"You' think you're being serious?!?  This is a joke!"

[Peace had settled across Earth and space, yes.  But for Ana Racik, there was still one last obstacle to overcome, and one last ball and chain around her ankle to cut loose.]

I already told you, I'm not going back home with you.  You're going to need to think up some pasttime other than making me your toy now.

[And standing opposite of Ana, now in civilian clothes, is her ever-so-lovely grandmother.  A certain set of documents, notarized just hours before, are firmly clenched in her hand.  Resignation papers.]

"So then what?  I suppose you've found some private outfit then willing to take on a maimed test pilot?   The Raciks have friends in the private sector too, or are you forgetting your family history now?"

You don't have friends everywhere.  I'd rattle them off for you, but I'd rather not give you any ideas on where else to expand to.

"The nerve!  You think you know what's best for you?  Look at how going your own path turned out for you, being tossed from test group to test group-"

And you're to blame for that.

"Then the Unity Group and then over to the SSR... quite the organization that turned out to be!  Ran into the ground and needing to draw on every able-bodied pilot it could.  And then back with 'Project Unification'.  Well, no matter.  Enjoy your ever-crashing life, Anastacia.  In the meantime you might find your pension payments oddly delayed.  You are quite right that I don't have friends everywhere... but sometimes all you need is one somewhere."

...

"Nothing to say?  Not even the self-preservation to think about grovelling?"

... Actually, if you really want something.

[It's petty, but she has a sense of where this leads.  She takes a step closer... and spits in her grandmother's face.]



Fuck you, you bitch of a hag!

[There's a flash of shock in old lady Racik's eyes, before a hand suddenly flies to slap Ana.  It's caught easily in one hand, clenched tightly.  And when one of her aide's rushes to try to apprehend Ana-]



Don't even try it!

[She thrusts out her prosthetic.  The man's too far away for a punch, but the sudden hiss of compressed air and magnetic inversions gives but a second's forewarning before the fist launches out, Rocket Punch-style and cold cocks him before returning to the limb.  She lets go of her grandmother's own, pushing her away.]

Give it up, old lady.

I'm done with you, and I'm done with your family.

"I'd almost applaud your commitment if not for fear that you broke my wrist..  But with that kind of attitude, your commitment won't put food on the table, or make friends for you out there.  Keep that in mind come the winter holidays, Ana.  You'll always have a place at home for them, though after that display I think it'll be outside, freezing in the cold, alone and hungry."

[Still rubbing her wrist, Ana's grandmother smiles, thinking she's got the final word here.  But that's all just the cue for someone else to speak up.]

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