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Chapter 40: “War On Two Worlds” pt. When alien monsters attacked Vancouver, nobody expected to learn that the human race may be the most dangerous life-forms in the galaxy. See today’s and all-time popular content. Rules and expectations, code of conduct, etc. The stars flickered like a missing frame in a badly cut amateur movie. A different sun, its light a little whiter and harsher than Cimbreanstar’s gentle orange, in a different corner of the sky.
Xiù’s helmet conspired to keep its light from blinding her. Allison reported, for the log’s benefit rather than for the crew’s. Her hand hovered above the emergency recall button and she stared up at the sensor panel like a gazelle drinking from crocodile-concealing murky waters. Even the ship seemed to hold her breath. But I think we might be good. Allison sounded relieved over the line from engineering.
There was the peculiar heavy clang through the hull of a little pressurized gasp of their air being released to blast the beacon microsat out from its launch tube. Ten kilometers out the beacon spat into life and the spacetime around it pinched, twisted, collapsed and deposited twenty tonnes of badly-named Gaoian starship in their lap. Xiù cleared her throat and hit the local radio. Allison muttered over the internal line. They got Daar’s enthusiastic rumble back in reply. Xiù told him with a smile. Are you going to follow us in manually, or slaved?
Aww, I always listen to a strong female! Xiù took her hand off the send button long enough to laugh disbelievingly and shake her head before replying. Alright, leash yourself to my nav you giant furry flirt. Julian chuckled on the internal line.
Xiù replied for both their benefit, and loaded their planned warp down to Akyawentuo itself. They’d weighed the risks and benefits of a slower-than-light approach, but even the quickest such orbit would have taken weeks. In the end, expediency had prevailed. Better to go now while they were sharp and ready, than have to while away days of travel time and maybe get caught napping if something went wrong. There was no other visual indication at first, until she became aware that one of the brighter motes of light she could see was drifting across the sky faster than the others.
It flashed past unguessably far away to her right, and when she looked away from it she found that the sun had moved. Just an inch or two, but it was drifting as well. Then it was drifting a little faster. They couldn’t possibly land soon enough. Champion Genshi has been a zephyr for weeks. Impossible to see, impossible to catch, and you only know he’s around after he’s already gone past.