The girl from the fifth planet

The dress – of a crepeish material and the green of slow light slipped, puddle-soft, to the bottom of a pond – had fallen from her shoulder. James could see the mark.

He had been looking eight years and a dozen worlds. Through deserts and oceans; under incense-clouded canvas and starry skies. In crowded basement bars beneath the playgrounds of the mega-rich: sky-tall palaces with penthouses in which oxygen masks (or hybrid lungs) were necessary accessories. And here she was, at last, with the nine dark dots across her pale skin and, flaring around the fifth, a star to guide her home.

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