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You don't expect it when the news comes: Morgan's attempting to corner the global energy market.

You have an uneasy alliance with the Gaians, are warring with Zakharov on your shared border, but as soon as you comm Deirdre she looks as stressed as you. "Twenty years," she says, "to capture Morgan Industries."

You'd wondered if he was going to pose a threat, with the way he had started to build his forces, but you'd not prepared enough. You take his mines, his processing plants, Deirdre's troops and mindworms by your side.

You don't make it. Your people are gone.

 

He visits you, once, to ask about your military strategies against the native lifeforms. You spit at his feet, and he has his people torture you while he walks dismissively away.

You could escape. You've memorised the patrols (minimal) and the mechanics (old-fashioned and cheap); he doesn't expect you to leave because you have nowhere to go. Outside, you're a single human against a Planet unconcerned. Here, you have food and water and your life.

Here, you have Deirdre's voice in your head, the psychic link she established between you still holding strong.

And he doesn't know this: Deirdre dreams.

 

There's something about the Gaians.

Morgan has no inkling of it. There are no loopholes; his mind control should, in practice, be absolute. But they dream of the Planet, and Deirdre does, too, and one day she says to you, now.

You escape out under cover of darkness. "Where are we going?"

"Memory of Earth," she says. "He thinks it's his, but they've been careful. It's ours."

"Ours?"

"I have a dozen psionic Talents, a handful of scientists, and the few extraordinarily psychic of my citizens. It's not a colony. Not yet."

"It will be," you say, and she smiles.