48

Soleil laid back on a divan in the media salon. In the center of the room ran a hologram of her brother Cristobal’s recent classroom broadcast.

“Primatris: the old ways live on today.
Jennian: labor of the living earth.
Libran: the grand structures of community.
Pioneer: the spirit of adventure.
Aquari Home: cradle of the rainsingers.”

48

The motto of each federet was accompanied by scenes and pictures reflecting its character. A porch swing next to a green field. The great halls of justice. A rugged mountain trail. With each scene, things she’d just learned came forth in every word that was and wasn’t spoken.

“Expansion 6: building on a bedrock foundation.
Archipelago: vast connections across distance.
Freshwater: creation, the fruit of the land.
Vertris: beauty, culture and prosperity.
Ferris: the comfort and peace of the country.”

Cristobal’s projected face was dutiful, innocent and mildly enthusiastic. Soleil knew the expression well. Earlier she had studied herself in the mirror to see if she could still make it. She thought she looked more or less the same; however, her silence remained unbroken. Not currently an issue for media, but those who knew her were watching and waiting.

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