The Importance of Imagination – 09

Stef had her nose pushed to the window of the observation window that looked down on the surgical suite – though no surgery was taking place. Below, Ryan observed as he walked around the curved path towards his daughter, the Parkers were going through a complete medical workup with Austin Reilly.

In other parts of the observation area, there were small clusters of Tech recruits, each holding some device to take notes – from a humble notebook, to a tablet. Occasionally, one of them would ask a question, or make a point, and below, one of the Parkers would nod.

‘Stef.’

She looked up, her eyes wide in a way that meant she had been crying, or wanted to cry – her logic, apparently, was that the dryer her eyes were, the more of her tears would dry up before they could be cried out.

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The Importance of Imagination – 05

Ryan looked to his office door. There had been a knock. His HUD told him it was Stef outside – and she had knocked, instead of shifting in – a sign to be a little worried for her. She went through strange cycles of this – on good days, she would shift straight in, on days when she felt less good about herself – and therefore feeling undeserving of his affection – she would loiter in the hall outside his office, or insist on knocking.

He had insisted, gently but often, that she was always welcome.

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The Importance of Imagination – 03

Shifting was a near-instantaneous transport – there was maybe a second or two as you disappeared where you were still aware of the place you were leaving, and less than a second to recognise something about the place you had teleported into.

Travelling by mirror had the world go rainbow at the edges, then transport you even more quickly than a shift.

Whichever way they were travelling now was a world away from either of those disappear-reappear options.

Hook walked them forward, each step taking them past ghostly echoes of buildings, each step taking them far further than the distance traversed by their feet.

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