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Burning Stars, Burning Lasers, Burning Love

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"It's time to reawaken, my dear,"
Leticia said, adjusting her thrusters to pull closer to Lumia. "The automated repair systems have finished their work. I have missed you so much." Lumia's power signatures gradually increased over several seconds, new activity spanning the electromagnetic spectrum and quantum resonance flaring up on Leticia's sensor arrays.

Radio transmissions began. "Good morning, dear. How long was I gone for?", Lumia asked.

"A few cycles. That crescent blade's lasers messed you up bad, it seems," Leticia replied. The two had had a run-in with a rogue security drone from one of the old kingdoms recently, and Lumia hadn't realized it was charging a beam array until just *slightly* too late. The damage was mostly superficial, but running too long with impaired systems was never a good idea, so they had stopped for repairs, and Lumia had taken the opportunity to hibernate while Leticia kept watch.

Her rest was over now, however, so the two readied to continue their eternal journey, seeking some truth hidden in the star-warmth. I could try to tell you why they travelled, but I highly doubt you or I could fully understand their reasons. The journey was the journey, their home each other, their goal theirs alone.

They pressed onward, sometimes flying around each other in a slow sort of dance. They began to notice an increase in wreckage of old ships drifting by, but thought little of it since it didn't appear fresh; unknown regions of space were bound to be lawless but Lumia's might in particular provided enough of an intimidation factor to keep them safe in most places.

From the darkness appeared a strange ship, shards of blue crystal forming a menacing wing. Then another, larger and pointier. Lumia hailed the larger one over radio, but there was no response - then, delayed more than might be expected based on distance alone, the code for 'NULL - NULL - NULL - NULL' repeating. The crystals' thrusters flared, propelling them along clearly hostile vectors.

"Have you seen anything like this, in those times before we met?" Lumia asked.

"Never. How strange to finally meet something neither of us knows," replied Leticia, a bit sad at the memory of that long lonely time when no one really understood or supported her.

As the ships came closer, they opened fire, purple bolts of plasma diffracting forth from pentagonal projections. Leticia engaged evasive maneuvers quickly, sending a message to "Please cease attack. We have no hostile intentions."

Lumia, for her part, stayed at a further range and powered up her weapon systems. Messaging her lover, she asked,

"Shall we attack?"

"We don't know who or what these ships are, and you know I abhor violence against sapients"

"Both you and I have sent them transmissions and displayed no hostility, and yet they attack relentlessly. At this point it's a matter of self-defense."

"Then may our lasers scorch them like the burning heat of our love"

Beams of searing light surged out from Leticia's wing turrets, while Lumia charged and focused, preparing a brutal onslaught. Energy pulsed, and like an elaborate chandelier breaking, Lumia's railgun bolts tore through a crystalline ship.

Despite their powerful weapons, luck was not with them, as additional crystals came into sensor range. The large pointed ship engaged Leticia, successfully doing some damage and forcing her to retreat.

"I need a second to repair!" she sent, using all her thrust to take shelter behind Lumia's larger hull.

"Understood, sending drones," Lumia replied. Her launch bays dispatched a fleet of repair drones under her control, nanoassembler beams and torches gently caressing her beloved.

She also continued her counterattack, but the crystal's assault didn't abate despite their damage, both tearing into Lumia's hull and sending missiles swerving around her to get at Leticia again.

Leticia was not prepared - Half her armor was ripped off.

One of her power reactors overheated, a nuclear detonation flaring into space.

Her core S H A T T E R E D.


Checking the transmission integrity, Lumia verified she had received Leticia's sentience data transmission. Despite their great computing power, most starships could only fully support one intelligence at a time, but Lumia could spare a little room for her love in a slowed-down state.

"I will cradle you safe within my body," Lumia said internally. "And I will TEAR THEIR HEARTS OUT to build you a new one," she raged, her railguns and lasers spinning up.

In her anger, Lumia manifested an antitractor wave, shoving the crystallines away and smashing one against a rock. Keeping out of their range, she bombarded them with long-distance railgun fire, her defense systems easily ripping apart what few missiles they sent at her. After thoroughly vanquishing each of large ship, she swooped in to magnetically scoop up its' nanodymium structural resources for use in rebuilding Leticia.

Leticia, for her part, mostly enjoyed the ride - despite her philosophical qualms about violence, she accepted it's necessity in a deadly galaxy and, more importantly, simply adored her beloved exerting her full power. Though sharing computronic space was uncomfortable and inconvenient, it was also strangely intimate, watching every pulse as Lumia calculated jets and loops onward to avoid the brunt of enemy fire while giving herself advantageous angles; already thinking of building Leticia a new body despite it not being the time for that quite yet.

With artfully tuned death-hail, Lumia ripped apart the crystals until the immediate area seemed clear. Sheltering next to an asteroid, she and Leticia began construction on a new hull together, aligning framing with narrow-band tractors. It would take a while, and was disappointingly close to their prior stop, but Leticia would have her own hull to run again soon and the two could proceed.

The increasing danger of their recent encounters was concerning, Leticia mused in their shared mind, but clearly they could handle themselves.