119.1 \ 311

This is something that this ancient Dragon had never done before, one eye on the Fray and one eye in the Tabula Rasa, lending an ear to both, scribbling glyphs with a tailtip. Even a life as long as this continues to be interesting. In this moment, Arkuda shared an actual physical place with Saga on a planet, while they both hosted the same corner of the Tabula Rasa where they related with other unaffiliated Dragons. Arkuda split er perception between the Kao-Sidhe lawyer-pundits and the exiled Red Nexus Dragons inhabiting a separate part of the plaine, brazenly willing to talk with the newly unaffiliated ex-Councillor.

Arkuda had done it this time – signed off from the Viridian Phasing and gone out into the unaffiliated universe, leaving the Pan-Galactic Imperium. This held the best possible likelihood of brokering some form of resolution, so ‘e went to see if ‘e could find it where ‘e hadn’t yet dared go. It all came together, in that moment, when crossing into that zone. Found those of good connection, those who would open the way, who had been thinking similar thoughts. They were here and as ready as Arkuda for whatever would happen next.

These worlds were different; these worlds also deserved presence. The unaffiliated Dragons had been variously welcoming in areas of the Tabula Rasa. When Saga offered assistance with structured communication, it was a crowning benediction that gave Arkuda full motivation of pursuit. Depending on the outcome, this could be the last thing the Dragon sunlight ever does for the Pan-Galactic Imperium; a love letter, a farewell note, one last try for people Arkuda had been aiding for an age or two. This Dragon had often grown fond of people that love working with er, again thinking back to the folk that named er a dog-horse.

118.3 \ 310

Pliskin nodded carefully as he accepted the chip from Princess Soleil. “Mm-hm. Okay.” He was giving her plenty of credit. He wasn’t there to make argument or take control; he didn’t need to in order to get something, because she was here to give something. If they exited this situation in one piece, that would be good. “A few of the properties I’m dealing in may have immediate market impacts that reach you, wherever you might be. I am very pleased to meet you, Princess Ascendant Soleil, Magus. You can call me Ravl, or Pliskin, or The Ravl Pliskin. Would you like to let me know if there is any weight of interest related to your endeavors?”

Soleil took a pause to assess the invitation, and decided that divulging a fragment might give her an ace in the hole, somewhere along the way. “Vibrational sciences,” she said.

Just then, an unexpected sight greeted them at the windows. A small riderless vehicle unlike any in human manufacture bobbed in the air outside the top floor of the building, where it could get their attention. Though it looked as if it were trying to blend in, it also flashed its name repeatedly in its outward display.

MOONSHADOW
MOONSHADOW
MOONSHADOW

“Moonshadow!” exclaimed Soleil. “Oh, wow – can we get this… buddy, somewhere safe…?”

“This is your buddy?” asked Pliskin, curiosity strongly piqued.

“This is my mount,” answered the Princess. Karma nodded to Ravl.

“And you,” he addressed to Karma, “also know her buddy?” Karma nodded again. “And I… could meet this friend of yours.” His thoughts worked quickly. “There’s a balcony on the other wall, with slide-open panels. It could scooch right in.”

“Onto the tile?” Soleil shrugged off her own consideration; Moonshadow floats, and didn’t look dirty. “It is intelligent,” she said with a tone of caution, “and well behaved.”

“Good, good. Yes,” was the reply. With a flutter of breezes, Moonshadow made a polite entrance, turning on its rainbow lights when it came inside.

“You can talk to it if you like. It is an it, according to it.” Soleil let Ravl have a mini freakout, exchanging pleased introductions with the vehicle. With a play of fondness over her face, the Princess unzipped her suit’s glove compartments, shook out the vacuumed control gloves and slipped them on. She walked up and laid glove to handlebar, and Moonshadow pulsed warmly. “You can explain later,” she said to the sled. To Pliskin, she said, “You have the information I’ve given you.” He nodded, and petted the machine where she gestured that he may pat. To Karma, she said, “I’ll go my own way from here. Thank you for being in touch.” She engaged the connections and awakened additional systems. Soleil rolled out the hood in the suit, got it form fitted over her head, extended the hardening visor and pulled it down. She turned on the Vedani suit’s chameleon camouflage. Against the sky, she looked slightly transparent and reflective, a fully covered and essentially invisible rider. “Let’s go, Moonshadow my friend.” Out through the opened section doors, they flew together.

118.2 \ 310

The two exited the flyer and crossed the rooftop toward an entrance to the top level. “I actually am pleased to see you again so soon,” said the other. When they got inside the hallway, Karma kindly averted her eyes so that Soleil could adjust her projection to show herself as herself. In this provided, private space, she had decided to meet Ravl Pliskin face to face, to see if she could initiate some helpful arrangements. She wore her Vedani piloting suit plainly. Next to her, Karma Ilacqua was in fresh togs and well-heeled boots. “You really know how to make things happen.”

“Thank you, it is my chosen profession. This also precipitates a rare opportunity to meet with my boss. I haven’t seen him for a while, but in my experience he’s been easy to talk to, a good communicator. Go ahead and deliver it straight, whatever you’re coming to say or ask. He can handle it.” Wasting no time, Karma prompted their progress down the hallway. They went smoothly and without too much hurry.

They reached a windowed atrium, where Ravl Pliskin stood sipping from a glass of water. He turned and took a few steps to meet them. Looking Princess Ascendant Soleil in the eyes, Pliskin said nothing, standing ready to listen. He asked no questions, and made no remarks or unnecessary implications. Ilacqua saw that he didn’t trouble with niceties, and also left the air clear for the Princess. Soleil smiled with relief before taking a breath to speak.

“You have a very large deal or set of deals underway. I myself witnessed the final results, for what I could understand of them. You also have powerful holdings that may be affected by dramatic shifts in associated markets. Much is changing as we speak. Your subsidies can aid or slow the systems dependent upon them. I know that you know all these things, but I am reiterating, for you, my knowledge of them; so you may understand from whence this thought process originates.” Ravl nodded with clear understanding. Soleil produced an encased chip and presented it before her. “I made you some charts and graphs. These may communicate to you the market factors I can perceive from the information I have learned. These are for you, specifically. I can say this to you right now: buy at a bargain, sell at a premium.”

118.1 \ 310

“I got the data at the Women in Business Relief Assistance afterparty. It was heavy and hush-hush, but each one teach one. My state-of-the-art Iljen prototype minicom figured it out without a problem, so I’ve had this really reliable side channel for a little while now. I know that some of us began to inquire into its origins, and it spoke back – or, the admins spoke through it. Maybe a little bit of both; it was a nominal and mysterious introduction. I felt that I might be seeing something interesting come from this little gadget. Then a verifiable communication from an agent of an agent bearing one of your seals, requesting to activate receptivity through a secret line built in. I decided this would be worth participation.” Karma Ilacqua broke into a smirk. “So that came from you in the first place, did it. Didn’t we just see each other?”