Faces in the Mist, Part Thirteen

Read from the Beginning

“That was a disaster.”
Skyla was alone again with Darian in her conference room. She gripped one of the four chairs in the room and heaved a sigh, gritting her teeth. Control. She had to control herself. She’d almost lost herself back there. She looked up at Darian. He was staring at her, hands behind his back, waiting. She would not let her guard down again in front of him. She couldn’t afford to do that.
“The press will write what they want, regardless of what we tell them. Let them play with their conspiracy theories and speculations,” Darian replied.
“I think someone saw Lady Harmony’s seizure,” Skyla said.
Darian raised an eyebrow. “The door was open for a moment…”
She nodded. “Maybe that moment was long enough for someone to see. Or capture it on video.” She rubbed her tired eyes, but she was wired awake. Those pills wouldn’t wear off for a few hours yet. “I can’t have that circulating around.”
“I will speak with our public relations staff and ask them to look into it, your highness.”
“Yes. Thank you.” She forced a smile. “And Ambassador Conrod…what shall we do with him?”
“What about him, your majesty?”
“He…he might think that I am unfit for office.”
Darian couldn’t suppress his laughter. He sauntered around the oval table that separated them, so casual in his movement that Skyla thought to call him out on it. “Skyla…your majesty…you are not unfit.”
“This is a delicate situation, Captain.”
“Indeed, your highness…but another woman would have buckled. You stood strong. I think you ended the conference at an appropriate time–”
Skyla shook her head and cut him off. “It’s not just that. Ambassador Conrod is a respected diplomat. If even one thing were to go awry with this situation—like if rumours that Moon Flash has returned to the Luna Dome…or something worse…”
“It would not go well in the Terran circles, you mean.”
“I don’t care about the Terran circles, I care about Luna. But unfortunately…yes. We’re not completely independent from Earth’s political sphere.”
“You don’t think…?”
“Yes, Captain. I do think. If we don’t take care of this quickly—and quietly—Earth may veto my power and take matters into its own hands.”
Darian opened his mouth to counter her, but he fell silent. He knew it was true as much as she did. The Luna Dome was settled over eighty years ago by Terrans of all races and specialization. Some were looking for a new life. Others had come because of the exciting new technology that allowed the Dome to function.
Although they had obeyed the laws and treaties set by the New Americas, they found it hard to regard a political structure so far from what they had come to recognize as home. So they set up the electoral monarchy that was still in place today. It had even survived the Moon Flash Virus. But even though the Luna Dome was recognized as a separate country of sorts, no formal act had been signed to declare their complete independence.
“If anyone experiences unusual dizziness or confusion, they should report to the hospital,” Skyla continued. “And no one is to mention the Moon Flash Virus to me again. Is that understood?”
“Yes, your majesty,” Darian replied. That meant him as well—and if he would obey her, maybe that would prevent him from bringing up Sebastian again. “And Lady Harmony?”
Skyla sighed and headed for the door. “As long as she’s asleep, she’s not going anywhere.”
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