Would that it had been mercy! If only, towering above the demolished EarthForce ships, they had been ordered to take pity, they might have understood. Perhaps. A little.

At least, this is what he thinks to himself to keep calm when some human - too fragile to be so impudent - tangles itself in his affairs. If, maybe, they had been given a reason to spare creatures so weak their necks would snap if he so much as sneezed on one of them, he would not so resent the sight of the station. If the religious caste had given them a reason, any reason (even a lie would have been adequate, almost), they at least would have continued to pretend to be equals.

If.

But when the cease-fire was ordered, no reason was given.

When the Babylon project began, no reason was given.

He sees the ambassador now with hair as dark as starless night and he knows there must be a reason for it. The religious caste is not always sensible, but it rarely does such things on impulse. There is, in their convoluted fanaticism, some rational somewhere. But they keep it for their own.

Is it because they find the warrior caste untrustworthy? They would not be so overt about that dishonor, surely.

Is it because they find the warrior caste incapable of understanding? And what else would they expect, if they share no information and only call on them to die in the name of their lofty daydreams?

The council is not uniformly grey; he grits his teeth.

Her hair gleams in the artificial light; he looks away.