Chapter 2: Devil’s Breath and Mardi Gras

I opened the lid and pulled out a smaller round wooden box. I lifted the lid, sneaked a peek inside and did not let Columbine see. I teased her with with a pantomimed expression of delight, my eyes wide with effected excitement and my mouth pursed in an overly emoted conspiratorial grin.

“We’ll get in trouble,” Xavi said sternly.

Chapter 3: The Hirsuit Hoodlum

Terra Beata’s climate limited humanity to a thin strip. That strip, a good distance from the limb of the planet, the Intelligences called goldilocks zone. If I ever meet Goldilocks I’ll kick her ass. On Terra Beata, goldilocks does not mean “just right.” It means you will not die today from violent storms, drought, heat stroke or extreme cold.