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She could read the gauges on this Vedani sled: its levels were drooping past midpoint. As for herself, the Princess didn’t know anymore. Her level of activity had sunk into the background. It was helpful to imagine that her lungs, always moving, were her entire body. Limbs moved as a matter of course, the way her lungs breathe. Of course they must move.

It was necessary to focus awareness beyond her physical motions. Every star diagram she could recall rotated through her memory like a second geochronmechane in her functions. If she were to recognize a constellation backwards, could this little motorsled get her to the other side? Was there a proper flare on this thing? What about the possibility of making a short, directed hop? There weren’t any granola bars stashed in here, she’d have found them; but there was water, from a sippy hose in the dashboard.

The stream of songs in her thoughts pulsed louder, and she turned it up, letting her frustration at being lost imbue her movements with relentlessness. Like lungs taking draughts of sweet fresh air, so was each wind of energy to her limbs: brisk, ready to work until they couldn’t.

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