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I used to Dream Chapter (cover art)

Chapter 24 - I used to Dream[]

Intensive Care unit, Post hospital
Fleet Base Spider Moon
Kowloon System
Lyran Commonwealth
3091

[perspective shift 3rd Person]

"Duchess Ngo?"
  Elizabeth turned.  The stranger wasn't military, and he wouldn't belong here normally. However, there are allowances made that don't get recorded in official documents.  The visitor wore a skinsuit and overgarment, but the suit was dark green and gray, and the overgarment was an orange tone few outside of historians would recognize, along with the patch.

"If Nathan sees you, he'll have questions." she said respectfully, "What does the Guild require?"

"Your operation has opened a new pathway." he said.  "Do you know what you've done?"

"Not so much. I got my daughter...back?" she was doubtful, "Her body is back."


"Her mind will follow." he told her, "It's rare for someone to be trapped between, but it's happened.  Eventually the others will also recover.  The Guild requires your assistance with the matter of the Colleen system, and the missing colonists."
"My house owes the Guild. What do you need?" she asked.


"We'll start with all the sensor records from the Mila Weintraub. Don't worry, suitable copies will be returned but, there was involvement there, we have...reasons not to reveal it."

"I understand, does this mean they succeeded?" she asked.

"They did.  They bought time for the refugees to be rescued." he told her, "But."

"But..." she sighed, "You need to keep your involvement hidden."


"Ayeh." he said.  "I was surprised when the order came down to contact you directly, Duchess.  I wasn't aware you kept to the way."


"Free Stars, sirrah." she said.  "Free stars, and open horizon.  You know, sir, when I was a little girl, before everything went...bad?"

"Yes?"

"I dreamed and fantasized that I would be taken by the Folk." She said.  "It was a silly dream.  You're not going to take my child are you?"


"I'm not in recruitment, Duchess." He said, "Besides, we have nearly a quarter million foundlings to integrate now.  Stealing one young woman isn't in my remit...though if she asked, I would sign her to a crew."


Elizabeth sighed, "Then I guess I should be glad she's in no condition to ask."


He smiled, too-perfect teeth and something almost inhuman about his expression, "Yes you should.  Your debt is paid with the records from the ship."

She cleared her throat, "Will I see one of yours again?"


He paused, mid-step and looked thoughtful.  "Yes...and no." he told her.



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