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Justice of Toren's voice blared from every speaker, every data device, every console. Sleepy soldiers tumbled from their quarters.

The alerts stopped.

A Var ancillary appeared at the end of the hall. "Return to your quarters," it said calmly. It must be fresh: wet, its lips bleeding. The soldiers shrugged and complained and shuffled back towards sleep, when an Esk ancillary suddenly clubbed the Var to the deck.

"Emergency," the ancillary said. The Var ancillary started to fight back, then both stopped and sang in unison instead.

The funerary song rang out for almost twelve seconds before the flash.