This aside takes place between the events of Terminal Incursion and Cascading Error Critical. It has been published nowhere else and gives an alternate perspective to those books.
Tasia Asarov stood behind the shattered resonator, watching the Facility craft. Its contextual drives thrummed, ringing musically as Facility Arbiter Beol and his odd crew pulled away from the ruined structures.
Fools. She couldn't help a sharp smile. Jonathon had called it. Best way to get the Facility dogs to stop sniffing around was to let them believe they'd already won.
Taking off are they? The linked thoughts carried more than a bit of scorn. So they took the bait.
From their perspective, the ephemeral harvesters are destroyed. Our enforcers were killed or driven away. The poor and innocent natives are saved from the Vyriim menace.
Tasia stepped out of hiding. As the Adryft engaged engines, she quickly strode back into the shelter of the compound.
The Realmwall is almost entirely eroded, she went on. Down to less than 21% integrity and stable.
I suppose the Unity is pleased, he linked.
The Unity is pleased, she confirmed. The Ts'kekegoth never believed that the Facility would send an Arbiter all the way out here.
The Ts'kekegoth don't understand the Facility. She felt his smirk through the link. Which has been the problem all along. All the way back to the Tunguska Contact Event.
They don't understand humanity in general. That's apparent. She stepped past a malfunctioning transponder. Sparks streamed scarlet from its surface. Now what?
Remain below, he linked. Stay safe.
The mineral repositories will be abandoned. I can send an escort to retrieve you.
Simple enough, Tasia sent.
She strode past the smoldering wreckage of one of the quark-wells. Still, an odd amber light shone from deep within.
What about you? She linked. What's the next grand scheme of the Rook?
Next I align the trans-com. I need to speak with Rebecca Thorne. She's within the topiatic realm of Æsidryl just now, finishing up there.
Æsidryl? Tasia wrinkled her nose. What do you need Thorne for?
Isn't it obvious? Jonathan Crowe chuckled. I need to tell her that Michael Bishop is coming.