In the early 1900s, the nation of Aetheri came out of its long interdimensional isolation and revealed to the humans of the Symphony Archipelago that they were not alone in the multiverse. Things swiftly got ugly after that.
In the early 1990s, Aetheri's leadership changed, and in the Archipelago, a tiny broken family of half-siblings banded together in the face of the bile and hate that was boiling up between the humans and the non-humans.
In the early 2000s, that family was split apart. Hawk Press and his sister Liya Kiski both begin a long and exhaustive journey towards understanding the difference between friend and enemy--and between the family you're given, and the family you make.
The silence that followed was broken only by the creak of a vent that spun up in the hangar's steel rafters.
< But you decided to tail them anyway, > Cynn Numair said at last, and propped his head on his fist. < Why? >
Captain d'Ubis cleared her throat. < The Archipelagans don't usually take prisoners, Your Highness. They tend to prefer execution on the spot. The locals had been reporting to us for weeks that the Archipelagans were using the same equipment we see body traffickers and slavers use. > She cleared her throat--the Cynn was reading through his papers again, skimming to see if her story matched what was typed on the sheet--and murmured, < They begged us to look into it. And then when we recovered the victims in this instance...those reports turn out to be true. Which seems to mean-- >
< That the victims in this case were bound for the trafficking industry. > Cynn Numair stood up quite suddenly, interrupting. < That the slave trade is the Archipelago's new dumping ground for their non-human undesirables. We already knew the juntas were letting the trade operate in the Archipelago. > He allowed himself a little sneer, and asked rhetorically, < This is a logical next step for a new junta, isn't it? Lots of money to be made in selling people. >
Captain d'Ubis scrambled out of the chair. < Your Highness? >