“You led them to Earth,” Myassa said.

“Of course,” Taos said. “I needed some spare parts for my late-model R’de dreadnaught. It was either that or wait a millennia for humans to invent the necessary technologies, and frankly I’m not all that confident you’ll survive that long.”

“What’ll they do now that you’re gone?”

“Well,” Taos said. “It seems that the Vyeah have continuing, and frankly baffling, desire to destroy R’de technology. Assuming there isn’t another dreadnought crashed somewhere on that rapidly warming sphere, there’s nothing there they have any great need to destroy. If that makes you feel better.”

“I do have family there, you know.”

“Yes, I’ve read the file. Frankly, I’d be rooting for the R’de to glass them after the way you’ve been treated–talk to me when we’re done here if you do–but I also understand the need to cling to things like that. Look at me here, in the galactic core, with a few humans as pets to help me with things that require thumbs.”

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