Chapter 16—Closure

Since Sylvester gave them the corrected purring-collar, Beth and the Major have used it regularly, especially in the mornings after they both awaken. They tried it at many other moments as well, after lunch, before and after dinner, before sleeping, and they finally agreed that the morning was the time it brought them the most satisfaction. They are relaxed and really able to commune, especially with the baby. Beth and the Major assume the position they will take the day of the delivery: both lying down, with David behind, embracing Beth. Each time Beth feeds on his love and confidence, knowing the baby will sense it too.

But neither of them can resist the magic of purring in this position for long; they inevitably end up making love.
—We should take them off, suggests Beth after they have lain side by side for some minutes, a big smile on their lips, still purring.
—Yep, and we should not be long in getting up. Today father is coming for his first visit since our wedding. We have stuff to do before his arrival.
—Our friends’ apartment will look as if it were about to be Christmas.
—Yeah, it’s very stylish. Nelly and Lucia are very talented. But is it reasonable to leave the cooking to Paul?
—He won’t be alone. Sylvester said he will give him a hand. Nelly and Lucia will too. Lucia is very fond of Earthly cooking, and she’s learned a lot since she arrived.
—I don’t understand why we can’t lend a hand too.
—It’s because we are the guests.
—I still don’t understand…
—It’s the way people here do it.., well, in this particular part of the world, anyway. Maybe it’s not the same everywhere… What time does your father arrive? 11?
—Yes, 11. We have 3 hours. Let’s have a good breakfast…. Pancakes?
—Are you sure you weren’t born here? Your pancakes are just delicious.
—Well, as they are the only things I cook, it would be a shame if they weren’t edible.
—They are more than edible.
He gives her a smile.
—Let’s go to the kitchen, Miss Greedy!

—Supreme Commander, are you ok?
—This body is so … disturbing, Mira. My emotions are so strong. I’m so impatient to see my son and Beth again. I feel like a kid in here. This is something strange for me.
—I was told we’ll do this every Earthly week now, so it’s going to become more and more familiar.
—You’ll thank the Queen for me for allowing the storage of this body here, will you…?
—We’ll never be able to repay the debt we owe your planet, Supreme Commander …, answers Mira bowing her head.
—Mira, you and I both know nothing could bring our dead people back. Your planet gave birth to our poisoners, but you also reached out to help our savior. And we’ve been careless. We should have gotten back the data we lost faster. Responsibility is shared… This is a painful past, but a past. The living will never forget, but we’re rebuilding ourselves, all together. It’s how Dalygarans are: whatever the pain we feel, we’ll go ahead and make a better future.
—Shall we go?
—Oh, yes, Sir.
—My Earthly name is Frank. Just call me Frank.
—Are you sure, Sir?
The Supreme Commander just answers with an unambiguous look.
—Sit next to me, Frank. I’ll lead you to Earth to see your family.
Mira was instructed to materialize in the two Smiths’ living room.
—It’s 11, isn’t it? worries the Old Man, looking around the empty room.
—Something has changed here. Where are they?
Suddenly, colored letters that seem to fly in the air charge at Mira and the Supreme Commander, avoiding them and going to stick on the wall. It starts with an enormous “w”, followed by an “e”, an “l”, and all the necessary letters to compose the word “Welcome”.
Sylvester is the first to enter the room, followed by Lucia, Paul, holding his baby boy, and Nelly.
—Good morning, Supreme Commander, Sylvester says joyfully, holding a sort of remote in his hand.
As soon as Sylvester arrives, Mira disappears with her transporter.
—Good morning, everybody. Is this your creation, Sylvester? asks the Old Man pointing to the colored letters on the wall.
—Yes, but this—and he theatrically pushes on a button on the remote—is everyone’s contribution.
As soon as the invisibility shield is cut off, all the decorations in the room appear. The Old Man opens his eyes wide. The ceiling is covered with garlands made of multicolored and reflective objects, just like it is in Dalygaran for celebrations. The walls are decorated with fabrics, in the most traditional Frigellyan style, and many decorative objects and bouquets of flowers are enthroned on the furniture, for the Earthly touch.
In her hands Nelly holds a tray full of empty glasses and puts it on the table.
—Supreme Commander, she says, we’re very glad to have you here.
—There is no Supreme Commander here, my children, only Frank.
—Look, Joshua, this is Frank.
Joshua seems to be fascinated by the flashes of colored lights spread out by the reflected objects hanging from the ceiling. From time to time, he raises his arm as though he wanted to catch something, squealing with joy now and again. He gives the Old Man a big smile at the moment his father presents him. Then he immediately stares back at the ceiling and its sparkles. The Old Man raises his head too.
—It’s beautiful …, he murmurs.
Then louder:
—Err… Em… Where are my children?
—Waiting for you to ask for us, chuckles Beth, entering with a tray full of appetizers.
The Major is just behind her with another tray. They were just waiting in the kitchen, not missing a second of the Old Man’s arrival through a screen Sylvester installed for them.
—Father, whispers Beth, hugging him.
Then she steps back to let her husband welcome his father too. The two men are very moved and hug for a long time, tapping each other gently on their backs.
—I’ll remember this day all my life, the Old Man finally says. Thank you all… thank you so much.
—How about an Earthly drink. Dad, have you ever tried tea?
—You know I haven’t, son…
—Well, this is ice-tea, and it’s refreshing…
And so begins the future former Supreme Commander of the planet Dalygaran’s first day on Earth since his son’s wedding.

—You really want to do it now? asks the Major.
—Son, we already ate so much. I spoke with your friends. Lunch can wait, they agree. We all need a little break, and one hour will be perfect.
The Major raises his eyes and looks around. Everybody is joyfully chatting. Joshua is sleeping in his mom’s arms. Beth turns her eyes to her husband as she senses he needs her to come closer.
—Father is ready for our travel, he tells her when she is close enough.
—Really? Now?
—Yes. It seems he’s plotted with all our friends, he adds smiling.
—Let’s go then.
All three wave as they say, “see you later”, and leave their friends’ living room to retire in the young couple’s apartment. As Beth and the Major will be lying side by side, the sofa at the two Smiths’ is too narrow. The Old Man will look after them while resting in a comfortable armchair.
—Beth will go first, the Major informs his father. As she doesn’t use any pill, I help her relax so her mind can escape.
—I can wait in your living-room…
—Father, we just sit and hold hands. You can stay, Beth says softly.
And so the couple proceeds. The Old Man looks at them with attention. What he can see is indescribable. No, they are not just sitting holding hands. He can sense a force between the two of them, something he discovers for the very first time. When Beth sags he understands her mind is no longer in her body. Soon, Beth’s presence disappears from the room. He watches his son delicately laying Beth’s body on the bed and then going to a drawer to take a pill stored inside. He swallows it with a sip of water, smiles at his father, and lies behind his wife as he usually does.
—We entrust you with our child. Be a presence for her. Come closer. Feel her, he whispers over Beth’s shoulder.
The Old Man complies, cozying up in the armchair. It takes a few moments for him to be alone with his future granddaughter, the only mind but his remaining in the room. Even for him, the Supreme Commander of the planet Dalygaran, this situation seems strange. He concentrates on the spark of life close to him and sends it serenity and love. He is very moved in receiving joy in return.
“This child won’t be ordinary,” he thinks to himself. This kind of exchange is not supposed to happen so long before the delivery…

Knowing they were about to arrive, Star Shining in the Vastness of the Universe has prepared the two bodies. He is not there when the two of them arrive. Each of them in a travel body stands up, looks around.
—Well, everybody seems to be busy today. Do we go on? asks Beth.
—Do you have any special idea?
—Yes. I promised the Hermit we’d come to see him together.
—You what?
—Maybe I forgot to tell you something…
—Sometimes, your humanity is somewhat upsetting. Don’t be so sarcastic.
— It has nothing to do with my humanity, but with yours. You’re hiding so many things from me, Beth.
—If you want to know something, just ask.
—If you want me to know, just tell.
—You see? Beth, I don’t need to know everything, but you’re living with a man whose job was to decipher people. And you’re the one I know best!
—Are you angry with me?
—Sometimes I feel alone…
—You’re not.
The Major sighs.
—What did you forget to tell me then?
—The Hermit… He suffers from hypersensitivity.
—Oh…. It’s a rare syndrome. It means he can remember us….
—He remembers us.
The door opens.
—Hey, good morning you two.
—Very First Gold Ring Ray, nice to see you, says Beth
—Star Shining in the Vastness of the Universe apologizes for not being here with you. Well, he really doesn’t have to. This is my fault. He’s faced some extra work since we decided we’re going to have two new travel-bodies at the same time instead of one. Those two will definitely be for your use. Spring Wind over Laurina Mountain and I will have ours. What will you do today?
—Socializing…, answers Beth.
Very First Gold Ring Ray raises her eyebrows before saying:
—Whom with?
—An old man.
—I suppose you know what you’re doing…. Moon Crystal…?
—It’ll be fine. Don’t worry.
—I trust you. As the former Commander-in-Chief you know the rules.
—I do.
—Shall we go? asks Beth, more impatiently than she has wished to.
—I’ll follow you. At three. One, two, three.

—Who are you?
Obviously the man in front of them is not the Hermit.
—Who are you? answers Beth drily.
—You two are military, intruding in my father’s house. So you’re the ones who are going to tell me who you are. And how have you come here…
—You’re the Hermit’s son? asks Beth.
—I am, yes.
—Where is your father?
—He’s gone.
—You mean…
—He passed away, yes.
Beth looks at her husband, shocked, not knowing how to go on with this conversation.
—We’re sorry for your loss, says the Major softly.
—Are you the one in charge? retorts the Hermit’s son.
The Major takes a deep breath and answers:
—I am.
—Your grade?
—You’re lying, she’s more.
—She’s my wife. When did you resign?
—Two moons ago… Being a serviceman was a mistake.
—You were more than a simple serviceman…
—I just wanted to be as strong as him. I trained so hard to know how to decipher people.
—And you’re good at it.
—My father, he could know who you are in a heartbeat.
—He suffered from hypersensitivity, objects Beth.
—It was a gift.
—He took it as a burden.
—Beth? Is that a name?
—It’s a code. In the future we don’t use names when we’re on a mission; we use code instead. Mine is David.
—How do you know he took it as a burden?
—It led you away from him.
—It’s all my fault. I was afraid. I never knew how to talk to him. He always seemed to guess what I had to say. It was disturbing. I understood what he was living through too late, only just recently I have to confess. After an awful argument with my own son. All these efforts to decipher people and I saw nothing. He hid it from me. He feared I’d know…
—He’s got the syndrome too, whispers the Major.
—Yes, and I was the only one not to know. His mother hid it from me too. Because of my behavior with my father… They distrusted me…
—Your father…, I’m sure he loved you.
—And I rejected him! shouts the Hermit’s son. Now, I will never have the occasion to tell him how much I loved him.
—Maybe there is a possib…
—We need to talk. Follow me, the Major says, taking her hand as he leads her out of the house. We’ll be right back, he adds firmly to the Hermit’s son.
When he thinks they are far enough he lets his anger out.
—Beth, what the hell are you doing? Were you about to propose to this guy to see his father one last time? He didn’t. This can’t be changed. And it would be a very bad idea. Remember your visit to Lucia’s mother…
—He needs our help.
—He needs to grieve in peace.
—His guilt is killing him.
—There is nothing we can do about that.
—You know this guy’s story. He threw himself into his work. He wanted to reach a goal so hard that he lost everything else. Tell me, is it an enviable life?
—No, it isn’t, murmurs the Major. But Beth, his past is written…
—It’s never too late. Follow me. At three… One, two…
—Beth we could…

—Hey, here are my friends. I’m happy to see you together again. How is your child?
—She grows. My belly is about this big, answers Beth spreading her hands over an imaginary belly bump.
—Hey, Moon Crystal, you’re saying nothing. It seems that something is bothering you.
—Beth and I, sometimes we…
—Yes, exactly. But, pardon me. Personal problems should stay at home. I’m happy to see you too.
—Oh, I went to the Research Center, lately. I think I convinced them to study the morning star. Oh, sorry Beth, I shouldn’t have…
– Don’t worry, starts Beth.
– I’m aware of it, lies the Major.
– Oh? Fine. I like this better. At the Research Center, they think I’m an old fool, but, my hypersensitivity can sometimes be useful. We still don’t know how far this kind of perception can go. Neither do the researchers of the Center. So if I think the morning star is important, who knows how and where I got this idea… They won’t risk not studying this plant.
—It’s a good thing that your hypersensitivity serves you sometimes, says the Major.
—Yes. And sometimes I have surprises. Good ones. For example, it allowed me to feel the filiation between me and the other Moon Crystal, the military girl I met together with your wife.
Beth is amazed by her husband’s “mission mode”. Not only did he not know about the Research Center’s still needing to be informed about the morning star, he also didn’t know about his heart-daughter; yet, he’s shown absolutely no reaction to either item of news, as if Beth had already spoken to him of it. He just smiles, adding admiration in his voice:
—You’ve got powerful perceptions.
—Most of the time it’s a burden, young man. It frightens people.
—The ones who don’t know you, maybe.
—My own son thinks I’m a monster … well I don’t really know what he is thinking now. We’ve spoken little since he left as a teenager. Each Golden Ring Rise, I sense he is about to tell me something, and each time, he withdraws. We are strangers… His children and his wife are more friendly. They don’t fear me. I think the boy is like me. I had a conversation with the mother once. She told me if her son was like me, maybe it is not something to tell everybody. My life is the proof people are not ready to accept hypersensitive people. I understood the message and never talked about it again. The boy and the girl visit me since they are allowed to pilot transporters. The family is still living in the North. My son was the Commander of the base before resigning, you know. I really don’t understand him. He devoted all his life to his work, and suddenly, he decided he wants to stop…
—I was about to do the same thing myself. After the most difficult mission of my life.
—You failed?
—I succeeded, but this success was to the detriment of some other people…
—Oh, I can feel it is still painful for you.
—Six people died in a trap. I could have saved one person. That was the plan. I didn’t think there would be five more. There was nothing I could do for them. The person I was chasing was a time traveler. He was mentally sick. He put an Alpha world in danger. We prevented the destruction he planned. He should have known he couldn’t succeed, but the illness blinded him.
—Really? asks Beth.
—Yes. This Alpha world was Dalygaran in its very past… If he had succeeded, we wouldn’t have existed. After this mission, I wanted to resign. I killed people…
—But you saved your world, adds Beth.
—Your son probably did something that hurt his values.
—Do you think he killed someone?
—Believe me, if he had, you would have known. It’s not something you can hide. It eats you inside. You would probably be the only person he would dare to talk to about it.
—He does not talk to me.
—It’s not something you want to share with your spouse or your children.
—You just did it in front of your wife.
—Beth is not Dalygaran. Humans think differently. Well, we are both different in a way.
—Yes, she told me.
—My father and I, we were not very close at that time. I felt guilty for the death of my mother, and I avoided him as much as I could.
—His mother died when he was a teenager, from a fall off a horse, Beth informs the Hermit’s questioning eyes, giving her husband time to think about what he is going to say next.
—My father felt my distress after this mission. He helped me to get over it. And after a few more Gold Rings, I became Chief Commander. Today, my father and I are very close.
—Maybe you should talk to your son, suggests Beth.
—It will be a good idea. I’m not sure he’ll listen, but I have so much to say to him. I don’t even know where I would start…
—Well, write down your ideas, suggests Beth.
—Oh, no no no. I’m not good at writing. I’m going to record it. Promise me you’ll come back soon, and I’ll show it to you before going to see my son and tell him in person.
—What does a Dalygaran record look like?
—Do you still use a disk? asks the Major. Beth knows little of our technology even if she does use one of our cutting-edge machines regularly. Do you mind showing her?
—Yes, I use a disk. Look, young lady, says the Hermit bringing out some round blue stuff out of a drawer.
He puts the disk inside a kind of box, and pushes some buttons.
—Hi, I’m the Hermit and this is my message to my son.
He pushes another button, and a 3-D picture appears in the air: “Hi, I’m the Hermit, and this is my message to my son.”
—Wow, impressive. We don’t have such technology on Earth yet.
—I would really appreciate seeing your world one day. Oh, I know it’s impossible.
—I could draw it for you one day … proposes Beth.
—Yes, that would be great.
—Well, you know I can’t stay here for long, Sir, she goes on.
—Yes, because of your pregnancy. Maybe, next time, we’ll have a walk together in the forest?
—With pleasure. Goodbye, Sir.
—Goodbye, my friends.
Beth and the Major materialize again in the woods in front of the Hermit’s house, the day they met his son. Beth looks sad.
—It’s hard to lie so outrageously. He will never see my drawings.
—You couldn’t have let him keep them anyway.
—I know: no future object must remain in the past.
—The Hermit’s son, he certainly must have gotten the message from his dad. They won’t talk together. I know this is impossible, but it’s never a bad thing to receive words of love, don’t you think?
—We couldn’t have done more.
—I know. Are you still angry with me?
—I should have trusted you more.
—That’s ok, David. I know my desire to help people can be a problem. The reference to Lucia’s mother was a good example.
—But you learn fast, that’s true.
—The story you told the Hermit, about the six dead people, is it a real story?
—Unfortunately, yes. I didn’t lie in this. I lied about my relationship with my father. He saved me from my guilt about my mother’s death. We have always been very close. And I lied about what probably made his son resign. He certainly killed someone. When he said he resigned, I saw something in his face, especially in his eyes. It’s easy to recognize a shared experience.
—Do you think I’m a monster?
—What?! No! I know who you are, David. You save people. You failed once. But if you were able to save those people, you would have done it. I’m sure of it.
They hug for a while. Beth takes a look at the Dalygaran watch she is wearing now, one she wears whenever she travels. The real time must not go further than one hour. This is the limit she gave herself.
—One hundredth left, she says.
When they enter the house again, they find the Hermit’s son crying.
—He left me a message. I found it just after you left. He said he loves me and we need to talk. He told me he is sure we can become very close and that he will listen to me, whatever I have to say. He asked me to trust him. He said he is not a mind-breaker. He didn’t ask for his ability but must live with it no less. He begs me to pardon his avoidance. He should have taken the decision to talk to me earlier. He is sorry we are not the father and son we should be. And he added he wants me to reconsider my resignation. He knows it’s still possible, until the next Gold Ring Rise. That part, I don’t understand….
—He knows your work is your life.
—My work is the reason why I almost lost my family.
—You can do it differently.
—I can’t do it again.
—Oh yes you can.
—No! shouts the Hermit’s son. Not after what I did. I’m a monster.
—You obeyed orders.
—I shouldn’t have.
—You’ll know it next time. If you resign, someone without your experience will make the same mistake. Only you can change the way you apply orders. Don’t let someone else live through this.
—You’ve experienced this, haven’t you?
—Yes, and instead of resigning, I became Chief Commander. You have no idea how many orders I ignored. You’ll learn to hide it from them.
—Them? asks Beth.
—The High Command.
—You’re still angry, notices the Hermit’s son.
—And I always will be.
The Hermit’s son hushes for a while. Then he points to the Major:
—You’re from the future you said.
—That’s right.
—But you don’t want to tell me who you really are?
—Is it important?
—Well, it can be said I already know who you are: Beth and David… And you’re traveling as if by transporters…
The Hermit’s son takes a pause.
—When you left here a few hundreths before, you, David, were upset.
—Couple problems, objects Beth.
—I’m not an idiot.
—In that case stop asking questions, she answers, tit for tat.
—Ok, replies the Hermit’s son.
—No offense, but we have to go, adds Beth.
—Major, I will consider your advice not to officially resign.
—Believe me, having lived through what you’re going through now makes you a better person and better able to change things from the inside. It’s possible. Never forget it.
—Will I see you again?
The Major stares at the Hermit’s son, nods a slight yes, while saying “no” aloud. The Hermit’s son slightly nods back, to show he understood.
—Goodbye, Sir, says Beth.
—We’ll meet at the base, says the Major.
As usual, Beth is the first to go. The Major then says:
—I can train you to manage your relations with the High Command.
—Would you do this for me?
—Without hesitation.
—You’re not supposed to take part in past events.
—I’m no longer Chief Commander and my only rule until my death will be to serve Dalygaran, not a bunch of politicians.
—You’re not?
—Long story. We’ll talk about this another day, when we know each other better, shall we? Goodbye.
—Thank you.
—You’re welcome.
Before catching up with Beth at the base in their era, the Major makes another stop.
Reymo jumps as he materializes in front of him.
—Who is in there? Beth, is that you?
—No, it’s David. I was looking for you.
—Well, it seems you’ve found me.
—Yes, it’s how it works. My will is at the command. Are you alone?
—Well, as you see the combat room is empty. Nori is looking after little Lucia. Mira is busy in our shelter, and I came here because this is usually a calm place where I can practice meditation. But I have the feeling that right now, you need a friend listen to you. Am I right?
—You’re absolutely right. I lied to Beth today. I began to talk about my ghosts. You know, the terrible things I did and I don’t want her to know. I talked about one of them. Incompletely. She knows I killed people. She thought I tried to save them. But I didn’t. My mission was to kill. And I did. I was chasing the same guy for the third time. His obsession was to destroy our planet. It’s why the High Command decided his life was a permanent threat we must get rid of. I decided to place a trap. The guy had no chance. But five innocent people died too, trying to save him. Instead of a quick death, by trying to help him they made it long and painful. And I… I…
—You don’t need to go on, David.
—Yes, I do. I’ve never told this story in its entire cruel truth to anybody. Even my father does not really know what happened. He said he didn’t need to. But today I have to tell it.
This happened in the very past of Dalygaran, in the forest. At that time, forests were much more dangerous than they are now…. It’s why I thought we would be alone. It was perfect for an accident. I was disguised as a local hunter: my entire body covered, head to toe, boots, gloves, protective mask, long hair, a bow, one quiver, five arrows, as it had to be at that time. I even found a solitary spitter pit…
—Solitary spitter?
—A sort of big snake. Do you have snakes on Frigellya?
—Long crawling things?
—We have some…
—This kind is a huge one. And the pit is its own trap. The solitary spitter always preys the same way. In and around its traps are galleries, many of them, where it can quickly move about. It’s capable of a loud, gut-wrenching whistle that makes the ground shake and frightens animals. They inevitably run away distraught. Its ability to lead its prey to the pit is unbelievable. I observed the beast for a long time before deciding I will use it for the “accident”.
I masked the pit just after the beast feasted on its last prey. The guy I was chasing was about to come in the evening. He thought he was on a path to the shelter of some people he was plotting with. I intercepted and changed the plan he was given so he would walk straight into the trap. When you fall in that kind of a pit, the beast bites you and you die instantly from a powerful poison stored in its buccal appendix. The guy was just supposed to fall and be bitten. I couldn’t have guessed there would be hikers in the neighborhood. They heard the guy shout as he fell into the pit. He held himself up on a root. I was not far with my bow, because if it turned bad, as it had, I knew what I had to do. My arrows were intended for him. Better be bitten by the beast than killed by its venom, which contains a slow killing poison. Once your skin has been touched by a single drop of it, nothing can be done.
The Major takes a pause. Reymo just waits until his friend is ready to end his story.
—The solitary spitter was warned by the shouts. When the five others arrived, they made too much noise, and they kept shouting. The beast felt threatened and sent up a huge jet of poison all around the pit. All five were touched with drops on their skins, and I had to act very quickly before they fell one after the other into the pit. Five arrows. I killed them one by one to spare them a slow death beside the beast that was waiting to feast on them. But the guy, the one I was chasing, I couldn’t do anything for him. He fell with a horrible shout. I ran to my transporter as fast as I could for some tools. I thought, “never mind if people of that time discovered one of the guided arrows I had in my possession. I couldn’t leave him in that state with the beast next to him. I came back with a monitor. There were no more Dalygarans alive. I recognized the guy’s outline on the monitor and I was horrified by what I saw. In a last desperate effort he took an arrow from one of the other bodies and killed himself. I was devastated. This mission was a disaster.
—I understand.
—I know you do. It’s why I chose you to hear this story. If only this guy wasn’t constantly changing his space-time, I could have simply arrested him. But we can only arrest people in our own era. Instead, I was asked to stop him. Definitively. I was commanded to make him have a deadly “accident”. And I did.
—How about extraction?
—Yes, that’s what I decided after this sad case. Happily such demands are not frequent. There were only two cases more since. One was found roaming in our main town suffering of amnesia. It’s incredible all you can learn about plants, especially poisons and hallucinogens, by traveling in the past. I used these to make sure they got to the right era. Anyway, this amnesia was temporary, and the guy was arrested and judged. The other surrendered himself and asked for protection, thinking he was purchased by a monster. He could only provide a valid identity in his era and couldn’t be protected elsewhere. So he came back on his own initiative.
—You sort of improved the system.
—It was trickery. Each time, I was asked to kill. As they returned to our era, I didn’t have to. My father was traveling when I had my first case. We didn’t have time to talk about this together. He is the one who helped me to overcome the six deaths. And he gave me good pieces of advice. He had hoped he would never have to have this kind of conversation with me. He had done things he is ashamed of too. To fight inappropriate orders from the inside at the highest level seems to be a family affair. The problem is, you’re the one who must decide what is inappropriate or not and it’s a huge responsibility. I know you lived through something similar. When I talked to you about my ghosts last time, you knew exactly what it was about…
—Yeah. You’re right, and I can assure you, I’m far from daring to talk about what I’ve done as you have. I survived wars, and wars lead you on horrible paths sometimes.
—Thank you for listening. I needed to get the truth out today. And to remember the decisions I made after this tragedy. I can go back and look at Beth in the eyes now. I’m at peace. Thank you once more.
—You’re welcome, though you were the one who did all the work here…
—Goodbye, my friend.

The Major dematerializes to rejoin his base at almost the same time Beth does.
—Hey, here you are, says Beth to Star Shining in the Vastness of the Universe.
—I was hoping to say hello before you left. You always leave so quickly since you’re pregnant.
Beth hugs the Dalygaran.
—I have to go, but David can stay if he wishes to.
—Father and the others are waiting for us for lunch, interjects the Major.
—Oh, you’re right. Sorry, I forgot.
The Major takes the extraction pill from the usual drawer and gives one to his wife.
—Goodbye, my friend, he says to Star Shining in the Vastness of the Universe.
—We’ll contact you when we know the date of our next visit.
—Ok, Beth. Goodbye. Quick, lie down both of you. Your pills are going to take effect.
The Supreme Commander is happy to see his son and Beth back.
—How was it? he asks.
—Routine, answers the Major.


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