Mission: Unlikely

“But—she’s not dead,” I said. “Her mind and DNA are encoded and stored. You could put her in a robot body, or clone her natural body and read her mind back into it—”

“Do you think I don’t know that?” Maius said, tears streaming down her cheeks. “But it’s against our religion. She is dead to us now.”

“Look, I didn’t have any choice. We’d both have died without—”

“I know that too,” she said coldly. “It’s the only reason we decided to give you a chance to redeem yourself instead of killing you where you stood.”

She led me through the ship back to a hangar bay, where Streetsweeper sat waiting. “We have repaired him.”

“And stuck a bomb in him too, no doubt,” I muttered.

“Indeed. As well as placed a limiter on your comm gear—no contacting Aegis. You will be on your own.” She threw my gun at me, and looked annoyed when I caught it. Empty, of course. “You’ll be needing that.”

“But what is this thing you want me to retrieve? Where should I look for it?”

She turned on her heel and walked away. “Ask Jiana.”

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