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.I can remember exactly what it felt like to run as a child, to fall and skin my knee.The twinge of the pain can be re-created in my mind with utter clarity.I cannot remember what I had for dinner last night.I have had to drink rather heavily in order lo maintain some of the more sensitive entries in this journal, because I have not wanted my.associate.to be aware of some of the things I write.The problem is that I think it's starting to take its toll upon me.That and age.and the mirror.I look in the mirror and I see reflections of a man I do not recognize.and yet, unfortunately, do.The image of me in my dreams.My dreams.Durla and dreams.Now there is a subject.It takes a great deal of effort for me to recall what happened at a ministry meeting yesterday.Durla was there, that I recall.He was in one of his wild-eyed moods, speaking once more about dreams that had come to him, images in those dreams, and he was presenting blueprints and descriptions of new and greater weapons.The others looked upon his work and marveled at Durla the Visionary.That is what they call him: the Visionary.One of the greatest seers in the history of Centauri Prime.When he was elevated to the office of prime minister, he started claiming that he had been guided by his dreams for years.When he was a mere member of my personal guard, such statements would have garnered laughter.Now.now the others make appreciative noises and exclamations of amazement, and speak of the exciting time in which we live, that such a prophet walks among us.It is ridiculous.Nonsense.Except.those things that we produce tend to work.Or at least our scientists are able to make them work.The Centauri Republic is being crafted in Durla's image.Odd.It gives me a strange feeling of nostalgia.I see his designs for weapons, for ships.and I get the same chill I did when I saw the Shadow ships crossing the skies over Centauri Prime.Black and fearsome things they were, and to look at them was like staring into the very heart of madness.I wonder about these dreams, and their origins, but it is pointless to inquire.Durla would not understand, nor would he care.No, two things occupy Durla's thoughts: his endeavors to build up our military might, and his desire to bring down the saboteurs who continue to frustrate and thwart him.They have done so in small ways and have not been able to truly stop the progress.For every munition factory they manage to destroy, there are five others.They can no more stem the tide than a coral reef can impede the ocean.But they are a presence and an irritant nonetheless, and Durla continues to be angered by their activities.These matters will come to a head sooner rather than later, I fear.I do not like to think about whose head they may come to.My memory.I saw a lovely young woman walking the corridors the other day.I spoke to her, smiled at her, feeling for a moment like the Londo of old.Then I realized that she was Senna, the young woman whom I took as my ward some years ago.I had not seen her in quite some time.She remains without husband, and without interest in acquiring one.Instead she occupies herself by acting as an occasional nursemaid for some of the children of Centauri ministers and such.She is quite popular with them, so I understand.Dinner.Dinner the other night was with Vir.I recall now.I do not remember what we had.but he was there.Senna was there, too.They spoke quite gregariously with one another, I seem to remember.One would have almost thought I was not there at all.Sometimes I think I am not.- chapter 3 -Milifa, of the house of Milifa, burst into Durla's office, unable to contain his excitement."Is it true?" he asked before Durla could open his mouth."Is what I've heard true?"Durla leaned back and smiled.Milifa was a man who virtually radiated strength.Remarkably charismatic, powerfully built, he was the head of one of the most influential houses in all the Centaurum.Even his excitement was carefully channeled, his dark eyes crackling with intensity as he said again, "Is it true?""Are you going to give me breathing space to tell you, my friend? Or will you simply keep asking?"Milifa took a step back and a deep breath."Do not toy with me on this, Durla.I warn you."Virtually any other person who spoke the words "I warn you" to Durla would have been subject to harsh treatment.But from Milifa, Durla was willing to take it."Yes.It is true," he responded.Milifa sagged with visible relief.Durla had never seen the robust aristocrat so emotionally vulnerable.Even on the day that Milifa's son, Throk, had been killed, Milifa had managed to keep his rawest emotions in careful check."Four.years," he said incredulously."Four years since the safe house of the Prime Candidates was destroyed.Four years since my son and his friends died at the hands of those.those." He trembled with barely contained fury."I cannot apologize enough, old friend," said Durla, "for the length of time it has taken us to apprehend one of these subversives.It is, frankly, an embarrassment.I do not know any other way to put it.""An embarrassment, yes.Perhaps," Milifa said sourly, "your duties as prime minister have atrophied the skills you so adroitly displayed when you were minister of Internal Security.""That is neither here nor there," Durla told him.He rose from behind his desk and came around it, clapping Milifa on the back."He is being questioned even as we speak.Do you wish to come and see?""Absolutely," Milifa said."After waiting four years to see the face of one of these bastards, I have no intention of waiting a moment longer."Durla was pleased to see that the questioning was already under way.He was not, however, pleased to witness its lack of success.The subject was strapped into an oversize chair, his feet dangling a few inches above the floor.He was rail thin, narrow-shouldered, and unlike most other Centauri of Durla's acquaintance, his hair was something of a mess.His head was lolling from one side to the other, as if attached to his shoulders by only the slimmest of supports.Several members of the Prime Candidates were there, as well, looking particularly grim.Durla recognized one of them as Caso, a close friend of Throk's.Caso had suffered, to some degree, from survivor's guilt.A lung illness had kept him home in bed the day that the other Prime Candidates died in the explosion; had Caso not been bedridden, he would have died with the others."What is the vermin's name?" Milifa asked, standing just behind Durla."Lanas.Rem Lanas," Durla told him grimly."He was found trespassing in one of our." He paused, and then said,".medical facilities, on Tumbor 2.He had counterfeit clearance identification on him.Quite well crafted, I might add.He was in the midst of endeavoring to rewire certain circuits that.if left unchecked.would have caused the facility to blow up [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]