exactly what happened. And when. And who was involved. Bet on it.”
* * *
When Mr. O and Sean showed up at my apartment for breakfast the next morning, I implemented the part of my plan I’d shared with Sean and Molly last night, and which they’d more or less agreed to.
As soon as we sat down, before Mr. O could say anything that might piss me off all over again, I said, “Since I have a few hours free, why don’t we all go visit your daughter Elana? Sean and Molly were saying last night how much they want to see her and have me meet her.”
Though he seemed startled by my suggestion, I didn’t detect any suspicion. “Ah, I’d rather assumed… But I don’t imagine an hour’s delay will make much difference. I’d very much like to see her myself, and you’d no doubt appreciate a break from your duties.”
“Thanks. And you’re right, I would.” Not that I intended this to be a break, since my main duty right now was to ferret out the truth about Rigel. The Grentl could wait.
As soon as we finished breakfast, we headed for Pryderi and the Mind Healing facility there. Even more than my recent meeting with Healer Adara, the squarish crystalline building with its deceptively soothing blue corridors reminded me forcefully of the last time I’d been here, the last time I’d seen Rigel, though he hadn’t seen me…
Which also reminded me of the guilt and anxiety I’d sensed from Adara when I’d mentioned Rigel. If anyone knew the truth it was likely to be her—and I fully intended to get it out of her.
“Will Elana recognize us?” Molly asked worriedly as we approached her sister’s room.
“I believe so,” replied the Healer who’d been overseeing Elana’s treatment, and who’d met us in the spacious lobby. “She’s made excellent progress these past two weeks and is remembering more and more of her past life. It’s her short-term memory that is the main issue now, as with so many of our patients who underwent similar abuses at Faxon’s command.”
A moment later he showed us into a nicely furnished and decorated room—the living room of what seemed to be a small apartment. A young redheaded woman I recognized from the O’Garas’ pictures fairly flew out of a chair near a window to greet us, arms outstretched.
“Dad!” she exclaimed, wrapping Mr. O in a fierce hug that nearly brought tears to my eyes. “Nobody told me you were coming today. And Sean? Molly? How…? I never quite believed them when they said it’s been over two years, but just look at you!” She released her father to hug each of them in turn.
“Oh, Elana, it’s so wonderful to see you,” Molly cried, hugging her sister back just as tightly. “I missed you so much! We just heard yesterday you were finally well enough for us to visit and we came as soon as we could.”
“You’re so grown up,” Elana marveled, holding Molly at arm’s length to take a good look at her. “And Sean, you’ve grown at least a foot! You’re practically a giant! But where’s Mum?”
Healer Bowyn spoke from the doorway. “Still on Earth, Elana, remember? She’s on the Echtran Council there now, a very important job.”
“She is? Oh, yes, you did tell me that, didn’t you? Or did I see it on the feeds? I’m never quite—” Just then, Elana spotted me hovering in the hallway behind the Healer. “And who— Oh! Apologies, Excellency! I recognize you from the feeds, of course. Forgive me, do. I was so excited—”
“No, no, it’s fine,” I quickly assured her, feeling like an awkward intruder at such an emotional family reunion—which I now realized played right into my plan. “Um, why don’t I let you all catch up privately? You must have tons you want to say to each other. Healer Bowyn can show me to the waiting area and I can watch the news or read or something.”
All four O’Garas protested—Sean and Molly halfheartedly, since they knew this was part of my plan—but I insisted. Mr. O