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Nina stared out the open window as she sat at her desk, the light breeze sweeping through her cropped, dark curls, like soft breaths against her sienna toned skin. The scents of the city—the petrichor smell after the morning's light rain—all converged in her mind, painting a bright picture. It was—she hoped—one that would not fade from her mind all too soon.

"The commissioner of the FDA is still in critical condition after the attempt on his life . . . " Nina only paid minimal attention to the anchor's voice filtering through the speakers of the screen mounted on the living room wall. The woman's tone was clear and detached from whatever breaking news she was rattling off despite the faint and painfully forced expression of concern she put on for the viewers. Nina had little interest for it all.

Her mind was still replaying a strange dream she'd had the previous night, though it was not the first. She recalled with startling clarity the hallways she'd walked down in her dream; walls painted a cream color, soft lighting reflecting off the polished hardwood floor. Nina had walked down the hall with a tune she couldn't quite recall playing from somewhere nearby and the scent of some type of flower she had yet to recognize hanging in the air. Then, there was the painting, some landscape painted in bold, warm tones yet still giving off a soothing sort of mood.

Nina had the strange feeling of familiarity when she thought back to the dream, despite her never having been to such a place. For a while, she thought of what the dream—so simple and yet refusing to leave her mind—might have meant, and could come up with no explanation. In the end, Nina had pushed any thoughts of it to the back of her mind, crediting the dream to her subconscious dealing with all that had happened to her as of late.

At the moment, she just marveled at the fact that she could recall with perfect clarity what she'd had for breakfast the previous day. The crunch of the toast and the nearly overwhelming sweetness of the marmalade, mixing with the scent of freshly brewed coffee, still so vivid she could almost taste it all. Nina could even recall the way the morning sunlight had filtered through the blinds as they slowly opened at the usual time and the insurance commercial that played when the television turned on as she walked into the living room.

It was, as strange as it would seem to the average person, an amazing feeling to remember. Nina didn't think it was something she'd ever take for granted.

". . . Fearnley is currently awaiting trial for the slaying of Alice Cassill. . . ."

"Incoming call from Iris." The notification jolted Nina from her thoughts even as she answered without thinking using a simple voice command.

Iris was a friend of hers and co-worker. Her cheery greeting made Nina smile and she realized at that moment that she had missed the daily interactions with all the people she worked with. Iris, in particular, had always been good company.

"How are you feeling?" Iris asked, voice streaming through the small speaker in Nina's living room. It rang clearly through the room even as Nina moved away from the window and to the small kitchenette.

"Great. I've been doing nothing but resting so that's not surprising." Nina didn't mention the headaches, nor the strange dreams she'd had, didn't think they mattered enough. After all, most medical procedures and medications came with side effects. She didn't think it'd be so surprising to have her neuroprosthesis be the same. "How's work been?"

"Not the same without you around," Iris said, and Nina could hear the smile she must have worn as she spoke. "I swear, you always have the best articles. Gemma's been complaining about it now that you're not around. When are you coming back?"

"In about a week, maybe less if I get bored enough." Nina poured herself a glass of water and moved to the couch in the living room. There was an amused smile on her face at the thought of her boss hassling everyone due to her absence. It was nice to feel appreciated every now and then.

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