Syndicate Files: The Sister - Epilogue

And that was about it, really.

Haakinen took his package and his leave.

Siarente took Envelan up the umbilical to her ship.

Auvy took my hand and we went home.

I had the feeling that Sia wasn't going to find it as easy to get her sister back from the boosters as it had been to get her back from the Guristas, but it wasn't any of my business.

My fee arrived as promised, with a bonus 'for my trouble' that was itself double the sum agreed. So did a flat package wrapped in soft silver tissue and tied with the kind of elaborate bow that was clearly the product of someone's life-long practice. Rich people's shops had people like that, I knew, people who spent every working day making sure that the expensive things they sold were wrapped up in a way that made it clear just how expensive they were.

The package was addressed to Auvy, not to me. I didn't object to an excuse to see her again, so I took it over. When she pulled the ends of the bow the whole thing slithered open to reveal a pool of pale fabric the same color as shrip tea, a pale green promise of sweet refreshment, with a name discreetly stitched into the hem that made Auvy's eyes widen.

Straight from the Crystal Boulevard, with Siarente Ross's thanks for Auvy's help.

The money was an easy gesture, but the dress had taken at least a few moment's thought and effort. Seeing Auvy's smile when she saw it made me hope Siarente's faith in her sister wasn't misplaced, that Envelan would find something worth staying sober for, at least some days of the week.

And that I'd be lucky enough to never see either of them again.

Auvy, of course, had to try the dress on right away. She whisked away to the 'fresher, and I helped myself to a drink and took out my neocom to look again at the little twirling holo next to Sia's entry in my transaction list. Pretty girl, blue eyes, blonde hair.

She didn't look like trouble.

I sipped my whiskey and looked at the holo and thought about that, about podders who looked and acted like normal people, about the vast dark spaces between the stars where they lived as comfortably as I lived in my one room with its fold-down bed and fold-out table. About capsuleer ethics, about love and family and other lost causes that people would risk everything for before they gave up the faith.

I mighta got maudlin, but Auvy came back from the 'fresher, wearing her new dress.

Auvy did look like trouble, especially in that dress. Well, she is trouble.

But not the kind a smart man would want to avoid.

And not the kind a man would ever regret.

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