71.2 \ 253

[ from a notebook, cont’d ]

I’m not the only one. All over the place, vehicles are ready, bags are packed. Supplies are the most popular care gift; sometimes they come in cute wrapping.

Some doing the most communication came out of the hospital from the Hirylien Affliction. They seem motivated. Without saying why, people just listen closely to them. Their perspective is crucial every time they offer it.

People are rewriting recent history, coming up with versions that carry the weight of greater truth. They’ve worked with clues deduced from image sequences in signal windows. People are putting this together themselves, from research sought by besieged yet logical minds. People who want to solve the puzzle in order to leave the box. If we figure it out, maybe we can do this right, and not die. Study group is cool again.

The lucky heirlooms. People swear everything works together a little better when we kiss an heirloom, usually after making sure everybody knows its story. Every heirloom off a tower has its own story, and people tell it like they’re getting something off their chest. Doesn’t matter if it sounds crazy or nutty, they tell it, we kiss it, and everyone gets home safe, as if we’re getting the intel. We find what we’re looking for, arrive at the right times. The folk who returned our things – meddlesome or helpful likely depends, but the magic of these totemic souvenirs continues to come in handy. Hasn’t faded yet.

We know this is happening in every federet capital, plus more planetary capitals. Something’s going to happen. But where? Something is happening, everywhere. Except in my mother’s backyard.

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