"Do you get a lot of other incoming calls on your experimental comm?"

He laughed "You know calling me back is going to ruin at least half your jokes, right?"

"I don't know if it's as much as half. Maybe a solid third."

"Still, that's a lot of ruined jokes. We might still be able to salvage this if you hang up now, and I call you right back."

"So considerate." she said laughing, "It's no wonder I called you back."

"But you did you call me back."

"Well, I couldn't sleep again, and I liked talking to you."

The comm went silent for a few seconds.

"Ok, I feel like I should be saying something sarcastic here, but it seems like you might have changed the rules on me."

"You're right, that was unfair of me. What I should have said was: I can't sleep and talking to you is better than nothing."

"Thank you."

"You're not the only one who knows how to be considerate."

He laughed.

"So how's the comm coming? It sounds a lot better."

"Thanks, I ended up replacing that filter entirely, but I'm kind of at the limit of what I can do with the parts I have. Our supply chain's been pretty flaky since the war."

Heather sighed, "Yeah, the Consanguine really ruined everything."

"Honestly, think we all ruined it."

"Wait." Heather sat up, "What do you mean we ruined it?"

"Dammit. Look, I really don't want to get into an argument with you about the Consanguine. Is there any chance you'll forget I said that?"

Heather pulled her feet down from the dashboard and sat cross-legged in her seat. "Well, it's too late to take it back Yash. What do you mean we all ruined it?"

"Ok, if we're going to do this, you have to promise me something first"

"I'm not going to promise not to get mad Yash."

"I was going to ask you to promise not to hang up."

"I'm not hanging up."

"Ok, I meant that we started this thing when we screwed over the Aegis. We created a whole race of people out of desperation to fight a war, then we tried to make them temporary, and when that didn't take, we put them in internment camps. I'm amazed they didn't all hate us."

"But they didn't all hate us did they?" It was hard having this argument without revealing just how close she was to it. "I've met Consanguine Yash. I've lost friends to them, and they tried their best to do the same to me. I was ten. I'd never screwed anyone over or put anyone in a camp. They didn't have a reason to hate me."

It was as close to true as she could get.

"Jesus Heather—"

"Yes. Jesus."

"Look," he lowered his voice, "I'm not saying they're right, I'm down two brothers, talking to you on a comm that's scraped together from trash, in a building that's still covered in blast scars. I'm just saying all this didn't happen because some Aegis just decided to be assholes one day."

Heather put her head in her hands and for several seconds neither of them spoke.

She sighed, "This isn't a hang up Yash, but I need to go."

"I know." he said.

"But next time Yash, you have to call me."