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Amra let out an exasperated sigh, and paused for a long moment, then in a matter-of-fact tone, “We’ve already come a long way since that, Bacad… but message received. I know where my bread is buttered.” Then, as if flipping a switch, Amra continued in the same lilting veneer that colored their tone. “Besides, you never had to worry – I am quite enthralled with this whole ordeal, and old Salt’s scanners are my only eyes and ears. Can you imagine turning off your own, at a time like this, hmm?” “Point taken,” Bacad slid through gritted teeth, more so channeling the sheer terror of the descent over any actual frustration with Amra in his terse reply. Their jibing and banter was typically that of old cohorts, though with plenty ill sprinkled amidst the good within their history. But this task was far and away one of the more precarious situations they had weathered together, at least, based on current information. As Bacad’s had grown closer, the suit had gleaned less and less new data, and the overall lack of understanding seemed set to persist. This thing did not want to be perceived and perhaps did not want to be understood, which was a worrying sign. As such, it seemed there was a mutually acknowledged note of apprehension in both of their demeanors. The suit thrusters begun a gradual deceleration a healthy distance still from the perceived surface. He was wary of getting too close, too quickly – there was no foolproof way to know for sure that there were no concealed defenses, just waiting to be triggered by the proximity of an unidentified interloper. Still a kilometer or two out, he could not yet visually make out anything of particular interest at the landing point, which the Saltine had only been able to say was a possible location of ingress, a pinpoint of an anomaly amidst the otherwise inscrutable surface. Not much to go on, but at that point, Bacad had resigned himself to the vagaries of the job, lack of specifics being chief among them. The thrusters coughed a final spurt of propellant as the smaller nozzles controlling the suit’s attitude rattled off a chain of small bursts in rapid succession, putting him in a stationary position floating a few meters from the seamless, milky green surface, a few meters from the anomaly in the hull. In fairness, to call the surface a hull at all was generous, as it appeared more like a shimmering, space-borne river stone or sea glass ensconcing some sort of ethereal fire, but now in eyeshot of it, Bacad could begin to pick out the anomaly from the swirling miasma that was the surface of the station. It was a half-sphere in shape perfectly etched into the material, dolloped out of the plane of the surface with preternaturally clean edges and symmetry. The bowl formed of this exclusion was roughly a half-meter wide and its interior, rather than a static glimmer of blue, was a deep, inky black. Fuck me sideways. With a reluctant sigh, he lifted his hand to the circular depression and inched it forward. Though still a short distance from the wall, a hexagonal pressure plate recessed into the wall under his extended hand. He felt a slight pull of resistance, as though it had sunk into sucking mud. A gaseous translucence enveloped him and filled the room in seconds, completely transparent and only perceivable from the way it shimmered and swirled through the latent atmosphere. Shit.