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“You okay, babe?”

Malstrum touched Demetri’s hair. The smaller man set their bags on the room’s solitary bed.

“Just a little overwhelmed.”

“You knew it was coming though, didn’t you?”

Demetri nodded.

“Malstrum.” Jackson called to them from outside the door. “The Capitol mine is calling back.”

He kissed Demetri’s cheek. “Try to relax.”

Malstrum left him.

Demetri explored the apartment, ate something, showered, and laundered their clothes. All the while Malstrum stayed with Jackson in the den to communicate with their people and plot. Demetri tried to bed down. After waiting hours for Malstrum to join him he asked Brainbox to put him to sleep. The next morning Malstrum’s half of the bed was still cold. He found him looking haggard in the kitchen.

“Bifenggang’s sending us threats behind Earth’s back. They’ve missed three shipments due to the strike. They’re cutting off mana shipments until we get back to work.”

Demetri grimaced. “That’s where Secren gets it’s mana?”

“Apparently.” He rubbed a hand over his face. “The One Earth committee is meeting about me right now.”

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