2.5 Never Wrong

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Thomas could hardly breathe, sickened by the magnitude of his own mistake. He had never learned to guard his secrets. Until now, he'd never needed to. He was going to end up like that slave, Gyatch, torn into chunks. How he hated the Torth.

The Swift Killer aimed at him, her palm glowed in a overlapping pattern that Thomas would see in his nightmares, if he lived. She didn't have a back-up squad this time. Despite his weakness, despite his disability, he could probably hurt her before she shot him to death. DIE. Thomas plunged into her mind, searching for her core.

The Swift Killer narrowed her focus to a blade-like intensity, and crippling pain shot through Thomas's skull.

The Upward Governess floated serenely between them. Are You (Swift Killer) afraid of an unripe baby? she wondered. Fear is quite primitive. What an unseemly overreaction.

The distant audience murmured, and the Swift Killer closed her eyes and took deep breaths. Thomas sensed a spike of terror within her. It only lasted a brief instant, but in that instant, she seemed entirely human. Her mental audience scattered as if she had a plague.

Like her clone sister, the distant Torth audience whispered.

Untrustworthy.

This baby barely comprehends the world around him, the Upward Governess thought, as if there was a vast gulf of years between her and Thomas. He doesn't own slaves or a blaster glove. What is there to fear? You (Swift Killer) are an embarrassment to Your rank. You ought to leave.

Thomas bristled at her disparagement, but distant minds echoed the Upward Governess in a staccato rhythm, urging the Swift Killer to Leave.

Leave.

Why don't You (Swift Killer) leave?

The Swift Killer held her ground, as if resisting a strong current. I will stay, she thought decisively. The Upward Governess is too valuable to be left alone with a dangerous feral child.

The Upward Governess dipped a pastry into what looked like cream. He should not be held accountable for crimes he commits in sheer ignorance. You have mishandled him, Swift Killer. I will handle him correctly. She watched Thomas the way a scientist might study an experiment. Let go of your anger, child. Let go of your emotions.

He tried, wondering what the point was.

We (the Torth Empire) excused your earlier attack due to your extreme ignorance, she silently informed Thomas. We will not excuse you again. Attack a Torth and you will die.

Her mental tone, backed up by a chorus, held no threat whatsoever. She was merely informing him of a rather boring fact.

Now. Part of her vast attention wheeled towards her inner audience, like an arm of a hurricane. This child thinks like a savage only because that is how he learned to survive among them. It is an "act;" an ongoing deception so deeply ingrained that it has become subconscious for him.

That is impossible. The Swift Killer seemed to give off sparks of disdain. Either he is a superior being, or he is a slave. There is no in-between. Her unseen audience trickled back, but Thomas sensed that they were far fewer in number. Only hundreds, not millions, and discord ran through them.

Let Us see if his attitude changes once he comprehends what he is being offered. The Upward Governess held out her hand to Thomas, which was covered with crumbs from a devoured pastry. There is more to being a Torth than power and privilege. We define Ourselves by two traits.

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