Points of cold wet assailed my senses. It was a feeling not unlike the pod induced sensation of taking auto-cannon fire. I focused on that similarity. Bullets ricocheting off of the armored skin of a ship was familiar. The feeling of rain, however, was profoundly alien. As were funerals.
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust”
I bowed my head with the rest of the gathered, though I found it somewhat difficult to relate my father to ash or dust. His composition was of sterner things. Stone, metal, jagged obsidian.
“I hadn’t expected to see you again.” I recognized the voice. I put my hands into my cloak pockets.
“I hadn’t expected anyone to recognize me,” I replied turning to face my old theology teacher. “It’s good to see you Leto.”
He smiled. “Last I heard you were dead. Then there were rumors. Rumors that you were still alive. That you were flying for the Federation.” He spoke softly as we walked together out of the rain, into the shelter of the temple. “Your father insisted they were lies.”
“Better dead than a traitor,” I finished his thought. “I didn’t come here to be lectured on my choices.”
“Perhaps not,” he frowned. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a small contingent of imperial marines begin to make their way toward us. “I am sorry child. We will all be judged for our transgressions.”
I slipped my right hand out of my cloak, drawing the worn golden knife. In my periphery the marines broke into a sprint. “I came to give this back,” I said calmly, dropping the weapon on the marble floor of the temple. “My conscience is clear, my friend. I have no fear of judgement.” My left thumb rubbed the raised button on my neocom. “Regardless, I have to die first.” I pressed the button.
Armored hands gripped my arms, threw me to the ground. My cheek impacted the smooth damp floor. A moment of pain, then the dampness intensified covering my body.
I sat up and rubbed my cheek instinctively but the pain was gone. I retrieved the wrist neocom from the nearby table and jacked in as I climbed out of the clone vat.
“Welcome back to Villore madame,” said the familiar voice. “I hope that your business planet side has gone well. Shall I have your hangar unsealed?”
“Yes Aura,” I replied. “It’s time to get back to work.”