Dear Followers and Passersby,

I'm sure you're wondering why the update was so quick this time. Well, it's not because of a finished new chapter. Yes, the sinking feeling is rightly justified.

Tides of Existence is going on hiatus.

How long? Don't know.

Why? Because I feel that God has called me to do other things at this time in my life and seeing how this takes up a chunk of my time, it will be put on hold.

This fanfic has not been abandoned. I'm sure plenty of you avid readers have heard that platitude before, but I don't have anything else to say. I want to return to this, I would like to see the story finished and the struggle between Grimdark and Science Fantasy laid to rest, but it will not be happening right now. As compensation and so you don't feel 100% cheated, at the end of this note is a snippet of Chapter 7.

Until that day dawns, I wish you all the best of luck in these trying times. May the love of God go with you into the dark world and may you be a beacon of kindness among a sea of injustice, hatred and sin.

To all the lovely readers,

NightsDarkestHour

Tides of Existence

Chapter 7

Unimaginable Scales

She was an excellent student at the engineering academy, near the top of her class with accolades to her name and a pedigree reaching back to her grandfather. She was slated to join the ranks of her family in the drydocks and shipyards across the Empire of the Hand. Whether she would be repairing the Chiss warships that flocked to the Grand Admiral's banner every year or designing spacefaring vessels for newly inducted species, it was her destiny, her desire, to shape metal into gravity-defying shapes.

Yet, here she was. Waiting in a stuffy space suit designed for protection rather than maneuverability, while the previous work crew finished up their shift.

She shifted in place, trying to get comfortable inside her too-heavily padded prison. After a moment she readjusted again, trying to find that sweet spot of relief. If only it lasted more than a few moments.

"Can you sit still? You're making me nervous." The voice belonged to her erstwhile partner, who seemed to be more and more on edge with every shift. He had started out friendly enough, considering their circumstances, but his mood and demeanor had soured from amicable to grouchy in the last week.

"Why do they make us get ready and wait for so long?" she complained, tugging at the material with her thick gloves. "The last group isn't supposed to be done for another 20 minutes but we have to get all dressed up and wait here for them to get back."

"Just do what you're supposed to do so I can go back to my room," Raphak grumbled, putting an end to the exchange. She thought about trying to force out another conversation but gave up. If he didn't want to talk, she didn't want to force him and make his mood even worse.

Instead, she resigned herself to waiting out the last minutes. The only thing to occupy her sight besides a metal grey wall, was the blue-skinned, red-eyed guard she had initially met. She had tried talking with him but to no avail. As far as she could tell, he stuck to the stereotypical Chiss professionalism. He was a soldier and she wasn't, which meant that any attempts to bridge the gap just didn't happen. That just left the wall. If she stared hard enough, maybe she could see the imperfections in the plating.

The staring contest was broken by a klaxon, signaling the air lock cycling open. She turned towards the blast doors, watching as air hissed with the broken pressure seal. In stepped three figures dressed in the same space suits as her and her partner. One moved with confidence and grace and the other two stepped carefully, still getting used to the bulky outerwear. She grinned, glad to see the confident one.

"Hey Mr. _," she greeted him, smiling cheerfully. "Glad to see you here today." The figure removed its hood, revealing a friendly face chiseled by war and regimen. He nodded at her voice, a gleam sparking in his eye.

"Ms. Eris. Doctor Ekrum."