Planetary Repossession

Hendrik’s image appeared, projected onto the clouds of steam and smoke the cannon fire had created. How could you leave me? he thundered. Everything you ever wanted, I gave you.

I draped you in silk and jewelry. I heaped upon you the wealth of planets. But when I turned around, you were gone.

She gazed up at him, anger and sadness in her eyes. I could have loved you, but you never loved me, she said. You loved having me. It’s not the same.

I loved you! Hendrik protested. I did! His eyes flashed. But you betrayed me. Well. If I cannot keep you by riches, I will keep you by other means.

The lovers tried to run, but then their world turned golden-green.

On the bridge of his flagship, Hendrik the Conqueror smiled at the two storage crystals he held in his hand. They glowed from within with their own greenish-gold light. “Load this one into the nanocloner for my quarters,” he told an underling. “Add this other one to the storage pool for general uses. See you don’t mix them up.”

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