As we approached Havion, one thing became glaringly obvious. There 
weren't any planets here. It was a nebula, glistening in the 
darkness, bits of dust and debris clouded the cameras outside the 
ship. The Protectorate seemed disappointed, as much as two and a 
half humanoid blobs could seem. They were not, however, as 
disappointed as Commander Cranium. He was sitting on the floor with 
his head in his hands. The rest of us knew to give him his space.

Yes, I said two and a half blobs, one of them was clearly shrinking 
as more gold filigree wove it's way in and out of the ship's walls, 
with more shining black eyes. They were everywhere, and I was 
starting to get desperate for privacy. I'm not even sure they're 
eyes. This might all be in my head, it's probably my imagination. 
Nobody else seems worried, Swarm seems to think they're processing 
hubs, The Commander keeps asking himself questions about how neat 
everything is and how it's faster than ever, and Hex is just Hex.

I'd think she was more melancholy than me, except she's always this 
way. Following her own rhythms, playing the universe like soft 
jazz. That's really the only way I could explain her powers. She 
performs her rituals, but improvises in little ways based on some 
extrasensory perception. It's like she's always listening deep 
inside. She must been listening intently because I haven't heard 
her talk in days, but she's always doing something. Consulting some 
oracle, shifting some energy with an occult hand, traveling on 
alternate planes of existence. Even when she's entirely motionless 
she's doing something.

She was floating peacefully, in the lotus position, until her eyes 
bolted open and she ran to the control room. The displays folded 
into place to show another small black box in the depths of space. 
Except this one was much smaller than the Nalmykian scout. Black 
tentacles leaped from the hull, reaching towards the monolith. Bits 
of the original hull shone through where the Protectorate wore 
thin as the tentacle wrapped around it and began pulling it closer.