“I’m just the finder,” sniffed Nalexis. “You know the drill as well as I do. You get a taste, and then if the payment works out, I put you in touch with my rememberance man.”

“I’ve been telling it to people on the docks for tips,” said Pelle. “You know I’ve been saving every kopeck I don’t need to live.”

“Or that you don’t need for that ridiculous pancake makeup,” said Nalexis, her tone haughty. “You’d be quite the dish if you just dispensed with all that. Make more than tips too.”

“You know why I do it,” Pelle said darkly. “Did you just come here to poke fun at me, or is there any real information in that thick skull of yours?”

“That’s another reason it doesn’t suit you,” Nalexis said. “For someone who paints herself up as a clown, you sure aren’t very funny.”

She spun a small crystal sphere across the table at Pelle. A memory sphere, albeit a small one. Anyone could relive the experiences within, but only the original mind could do so without an intense sense of wrongness.

Pelle took the sphere up, held it to her forehead, where a little flake of greasepaint clung to it. The memory was intense, vivid, right.

Pelle was seated in a casual air, slouched against something hard but cool. She wore a uniform, but one she didn’t recognize. When she spoke, it was with the practiced waste of someone who had said it many times before: “Go on. Make me laugh.”

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