Chapter 50: Introductions
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Late afternoon 10_04_AU77

Malila woke as the skimmer landed, and she was lifted onto a gurney. Her images became a stop-motion kaleidoscope: rattling down a dim hallway; the harsh fluorescents strobing above; distorted faces leaning over her, prodding and asking unanswerable questions; her clothes cut off; and the cold rush of air and darkness.

She awoke, finally, in a DUFS sick bay: sterile, small, white, overwarm, shabby, smelling of cleaning solution and floor wax, not really built for people. The mattress wheezed whenever she moved, even less comfortable than a camp cot. What was new to her was a guard at the door with a sidearm. She slept and woke later to see, through the only window, the slanting sunlight on a...

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