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Section 1

Report. 4th Kif, 3039.

If we return to Sabor, I hope to file this public record. Everything I state here is true to the best of my recollectoin, and I withhold nothing. Freedom. Equality. We are god.

At very short notice, some two weeks ago, I was reassigned to the Stalk. To what purpose I could not fathom, since I am expert in ship-to-ship communication, not politics.

I vowed to make the best of it, and was surprised to find that morning, a large number of similarly baffled new recruits were gathered in the lobby. We speculated as to why the sun hadn't come out for months.


Section 2

A very brief and jittery address was given by a former colleague of mine, Captain Mirro. He told us something utterly unexpected. He said the Stalk was a flying machine, much like a skyship, and that we were going to be crewing it into battle. He seemed unsure how this would be possible until Admiral Methusan arrived.

Methusan was, by contrast, cocksure. He took us up to the separation point at the 24th floor, and revealed a hidden panel behind a portrait of Utopian Zubin. He solved a combination, and a door opened to a windowed gallery full of antiquated looking controls and devices, where a Pilipus was already busy brushing the cobwebs away.

"This will be your new ship," Methusan said, "time to show we lead from the top."


Section 3 MISSING


Section 4 MISSING


Section 5

Premier Telemon could see from our faces that other questions needed answering before the Committee could count on our loyalty. He gently moved Methusan aside.

"Thank you, Admiral," he said. His face was plump and his eyes sunken. Not at all like the photographs. He had a shocking clump of white hair at either temple, and a shamefully portly frame.

"Many of you will believe that I, Telemon Aristei, who now enteres his seventy-third year, should long since have risen. You, or someone you know, will have held a placard calling for me to be stripped of citizenry. I accept your challenge, I do. But knowledge has become a problematic thing for us Saborians. Someone has needed to carry the torch, to pass our essence on to the next generation. It was agreed by unanimous vote that person should be me."

His words tamed us, and before long we were taking instructions the way all good Saborians do.


Section 6 MISSING


Section 7

Methusan buzzed about as if nothing had changed, but the rest of us already felt beaten. The crew were listless, lost in thought. I knew they prated to Aetherium for the families lost to the deep, mostly Mellifluan, but Saborian too.

Then the fighting began in earnest. Few of us had seen action at the front, and those who had, said it was never like this.
A whole Kioki ship immolated. A burning man running across deck, flinging himself overboard so it could all be over. The Kioki force was ragged, but thick. Thousands and thousands of vessels, none build the same as the last, each the servant of the monied of Ten-Rui. The smell of power filled the air.

To the right flank, directly above the skirt of the abyss, our Essedari thrust their way toward a Kioki Heavy Freighter belonging to a Lark birgade. But several other Lark ships came running and closed ranks.

We turned our cannons upon the Sky Hulks, which drudged the cloudy expanse like the monstrosities that they were.


Section 8

Great howitzing smokecracks could not be heard against the swirling drain of the ocean, as the bloats of Sky Hulks collided, their visors reflectng the hazy light.
Then as night drew, the battle proper began. Something about the recklessness of both sides told us this was going to be the big one. Rumour spread from one of the Essedari ships that the Empress herself was aboard othe Kioki flagship.

Her fleet ploughed towards us demented, deranged. We fought them off bravely for a time, but there were just too many, too fast.


Section 9

We were under heavy fire. I cannot say quite what happened next. There was a drop in pressure, and the pristine white dome above us sheared. The wing whistled through, blowing papers and everything else overboard. Then the aft propellers cut and we lurched. The upper disc slid off and over us like a fried egg on a pan.
It fell - the committee chamber, the assembly chamber - silently into the deep. I could have sworn I saw Telemon pressed against the glass, looking beyond us to the Aetherium. Perhaps in that moment he knew, not ascending but descending, what if felt like to be betrayed.

That is the last I recall.
Wait, no, there's a moment more, just before freefall. A cord twisting about our ship. Then I pass out.


Section 10 MISSING


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