" So we're going to end up in Sector 40... The Mycologica is in 38, so we can engage in the clean-up operation before our meeting with Redlin... Mmm. The scheduling is going to be a mess," William complained, rubbing his temples.

" Which ships are we sending in for the operation?" Kirie prompted.

" Liturgica and Metallurgica, probably," William said. " They're midsize and the crews are fairly capable. There isn't a need for active combat, but I'm still erring on the side of caution. Something about the whole ordeal is suspicious to me."

" Do you want me to pull records on the Mycologica for you?" Kirie asked.

" That's an excellent idea," William replied. " The material I received was fairly lacking. Just a list of the personnel involved, the battle report, and such."

A lull in the conversation.

" William, Lyewa-Prima's birthday is tomorrow," Kirie said. " I finished the necessary preparations for his party."

" That's good. We'll be departing from here soon, so we should enjoy being planetside while we can."

" He's been with us for a while, hasn't he," Kirie mused. " It's almost strange that I've gotten used to being around those two..."

" ... Is it?"

" Eh? Well, of course. We've all been at war with each other our whole lives, and now we're throwing one of them a birthday party."

" Oh, he wasn't a participant in the war, though," William pointed out. " To the best of my knowledge, they kind of just locked him in a room against his will. Prima's about as innocent as they come, really."

" So we won't throw Nova a birthday party, then?"

William thought about it for a moment.

" Hm. I'm already mean enough to him. A birthday party... That would be too mean. He doesn't like that kind of stuff at all. We should."

" William!"

They laughed together for a moment, the spectre of war hanging over their heads.

It was so easy to simplify it down like that.