Epilogue

Kaufmann Mining facility, Mica 1, Mica Majority State
Periphery
20 October 3059

05:24:12 localtime

Michelle walked the familiar halls of her father's mining company, letting the safety of memories wash away the horrors of her ordeal.

"Curse that {Naughty}! I hope he's rotting in Hell!" She screamed at the empty walls and emotionless machinery. Rounding the final corner into the automated extraction area, her personal refuge as she grew up, she stopped, shock still, mouth open.

"No such luck, I'm afraid." The clean shaven man wearing a crisp, expensive, Draconian style business suit said calmly. He wore the warm smile of a father who had just happened upon his wayward child in a busy space port.

Michelle was frozen in fear beyond speech, beyond screaming. One thought kept going over and over in her mind. Him? Here? He's dead! He can't be here!

"Oh don't look so surprised my dear. Katherine isn't the first House Lord to take a swing at me. And I believe repayment for her kindness is in order, don't you think?"

"Oh I know what you're thinking, our innocent, little Katherine couldn't possibly. But despite what you believe of me, I assure you it was her."

Her? Her who? What's he saying?

"Now, if you'll give me back your going away gift, I'll be on my way." He pointed to the necklace he had placed around her neck, forgotten until she was safely at home, and kept as a reminder to be more careful in the future.

Michelle remained frozen, memories too painful to fathom kept her rooted to the floor. Unable to scream, unable to run, unable to simply pass out. Her mind recorded the conversation without processing any of it.

"You see, I had already discovered the meaning of the data, now stored in that necklace, just before I learned that the attack forces were coming. Killing Hanse and Melissa, naughty girl. And they call me an animal." He remarked as he stepped forward and, with the swift movement of a professional street thief, removed the necklace, "Thank you," he said with a wink. With that he turned to leave.

"AREN'T YOU HERE TO KILL ME!" Michelle shrieked in indignation and rage.

Half turning and wearing that same warm smile he remarked, "my dear, if I was here to kill you you'd already be dead. I can see the challenge in your eyes, born of proper fear, but then I love a challenge. No I would prefer us to meet again. Besides, thanks to this," he held up the necklace and swung it dauntingly in front of her, "I believe you and I are going to be having the same, Ahh, difficulties." With that he disappeared through a side door, that Michelle, after all the years of exploring this sanctuary, had never known existed.