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Mirya brought the chair from their room into the common area, setting it near another guardian who’d done the same. They sat off to one side, watching over the transformation of Blanket Fort Central. They nodded and smiled to each other before returning their attention to the group. It was an idyllic moment in a very strange time, so none of the adults could entirely relax, though the children created a spell of levity.

Most of these kids got along really well, like – right, like they already knew each other. The details of that no doubt contained a saga that could hardly even be retold. This was just the next part, which actually included them.

“My name’s Daniel,” said the nearby guardian, offering a handshake. They exchanged some pleasantries of acquaintance before their attention drifted back again. Bassel actually was very good at puzzles, which Mirya was simply accustomed to as a characteristic. He understood the pieces needed to make the blanket shapes they were trying to achieve. Chrysanthe was a high-energy runner, dashing back and forth across the room to get those pieces into place.

Mirya broke their mild reverie with a question. “Daniel, are you also a survivor of the affliction? I am, in case you’re wondering.”

“I am also, yes. So, I know why they feel so certain about whatever it is they’ve been doing with the Vedani youngsters.”

“Then you must also be familiar with the feeling of honesty – what we learned in recovery, and their interaction with us so far. I’ve known the difference before. When someone was lying to me for a very long time, and the lies finally ended, I began to remember what it was like to have conversations that weren’t filled with them. It feels just like that. Nearly our whole lives, we’ve been lied to about this, and the Vedani aren’t lying. Don’t you think so?”

Daniel considered, and nodded a just a little. “I haven’t entirely shared your same experience, but I know part of what you’re saying. An inner awakening, like I can see and breathe when I hear the truth. Though we experienced that literally, I don’t think it’s a trick of programming. They don’t speak like people who are just triggering loyalty. They’re like coworkers on a project. Maybe it’s even something about their entire mindset. All of us had to trust them at least this far.”

“It’s… pretty far!” said Mirya, looking around at their current space station home and laughing at the incredulity of the situation.

“It actually is,” Daniel said, laughing with her. The children were laughing about something else. This felt like the most fun she’d had since getting better. “Yet,” he continued, “this may be the most important thing I’ve ever done. Along the lines of supporting the ingenuity of my child, but also as something I’m able to do at a pivotal point in time. Giving permission for the possibility of a better world, and letting the people of tomorrow lead the way.”

“Isn’t parenting a trip?” Mirya laughed some more, this time because she knew how he felt.

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