Intermission: Audience of Crowns
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Twinkle, twinkle shining star
Tumbling 'bove the Earth so far
Will and will in constant dance
Ever in your nightly prance


Quarseta couldn't decide which was more beautiful; the stars shining above her, or the planet shining below her.

tsa-Fanu's swirling colors wrapped around her, shielding her from the vacuum. The burning light of the sun was visible in the corner of her eye, and the marbled sky glowed from below her. Tiny pinpricks of light were visible in all directions.

It all served to contrast nicely with the constant bickering she heard in the back of her head.

"…Please, yen-Suisei, I'm begging you to reconsider. Just think of the prestige you will receive when we return home; you will be one of the few beings to ever enter a world as alien as this and return."

"Heh, prestige for you and the rest of your damnable misfits, perhaps, Paneu. I am a man of profit and power. Your proposition would grant me neither."

"And if you stay? What does this world have to offer you?"

"Have you not been listening? Profit and power. This old husk only has so much resistance in it, and once it gives out, I will finally be able to pilot it to the planet below."

"And you truly think that this rock is more valuable than home?" Atanti's patience was clearly growing thin.

"Allow me to put it this way; back home, I was a powerful man with many enemies. Are so powerless that I could crush them like insects. We are as gods compared to them."

Atanti seemed to be trying very hard not to tear into yen-Suisei. Quarseta wondered for a moment if she meant that thought figuratively or literally.

"What's the matter, Paneu? Out of bargaining material? Not surprising. All you have is a half-child and a performer without an audience."

The moment hung suspended in orbit.

"Hmp." Atanti snorted. "Well, I guess there's nothing I can do to help you, then. Come on then, let's leave the 'god' to his conquest. We'll see how well he fares."

As tsa-Fanu pulled them back towards the Earth, Quarseta felt a radioactive tingling in the back of her head while another voice whispered to her. The words were foreign and laden with static, but the meaning was still there.

"You're like me, little one. Remember that you're not one of them. Don't give in to your Presence."


Twinkle, twinkle shining spear
Tumbling 'bove the Earth so near
A single heart to stay your hand
'Fore you strike the Jailers' land

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