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Criminal Carter Bay, Florida, Terra One week before the Battle of Kesteven 79; Lor Timemark 1329.7 "Whaddya mean what do I want you to do with 'em?! They came to my son's house!" Anna knew she was screaming, and she knew she sounded like an old woman when she screamed, but for once in her life she didn't care. She'd tried for weeks to reach Basil after the fighting in Freedom City during the Communion incursion; and only now, pacing back and forth so fast she was burning through yet another bedroom rug, had she finally gotten ahold of her old friend. "They tried to kill my grandson! They tried to put their filthy stinking hands on my little baby granddaughter! I want them dead! I want their whole goddamned organization dead and buried in a goddamned hole in the ground!" Basil let her rant, like a good friend should, knowing what Clock Queen was like in a righteous temper. When she was finished, Basil broke in gently. "I'll do whatever is in my power to help you, my dear Anna." His voice was warm and soothing, the perfect veteran musician's calm, even tones. "I am not soley responsible for composing their fate, but I think I can persuade even their backers to dance to my tune for a while. But the question remains, Anna, what will you do for me in return?" His tone was serious, but almost apologetic, the same way he might have asked for repayment on money she'd borrowed from him back in the day - which now that she thought about it had happened more than once. "Certain things have never been tolerated in our organization - but of course we're talking about a third party. If I'm to move against them, I need to be sure that you can move with me the next time I need a favor." Anna put her head against the wall, palm flat against the bright green wallpaper of her retirement bungalow, and thought about her old friend's words, even as not for the first time recently she felt a great wave of unaccustomed fatigue. "Listen, Basil, I...I promised my boy I wouldn't get back in the League, and I meant it. It's important to him - and you know nothing's more important to me than family." She opened her eyes and caught sight of herself in the mirror across the hall. Jeez - look at me! Eighty years old, and she looked like a healthy woman in her fifties - a woman who was going to spend a long, long life right here in this bungalow if she chased Basil away right now. He'd better be right about the white noise blocking the line here. "But a deal's a deal. If you need a favor, a real favor...gimmie a call. I'm yours."
Edges of Grue Unity Space Lor Timemark 1312.4 "Perimeter Vessel Theta-Theta-Gamma reporting all quiet," the Grue Metamorph named Dul'ce sighed, repeating the same message he'd been sending back to command twice a cycle for the entire duration of his posting. Cycle after cycle of staring at a field of stars, empty apart from a patch of asteroids or the occasional comet, lightyears away from anything to conquer or infiltrate or even just observe, just the arbitrary border of Unity controlled space past which there was simply nothing worth claiming. It was busy work of the highest order, that was the worst of it, Dul'ce reflected as he melted back in his chair, dejectedly allowing his form to become slightly liquid. The Meta-Mind could have easily focused on his thoughts, just like any of the Grue, if it truly wished to know what was happening on the frontier. The twice-cycle reports proved that it was simple bureaucracy, a tick in a ledger that no Grue would ever bother reviewing once it was logged. "Pull yourself together, Navigator!" a sharp voice barked, causing Dul'ce's outer layer to go spiky in surprise. The only other Metamorph on the vessel and his commanding officer strode onto the bridge, flanked by a pair of drones. Faa'et had taken to making his form a little taller and broader at the shoulder since his promotion and Dul'ce might have sworn his chin was even a little more square, though he couldn't imagine for whom Faa'et was making the effort. "I don't tolerate loose shifting on the Double-Theta Gee!" Dul'ce hid another sigh. The Unity didn't bother naming its vessels like lesser species and for good reason. Faa'et's attempts to give the scout ship a nickname were ridiculous, though the navigator never would have said so aloud. Just thinking that was about the captain would have been bad enough if Faa'et had ever bothered to read anyone's thoughts apart from his own. "Apologies, Captain. I was just finishi-- eh?" On the console in front of him a green dot blinked on, floating through nearby space before changing direction and heading toward them.