Children of Fire

  Preparation I float again in a world full of stars, the ship’s simulation of the third arm of the galaxy. The Kizak homeworld is here. I zoom in, and stare at the sun and its planets. The charts from the bird-man helped us identify the star, but what do I do with the fact?! If I go near their world, the Kizak will detect my ship and destroy it. Even if I survive, I’ll be bound by the cage. The empire will conquer Siksa while I sit in prison. I move through the simulation, letting stars rush by me, trying to think of a solution. Fool! The homeworld doesn’t matter. The cage is the key. If I understand how it works, maybe I can discover a way to reverse it, or block it. “One thing is certain,” I tell myself, ending the simulation, “nothing will happen while I float…

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