"You can't honestly expect me to believe any of this," Suraya Hawthorne said with a laugh.

Devrim swallowed his tea, eager to respond. "Don't. He's exaggerating, as usual."

Seated next to him, Marc shook his head with a smile. "I saw it with my own eyes: Devrim leaped out of the jumpship's cargo hold and parachuted to the ground, guns blazing. He even dodged a shot from a Scorch Cannon on his way down."

"Absolute rubbish," Devrim replied with feigned indignation. "You've been reading Rahool's pre-Golden Age pulp again."

"Oh, you should have seen it, Suraya," Marc said, pointedly ignoring his husband's protestations. "It's like he was a Dawnblade, wings of fire and all."

Suraya crossed her arms and shot a quizzical look in Devrim's direction. "That really true, old man?"

"…There might have been a jumpship," Devrim admitted sheepishly, getting up to refill his cup, "and its transmat may have been malfunctioning."

Suraya's eyes grew as wide as the saucer under her cup. Marc grinned ear to ear with naked pride.

"Look, I couldn't just fly away and abandon that caravan," Devrim explained. "So I turned on the autopilot and made the jump. But I assure you," he added, leveling a stern look at Marc, "that I did not look like a Dawnblade."

"No," Marc replied tenderly as he stood up and touched Devrim's arm. "But you did look like a hero."