The Galactic Trig
Just prior to One Law
"John? May I speak to you for a moment?"
The young man looked up from the briefing papers he was studying and saw the most recent addition to, and oldest of the Tomorrow People walking towards him. For a second he thought she was in uniform, but then realised it was simply the way she wore the civilian clothing she had selected from the Trig's stores.
"Hallo, Tricia - or Federation Agent Conway, I suppose I should call you, now. Congratulations. What can I do for you?"
"I've heard that you're going back to Earth, John - that the Council has approved it. I just wanted to say goodbye before you go. And thank you."
"Tricia, why don't you come back with us? You don't have to stay on the Trig - you'd be welcome at the Lab with the rest of us."
"No, John. You know that isn't true. You'd all do your best not to hold my past against me, I know, but it would cause a strain. And there are other reasons as well."
John looked at Tricia in concern. "What other reasons?"
"I'm not sure I'd be able to function on Earth - as a Tomorrow Person, I mean. John, I failed to break out for so long because I was torn between two loyalties - to my country, and to what I am inside. I've tried, I've spoken to Elizabeth and Timus but I can't reconcile the two. I can serve my country or I can be a Tomorrow Person. I don't know how to do both. And I don't want to choose."
She turned to look out a window at the great expanse of the Galactic Trig. "Up here, I don't need to choose. I can do what I believe is right without having to face the prospect of failing in my duty to my country. So John, while I appreciate everything you have all done for me, and the way you have accepted me, my place isn't with you. It's here."
John nodded. "I understand. But there'll always be a place for you with us if you want it."
"I know." Tricia smiled for a brief second and then her face turned serious. "I came to give you something as well."
John found a small key ring with a single key pushed into his hand.
"Colonel Masters gave me this about a year ago. He told me that if anything ever happened to him, I was to go to the place written on the key ring and open up the security box I found inside. He didn't tell me what was in it, but he seemed to think it was significant. I got the impression he thought that someone might harm him because of the information in that box. John, could you please, just for my peace of mind, check out that box?"
John looked at the key. "Of course, what harm can it do to look?"
"Thank you, John." With that, Tricia turned on her heel and began to walk purposefully in the direction of her headquarters.