system must be active. I took my hacking chip and tried to insert it into the slot. Somehow it didn’t fit. I turned the chip and tried the other way round. The chip was too wide. I could turn it any way I wanted, it didn’t fit into the slot.

“Navaja, the hacking chip doesn’t fit. I can’t deactivate the comm array. Direct access via the terminal doesn’t work either.”

“OK. I’ll inform Commander Stormanson and pick you up.”

A short time later we boarded the Hammerhead from TYR. I was assigned the upper turret. While we were still circling the space station, orbiting the planet Microtech, I received a message from Hermieoth.

“We were attacked at Harpers Point without warning. Ella and Husky are injured. We are retreating to our Carrack. This is unbelievable. First they publicly invite us to take part and then they just shoot.”

After a brief consultation with Kjeld, I replied to Hermieoth.

“We’re coming to Harpers Point too. Keep a low profile. TYR will secure the settlement.”

The Hammerhead dived down to the planet Microtech and set course for Harpers Point. It was pitch black and I couldn’t see anything from the turret. After a long flight, Dethilion reported in.

“There are several carracks in the settlement. Which one is that of your people Zero?”

“I’ll tell them to signal with the searchlight.”

I radioed Husky and a minute later Dethilion got back to me.

“All right, I can see them now. And I see a Ballista air defense system. Everyone. Shut it down!”

The Hammerhead’s turrets fired. A rain of red laser flashes pelted the Ballista. Seconds later, a yellow fireball lit up the night. For a brief moment, I could see trees in the distance. Then I looked back into the blackness of the night. At that moment, two carracks took off from the settlement. We landed just outside and the TYR mercenaries disembarked to secure the settlement. I stayed in the turret.

I didn’t notice much. At some point we took off again. The Abendroth family had probably fled with the Carrack. And we were given the location of a bunker where the ENOS test was to take place. On the way to the bunker, we made a stopover to meet a supply troop. We landed on a snowfield surrounded by brown hills. Snow-capped mountains rose majestically on the horizon.

I was still sitting in the turret, waiting for things to happen. There seemed to be some kind of conversation going on, but I couldn’t hear any of it. Bored, I scanned the sky for unknown ships. My eyes almost closed when I was suddenly startled by an explosion. I turned the turret and saw the supply squad’s ambulance spaceship burning in the snow. Then the transport ship next to it exploded. No enemy contact was indicated on the radar. When I looked up, I saw a fighter firing at us. The Hammerhead’s shields lit up blue. It took a while for my turret’s weapons to align, then I pressed the fire button. The turret vibrated as the 4 laser repeaters sent a staccato of laser flashes towards the fighter. More of the Hammerhead’s turrets started firing. The whole ship shook. It was a deafening noise. The fighter retreated.

Suddenly everything became very hectic. They said we had no more time. Everything ran past me like a movie being played in fast-forward. At some point we flew towards a bunker. Several spaceships were in the air. Laser flashes danced back and forth between the ships. It was total chaos. Then I heard Kjeld on the radio.

“Crypto, get out. We need to get into the bunker and secure the main computer.”

Seconds later, I was running across a green-brown field towards a building. In front of me was someone from TYR, behind me Kjeld. Suddenly sparks danced wildly around me. The earth seemed to explode. Then it went dark.


I woke up, at least I thought I was waking up. It was somehow different from waking up. It was strange, it felt disturbing. I had a terrible headache and my whole body seemed to be on fire. I slowly became aware of my surroundings. Dressed only in a blue hospital gown, I was lying on a bed. Scanners surrounded the bed. The room had white walls and a cupboard with light blue doors and drawers against the wall. It contained medical equipment.

I got up with difficulty and went to the window. The view outside was obscured by a closed shutter. I pressed a switch. The shutter clattered upwards. I looked in amazement at a world of pink clouds with houses floating in them. Orison, I was in the cloud city of Orison on the planet Crusader. How the hell had I gotten here?

The screen at the foot of my bed revealed the terrifying truth. My imprint was activated. I was no longer myself, I was a copy. A new body after my old one had been destroyed at the bunker. I felt dizzy.

What had happened? And what about the others? I looked at the intercom and found a statement from a Professor Mark Gilbert. He was head of the Department of Bio-Bot Engineering at Eldfjall University. He proudly announced that the ENOS test on the terminally ill patient had been successful. ENOS would be able to cure previously unconquerable diseases. The whole thing was still at an early stage, but MicroTech’s innovation office would take on the project and develop ENOS into a panacea over the next ten years.

Then I found a press release from the Abendroth company. It also mentioned the ENOS test and that it had been approved. It also said that there had been indications of sabotage attempts beforehand, which turned out to be true. However, the attacks were successfully repelled. Allegations that the security forces had been excessively brutal in protecting the test were now being investigated in cooperation with the authorities.

I fell back into bed in horror. Was that it? Did the world now believe that ENOS was a good thing? It was true that ENOS was originally conceived as a cure. But it had been developed into the ultimate weapon to be used against enemies of the UEE and dissidents. A weapon that would maintain power and make the powerful even more powerful.

I fell back into bed in horror. Was that it? Did the world now believe that ENOS was a good thing? It was true that ENOS was originally designed as a cure. But it had been developed into the ultimate weapon to be used against enemies of the UEE and dissidents. A weapon that would maintain power and make the powerful even more powerful.

The truth had to come to light. But how? We had lost. I still had no access to the immensely important data on the Black Data. And I didn’t know what was going on with the others. Did we still have a chance or was it over?

At that moment, my Mobiglas beeped. An encrypted message had arrived.

Code name Crypto? Commander Kjeld Stormarnson has left me an emergency contact in case he can’t reach you. According to my internal information, he is trapped deep in the Klescher and was probably kept alive by enemy forces after the failed mission.
My secret mission is to transfer a vital VitalCode to you if the commander is no longer able to do so. The circumstances are extremely sensitive and we are aware of the importance of this matter.
In the coming days, I will make every effort to ensure a clean and secure data transfer. My commander emphasized that the information is of vital importance to you. Unfortunately, however, the body whose VitalCode we read out was stolen from us last night. This complicates the situation considerably, as we cannot read the vital code again.

It wasn’t over yet.

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