Heather tapped the pulsing comm halo around her neck. "Hi Yash."

"Hi Heather."

There was an awkward pause.

"I wasn't sure you'd pick up."

"I wouldn't have asked you to call me if I wasn't going to pick up."

Another, much longer pause.

He sighed, "I don't like this."

"don't like what?"

"This. I really need us to be ok Heather."

"I don't know what you want me to say."

"I don't know either, It's just awkward and I feel like that's my fault - and I don't want it to be awkward because I like—"

"Saying awkward?"

He smiled, "There you are."

"Yes, here I am. Now stop apologizing."

"Fine" he said. "but if we ever meet, you're still going to have to accept an I'm sorry hug."

Heather called up his location on the transport display. She'd traced it after their first call to make sure he wasn't the leading edge of a Consanguine ambush.

"If we ever meet Yash," she said circling the location marker with her finger, "we're going to have to have that conversation again."

"Fine, but you have to respect the 'don't hit Yash in the face' rule."

She laughed, "Consider your face safe."

"Thank you."

"So what have you been upto?"

"Lots of things actually, but we always talk about me. You're very mysterious Heather."

She sighed. "I don't want to be."

She had good reason to be careful, but the secrecy bothered her too.

The location marker pulsed rhythmically on the display.

"Yash," she said, "next time we talk, I promise I'll tell you anything want to know."

"I'll hold you to that."

"You should."

"Actually, the next time we talk, I'll be doing it on a brand new display-capable comm system."


"Really. You know how the Aegis at Threshold are rebuilding communities hit by the war? well, it seems our number finally came up."

She laughed, "Maybe you'll get to meet Andy and the Witch."

"They're not going to have a comm delivered to the middle of nowhere by war heroes Heather."

She touched the pulsing location marker and smiled, "Yes, I guess that would be silly."