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that, when I finally had him." He squeezed her hand. "You think I don't have enough?"

"You aren't a quiet man, Michael. You aren't comfortable just with happiness."

He laughed. It hurt. "I bet if I put enough effort into it, I can be," he said. "And believe me, I intend to put a lot of effort into it."

She smiled a little skeptically, then kissed him.

"By the way," she said, when they came up for air. "You can explain to our daughter what those words mean. The ones they keep playing on the newscasts."



* * *



Bester felt as if he were looking down on the courtroom from a great height, as if the witness stand were Olympus. For weeks, others had sat here, but they had seemed small to him, lost in the crowd of humanity, in the humming of newstapers, there in the almost baroque splendor of the French hall of justice.

Small. Even Garibaldi looked small, perched in that place that demanded the truth. Old enemies and old friends came, spoke, and went. A few struggled, unwilling even now to betray him in an entirely unqualified way. Most of these were already in prison.

Others were glad to proclaim him a monster, to paint him as something more removed from humanity than the Drakh or even the Shadows. He listened to them, watched them shrink into history even as he felt himself grow larger, a towering shadow. People would remember Alfred Bester, yes, but these others were mere footnotes.

It might have been different, he mused, if Sheridan had come. Perhaps Sheridan would have even said something good about him. After all, Sheridan understood, as the rest of these insects did not. Understood about the sacrifices one made for the common good, the stains one would accept on one's own soul when something higher was at stake.

Yes, all of this was inevitable.
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