She nodded and smiled thinly. We both wiped the tears from our faces. I began removing all signs of our ever having been there. Aza carefully destroyed all of the documents she had shown me. "You should go, we've already been here too long."

"Yes," I acknowledged as I started out the door.


"Yes Aza." I waited for her to remind me to be careful as she always did.

"I..." She bit her lip. "I love you that way too."

I hesitated for a moment before going out the door. From tomorrow on, I was determined that we'd

never be forcibly separated again. The pain and love in my heart were too strong to ignore.

By the time I arrived at my quarters, the pain had not dulled significantly. I checked for messages; there were none. I still had many hours before having to report to my liege and work on my latest assignment.

We were founding a new colony. He had promised this one would be different. It was made to test the most loyal of his servants. He planned to leave them to their own devices. Once their term of duty had ended, they would be recalled and issued punishment or reward based on their records. Against what criteria their records would be judged was still uncertain. I believe my liege had vague plans; I was not sure why he had not revealed them yet.

I decided to bathe before attempting to take a short nap. My nerves were shot and my mind foggy.

I needed to relax. I removed my clothes and examined myself in the mirror.

I had dark circles under my eyes. The ice-blue of my irises were contrasted by the shots of red through the whites. My normally neat, blonde hair stuck out in every direction. I was pale and sickly looking. I wished these next hours would pass quickly.

I showered and climbed into my bed. Sleep must have come easily, because the next thing I knew, I woke up to my alarm clock. I had time before I was needed at the facilities. I leisurely dressed and made myself presentable.

I arrived at my laboratory a little earlier than usual. I made myself a warm drink and sipped at it as I studied my project notes. It would have been impossible to concentrate had I not practiced self-control so extensively. When at work I had to keep my guard up. If it were to drop, even for a brief moment, my life and the lives of those associated with me would be in great danger. I did not relish the option of punishment.

I made some corrections on my notes and started the preliminaries on an experiment I had planned for today. As I started setting up my glassware, my intercom beeped.

"Yes?" I responded to it.

"I need to see you in the main control room." It was he. He sounded a bit perturbed. I wondered which part of the experiment had gone awry.

"I will be there presently, my lord. Are there any notes I should bring?"

There was silence on the other end of the connection. I heard him clear his throat. "No," He replied. "No, nothing at all..." The connection was terminated.

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