Adree ran through the events of her mission, with calm and clear recall. The Evinthei had a rich oral history, despite their technology: she had a good memory. Tobias prompted her to elaborate once or twice, but otherwise sat listening patiently.

When she was finished, he got up and went to make her a cup of coffee from the machine in the corner of the room.

“These allies,” he began, “the man and the woman you mentioned…”

“I wish I had more information, but things happened very quickly. The woman was obviously a friend of Athellus’ but definitely a foreigner. Whoever she was, she’s responsible for killing Lorez … and … indirectly, for Garbeton’s death.”

Tobias saw her look. “You said that Garbeton was a pre-emptive kill.”

“--Yes. I considered him to be a high risk, so I made a judgement call. I made it as quick and painless as I could.”

“Better he die in the line of duty than create greater problems later on,” said Tobias, giving her the cup of coffee, sugar and milk already stirred in. “The usual recompense will be made to his family. –Now, any other information about this woman?”

“She was very quick. I wasn’t able to get a read on her. Possible biomechanical weaponry implanted in both arms. And she and Athellus worked well together. They’ve obviously known each other for some time.”

“What about the second? The man you mentioned.”

Adree looked at the floor, a little frown between her eyes. “I didn’t see him very clearly. He was about my age or a little younger. Brown hair with a white forelock. He had a gun, but I don’t think he knew what he was doing with it. He could have caught us in the crossfire and picked us off one by one, but he didn’t. And…”

“And -?” prompted Tobias.

“I – I got a strange feeling from his mind. I can’t really define it. Sorry, that’s all I’ve got on him. But I don’t think he’s one of ours. I’d remember that hair. I…I want to do a little reading in the Archive though. Something he -”

Tobias saw her put a hand to her head, and smiled at her. “You’re worn out. I’m giving you a few days’ R and R. For now, go and get some sleep. We can talk again tomorrow.”

“I’m not going to argue,” Adree told him, agreeably, and stood up to kiss him goodnight. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Sleep well,” Tobias told her.

Once the door had closed behind Adree, he leaned back in his chair, wincing slightly as he shifted position. He knew his physician would be angry with him tomorrow morning, but Tobias found that he wanted to sleep less and less lately, and he saw no reason to go all the way to his bedroom. Instead, he opened a drawer, took out the book he was reading, and made himself comfortable beside his desk light.



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