After clearing the Kirasu of zombies, Henry and Dragos enjoyed a peaceful journey through fold. They spent their time reading, playing games, and sparring. Henry never got close to Dragos’ skill in combat, but he got a lot better than he had ever been before. By the time the trip ended, they had become close friends…a first for both of them.

Artemis spent almost the entire trip repairing the ship from the inside out. By the time it was ready to leave the fold, the Kirasu was as good as new. Better, in fact, since Artemis not only repaired the damaged systems but improved them as well. She made sure that the Peri who faced her in battle would know they had made a mistake.

After six months in the emptiness of the fold, the ship emerged just beyond Saturn. They parked it in a geosynchronous orbit on the dark side of the moon, and took a shuttle down to Earth. They arrived at night, allowing Dragos to slip away unnoticed, and then reported to the military base near Henry’s home in Texas. Debriefing was a bitch, to put it mildly, but Henry survived, just like he always did.

The alliance between humanity and the Peri Artificial Intelligence Alliance was formalized, and the information exchange was initiated. The various nations and people of earth set aside their differences, and humanity declared war on the Peri.

AIs loyal to the Alliance hijacked another two dozen battle cruisers and brought them to Earth, along with full complements of fighter craft and hundreds of loyal AIs. They also brought thousands of Peri flight suits and metaphasic weapons.

Artemis and the other AIs trained human soldiers in Peri combat techniques, weaponry, and technology. Soldiers, pilots, engineers, scientists, and technicians were trained in the use and maintenance of Peri equipment, and production facilities around the Earth were thrown into overdrive in an effort to replicate it. Old prejudices and disagreements were put aside, and humanity united as one people for the first time in history.

When the Peri arrived, Earth was ready for them.

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