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Approaching Drift X across the parking lot, there were three people sitting on the ground by the rear hatch. Even from here, they appeared strange, bright and motley. A couple more steps and she recognized Rosy Glow, human-sized but still enrobed in flowing colors of the sunset too diaphanous and effulgent to be mere cloth. The other two were unfamiliar, and neither looked like Dragon Food. One appeared to be wearing extraordinarily greasy coveralls, a thick layer of fine particles stuck to them, a respirator over the face, and a ballcap that read ‘Give It A Little Mo.’ The third was wearing the fluffiest harlequin outfit Wendel had ever seen, which also looked very smooth and was constantly wiggling in the breeze. The three had the impression of being both tall and short, very large but not that large, and they rose unsteadily but exuberantly as she neared them.

“Hi!!!” Rosy Glow beamed. “We figured you’d be back soon.”

“You figured right,” replied Wendel with warmth. “What can I do for you folks?”

“It’s really a matter of what we can do for you,” said the harlequin, face patch makeup wiggling with expression. “Rosy Glow informed us that you and this fine ship have recently been of great service, and it is not our way to let people go unrewarded. We don’t work well with human forms of currency, though our exchanges are ironclad, or better, of golden weave. You are a Starweaver, are you not? I have heard of you lot, you’re clever, quick, and kind.” This entity paused for a moment, hands clasped with a look of rapt interest. “Please excuse my lack of introduction! I’m the one who jiggles things to make them all fit, so call me The Jiggler.” The Jiggler curtseyed courteously, in a way that looked like they weren’t entirely sure how.

“And I’m GreezMo. I’d shake your hand, but I live inside of an engine.” The gravelly respirator-voiced person waved a grimy glove. “This is a nice ship.”

“Its name is Drift X.”

“Drift X,” intoned all three, nodding with appreciation.

“So, you’re here to return a favor?”

“Yes, maybe we can help you accomplish something. These two were the most interested in coming along. Is there something you would particularly like?”

“You know… I actually can think of something.” Wendel glanced to see someone staring from next to his vehicle, and waved. He waved back and turned to his own business. “I wonder if you could help. It’s difficult getting around the PGI these days, and it’s also a little hard getting in touch with people. I’d like to find one or two.” It was an easy answer. “First, Leiv Gruun.”

The three Kao-Sidhe in human-approximate form looked back and forth at each other, exchanging nods. “We’ll help you,” said GreezMo.

“We want to help,” said Rosy Glow.

“We believe that we can,” concluded the Jiggler. “Unusual routes are possible, via byways. But when I say unusual, we really mean it – you might not be the same again, though you,” in particular, “would be okay.”

“Probably very okay,” Rosy Glow said encouragingly.

“Those are the odds for many of the jobs I’ve taken,” said the captain, considering but nodding.

“In usual human chronology, it might not ‘take’ more time than your normal travel,” the Jiggler continued.

“We could actually make really good time,” added GreezMo eagerly.

“Seems like you know how,” Wendel responded, looking convinced. This uniquely capricious moment was seizing her, and she didn’t mind right now. “So, what do I/we do?”

“Can you think of a place where your ship can inconspicuously shrink out of existence into alternate dimensions?”

Captain Wendel furrowed her brow and looked into the corners of her mind for a moment. “I think here’s fine,” she said. “People see a lot of things happen in this parking lot. Want to come inside?”

“Honored,” chorused the Kao-Sidhe. In they all went, and if anyone noticed shortly afterward when the hot rod cargo carrier shivered and shrank out of sight standing place, then the story was theirs to tell.

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