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pIsaid all that so Icould say this: I'm not coming back./p

pDon't worry, you have your report, it's in the attached data file: all the information Igathered since Iwas dropped here, along with my own observations and interpretation. Imay have been working for other goals while Iwas here, but I've made sure to deliver on my end of the deal./p

pOn the whole I'm okay with how things came out, but you might want to ask yourselves: did you all get maybe alittle too clever? Did you — and I, working as your extension — contrive to create the threat you sent me to study? (It seems pretty likely that Ethan found out about the Skira'ad ibecause/i Icalled him to Oxnard, and Wonder Warthog's improbability mojo wouldn't have become near so cataclysmic without Ethan's contributions.) These are supposed to be basic issues, easily addressed with the right protocols … but, hey, we're not exactly aproperly sanctioned organization, are we? Iwas always on the operations end, so Ican't say just what thoroughness your planning section put into the prep work, but I've seen enough corners cut elsewhere to have my suspicions./p

pDoesn't matter. Icame here, Ifinished the assignment, I'm posting the results. Oh, and consider this my resignation./p

pThere are different reasons for me deciding to stay. Part ofit, let's be honest, is I'm not sure there's anything to go back to. Idon't know if you had some unexpressed agenda for this mission or if you just let endemic overcaution make you play itlittle too close, but the result was that Iwas sent in with inadequate briefing and wound up making some scary mistakes. (Plenty of my own, too, Ihaven't tried to hide that.) Events went far enough off the line to make the final consequences alittle too iffy, and I'm not about to initiate the callback sequence when there's areal chance — small, but solid — that Icould step off into abig, fat Nothing at the other end./p

pSo, sorry. If Iever get back to you it'll be the regular way, the slow way. But don't anybody hold their breath./p

pThen there's the personal stuff. Ican't explain that very well, most of itis tied up in feelings Ihaven't even started to sort through. For instance, why was Iin such ascreaming hurry to get to that chop shop? There were things Icould have done first, wouldn't have taken that long and might have made abig difference. Was Ireally operating off that first instinct, the one warning me that Ethan would rush the sacrifices once he knew my investigations were leading me toward his pet project? Or did Ijust panic at the realization of how bad my blunders had made things? Was Ijumping at the chance to impress Harris? Or — this is areally disturbing thought — did some dark corner of me set itup so he'd leave me to die, thinking that would serve him right?/p

pToo many questions, no real answers, and alot of that is extraneous clatter I'll have to sift through when Ihave time. Short form, I'm staying because Ihaven't finished my own mission./p

pNo, Iwon't tell him. Ican't say why, Ijust know Inever will. And Ialso know, with no evidence except that deep sense of destiny, that Iwon't have to tell him, he'll come to iton his own. Eventually./p

pMeanwhile, there's alot to do here. This is acrazy place, full of quests and crises and people that need saving, and Harris and his people can't catch ievery/i apocalypse. Ispent too long trying to find out who I it's time, I'd say, to start deciding who I'm going to be. If along the way Ido afew things that are worth doing, all the better./p

pWe're not finished, he and I. There are other chapters to be written, and Ihave alot of work ahead of me./p

pSomeday we'll meet again. Someday he'll know the truth./p

pSomeday, I'll make him proud./p

p—/p

pend/p