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Karma Ilacqua: I wasn’t expecting a call from you. This seems like a costly exception.

Arys Steinman: Correct, this is an emergency call from underwater.

KI: What kind of emergency?

AS: There’s a new appearance in the vicinity, somewhere in the air you won’t have noticed. On that vessel are people who need to come to us with the shipment.

KI: Oh, wow. Now we have mystery passengers? That sounds so potentially complicated.

AS: We wouldn’t ask you to compromise the current priority if it weren’t of approximately equal importance.

KI: Of equal importance in a multi-corporation versus fanatics standoff over a hidden advanced research facility.

AS: Yes.

KI: Send me the data. We have to do this?

AS: You have to do this.

KI: You’re lucky I found us an elite team.

AS: I expect that of you by now. You don’t disappoint.

KI: Your gin is in that shipment, you know.

AS: We are all hoping the best for the success of this transfer, myself for multiple reasons.

Karma brought the newly-informed strategy to Captain Wendel Harper elsewhere aboard Drift X. The ship was posing as a momentary standoff substitute, replacing one and ready to be replaced by another when called. Normal enough amongst the motley private forces present, including the supply exchange which brought them their goal objective. The shipment capsule was aboard, with auto-nav capability in case it needed to make its own way to its destination. The Foundational threat remained stoic. The change in plans presented a danger spike, but that was within their contract. They needed to pick someone up. They could do that, and Drift X had a special edge that suited the occasion. “It could be less difficult than you think,” responded the captain, “We can keep your secrets if you can keep ours.”

Karma factored this into her processing: secret means of locomotion. Just her kind of thing, actually. “This is all secret. It’s a layer cake of secrets. It’s secret who we’re picking up.”

“It’s secret how we’re picking them up.” Wendel delivered this with eye contact confirmation.

“And it’s secret what we’re bringing, and that we’re bringing it.” The boss ladies did some extended nodding to each other. Karma clarified by continuing, “We won’t be needing to say anything to others about what we see. Our contract confirms this.”

“We are professionals of just this kind.”

“Yes. I feel comfortable riding with you.” Not much was comfortable about this situation, so Ilacqua’s ordinary statement came across as extreme placid bravado. Her additional presence also piqued a sense of very high stakes, beyond that which was already evident. Starweavers live in this zone. So does Karma.

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