The mist curtain showed a blur, then darkness, then the buzz from the Hive, through code 'transmission interrupted'.
“What? Get it back!” Hara turned to Shashi, who shrugged. “Did Prime hit them? What happened? He was just explaining how fearfully under-armed we are. What are plasma weapons? What are rail guns? Why would he need so much weaponry if he can just drop what looks like most of the moon on our heads? Prime could wipe out our food terraces, all up and down the canyon, if he can find them.”
“Take a breath,” Shashi said sharply. “Excuse me for being blunt girl but you're beginning to panic. Excuse me. Siwion of Milar. We don't know what happened to shut down the connection, but we shall certainly wait. And attempt to reconnect from our end. We might be able to get some kind of direct connection to your father and our Radiance, since we have the lin connection already.”
Hara nodded and held up her hands, whispering to the bees. “I'd like to talk to Terence again, little sisters. Can you do that?”
The flock of black and gold bees soared up and around the mist curtain, some flying straight through it and back to her hands, wings glistening with beads of water. The mist curtain showed nothing but the grey white of falling vapour.
“Transmission from the Ramtuff vehicle ceased mid transmission,” the Hive said in its sonorous drone.
“Tizzy?” Hara stroked the little ferret who slept across her knees. “You didn't feel any security programs did you?”
The click of connection from the curtain was abrupt to make them both jump. “WAAAAHMM MMMiMMMimmmm ooolume down... My apologies,” Mom's voice came back. “I am in self-repair mode and cannot establish video connection or two-way connection. I shall report and close connection. There was a minor sandsheet incident that I shall let Terence and Eshmaeel explain when my circuits are regrown. We will renew contact at this time tomorrow. At my current speed we should be at Lainz by tomorrow late evening.” Another hissing buzz and the curtain went back to being merely a dust filter.
“A minor sandsheet incident? That has damaged Mom to the point of not being able to send and receive?” Hara let her head thump back against her chair. Shashi ran her hand up under her veil and sighed.
“I shall certainly pass along this information to His Radiance. He needs to know this immediately. Hara, you need to go into code and find out what 'plasma weapon' means and 'rail gun' and while you do that,” she turned to Mariush who sat on her cushion off to one side. “Your Reflection... with your permission I'd like to reinforce the misdirection and security on us.”
Mariush nodded. “What I heard means a lot more work in code. Will you have enough zardukar to do all this work? We will need everyone working round the clock. Can we do it?”
Hara raised her head. “We have the youngsters at the school, all the ahymanders. If all they can do is cast a glitter between Prime's eyes and our food and water and energy sources then we'll get them to do so.”
Mariush nodded. “My Raghnall has amazing amounts of strength in code. I shall also see if two beemanders can establish a connection to communicate. We're not at war yet. But I can see that sometime... very soon I expect, we will finally produce something that we cannot hide from Prime. That instant we will be at war.”