Multimama is on the Nets when Francis arrives at Pejura. Multimama’s skin flickers and glows, and her hands wave about in front of her. She plucks a window from above her head and moves it closer to her left hand. Her right palm presses onto the boards, it’s like an intricate dance. Feet and hips, arms, elbows, fingers, every bit of Multimama hums with energy.
“Her highness is looking for you,” Multimama says the moment Francis steps through the door.
“You didn’t tell her where I was, did you?” Francis says.
“I told the truth,” Multimama replies.
“I told her you weren’t here and I didn’t know if you were at home or on the way or if you were waylaid somewhere.”
Trust Multimama to give the right answers. Francis heaves a sigh of relief. Skyworld Heaven’s Queen can be cunning, but ever since she came to Silhouette, Francis believes there’s no one who can match Multimama, not even the queen herself.
“Did she leave a message?” Francis asks.
“Said you should come home,” Multimama says. Her face is a deliberate cream. She doesn’t ask any questions, just waves her hands, pushes three windows out and pulls a new one up.
“I don’t like to meddle,” Multimama continues, “but maybe you should talk things out.”
Francis ignores Multimama’s words. Instead, she reaches for a headset.
“I’m plugging in,” she says.
Francis surfs the Net with thoughts of her mother pinging inside her head. Almighty Queen of Heaven with nothing to show for it. What honor they had was all reflected back from centuries ago when Heaven’s First King gave light to the populace of Silhouette. From there on the legend grew, and Gayum’s descendants either mooched off the glory or they went off and lived lives like Francis had chosen to do.
“When are you coming home, Francis?” Her mother’s voice echoes through the headphones. Even on the Nets there’s no escaping her surveillance. Francis utters a four-letter word.
“F**k Mom,” she says. “Even in here?”
The queen’s voice is full of self-satisfaction.
Francis curses again.
It’s an old subject of contention. Francis argues that power isn’t meant to be used for one’s selfish ends, but the queen’s principle summed up equals nothing less than using power or it’s useless.
“I’m not doing it,” Francis says. “No matter how you push, Mom. I’m not using the changer gene to influence people on your behalf.”
Mom’s sigh sheds a pink mist on the virtual world. Francis fumes and sends out her greys to neutralize the pink.
“At least meet the Manun’o emissary,” her mother says. “Don’t do it for me, do it because it’s the polite thing to do.”
“Fine,” Francis says. “If I meet him, will you stop bugging me?”
Mom doesn’t answer, and Francis thinks of how it’s just like the queen to remove herself to another awareness the moment she hears Francis say Fine.