Thanks to Bataav, Caellach Marellus, and John Revenent for participating.

Somewhere in Syndicate

The journey from Intaki had thus far been uneventful, save for a brief, heart-pounding moment when their ships came out of warp kissing up against a bubble. Reverse thrusters fired and the hulls keeled over like cats desperately wanting to avoid being stuffed in a carrier. Crewmen—already at alert status—had leapt to battle stations, but the bubble was abandoned, or at the very least, unmanned at that particular moment. The two ships were cloaked anyway. Rather than crawling through the bubble to the gate, they’d warped off to a celestial, returned from a different vector, and continued on their way.

“You’re quiet,” Bataav observed a while later as they neared their destination.

Sakaane swiveled her camera drones to where she supposed his Buzzard might be beside her Anathema as they flew through the black together. Usually, she was the one prompting him.

Another jump came and went and she remained silent, thoughtful. An accompanying flash of gate fire was the only hint he could see that she was still with him.

“I was just thinking,” she eventually replied with a sigh. “The comments Syagrius and others have made about IPI and I-RED. They’re…troubling. We can’t afford to be seen that way anymore.”

“We do need to do more to dissuade opinions like those.”

“Which is ironic, considering where we’re going and why. But then, I suppose it couldn’t be done all at once anyway.”

“No. And we should be mindful of how it might be perceived.”

Silence again. Then she said tightly, “Surely there’s a way to coexist as allies with I-RED while ensuring the public doesn’t see us as their ‘pet’.”