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“Is there a possibility that this Dragon could be acting as a double agent?” The question came from within the knot of researchers.

Arkuda, former Councillor, answered this. “Though the Pan-Galactic Imperium is currently in conflict with some Dragons, we Dragons don’t and can’t fully operate along lines of human politics. In this age, I’m the one who’s practiced the most political involvement, for our continued mutually beneficial cooperation. Dragons on the whole are concerned with their own matters, of which the Imperium may be a part, and our individual responsibilities rest above our answerability to each other. We have demands according to our elements. It’s the way of our existence, or our nonexistence.

“Acamar’s interest with us will serve Acamar, and what you ask is more a question of whether Acamar’s interest in this case also serves anyone else. Whether or not these nuances of motivation will be accounted for by authority as it will stand for us, possibly without my voice – for that I can’t speak. As critical as matters are, I had to tend to myself after this injury – my worst in twenty human generations – and I couldn’t do that while promising to act in an increasingly fraught political role. The healing scar you see is my own evidence of fondness toward humanity.

“I do grieve for some that died in Acamar’s emergence; I worked with the Queen Ascendant for some time. I also haven’t met this one, and the curiosity of first meetings between Dragons can be powerful. I’m interested in collaborating despite complications, and we may not need to worry overmuch about direct factional motives – if perhaps consequences of interrelation.”

“If they decide to view us as traitors, couldn’t they jail us, rob us for our work, and get it all for free?”

“The companies protecting us wouldn’t like that. They might not be able to get what they want through other hands, and not the way they want it. There’s some reality-bending stuff that happens when this much interest leans hard in its favor.” This was the moment when Bux Woollibee actually said something.

“Plus,” Wendel Harper pointed out, “don’t we have the Princess, a Councillor, and General Alisandre, top official of the armed forces aboard – when it comes to clout in favor of the leniency of understanding?”

“Ehhhm, dubious current status of these titles if I understand correctly,” trailed in Rosy Glow.

“Not the Scion Princess,” quipped Draig Claymore.

“Even me, ultimately.” This was followed by a small silence.

“We do have the most powerful parent company possible, which created this place and put us in it,” Arjun mused with a finger to his temple. “Just building the Arch may have been more difficult, let me tell you, than protecting it, its participants, and its products. Maybe. Hopefully.”

“It sounds like our greatest voices of reason are ready to throw caution to the wind.” The conversation popcorned around a tense room, tones wavering from wary to excited.

“Such case being that on the wind lays the greatest measure of caution.” Draig with the classic strategic perspective, from deep in the books.

It seemed that opinions had been weighed. “For my part,” began Soleil, “I carry a weighty grievance in this matter – the loss of my mother – over all the wide-scale events pertinent to this. And, I have already faced Acamar, the details of which belong to no one else. I taught er something about humanity, and ‘e taught me something about emself. You see me here before you now. If I faced er, maybe you can, in order to do what needs to be done. Does ‘e know I’m here?” To this last question, Rosy Glow didn’t answer.

“It sounds like we know what we want to do,” said Arjun, “but we’ll give this an additional moment of grace. I’m going to the Peak. Finish your thinking or have any discussion necessary, and bring it to me if need be.”

“I’ll go with him,” said Rosy Glow, “and remain ready to bring your word to Acamar. Do be aware that er presence is nigh because you’re the ones broaching the Dragon’s own element. It’s not like I can make er do anything ‘e doesn’t want to do.”

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