|Myra hangs suspended, arachnoid, above a sea of sodium. Above her (though it is, from her inverted perspective, beneath her feet) the customs vessel Absent Friends is running black. The glow by which she sees washes upward from the arclights of San Califa, winking by their thousands along roads and overpasses, in schoolyards and junkyards, backyards and swimming pools. She cannot see him, but she knows that Barnes is on the other end of the zipline, patient, massive, shaggy-haired Barnes, who can lift her bodyweight in one hand. Beside him is Cree, needlepoint neurotic in civilian life, sharp and clear tonight, as every night on the job. And in the pilot seat, her Captain. Myra smiles, and returns her attention to the city.|
The suit she wears is not neoprene or lycra, but rather a distant relative of both, slick and warm, it assists her movements, insulates her from the frost at ten thousand feet, and will protect her later from flames, projectiles, and even sharps, although the designers are cautious about this last, and the guarantee rates the suit only for second chance in respect of knives. The suit wraps her in calm. On other days it pulls the small hairs on her body, tweaks her concentration and makes her snappy. But not tonight. Tonight, the suit is behaving, and Myra can focus, really focus, on the job.
She closes her eyes, joins her hands, and slips into the trance. And quickly, amazingly quickly, she hears. Myra is listening to San Califa's dreams.