"Hello, Dr. Dryden." It thought massively.
Seli opened her eyes. She was lying on her side between the blankets strung in her glass sphere. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see the hull of the Moth. Without the Kirov's radiation or the lights of the beacon, the ship was dark, a golden shadow against the sea of stars.
She could feel Saul Alinsky's warm body behind her in the bed. He was on his back. She could tell by his breathing that he was awake.
"You used to be better."
"Better?" Saul seemed lost in the contemplation of the stars before him.
"Better in bed. You used to really rock the sack."
Saul chuckled. Well, you used to have stirrups on the poles. I could hook my feet into them."
"You used to visit often enough to make it worth keeping the stirrups up."
"You're just old. How old are you now?"
"A hundred and twelve."
"Lord have mercy. I remember when I swore off any man over eighty."
Saul chuckled again. "Yeah, I remember that too. I had just turned eighty."
There was a long pause. "So what's it like to age Saul?"
"You tell me, you're almost two hundred."
Seli glanced over her shoulder. "Yes, but I'm not aging. Not like you are. I can see it in your skin. You're taking Regenix."
"They say Regenix will give me another thirty years."
"So what's it like?"
"I hate it. Everyone is very jealous of you. They say you'll live forever."
Seli grunted. "Oh no. I'll die...When he's done with me."
"Does he still visit you."
Seli didn't answer. "Why are you here Saul? You're too old and valuable for the IDF to send out for no reason."
Saul sighed. "I'm here to reign you in. Do you know how long it is since you last checked in."
"We're guerilla warriors Saul. We're supposed to act on our own. Do you remember the Charter?"
"The Charter was a long time ago Seli. No one follows the Charter any more."
"Yes and Timbel and few of the others but you're a dying breed. Do you know that the IDF has a chamber in the League of Planets?"
"No it isn't Seli. There's a real interest in the protection of species in the League now. I've spoken there twice now myself."
Seli grunted. "No Saul. The League of Planets is Bullshit. They are paid for and bought and sold by corporations that rape life bearing planets. Talking to them is pointless."
"Seli, people change. Corporations change. We have a real opportunity too..." Seli sighed loudly and Saul fell silent.
"Why are you here Saul?"
"I'm here to give you an observer."
Seli shot to a sitting position. "An observer? Are you nuts?"
"There's been a pax in the IDF council. My hands are tied. I've got instructions to lock the engine on the Moth if you refuse to comply."
"A pax?" Seli fell back on the bed. "Will you do it?"
"I already have. The engines on the Moth will stay locked. Only the observer can unlock them."
"How did I get a pax? I'm a founding member."
"well, we tried arresting you..."
Seli crossed her arms across her narrow chest. "Great, who's the observer?"
"That's the other thing I needed to tell you."