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did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?

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Taylor breezes back into Pat's life like she never left, babbling about all the marvels she's seen in her travels. "The floating cities of Venus are a sight to see," she says. "Do you know they're setting up to mine the Venerian atmosphere for carbon dioxide, to ship it to Mars and speed up the terraforming there?"

"Oh, are the Mars colonies trying to outgrow their domes again?" asks Pat. "They'll have the same problem as Earth pretty soon if they're not careful: too many people, not enough resources."

"Too many resource-hogs, not enough resources," Taylor corrects, and they're off on a well-worn argument, supplemented by Taylor's new discoveries about the universe and about herself.

Never once does Pat ask what she's really longing to know.