the smuggler’s bible

Pluto Vespasianus

He is awakened before dawn by a trilling alarm from the comms tablet and yellow lights rapidly cascading left to right in signal code. Pluto Vespasianus drags himself forth from his stupor and swipes through to the message—coordinates and eleven minutes of head start, complements of high command.

“Rendezvous.”

“Understood. What’s our deportment?”

“Extreme discourtesy, like always,” he says, flipping the tablet around to show Aoi. She catches the drift in a single flashing sequence and nods curtly.

“They don’t know we’re coming.”

“That’s only technically true. They’re always half-hoping we’ll show up,” Vespasianus says. “Otherwise, what’s the point?”