67.2 \ 249

This building of a vessel was made to go where none else could go, and do what none else had done. Every corner of it was exciting. Danger added spice to thrills, sure, but Karma could see here why additional danger was unnecessary. This wasn’t made of proven concepts, this was proof of concept.

From the Arch a core crew was present for the welcoming, plus a scatter of other recipients. There was the Dragon Arkuda, looking gouged but healed, in scaly humanoid form. Arjun Woollibee, the customary knowledgable receiver, stood with an elbow on the shoulder of the Hoopoe, who mildly allowed it. Arys Steinman wore his formal touches for important business and old friends.

Recipients were called on an outward display, and people came forward in snappy fashion to retrieve their addressed items from the shipping capsule conveyor. The amazing visitors drew attention, but this had to be done. This was a high-stakes drop, even if some people were receiving mundane supplies, and there was tension in their movements.

Arys opened his package in that room in front of everyone, hoisting his gin and marveling at the cookies. He cradled these both as he went to strike up a merry conversation with Karma. His part in this orchestration was complete, he could just watch now. They each had a cookie and a capful while they watched. They hadn’t been expecting to be able to share that with each other in person.

Derringer and the Hoopoe pointed at each other like they were dangerous elements, yet smiling. It was the Hoopoe’s turn to go up for his box, which was a manageable armful. He hoisted it, weighed it, and sniffed it. He didn’t feel like defying unimpressed looks with justifiable explanation. None of them cared if the doohickey was pretty, they might not even think so. He was ready to glory in it, as he furtively absconded under watchful gazes without added delay. He’s going to make music like it’s the only thing that’ll fix this crazy world.

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