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The third mekani leaped away, and the dust swirled. Behind each of the several Aquarii enveloped in radiance, regular-sized blue orbs sparked into electricity. The nearby people who saw them first started up the exit chant: “Hey hey, ho ho, we won’t put up with it anymore!”

At this signal, they scrambled up from the ground and formed small clumps around group guides holding a tall object up high. Then they linked hands again, and hustled, group by group, toward the nearest glowing orb shielded by an Aquari. Small group organization was easier to manage chaotically. For each set of hands linked, just one person had to touch the orb, and they’d be netted out.

Bright Wave, Soft Sand, Sharp Talon, and the others gave the greatest last ounce of their defensive intensity to these moments of egress. The pilots facing them had to ride out the storm in the procedural stasis of instrument and sense confusion.

The sounds of human passage died down until Bright Wave felt the arrival of an empty breeze. Turning her head to look, she saw that it was just them left across the area between the fence and the distant hovers. The glint of a glowing zerite chip embedded in a boltball caught the corner of her eye. Its presence had been boosting her amplitude, and she said goodbye to it. Still holding her pendant high, she backed toward her orb, seeing the others do the same. Once Bright Wave was close enough to touch the orb, she cast a piercing white light in front her and disappeared behind it, as did the others.

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