77.2 \ 259

Soon, in the spacious and flexibly-appointed room, a few of the kids with the majority of their guardians sat with small cups of frozen treat on the inside of a donut couch. It looked like a classroom model of hemoglobin. One kid sat on the floor against the responsively malleable bottom ledge. Conrah by name, mentioned, “We got fluffier blankets. Did you?”

“Yeah,” responded Vanessa, “we did. They’re nice. The Vedani are really trying. I even like this ice cream. It’s textured.”

“Do you feel like you’re being brainwashed?”

“No, not really. And I’ve known manipulative.” Vanessa took a giant spoon bite after this.

Conrah went to Oibhn at the mobile freezer unit to get another serving, and came back with a question. “Have you thought about what they’re getting out of this?” Sizing up a bargain was something Conrah could do.

“I’ve thought about it,” said Uncle Bo, sitting with an empty cup and spoon beside him in a couch depression he’d molded with a hand. “Maybe they’re making themselves known in a way that they want to be known – as people who respect life. Whatever else they might be responsible for, they’re offering to do something for humans here. It does also send a message on their behalf, since we’re destroying the weapon that was used against their earlier alliance with a group of humans. It shouldn’t have happened. It shouldn’t happen. It won’t happen again, at least not this way. That’s what we want. That’s what we’re trying to do.” He leaned forward to squeeze his hamstring.

Conrah’s much-older sister chimed in to say, “It’s a complex but important message, that comes from us as well. We could scarcely get a better shot at this fight, ourselves.”

“The greater benefit being that we’re freed from a form of tyranny,” Uncle Bo said with a pointing hand.

“That is one meaning of tyranny, isn’t it,” Vanessa said, finishing her ice cream.

“Why is it kids that figured this out?” her uncle ruminated aloud with a slight shake of the head.

“Kids hate tyranny,” grinned Conrah.

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