Interlude #8

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Rose Furey wasn't her real name. That one had been buried with her past life. On the day she rejected her world and chose another, she fabricated a new person, one that would live up to new ideals and a new purpose. She needed a name, one that would remind her every day of who she was. Rose Furey.

"What happened to Holt?" she asked Cal as they made final preparations, packing her small backpack. She took a final look around the room they'd given her while they'd been staying.

"He's here," he said. "On Red, somewhere, as he doesn't have a passport for travelling to Blue."

"You just left him to his own devices? That was a risk."

Cal shrugged. "He can't do anything. I've taken away his motivation. The people here are just like you and him. He has no enemy; just a lot of evidence that he's been wrong his whole life."

"That doesn't mean he's going to change."

"Maybe not. But he's not a threat. He's going to have to live in this perfectly functioning society."

Rose snorted. "He's not going to like that."

"We should get going."

This place. This city. She could live here, she knew, and be happy. It wasn't Locque, or Earth. It was a third world, divorced from the mess of home. She could forget about everything and create another new life. A quieter one.

"Let's go," she said.

They took the lift down to the ground floor. As Cal had pointed out, dimension jumping from the fiftieth floor with no corresponding building on the other side was a poor idea.

The others were waiting in the foyer, where sunlight streamed in through the glass walls and ceiling. The architecture of this city was open, blurring the division between interior and exterior spaces. Kay stood next to Marv, in plain clothing, civilians going about their business all around. Curious glances were sent their way but there was no overt shock or revulsion. News had spread fast about the discovery of additional dimensions - a general concept which everyone here already took for granted - and they'd all become celebrities of a sort. Kay had even gone on a talk show, broadcast out to the entire planet. Both planets, in fact. Everyone knew who she was. There was excitement and intrigue, where on Earth there would be only fear. Rose wondered whether this place represented a possible future for her own people, or whether they were already too far gone.

"Hey," said Kay.

"We're going now," Rose said.

"You sure we can't convince you to stay?"

"We've not been able to contact Earth since we left. I need to find out why, and coordinate matters from there. Me being with you only complicates matters on Locque."

Kay looked down at the ground, and rubbed her foot on the ground like she always did when she was being honest. "We wouldn't have got this far without you."

"Don't be so sure about that," Rose said. "I want you to know, Kay, that you're doing the right thing. I've no idea if it's going to work, but it's the right thing to do."

Kay reached out and hugged her then, and Rose let it happen. She didn't return it, because that wasn't really what she did. Kay smiled, then crossed the floor to where Cal was waiting.

"As for you," Rose said, speaking quietly to Marv, "you need to know that she can't do this without you."

"Nah," Marv said, "I'm just the entourage."

"You keep her anchored," Rose said, fixing him with a stare. "Don't let her doubt herself."

Marv nodded. "I get what you're saying," he acknowledged.

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