24.4 \ 206

Dispelling her thought chatter, Soleil began working into the requested guidance actions to send the vessel to their destination. Captain Wendel Harper could be heard hooting over the com as her ship spun up in ways undreamed-of. When asked what it was like working with higher-level awareness in Drift X, she smiled and said its personality hadn’t changed; it was just better at expressing itself, now.

The wavering dislocation of the jump settled into the feeling of normal presence, and people filtered up to the fore to get a view. Images of this planet haunted Soleil’s childhood. She was here for a very good reason, certainly. So many scenes, she could recall: mourning, the monument, ongoing refugee struggles. It was the birth planet of a major economic contributor, and of a notorious social enemy – an enemy who’d spent no energy on showing her personal malice, though she’d been well placed to receive it. Sturlusson was purposeful.

Next to Drift X in space was a familiar fighter ship, and she figured who was in it. Returning her gaze to the planet Hirylien, the Princess felt a rock in her gut.

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