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of planetary gemstones, places where sentient life had not evolved, but that did not offer sufficient incentive for corporations or tourists to exploit them. Marcus had been relieved to discover, upon checking the latest survey reports, that the planet was still as idyllic and unpopulated as he remembered it.

He breathed in the sweet air, and recalled again a late night conversation they'd had, just after the end of the Shadow War. He'd been celebrating, along with Sheridan and Garibaldi and Ivanova and Franklin, and they had come to a quiet moment, as conversations sometimes did. It was Franklin who finally spoke. "Did you ever think about what you'd like to do after the war?"

Ivanova had hesitated, then said, "I've always had this dream of retiring to a beach somewhere. Someplace where no one could find me. Not the bureaucrats, not the sales guys, not anybody. I think I could plant myself by a river, or a beach, and look out over the water, and never, ever want to leave."

"You? Not a chance," Franklin had said. "You'd go stir crazy inside of a week."

"You don't know that," she shot back.

"He's right," Sheridan had said. "For people like you and me, it's as if we need someone to give us permission to relax, to say, 'It's ok if the world goes on without us for awhile'. We have responsibilities and those come first. The only way you could ever relax is if you knew there was no way you could get to those responsibilities."

Then she had looked up and found Marcus watching her. She smiled almost sheepishly. "Maybe you're right. Maybe I'd have to be stranded on a desert island or something. Anyway, it's just a dream I have. There's always too much to do, and in the end, how may of our dreams come true, right?

How many indeed, he had wondered.

Now he looked
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