51.2 \ 233

“Can you also think about what you think he’d be doing right now?” Greezmo said this as they peered attentively at the ship inhaling the scent of the necklace.

“Sure I can, that’s natural to me.” If he had his ship (which he should), in this state of emergency he might be helping people that the system would overlook (since he’s a free agent). Country living is where he came from, so that’s where he might be. People who could use the help but only ask each other for it. He finds a way to become one of them if he isn’t already. He would listen to find out what they needed, and then do what was simplest for him at the best possible price. She choked up a little on these many reasons why she loves him. “I think it’s helping,” Greezmo said reassuringly. “Of course your guesses can’t be exact, but they’ll be as close as close can be, and we have some tendencies of probability to get that even closer, close enough but not so close that we land on him… so to speak.”

Rosy Glow drifted over to them, assumed human similitude evaporating from her traits, releasing her from gravity. “Maybe think of some of his favorite places. You don’t have to tell us. Thoughts are able to contain more information than words, saying thoughts only tells a part of them. Favorite places.” Wendel let her eyes fall closed, and took a breath the way Leiv would take a deep breath when they were somewhere beautiful, or when he talked about someplace he loved or that felt like home. There were lots of these recollections in her memory, some more clearly visualized than others. She just let them all filter through her mind without worrying whether she was right, just a little happier to feel so close to him, as close as anyone.

The Jiggler’s fluffy checkered harlequin rustled like the pages of a schedule as they too approached. “And how about also, now, think about why you want to find him.” A silent sob pulsed beneath the smile that grew on Wendel. Because a lot has happened. Because when we’ve lived to tell the tale, we tell each other soonest. Twice now she might not have come back to him, and that’s once more than she usually lets go by. She settled into this longing, which seemed to stretch into infinity, and they too seemed to stretch into infinity. The ship stretched, they all stretched, everything stretched. As they stretched, the Kao-Sidhe clasped each other, and Wendel, Drift X’s hose and the necklace between them in a mighty group hug that also stretched to encompass an enormous space of emotion. The stretching flattened everything, like a focusing laser field; everything was still there, but flat like a carpet. That flattening also felt fast – like as they stretched, they moved. So this was a magic carpet ride, but reality was the carpet. The flatness flickered in frames which slowed down gradually like the wheel on a slot machine. Wendel still felt her breath and her heart, slow and timeless, then – pop. The film strip cut. The sound of a huge exhale, and they were somewhere again.

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