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All the dependents of the crew of Exiler who were seeking sanctuary in the Land We Know had already passed through to the Temple of Chokhmah in Alodra, and Kushiel was preparing the frigate to leave Central. Lahatiel invited Talishi aboard to thoroughly inspect the vessel, and when the tour was quite finished, Talishi gave a few parting words in the Banquet Room.

Your next destination is Luna, or Selene, the satellite of Earth. You must travel there using the supraluminal discovery of Ithuriel. The ID Grid at Sol has been destroyed and the wormhole has nothing to guide on.

So we don't have to worry about Belial coming after us? Suriel asked.

Belial has a number of ships at Jupiter and the outer Belt he can still send down, but right now he's got bigger issues to deal with and no way to issue deployment orders from Selene in any event. Also there is a deeper layer of protection that Belial doesn't know about, a twenty-year gap between what is taken to be the present moment at Sol and at Centauri. Even were Belial to have a fleet of Exilers ready to cross the space between Gorpai and Earth in the event of his non-return, they would arrive in a system that had been prepared for them for two decades. You were not aware of it, but when you last crossed from the Land We Know to Proxima you moved twenty years into the past to match the timeline of the bene elohim.

Certainly, Lady Talishi, that goes a long way toward explaining how Robyn obtained her "magic" powers of prognostication, Lahatiel said.

And we are asking that you make the services of the Exiler and her crew available to Robyn now, Talishi said. Abaddon is still recovering and is being...interviewed. El Shaddai through her avatar has made certain arrangements. When you arrive at Taurus you will have a liberty call that you and your crew will not forget for the rest of your lives.

However short that may be, Adnarel said, in jest rather than fear.

Talishi, what kind of services do you have in mind? asked Barakiel.

We know the carbon damage is being inflicted on Sol from innermost Mercury, and we know that planet is protected by powerful lasers from any assault from the outside, unless extraordinary measures are taken, such as the clever method that ultimately cost Lilith hez life. But a warship from the Navy of Belial would be welcomed with open arms, particularly if she was flying the very flag Abaddon flew on his ill-considered assault.

For about five minutes, Lady Talishi, snorted Suriel. As soon as Abaddon is safely in those open arms, he'll order us arrested, killed, and skinned, and not necessarily in that order.

That is where the Redemption comes in. That is a starship that predates the Exiler, albeit traveling through real space rather than a series of hops. A yin named Jill is aboard that starship and sha stands ready and able to contact the eloah named Yefefiah whose body is listed as Barnard's Star in Erel Barakiel's charts. I assure you that Belial's execution by El, the larger community of elohim, would not long follow.

But it would only be a partial victory, Lahatiel put in. Knowing Belial, he would take El Shaddai and Bat-El down with him by having the Americans continue to assail Sol, and he would spew a storm of lies to the other elohim in an attempt to take you and Binah down also.

'Precisely, Talishi said. We have crafted a compromise by which we are allowed access to El without testifying of Belial's crimes here. To El it would be no different than if we had been allowed access to El at birth the way billions of other elohim experience it. Unfortunately, Belial can be suicidally stupid at times, as we have seen when he makes war.

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