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throttling the lying glyphs in his brain.

Fiona... Matthew... Walters was still there, pulling the images about him in a blazing cloak. His eyes were still there, too, resigned, full of gentle reprimand. He stood near a gate, the doors of which were just beginning to crack open. You can't destroy the truth.

And he was gone, and finally the images shredded, a thousand visions of his parents, dancing, fighting, embracing, holding him...

No! He took it all in his fist and he squeezed until it went away.

His fist had never opened again. Never.



* * *



He shook his head, becoming aware of his cell again.

There they were below-the man and woman he had never known, save in dreams, and visions, and from the mind of a dying man. Matthew and Fiona Dexter, the mother and father in bronze. And in their arms, the lovingly held bundle-

Of course it was true. Of course he had always known it.

It felt like a cough, at first, so long had it been since he laughed. He hacked up another, and had to sit back on his bunk.

James must have thought he was dying, because he showed up a few minutes later, looking worried. "Bester?"

"It's nothing," Bester managed, waving him away. "Just the universe. Don't believe anyone when they tell you irony is just a literary convention, James. It's a universal constant, like the coefficient of gravity."

"What are you talking about?"

But Bester shook his head. Another thing that only he knew. No one else on Earth or in the stars knew what had happened to that baby, immortalized in bronze. That the symbol of hope for the brave new world was none other than the most hated criminal of the old.

Maybe there was hope for them, after all.

Still smiling, he lay down on his bunk, trying to frame what to do about it. Would
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