Gallett sat upon a corner of the low table between Pennbaston and myself. "And now the cube has vanished from the carc."
        "Exactly. I did promise to take them on myself or else engage a rider whom I trusted to do so as soon as possible after I arrived. I thought I had not been unforgivably late but I have been diverted longer than I expected. I had hoped Sem Partoldi would impart the circumstances to the Septa beings before I picked them up; I made it clear to the Sem why I was coming here and consequently why I was more than reluctant to add the responsibility of a delivery to Septa. Maybe she did not. Maybe they changed their intent, or could not wait, or....any number of things."
        "All unknowable at present."
        I nodded to Vettra. "I am as uneasy as I am about theft that they could somehow move the cube themselves. Are they out in Mirhveda and should they be? Will they harm themselves or another? I am at fault!" I drove to my feet and began to move restlessly about, toward the hearth, along it, back. "I should have pressed Sem Partoldi for more details; I know nothing about them. Are they escaping? Are they dangerous? The Sem made it seem that they would entertain me during my journey by confiding their tales to me and answering my questions. Possibly I assumed I could satisfy myself as to their safety before I reached Mirhveda. But I should not have assumed that!"
        "Your thoughts were focused upon us, upon what might be happening to us," Pennbaston spoke quietly.
        "Which does not excuse my failure. Especially mine."
        Pennbaston gave me that glance of hers which said I could not expect to be perfect all the time; could not hope to do everything all the time however much that limitation continued to aggravate me.
        "You must have trusted Sem Partoldi enough," Gallett remarked thoughtfully. "Even if you did not and can not now articulate it completely you must have intuitively trusted her enough to chance carrying the cube."
        "I also had time to rethink that. If it is true that I trusted her. Enough," my voice took on a harsh edge as my dissatisfaction with myself deepened. "I did wonder if she had given me an empty cube."
        "Which is possible," Gallett agreed.