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January 2942
Aurora - 'Ursimare'
[Redacted] System

Eventually the Ursimare's sensors located the Idris he was looking for. And here my journey comes to an end, one way or another. He was not sure what to expect in the location Gedion had pointed him to. It had taken seven jumps and a lot of time to get his Aurora over to this system. Webb had warned him to move quick, because it was unclear how long Gedion could remain in the [Redacted] system and Photeus knew he'd only get one shot. Even though speed was on the menu, his Aurora didn't quite fly right since the Drake incident. He knew if this wasn't a trap, he'd get back and fix it at some point. Then again, if it was, it wouldn't matter in the end anyway.

As he approached the Idris, he noticed repair ships flanking the vessel. The marking 'XS' was already on the ship, and they were working on the final lettering, a C or a O, Photeus guessed. Photeus began to wonder. Are these the same pirates from before? Are they just messing with me? I really don't want that bag again – I'm sure it's never washed. He shivered at the thought and slowed as he neared the vessel. As he neared his computer lit up with several other ships nearby and his eyes noticed a few his computer didn't. Assuming the worse, and that there was no chance of turning back, he hailed the Idris.

"This is the Ursimare, requesting permission to dock, over."

Only static and silence returned.

He figured he would try again, "I say again, this is the Ursimare, requesting permission to dock with unmarked Idris. Can I get a response, over?" Two ships that lay undetected by Photeus and his Aurora suddenly lit up and approached. One was a Hornet fitted for stealth, the other a Gladius. The Gladius arrived first and circled him once in the time it took for the Hornet to arrive. He received a response from a female voice aboard the Idris, "State your business."

"My name is Photeus, I am here to see Relen Gedion. I have some artifacts for him."

"Acknowledged. You are cleared for dock," the replied but began a warning, "Try anything funny…"

Photeus replied, sounding more the jerk than a joker, "…you'll light up the black with my corpse, got it."

As he began his approach the Gladius dropped back to keep distance, but the Hornet locked on to him, his klaxon advised. He knew it was to end him, if necessary, but there were no other signs of aggression so far.

He landed slowly into the docking bay of the Idris and brought the Ursimare down gently. He shut off the controls and power and exited the ship. Two men were waiting for him as he left his ship, both wearing Marine combat armor and pointing laser rifles in his direction. He slowly put his hands up and said to them, "I come in peace," he continued, "Oh and please no bags. I don't know if I can handle that again."

The men glanced at each other, confused, and one replied to him, "Ok…we won't do that, but we will be confiscating your weapons and checking your ship." The man came forward, frisked Photeus and removed his laser pistol. He then moved toward the Ursimare.

The other one spoke, "Come with me."

Photeus nodded and walked over to the man. The soldier kept distance between them and made Photeus walk in front, gun to his back, "Keep moving."

They both walked around the Idris, the armed soldier telling Photeus when and how to make turns. They arrived at a room and Photeus entered, door closing behind him. He spun around, too late, but then looked over the room.

All he could find in the room was a table, a chair, and a glass of water. He sat down in the chair and slowly sipped on the water. He waited.

The glass of water was bone dry by the time the door opened again. Photeus recognized the man who entered as Relen Gedion and started to stand to greet him. Gedion motioned for him to stay sitting. Photeus sat back down.

"So," began Gedion, "Just who the hell do you think you are?"

It caught him funny, so he laughed and replied, "I'm Photeus! I've been looking for you."

"Did my father send you?" Gedion accused, "He must have, being that you're a terrible assassin. Is he paying you in ship parts for that busted up Aurora?"

"Ok, first off, I have no clue what you're talking about." Photeus defended himself, "Second off, don't insult my ship. It isn't much, but it's all I have." Of them…

"No clue? Is 'artifact' a fancy word you use for 'bombs'? Sure are a lot of them on your ship. Luckily we dismantled them so you couldn't cause damage."

Photeus laughed again, "In my line of work, bombs are very useful. But even you know none of the explosives was connected to anything. Completely under control, no threat. If I wanted to blow you up I would have done it when you let me onto this Idris, not let you get a hold of them first. Besides, you found the artifacts too, right?"

Gedion narrowed his eyes, but his shoulders relaxed a bit, "That's true, but so far you've given us less than reason to trust you."

Photeus shook his head and said, a hint of sadness escaping, "Do you think I give a damn if you trust me or not? You've got what I promised. I just want to know about those ethereal beings. And about Unity. What did they tell you?"

Gedion relaxed a bit more and leaned against the opposite wall, "You first."

"Basically, I got nothing," he volunteered, "the crystal in with those artifacts…I traced out a rune and it somehow let me eavesdrop on you and the ethereals. It reminded me of getting a encoded transmission. I could hear and understand you fine. While I could 'hear' them, I only got feelings from what they said, not words."

"But you said Unity. What of that?" the seer inquired.

"Like I said, was just a feeling I got from the conversation. Unity was the goal. I think it is somewhat your job, and I'm supposed to help. That's all I know, but it's why I was looking for you."

Gedion nodded, seeming more to himself than Photeus, "Ok. Let me tell you what happened."

Gedion and Photeus then spent time discussing the vision, the prophecy, and the goals of the Xeno Syncretic Order. Gedion told Photeus what had brought him to this point with Matthius Stormfury and about the recent acquisition of the Idris.

After they had spoken awhile, Gedion asked of him, "If we allow you to remain with us, what is it you plan to do?"

Photeus smiled, "Not sure. I'm sure you all can find something for an alien-infested, lunatic with a penchant for explosives to do around here."

Gedion stepped back a little, "Alien-infested…?"

Laughing, Photeus stood up and clapped him on the shoulder, "Oh I'll explain that. Don't worry, it's not contagious," he then asked, "Is there a Saskia around here? Webb wanted me to say 'Hi' for him."