Joli makes her way wordlessly down the steps to the lower deck of the Hunger of Lilith. Dess and Atubis are both seated with their eyes closed. Joli takes her seat, thinking about what is to come with a mixture of yearning and dread.
Dess is hoping this new job for the Ministry of Astronomy will be something important. She's ready for a little excitement. And besides, she's broke.
Atubis clutches her shoulder bag on her lap. Through its fabric, she can feel the contents: soap and hygeine items, two old books, and a certain object that might be mistaken for a piece of exotic art. And, besides all of these things, her old friend.