Home is Where the Heartstar Is

Gunfire crackled down the hallways of the Ship of the Way as Jiana and a squadron of Auditors defended the Heartstar’s chamber. It was normally one of the most heavily-defended portions of the ship, but the unexplained power failure had caused most of its defensive systems to go offline, and now the defenders’ Wayfarer cyclemechs were all that stood between it and a group of about a dozen robots that had unfolded out of the “trade good” crates the Lorduns had brought aboard.

The robots were bulky and not quite as maneuverable as the Wayfarers, but what they lacked in agility they made up in firepower. Two Auditors were already down, as well as several of the Mob rabble who had the bad luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And then—the armored bulkhead doors they were guarding opened behind them. “What in the bodiless—?” Jiana swore, then chanced a look over her shoulder to the containment dais in the center of the room.

The Heartstar was gone.

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