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Under the magnifying glass

Under the magnifying glass, the graphite slowly, carefully, became an exact point, delicate, precise. Carefully, Micron placed the writing instrument in his left hand with his teeth, wrapping two fingers around it, holding it steady against the remaining two. With the stump of his other arm, he steadied himself against the table, as he continued to design the mechanism on paper.

Such activity was his only solace these days, for no one would allow him to create, only repair. “By Hades!” he grunted as the fine point crumbled, breaking as he put it to parchment. Carefully, slowly, he started the whole process over again.

Knock knock, came the sound from the door behind him. He didn’t bother to answer.

The latch turned, allowing a man to enter.

After a few moments, Micron said, “Yes, what is it.”

“Sir, your presence is required.”

Now they want me.

Carefully laying down his writing instrument, lining it up with everything else, Micron stood, placing his most disfigured arm within the folds of his clothes, letting the other hand fall at his side.

Fool’s errand

Following the messenger, Micron thought, a fool’s errand. He’d worked out in his mind, to within a margin of error sufficient for the purpose, that the probability of success of even finding the Tech Wizard was less than 20 percent at best. Knowing his old master as he did, their plans were already seen and the permutations calculated with fiendish accuracy. We won’t get within a hundred leagues of his lair, Micron mused, trying not to imagine all the grisly ways they might die.

Wrought iron hinges creaking, his escort held the door open as he entered the room full of enemies. No matter. He was used to it.

He saw Tane, that big oaf, seated at the head of the table with his Kumite whore at his side. To the other side, sat a black man, Edenite by the looks of him, and his consort. EdenitesUnpredictable, Micron thought. To the right of both of them, sat a mindtalker, and….a Hadite? Shock ran through his body. By Hades! This isn’t possible. What is going on here? A unsettling feeling gripped his mind then his stomach. Error…too much error.

Sitting down in the chair offered, he said nothing.

Let’s begin

Tane got up and addressed the room. “We are waiting for a few more to arrive, but I’ll start introducing those present before we begin. My name is Tane, myself and my crew will be escorting the Seraph Hunter team over the Burnt Sea to the south port, where they’ll meet our Hadite contact. This is my first mate, Meandra. While in the air, you will all take direction from her as you would me.” Looking over to the big black man, he said, “Derek, would you like to introduce yourself?”

The large man looked around and stood up. “I’s Derek,” then sat.

A young woman with delicate features next to Derek, who looked much too young to be there, stood and curtsied. “I’m Fallon. Pleased to meet you all.”

Next, Micron saw the pointed-eared tree lover stand and, looking around the room intensely, finally say, “I am Komae, Forest Warden.” Gesturing to the small woman to her right, she said, “This is my charge, Meha. She is under my protection.”

Tane stood again. “At the end of the table is Micron, he will be your tech advisor. He is on loan from Elysia for the duration of this mission. He is a war criminal from the Great Rebellion, but has been working off his debt by providing support in his areas of expertise.”

Tane paused, looking at Micron. Micron said nothing.

Happily late

Just then, the door opened and a tall blond walked in, smiling. On her arm was a small woman with intelligent eyes who surveyed the room.

Tane, looking slightly annoyed, said, “Welcome Brenzel of Eden and Hatty, glad you both could make it. Please, have a seat and introduce yourselves.”

Genuinely surprised, Micron looked up from his indifference at the blond woman. The seraph that has Beauty’s hat!

“I’m so sorry, I was delayed, I didn’t know my friend was here. I am Brenzel.”

“I am Hatshepsut, but you may call me Hatty. Glad to meet you all. And it was my fault,” the short woman added quickly, “my apologies for any delay.”

Then behind them both, a tall, well-built man with a beard and penetrating eyes walked in.

Micron’s blood ran cold, wishing he could find a crack in the floor to disappear in to.

Tane smiled and bowed toward the tall gentleman. “Welcome 3, thank you for coming. I’ll let you take it from here.”

In the House of the Inventor – Steampunk Orchestral Music