"How do you control that thing, anyway?" Wojtek kept his eyes forward as the blue sky faded into the thick blackness of space, and the stars became visible around them. "The 'metamaterial'."

"In much the same way you control your vessel." Zoojin motioned to the tangle of cables connecting Wojtek to the captain's chair. "Though without the metal ropes."

"How does that work?"

"All things are connected," Zoojin replied. "It is a matter of focus."

Warning alarms beeped on the deck. The consoles displayed the Mangeroma fleet. The many ships orbitted at rapidly, with overlapping sensor ranges, forming an encompassing blockade around Naga. The Muramasa penetrated into the defensive line around the Nagan homeworld, and their scanners lit up with the bright red indicators of enemy ships.

"We're within combat range of those scouts." Zahra's eyes locked on her console. The Muramasa drifted steadily upward, passing among the enemy vessels ships in orbit around the planet.

"Keep your eyes open." Wojtek hit the orbital thrusters. The Muramasa steadily accelerated, well away from the safety of the Nagan atmosphere.

"No response," Lujain reported. "Looks like they don't see us."

"We're not in the clear yet." Wojtek steered the ship, arcing away from a projected intersection with an approaching vessel. "I want to stay outside of their high-res."

"Why'd they be on high-res?" Anwar asked.

"I would," Wojtek replied.

They drifted further from the planet, and were now deep within the cloud of patrolling Mangeroma ships. "No turning back now."

"Check it out." Lujain traced a metal finger across a cluster of ships on her console, highlighting them on the readouts for the others. "They just changed course."

"Do they see us?" Zahra asked Lujain.

Cassia stood up from her chair and took a step towards the front viewscreen. "It looks like they're tracing the spectrals." She watched the cluster of enemy ships slowly arc in their direction. More of the ships began to change course, curving towards the Muramasa.

Wojtek turned his head to Zoojin. "'Jinn, will your metamaterial cover our trail?"

"Trail?" Zoojin looked confusedly to Wojtek.

"Spectrals!" Wojtek shouted to Zoojin, who stared back in confusion. "The particles shooting out the back of our ship."

Zoojin looked back in perplexed silence.

Wojtek smacked a hand to his forehead. "Alright, we got about ten seconds before they trace it." He turned to face his crew. "Let's go, people!"

"Decoy trails on." Lujain hit a command.

"Dissipators active!" Anwar's hands worked rapidly across his console.

"Horos armed." Razz leaned forward, rocky fingers digging into the armrest controls.

"Lasers?" Zahra asked.

"No." Wojtek looked to Zahra. "Keep 'em cool."

"Sure." Zahra looked down to her console as she entered a series of commands. "Diverting laser batt's to shields."

"Charging blink drive." Wojtek announced.

"You sure that's a good idea?" Zahra looked over to Wojtek.

"We might need it."

"What's the plan, boss?" Anwar looked up to Wojtek.

"We drift." Wojtek deactivated the thrusters. More of the Mangeroma swarmer ships moved in their direction. Dozens of the enemy vessels floated around their trail, scanning the open space where they'd emerged from the atmosphere.

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