Husk

A biocrete pad had been molded flat over old rocks directly below where the moon pool opened wide, though now it lay fairly well buried in sand, silt, and seaweed.   At the very least, if Haley found her husk’s way down there, she’d not sink the thing inextricably into fresh mud.   With the winch and rubber gurney next to the pool looked damaged to her, she’d not trust the husk’s weight to it.   That meant climbing down, and letting the husk drop a short ways.

Quite certain that she’d not find her way up again, Haley considered what to do with the old aluminum case.   It had to come down with her, but she’d no idea if it was safe to just toss down before her.

“You there yet, Bach?”   With a little concentration, she managed to focus this question through just the husk’s synthesizer.   “Hello?”

There came a noise, sounding pretty much exactly like something struggling in thick mud.   “Yuh, I’m here.   Half buried in sour goo, though.”   His voice sounded flat, coming from whatever passed for a voice-box with these artificial beasts.

“Need help?”

“Think I will.   Definitely going to need assistance getting onto your ship when the time comes.”  

“Aye.   Well, I have one more of those metallic cases with me.   Is it safe for me to drop it down?”

There was a pause, but the other husk did eventually answer.   “Yeah, the template inside is the size of one of those old hypodermics.   You know.   The rest of the case is just padding.”

“Oh.”   Haley felt momentarily stupid.   “Okay then.   Coming down!”   By way of answer, those same squishing mud-and-water sounds resumed below, tucked up a ways under the building where she could not yet see.

Haley widened the husk’s eyes a bit more, hoping for a little more visibility, but the surroundings only changed colors somewhat.   This must be some kind of heat vision, she thought, or something like that.   Such might have helped her if all that lay below were not chilled both my ocean water and night air.

A somewhat shinier patch off to the left looked about as likely not to be rock as she could hope for.   Reaching over, Haley grabbed the case by the handle, pulled it close, and then let it dangle over the side.   With a slight swing, she let it fall… and did not miss the shiny patch by all that much.   To Haley’s relief, it landed with a sandy thud, and did not bounce away.   “Fuzzy…”

That left her to deal with the husk itself.   Without anything to step down upon, she didn’t trust to lowering her tentative and massive body over the edge.   Not even if its amazing strength had her feeling more than a bit daring.

Since moon pool, itself, was just a bit wider as the husk was tall, she stood, paced around to the other side, and then let herself fall forward.   Catching the far edge with two strong artificial hands, Haley let the husk’s momentum swing her legs back beneath her again.   Wanting to land on the half-buried biocrete pad, she held on tight until she no longer swung quite so much like some giant pendulum… and then let go.   Though it may have only been five or six feet down, the husk’s great weight landed rather hard.

“Damn,” she cursed at first, but felt better almost as soon as she stood back up.   Nothing about this beast’s joints felt any different.   “Sturdy,” she remarked to herself.  

Motion caught at Haley’s attention.   Maybe five or six meters further up in a snug spot where the rising rocks and dirt met with the building’s lower foundation, Bach’s husk wrestled with dark muck that largely engulfed the poor thing.   Between the two of them, thankfully, lay quite a few solid rocks.   Between those, though, lay thick new layers of tsunami-mixed silt and mud.   A wrong step here could get her stuck, too.  

Just then, off in the distance, there rose again the first escalating wail of what once would have been called an air-raid siren — now used only to warn of emergencies as rare as this one.   Haley turned to look out to sea, but from here she could see little more than the occasional sparkle of moonlight off too-low bay waters.   “They’re probably getting the first tastes of the next wave somewhere down south of us now.   Outer bay islands, maybe.”  

“What does that mean?” asked Bach’s husk.

Before standing again, Haley got down on one artificial knee to reach out for and grab the metal case.   Following that, she answered as she turned and took her first experimental step closer to where Bach's husk struggled.

“Means time is almost up.   These waves propagate as fast as fighter jets sometimes.”   The first stone she stepped on wanted to move under her weight, but bore her well enough.   “We gotta get out from under this building before it comes.”

“Ugh,” was all the reply Bach had for her.

“I’m coming.”   The next rock Haley’s husk stepped on also sank a bit, though it held, too.   “I’ll get there.”

Even as she said this, the scene around her lit up.   Her husk’s shadow appeared before her, and then quickly angled off to her left side.   A stiff breeze blasted past her from somewhere off to her right where the pier-side lot once had perched.   That she could feel something as delicate as wind through this artificial skin, much less via the wireless, had her rather startled, even amazed.   And what has just passed us?   It had been quiet.   She’d hardly heard anything.   “I think that was our ride!”

“What?”

“A hovercraft, I think.   Probably heading to your house.”   Haley needed them here, though.   “Hold on a second!”

Without waiting for his response, Haley focused herself back into her living body, even while leashing her connection to the husk by an imagined mental thread.   She could still feel herself there, but shut out as many of its sensations as she could.   Opening her living eyes, she glanced around.   Bach slumped in another chair right across the hall from her but, otherwise, the place felt empty.   “Hello?”

Haley stood, which felt more than a little odd while still clinging to the distant husk's sensations.   The sirens sounded louder here.   I’m getting used to this husk business, she thought after realizing how completely she’d shut out her own living senses while connected to it.

A quick peek into the living room showed no one there, not even an unconscious Dean Kavanagh.   “That’s good… he’s up then.”   She felt reasonably safe about that assumption.

To her left there grew a bright bluish light, and Haley turned toward and strode out to meet it.   After several moments of increasing brightness, the approaching vehicle swung around, pointing its search light away.   Freed from too much contrast, Haley’s eyes adjusted enough to make out a rather large hull — probably a thirty-footer from bow to stern.   The ship aligned itself to land in the open street, from the looks of it.

Haley ran down the grassy hill, ignoring a minor bout of motion sickness, shouting and waving her arms.   “Hey!”

As the hovercraft set down, someone jumped down onto the Kavanagh’s front lawn.   A man's somewhat hoarse voice called out, “Hello?”  

“Hey!” Haley called back.   She slowed to stop before an older looking man sporting wild white hair.   “Sir Mayor?”  

“Lady Archdruid,” he greeted her in return, matching her in formality.   “When I heard that one of the search parties was going to be diverted to pick your gang up, I made sure mine was the one to come.   My staff assured me folk would be upset to hear their mayor personally put himself in harm’s way out there looking for the event epicenter, so I figured this would make for a good compromise.   Of course, I tend to believe that my staff exaggerate overmuch.”

Always the talker, Haley thought to herself.   “Sir Edgecombe, thanks for coming.   Your ship looks big enough for our needs.   Does it have a deck in the back?”

“Sure does.   But, where’s yours?”

The wind billowing out from the Mayor’s aeroyacht had Haley’s hair flying into her face.   “I don’t have a personal ship of my own, and I wasn’t about to requisition a D.R.U.I.D hovercraft for a personal outing.   So, we slid to the mainland on a friend’s regular ferry service.”

“I see.   So you won’t be leaving anything behind then?”

“No, but we’re taking three husks, my girls, and an extra couple passengers.”   Haley tried to fight off the hair that whipped in and out of her face, if to no particular avail.   “Actually, he’s inside now.   Let’s get him on board while you are here.”

The older man nodded.   “Sure enough.”

Haley ran ahead, leapt the front patio steps, and nearly slid across the smooth hardwood floors just inside.   “Bach?   You hear me?”

It took a moment for him to rouse but, when he did, his eyes popped open suddenly.   “Yeah?”

“Ride’s here.   Let’s get up and on board.”

“Wow, the sirens are louder up here,” Bach observed as he tried to stand.   He came off as a bit woozy.   Though, after a moment of holding a hand to his head, he appeared to find his balance once again.   “We’re leaving now?”

“We really should.   The sooner we’re on board, the sooner we can get back to your husks.   Is there anything in this house you can’t live without for several weeks?”

“Several weeks?” Bach asked haltingly through his obvious dismay.

“Yeah.   Even assuming everything goes perfectly out there, this will be no small task.”   Haley didn’t recall that she’d ever heard of nanite posses being all that fast to grow, and they’d need huge numbers of the little buggers.   “We’ll get you an apartment, clothes, all your food.   You won’t want for anything while under conscription.”

The sandy-haired man’s eyes popped even wider.   “Is that what this is?”   Even the instant of horror that passed over his face seemed somehow familiar to Haley — downright nostalgic, even.   All these years and she’d never really thought much about her childhood friend.   Now that she stood here before him, though, every one of his movements or expressions half-reminded her of one time or another.  

“Sorry, bad word,” she dodged.   Technically, she'd spoken accurately, but she liked using the term about as much as he appeared to like hearing it.   In any case, he’d said yes and quickly at that.   “Just know you don’t need to bring much.   Perhaps one or two changes of clothes at the outside.   I’ll take these out,” she said even as she stooped to pick up one of the two template cases Bach had collected earlier.   “The yacht is just at the bottom of your yard, in the street.”

“Alright,” Bach answered before moving past her before doubling back around, bounding up the staircase.

Haley grabbed the other case and left through the open front doors.   Outside, the hovercraft had pointed its searchlight downward.   Their diffusely brilliant glare, reflecting off the sun-blanched asphalt, served as ample illumination for the Kavanagh’s front yard.

A small gathering had formed around the ship while she’d been inside, and Haley had to shoulder a couple people aside in order to approach a rope ladder than hung down from the rear deck.   Gingerly tossing one of the cases up and over the railing, she carried the second as she climbed up.

Once on board, Haley found herself surrounded by a handful of young men and women she did not personally know — probably a hand-picked selection from among the Mayor’s rather extensive staff.   One of them had the case she’d first tossed over, so Haley just handed him the other.   “Please make sure these are stashed away somewhere secure.”

The young dark-haired man — sporting intricate figments that looked something like flat and dimly glowing holographic tattoos hovering close above the curves of his face — took the other case, nodded, and walked into a lower cabin tucked under a high-perched bridge.

That left Haley to deal with one loose end.   She found herself a padded seat along the inner railing whereupon she cast her senses out across the wireless.   She took care not to get dragged back into the husk that still remained tethered to the back of her mind.   “Laney?   Mitsu?”   She called out for them in thought rather than with words.

Mitsuki beaconed back almost instantly, while Laney took more time.   They were together, a few hundred feet further uphill, not far from the peninsula’s highest point of elevation.   Haley took their position and imagined herself standing before them.

The figment edition of the world that overlapped the real served to anchor the two together.   When she blinked her way to her compatriots’ location, she found herself in the middle of what looked to be a golf course.   Not the physically existing one, actually, but close enough as to make no matter.   To her senses, the terrain was the figment while, to those standing there in the real world, it was she who’d only just materialized before them.

“Hey,” greeted Laney.

“Hey back,” replied Haley to them both.   “Our ride to Overjordan has arrived.   It landed in front of the Kavanagh estate.   You guys are a ways off, though.   Has everyone else left the house?”

Mitsuki nodded, but it was Laney who replied.   “Aye.   Once Sir Kavanagh was up and around, the consensus was to put ourselves where the Congressman was saying everyone else had to be.   To be fair, I mean.”

“That makes sense,” Haley returned, “but it means you two may have to wait there for a while.   Two of the three husks we need to bring are down at the warehouse ruins right now, and we’ve got to make sure we get them on board while we still can.”   In saying this, she tilted her head sideways toward the sirens.   “We’ll come back for you in a few.   Okay?”

They both nodded.

“Alright.   I’ll tell Bach about his father.   See you all soon.”

With that, Haley snapped herself back to her living body.   She almost lost her thread to the husk down under the warehouse, but just barely managed to hold on.   This kind of multitasking wasn’t commonplace, even for a wireless nut such as herself.   She stood and looked over the ship’s railing, and was gratified to see that Bach stood below.   “You coming up?” she called down to him.

He looked up, waved, and then took to climbing the rope ladder after tossing her one small suitcase.   Haley absently wondered what was inside, but set that thought aside almost as soon as it came to her.

“I’m going back to the husks, then,” she called down once more before setting his luggage down and resuming her seat.   So far, things seemed to be working out about as well as could be hoped for.

Haley sat, closed her eyes, and surrendered to that mental tension still linking her to the ape-husk clear across town.   In a blink, mud, rocks, and seaweed lay cast about before her while what remained of the warehouse loomed above.   The other husk still sat half-buried where she’d last seen it, though now it lay still.

“This’ll be awkward so long as I have to carry this thing,” she remarked to herself while glancing at the metallic case that felt so much like some half-remembered and cheaply-made childhood toy in her husk’s large and artificial hand.

Haley approached the other husk on three limbs, finding it that much easier to negotiate the rocks without plunging into any of the mud.   She nearly jumped clear out of her connection to the artificial beast when the other husk jerked suddenly alive.  

“You there, Lady Diaz?” It asked with Bach’s voice.

“Yeah, I’m almost to you.”

Rebalancing her weight, Haley reached out her free hand and leaned in to help.   Whatever the other husk had for appendages, they were all buried, leaving her little option but to grab and tug at an exposed shoulder.   At first, the natural debris engulfing the other husk did not want to give.   After several pulls, however, Bach found enough freedom to wrench his far arm free.   With that, he pushed while she continued to pull and, all at once, the ceti husk slipped out of the mud.

“Wow… that thing’s a lot smaller than mine,” Haley remarked in surprise.

“Yeah.   This is the smaller one,” Bach replied.

The husk really hadn’t been built like any specific animal Haley could identify.   Rather, it seemed to take features from myriad different species — the best of this slapped together with the best of that.   It had a head something like that of a fish without a mouth, while its long and serpentine body split into two flipper-like appendages at the far end.   Not far behind the head shot out broad flat shoulders that powered arms appearing to be a lot like wings that came complete with three-fingered grips halfway along their length.

Haley stood and used her weight to drag the other husk, if only with her one free hand.   Her living instinct would have been to clamp down on the handle of the metal case with her jaws.   The only problem with that particular notion being that the husk had no use for, and thus lacked either mouth or jaws!

Still, the other husk couldn’t be any heavier than the average human male, so she had little difficulty dragging it along.   Following what remained of a mucky and sun-starved shoreline, she headed for where the old parking lot had once been — a spot now largely open to the sky.   “We’re getting there.   Do you know if we’re in the air yet?   The ship, that is?”

Bach pulled on her husk’s arm, drawing Haley to stop.   “Hold on.   I can climb onto your back.”  

“Oh, yeah.   That might work.”   Haley hunched down to make his maneuvering a bit easier.   She tried to turn and look, but could not crane the thing’s neck around quite that far.   As best as Haley could guess, the other husk’s greatest strength was in those big shoulders and arm-wing appendages.   She felt it pull itself up and then wrap those arms around her ape-husk’s neck and upper torso.

“I’m good," he announced.   "And yeah, the ship was lifting off before I even sat down to tune back in.   The ship’s owner had to wave off some townsfolk who wanted on board.   I was nervous for a moment, there.”

Haley stood again, and picked her way carefully along the shore.   She didn’t much like the looks of a rockless stretch between her and the more solid looking pile of debris that used to be the old parking lot.   Her first experimental step sank in a bit, but not inextricably deep.

Somewhat reassured, she kept going.   “Really?   I suppose people are scared, especially with these old sirens going off.   Still… the hill on this peninsula is not insignificant.   There are far worse places to be right now.”   After a bit of a pause, she added, “I don’t even want to think about many of the fairly flat islands out in the bay or the gulf beyond.”

Bach replied only with a slight “yeah.”

Haley saw the aeroyacht’s search light even before she emerged out from under what remained of the warehouse.   She stepped out into that beam of light, and watched as the ship slowed and spun about.   It cautiously lowered itself to within her reach, putting its deck nearly at a level with the ruptured edge of Main Street.

Though it drifted away from her momentarily, the large craft wafted as close as it could to where she stood, and actually set itself down half on the mud and half on water.   More than one person on the rear deck leaned out over the railing, gesturing for her to approach with all due haste.

Pushing her way through the shallow but otherwise thick mud, Haley collected a fair weight of trailing seaweed around her husk's feet before reaching the side of the ship.   She meant to shake off what she could before attempting to board, but nearly jumped clear of her connection again when she saw a thin white line out in the bay, highlighted in the rising moon’s light.

“The next wave is almost here!”   She nearly bowled some poor soul over as she scrambled up onto the deck, leaving a dirty trail of seaweed dangling over the ship's side.   “Go up!   Fly!”

Sprawling both man-made beasts flat across the deck, Haley set down metallic case, and let snap the virtual tether between her two bodies.   Even as she came to and tried to stand, the ship pulled suddenly upward with a bit of a suction sound, likely having just freed itself of the mud and sand.

Haley stumbled, but righted herself with a hand on the railing.   Once steady and free of a slight bout of motion sickness, she moved off to scoop up the metallic case before walking back over to the entangled husks.

“You still in there, Bach?”

By way of reply, the cetacean-style husk relinquished its grip on the artificial ape and slid down toward the deck where it then splayed out in mindless relaxation.   Haley turned and observed as the living Bach regained his wits.   “Yeah,” he said.   “I’m good.”

Haley had to smile.   “Fuzzy,” she said as she handed Bach his third precious template case.   “It’s got a little mud on it.   The other two are somewhere safe inside this ship's inner hold."

“Okay.”

“I’ve got to make sure the Mayor takes this ship back inland for the rest of my gang.   That, and for your other husk as well.”   Moving off to find the older man, Haley heard Bach fall into step behind her.

“Mayor?” Bach asked.

Haley turned to address him over her shoulder.   “Aye, this is his ship.   Mayor of Overjordan, that is.   He came personally.”   The sandy-haired man’s eyes widened just a bit.   “You think that’s strange?” She asked.

Bach averted his eyes.   “I don’t know.”

Haley again wondered what it was this man had to be so indirect about, but shuffled off what little irritation she felt.   “He’s about as high an authority as the city has, but in certain areas I can overrule him.   Still, he’s never really given me a hard time when I’ve had to stick my neck out on one matter or another.”

“Hard to become Mayor to a city like Overjordan and not be somewhat familiar with the purposes and practices of environmental responsibility.”   Even as she elaborated, the man with the crazy white hair appeared in a doorway at the bottom of a shallow set of stairs.   “Ah, Sir Edgecombe!”

Now aware of their presence, the other man stopped to regard her.   “Lady Druid.”

“Sir, I still have people on the hill in town.   People I need to take back to the city with me.   Also, this man here,” she said while gesturing to Bach, “has a third husk that I’ve commandeered for dealing with this incident.”

The Mayor offered no resistance to her requests.   “Know where?”

Haley turned to Bach.   “Can you hook an icon onto the last husk for us?”

Bach nodded, and leaned into a wall even as he closed his eyes.   At least he’s not staring right through me again, Haley thought to herself.

“Sir Mayor,” she continued, turning back to the older man, “the others are in what looks like a golf course near the top of the hill.”

Mayor Edgecombe smiled broadly.   “I know exactly where you mean.   We can put down in a sand trap!”

Why he seemed so taken with the idea, Haley didn’t have the energy to guess at.   “Sounds good,” was all she said.

“Let's hit the front deck then,” suggested the Mayor.

Haley left with the older man and headed along a narrow railed walkway that skirted the sides of the ship where the cabin and bridge most dominated its girth.   Nearer the front, she caught her first comprehensive view of the damage caused by the tsunami.   Below, the Castine waterfront, fairly dark without any surviving street lights, still appeared to be thoroughly wrecked.   “Oh man,” she breathed out.

“Yeah,” returned the Mayor.   “It’s a real mess down there.   We came in over Seal Harbor and then Blue Hill.   Both look about as bad as this.   All over the Maine coastline, the various inlets are funneling the force of the wave into spears of watery obliteration.”

“Here it came in kinda sideways,” he continued, “so it’s not going inland quite so much.   But, from the looks of things,” he added while leaning for a look over the side, “most of the wreckage got swept back out into the bay.   People’s old houses and boats will be washing up in all sorts of weird places.   Still… given the complicated nature of this coastline, every new kilometer will tell a completely different story.”

Haley didn’t want to hear any more about that — especially about Blue Hill, where her mother still lived, if well inland — and was glad of the distraction when, in the distance, a bouncing green arrow appeared on the northern horizon.

“That’s our last stop,” she said, pointing out across the night.

“I see it,” the Mayor replied dryly.

They’d barely been airborne half a minute before the hovercraft took to negotiating a landing spot somewhere in the golf course.   Even as they tried to put down, people came running, and that made each attempt all the more difficult.   All the commotion drew the old man away from her company, likely back to the rear deck where folk would most likely board or disembark.   Behind her somewhere, Haley heard him calling out.   “Don’t let anyone on board!”

She did not feel like having to confront any of the locals.   In her heart, she’d have liked to take the whole town away with them, but that would be unreasonable.   For that matter, Overjordan itself had strict population controls in place, handling only the certain number of people it had been designed to sustain.   Three or four extra people were fine enough, but not hundreds.   Of course, this ship couldn’t carry that many anyways.

In the direct beam of the search light, amother new crowd gathered as Haley looked on.   This time, finally, the hovercraft safely touched down.   Three of the ship’s crew dropped to the grass, and used their combined weight to fend off people seeking safe passage away from this place.

When she saw her sister’s face among the crowd, Haley abandoned caution and ran along the precariously narrow walkway.   She cast out figment icons across the wireless, marking first Laney and then Mitsuki when she saw her next.   Then, when she saw Dean Kavanagh, she marked him as well.   She felt immediately better, seeing him up and around after the fall he took earlier in the day.  

Even before Haley could catch up with and instruct any of the crew to let those icon-marked people on board… well, they were being brought on board.   In just a few moments, Laney's head popped into view as she climbed up the ladder, though Mitsuki was having more trouble pushing her way through the anxious crowd.   Shouts and cries rose up from the tangled mass of frightened human beings and, as such, they took little notice of one petite Asian woman trying to wriggle her way though.

“Please!   You are all safe up here!”   One of the crew tried at soothing the crowd, though there appeared to be little effect.  

Haley rushed forward and grabbed at her sister’s arm.   When Laney turned to see who had her, she smiled widely and jumped to hug her, laughing out loud before letting Haley go.   “Hey!”

“Hey back,” replied Laney.   “Oh, here she is,” she said even as Mitsuki’s head also appeared over the lip of the deck.   Laney reached out an arm and helped hoist the lithe black-haired woman up and onto her feet.  

“Looks like we’re all here,” Haley welcomed them both.   “Bach’s also on board.   We’ll just wait for his dad and then go.”

Mitsuki’s expression went flat for a moment.   “You mean Sir Kavanagh?   He will not come,” she said.

Haley had just assumed… “He said so?”   She did not wait for a reply, but instead moved to the edge of the deck.

Looking over, she quickly found the icon she’d attached to the middle-aged man.   Sending herself to his senses via the wireless, she spoke softly.   “Aren’t you coming to Overjordan?”  

He got her message, jerking his head upright to see where it had come from… then waved.   “No, little Diaz.   I was told that you wanted to use some of our stuff to help with whatever is going on out there.   Stuff’s probably safer out there than here anyways.   Bach can handle it.”

After a pause, he whispered again to her.   “Sandy is going to be staying to help organize relief and rebuilding and, since I need to rebuild, I’ll be in on that from the start.”   The elder Kavanagh’s voice came to her as if he stood right there in front of her, speaking normally.   No one else need hear.

“You sure?   We may keep Bach for a good while, you know.”

“That’s just as well.   He’s been too much of a homebody anyways.   Oh, but Sandy says we’ll be sending Lady Kalitzakis along in my place.   That alright?”

“I’ll vouch for her,” Haley replied across the wireless.

“I’ll give her my icon, then.   Sandy says she’ll be proxy for him.”   Even as he whispered this to her, his figment icon disappeared, and reappeared a good hundred feet away.   “Oh, I guess she’s still with Sandy then.”

“We’ll get her,” she assured before closing the channel between them.   “Mayor?!”

A mass of white hair bobbed into view, just now rising from the rope ladder.   “Yes?”

After reaching the railing next to where the ladder topped, Haley pointed out across the dimly-lit field, dark in contrast to the ship’s intense searchlight.   “Change of passengers.   We need to pick up Khloe Kalitzakis, aide to Representative Abraham.   She’s over there under the icon.”

The Mayor grumbled, but nodded even as he craned around for a look.   He then yelled over the side of the ship.   “Everyone up!”  

Before the last of the three crew members got too far up the ladder, Edgecombe called down once more.   “Stay there, Lady Erikson.   You’ll need to catch someone in just a sec.”

The woman on the ladder ever so slightly uncomfortable with the idea, but hung onto the rope ladder even as the ship wafted softly off the ground.   All shades of hair whipped furiously about all throughout the gathered crowd while they shouted up a combined white noise of fear and anger.   Even so, they made no further attempt to get closer.  

Even as the ship moved, Haley crossed to the other side of the deck.   She felt ill just leaving everyone behind like this.   But, after all, they’re safe enough this high above sea level.   A summer’s night wouldn’t be the worst of times to have to community camp out.

“We leaving?”   Bach swayed up beside Haley as the ship turned in mid-air.   From the looks of it, he’d probably not spent all that much time aboard a hovercraft.

“Almost.   We’re gonna scoop up Lady Kalitzakis who will also go to Overjordan as a makeshift representative from the mainland, I suppose.   Then we're off to get your other husk.”   After a moment, it occurred to her to add more.   “We were going to bring your father along as well, but he said he’d be staying behind with Sir Abraham.   He said you could handle whatever it is we need from you.”

Bach just nodded, as he stared out into the night.