They thought she would only last a day outside the walls of the colony. Instead, Cressida Elliot thrived and made a name for herself as the best ‘extractionist’ in the Belsir moon system.
Now she is determined to uncover the truth about her parents’ death and her own miraculous survival–and bring justice to the guilty regardless of how impossible that might be.
The folder slipped from her fingers, dropping to the floor of the shuttle with a dull splat. She couldn’t believe it, any of it, to be true. How could it be? Her loving mother, who protected her with every fiber of her being, was…. Cressida couldn’t finish the thought. Could not even grasp the concept. It went against everything she remembered.
She swiped up the folder and sought out a date, any date, to signify a beginning or an end to the experimentation. But there were no clear dates, not even on the logs of each project as it ran its course. The dates were all in code, and she didn’t even have a clue as to how to find the cypher. Cressida shoved the folders back into her bag and kicked it away from her, digging her fingers into her hair and squeezing her eyes shut against the words and what they meant.
But what would she – no, what could she do with this information? What was the point of it all? There was no one to question or seek out, certainly not if this was the reality of her mother’s work. There was nothing to be done. No question. No answer. No end to the nightmare. If anything, this would weave in a very different face. A different place. A different ending. One that held no room for a loving mother.
Cressida whimpered, mourning the loss of her childlike reverence for her parents. Perhaps this is why she had put off, so long, the task of asking her parents’ friends and colleagues about that day? The pedestal upon which she placed her parents stood too tall for too long. Now it lay in ruins around her, scattering her pleasant memories until they were too scarred to be recognizable. Skewed. Tainted.
And now she had to move on, unable to love nor hate her parents? Unable to seek out more of the truth?
She lowered her hands and stared at the bag, the corners of the files peeking out from the slightly open center. There was no way to stop here, half known. Now she had to learn it all so that she could judge her parents against the entire history and not simply a fraction of it; they both deserved that. But could she talk to Noah about what she discovered? Would he even want to hear about the research? Would he care to hear any of it at all?
It didn’t matter. This journey had begun the moment she accepted the files, and she couldn’t stop here. She had to continue and find the reasons why. Her mother and father wouldn’t be a part of something like this without a logical reason! Perhaps that very reason caused their death?
Cressida drew the bag closer and sealed it closed. There would be no more reading done today, not if she expected to keep herself on the task at hand. But she would pick up where she left off as soon as this job was done.