“There are no intruders, that we can find, Prime, though there is an anomaly we cannot explain.” Terry’s pounding heart nearly stopped.
“The CEO’s ships have all unlocked from the spine,” one of the Immoderates reported. “Arrival in forty two minutes.”
“Put a firewall around that anomaly. I have to prepare for Rasheduzzaman’s arrival!” Prime’s security bubble didn’t pop open but unlocked from the floor and rolled toward the main doors. “And get rid of that monstrosity.”
In the darkness inside Mom, Alissa shrieked and flung herself out of her chair as near as Terry could tell. “NO! NO! THAT’S MINE!”
Terry tried to shush her and Mom as well, but she pounded on the inside of Mom with her fists. “Alissa, Alissa, wait. They don’t have time to take it apart, they’re only going to hoist it up and take it outside! Alissa!”
It took a moment before she stopped, and they heard someone start up some of the pachyderm hoists. It took four of them, working in concert but they managed to grapple Alissa’s creation, lift it, and trundle it slowly outside. “There’s a place. Set it there and it’ll be out of the way. Prime can tell the CEO that it’s an art piece specifically made for his arrival, if he even asks.” The hoists scuttled back into the garage and quickly locked down.
“That’s MINE.” Alissa said, just as Mom brought up images of four ships sweeping in from the transfer point, in formation.
The shuttles, painted with the Eastern Transport logo, in green and yellow, were plinker hybrids with the interstellar engine belly bulge as well as the peculiarly bent bow that allowed them to lock into the interstellar spine without the assistance of a tug. It gave them the look of cranes as they hovered for a long moment, then settled softly in front of the garage force screen.
The CEO’s yacht was also green and yellow, the same class of ship, probably purchased from military shipyards further down the galaxy. It was a bright and cheerful coating that didn’t hide its lethal origins in the slightest. It hovered and settled inside.
A series of uplights sprang to life as it parked and the CEO’s entourage came tumbling out of the hatch. Terry blinked. “It’s like a circus,” he said. There were a dozen pieces of luggage hovering before or walking behind, some with human and aliens on them, all in green livery. Terry blinked again. The aliens were feathered, with vestigial wings, and cat people and dog people and every piece of luggage was a different shape or style. It was so distracting he almost missed the CEO. A suit that was blinding white, white hair arranged in an anti-gravity semi-circle, speaking to the grey assistant attending on her. Her – skin was ink black – Terry saw, as he gaped at the woman who stepped down from the ship under – her -- own power.
“The CEO of the company he bought the planet from... is a woman.” Alissa whistled. “Prime’s gonna blow a whole bank of resistors when he sees her.”
“And perhaps a blood vessel or two,” Terry agreed.
*stealth-search data connect request legal department, hiring.* Agador whispered.
Perrin's amplified voice boomed out into the garage. "Damn, woman, you look like a black and white dandelion. Stop shilly-shallying around and bring your boss in to meet me."
"Oh. Dear." Mom said quietly.