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Imagine Wash sitting with Carolina in silence on the ground, waiting for word on the fate of the Reds and Blues.  Out of the corner of his eye, Wash watches Carolina drawing in the dirt in a distracted sort of way - a holographic lock. She adds lines around it, like a child would draw a sun, then seems to realize what she has done and reaches out to erase it. Wash grabs her wrist to stop her, and next to it he draws a cupcake with a reticle on it. Carolina makes a sound that might have been a laugh, draws a door and murmurs “Wyoming”, getting a genuine laugh from Wash.  The icons slowly spread around them in a circle. She didn’t ask why Connie was a daisy with a smiling face, and he didn’t ask why South looked like a turkey on a platter with wheels - they accept each other’s interpretation without question.  They finally run out of names, and settle back into stillness. The peace lasts only a short while.  Carolina’s breath catches, and as Wash turns to look at her, she presses a finger into the dirt between them. She freezes there, then  seems to give up, her her head falling to her chest, shoulders slumping.  She cups her hand over the dot protectively.  Her voice is choked to nothing, but he can still read her lips - “Epsilon.”

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Volkswagen Beetle by Rick Bruinsma