63.2 \ 245

Draig could hear Dragons along these corridors, nearer and farther. They were present in many places, while being elsewhere. The etheric ventriloquism of the Viridian Phasing collective projection created a hall of mirrors across their dragonroad dimensions. Draig’s experience of this was different from the dragonroads in that he would not sublimate along pathways of coexisting occurrences of his embodied element. Only Dragons do that. This entry of himself as a human was also different from his other emergency entry, and maybe every time would have to be unique.

He had a sense of distances from dragon entities or their echoes, which were functionally the same to him. He could contact either a Dragon or their echo. They were aware of his gaze; those protecting the Pan-Galactic Imperium by participating in the Viridian Phasing had more or less chosen to respect him, if by secondarily vouched opinion. They helped him along, opening successive search doors and leading him to the next. He felt these portals open in his mind, though they were not his mind. He used his own sense of the Dragon he was searching for, his accustomed advisor Arkuda, to make successive choices of direction along these spaceless corridors. This was like nothing he’d ever experienced, yet he made his way along with self-assured determination, like when he’d been searching in the halls as a child. This was what he had to do.

A familiar sense of his Councillor colleague grew distinctly until he actually found an echo, which he rushed toward. “It’s me. There you are.” Within range, voice imprints here delivered unmistakable identity. Draig had only to project clearly for Arkuda to know who he was.

“Yes. Oh, hello.”

“You sound like you’re in a bathroom.”

“There are unusual properties to where I’m speaking from. It’s very interesting that you’re here, in this way.”

Draig opened his eyes to get an image of the people in the room: Princess Soleil undisguised, Derringer, Toller, and himself. It was an odd image for his usual context, a sparsely furnished room with mugs on the floor. He transmitted this image clearly in his mind’s eye, relying on Arkuda’s knowledge of situations to accurately assess their degree of duress. “We are traveling together unsanctioned and unrecognizably. This is off the books, everything is off the books, we’re all off the books. We need to find you. Can we get to you? I have an excellent military mini, rendered untraceable. We have to go quickly.”

The barest of pauses. “Come to the planet where you took your Alpha base academy training. Write down this triangulation and atmosphere level. It’s about to happen. Come over now.” Arkuda shut down this echo.

Draig opened his eyes with a gasp. He took the notepad and pen from Derringer’s hand and scribbled down the information he’d just received. “Let’s go,” he said. They stood, leaving their mugs.

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