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Long-coiled and footed, a dragon glowing of sunlight was heaped against one wall of Arjun Woollibee’s control office. Manageably sized but not in true diplomatic form, ‘e was clearly injured where one side throbbed with darkness. Arkuda’s eyes were clear and fixed upon the engineer as ‘e spoke. “Your enemies have found you. They are here to attack you.” That sank in, and Arjun looked up through the cieling and several pressures of water. “There’s an unfriendly-looking reception awaiting you at the surface. Keep your new system activated, and I’ll bring you a live image.”

A flicker of appreciation for a visiting friend showed on Arjun’s face, as he acknowledged the serious situation with complete attention. The image flickered hazily into the room, beaming out from a sunstrip corner. A cluster of attack hovers were focused around some familiar-looking but nondescript open ocean, their usual surfacing point. “They look like mercenaries. I would like to think they’re Pliskin’s,” assessed Woollibee in reference to their umbrella company Plexus’ founding inventor, “but they don’t look defensively equipped, and we’ve had no notice. Did they see you?”

“They did not, I was a mere shimmer upon the water. Do you know who would want to attack you?” asked the dragon with a pained breath.

“I know who I would think of first. Given their timing, I’m almost sure,” nodded Woollibee. “Some of our research partners have disappeared, with involvement of people linked to Foundational groups. They believe humanity should stick to its foundations, and very often that means they oppose learning and discovery. They are a group only of humans… who apparently now have our surfacing coordinates.”

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