Chapter 8: Elysse
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The wood from Elysse Demonthe’s office desk was dark oak, not synthcellulose but actual wood cut from a mature oak tree. Her chair was leather and plush. Elysse’s office could have been used by an executive on Old Earth hundreds of years ago, but for the sophisticated visscreen inlaid into the top of the desk. Elysse took a crystal decanter from a small table beside the window, poured a drink.

It had been a long day. Too many meetings, too much politicking. She was exhausted. She kicked off her heels, eased her aching feet on the plush of the office carpet. It was cold. No matter where she set the temperature, her office was always cold.

She gazed out at the city below. She drank, let the fire of the alcohol trace down her throat and into her core. She rubbed the bridge of her nose with...

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