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Heritage of the Lunatak Empire

As she gazed out the window, Chilla could see her home moon growing larger and larger in the distance. Home. Could it really be true that she was heading home at last? The people on board had tried to tell her all the things that had changed, but they all seemed so fantastic that she wondered if they could all be true. This ship alone seemed like some kind of make-believe.

Her son had avoided her, though, reluctant to talk about the changes he'd made, and evading more so when she asked why he'd bedded a Thunderian. She had lectured him that Thunderians were sources of food, not pleasure. Still, she found it hard to be angry with him with the majestic sight of the Ice Moon rapidly filling the front window of the ship. Soon the jagged peaks of her home city became clear, wind and avalanche having changed much of the scenery, and they were swallowed up by the hangar bay.

Her hands shook when the door swished open and she saw the multitude of Icewalkers that filled the bay. Anyone of any importance made sure they were present. Luna would have been annoyed to find out that her hero's welcome was being dwarfed by Chilla's. The word 'dwarf' caused Chilla to begin snickering, confusing Nitro greatly.

"Chilla has returned! Long live Chilla!" they shouted at her. She saw it all and felt a surge of pride.

Alluro's reception on the Psion Moon was one of less fanfare. The small transport ship he flew in on carried him across the vast sand dunes towards the capital. A storm was approaching and, for one horrified moment, Alluro thought he was back on Third Earth, heading towards Mumm-Ra's black pyramid. His mind betrayed him, and fear grew within his chest, alleviated only when he saw the magnificent city.

The capital had grown since his departure, spreading out from the lake like a vine. The wonders of technology, he mused, allowing his once nomadic people to settle and live where once living had been impossible. He couldn't help but wonder what advances would have been made had he not been stranded on Third Earth and, more importantly, what new knowledge he could use to his advantage.

When the ship landed, only a single dignitary, a low ranking priest, was there to greet him. The young man took Alluro to his new home, explaining that the elders were busy with other matters and would attend him at their convenience. As Alluro settled his body on the bed provided, in sparse quarters, he asked himself how his life could have changed so much. There had been a time when the elders would have ended their meeting for him. And now?

The Graviton Moon looked very much the same to Tug Mug. The same landmarks, the same buildings, the same sort of people frequenting the same pubs. Tycho had arranged lodging for the rotund Lunatak, but he had other priorities. He'd been away for such a long time that he'd been craving real beer. The same kind he had been drinking shortly before he'd boarded the Excelsior. Come to think of it, he'd had a keg brought on board that ship. He wondered what had happened to it. Was it still good to drink?

He pushed the door open of the 'Red Raven' pub and rolled through, settling at the bar and eyeing the beer menu. The bartender gave him a polite greeting and informed him that the tab he'd amassed years ago had been covered by the council in honour of his return, and that the first round was on the house. "Butter flavoured beer?" he said, the flavour popping off the menu. "I guess some things do change. I'll have one of those."

Red Eye's first stop was the public archive on the Darkling Moon. Seeing Chilla and Nitro interacting on the Royal Moon had made him wonder about his own family. His wife, his daughter, and more. He had searched the records and found, somewhat disturbingly, that his wife had re-married a few years after his disappearance and died with her husband in an accident. He shouldn't have been surprised, but he found that the news still stung.

Word that his daughter still lived lightened his spirits, though. News reports had her involved in an explosion a few weeks ago, though the report indicated she was expected to recover. Finding her address was easy enough, and he made his way there at once. With shaking hands he rang the bell to her residence, startled to see a young boy answering the door. Was this a grandson? "You... you're Red Eye, aren't you? Nana Shade said you were coming, but I thought it was the madness again. Nana! He's here! He's here!" The boy shouted, calling up a flight of stairs.

Distantly, Red Eye could hear a "Send him up."

Eagerly the boy did so, leading Red Eye up the flight of stairs and ushering him into a room lit by a pair of lamps. The woman seated on her bed was frail, and had suffered the effects of old age, but he recognized her regardless. Tears streaming down both their faces, Red Eye took Shade into his arms, holding her tightly. The child, he noticed, had slipped away to give them some privacy. "I can scarcely believe my eyes," Shade croaked, touching her father's face to affirm that it was flesh and blood and not some trick. "You finally came home."

"I did, Shade, and I'm never leaving you again."

Crouched low in his car, windows tinted, Aristarchus watched the home of Eluosi Brythago. He had followed Tycho here and could see a passionate exchange going on in the living room. Though he couldn't hear a word that was being said by either party, the subject was clear. Tycho didn't need a marriage anymore and was trying to break the news to her and her mother gently. The former king was pleading with her to understand and accept his apology and Eluosi was not having any of it.

She struck him hard with her good hand, driving him to his knees, and pointed angrily at the front door. Like a snivelling Jackal with its tail between its legs, Tycho slunk from the building.

Aristarchus laughed quietly to himself. Ambitions for the throne were secondary at this point, Luna could rule in his stead for now. Tycho had made the war between them a personal matter, and now Tycho had given him the perfect weapon to bring his downfall. What better than a jilted lover?

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