At the docks Lacy's trying to leave. Sister Clarice and her cell are getting closer to the spaceport. Somewhere inside Lacy the truth unlocks. She could be better. She was a good girl, she planted a digital relay in the car that's linked to a phone that with one call will detonate a bomb in the back. Sister Clarice is a closet member of a terrorist organization, they'll say. Perhaps she blew herself up, accidentally. Or on purpose. Barnabas giggles and jokes, nervously; he tells Lacy the truth about Keon, how he built the bomb that killed Ben and Zoë. Somewhere Clarice is chatting with Nestor about the full flights, the GDD alert. Lacy shakes her head.
"This is what the STO wanted? To kill Sister Clarice?" Barnabas laughs, and shakes his head. That was all him. But, he points out, as far as Lacy's concerned he's all the STO she'll never know. He's the leader. She stares at them. She dropped out of life, for this. "Then you both used me." He grins a wide, once-beautiful grin. "Welcome to the deep end, little one. It's always deeper than you think."
They sport in splendor with our fears
And look as dewdrops on our tears
Amanda stands on a battlement on the Pantheon, staring down at the Bay. It's beautiful, by night. She is quiet; she stares up at the sky. The wedding ring, on the edge, the shoes discarded. She breathes. At the end of every line's a space, that contains with it infinite possibilities. You skip down to the next line, you mind the gap; everything that matters takes place in the gap. The end of line. But survival is a punishment we only have to choose to bear. If she's not strong enough -- if the Gods have systematically removed every strut and keystone -- there is another option.
Zoë's four kilometers from the cordon, surrounded by Raptors, pushing chrome against the pedals. Use of force, they say, is authorized only to disable the vehicle. She's a valuable asset. They line up and wait.
Keon loses Clarice's van, for a moment. "Frakking technology," Barnabas swears, as they come closer to the bridge.
Clarice rants, determined to get to Gemenon, so she can apply personally for permission to kill Barnabas before he ruins everything. Before his pain and his sickness damn the movement for good. Nestor stares at her a moment, worried at this new determination. She loves life. Delicious food and wine and smoke. She loves her husbands, and her wives. She loves bodies. She is soft, and precious, and getting harder.