Connie kissed him at the door. She said, ‘Love you, Babe,’ thinly, like she didn’t want him to resent it. As the taxi drew away she turned. A four-day conference. Patricia would be there. She and Tom had spent months working closely on the Solaris-6 project.

‘You’ll love her,’ Tom had said when they’d first been teamed up, and yet somehow he’d never got around to introducing her to his wife. That didn’t stop it being Patricia-this and Patricia-that each night after work.

It was when he mentioned the influential family she’d grown up as part of—he seemed unreasonably impressed by it—that Connie recalled Trish McAllister, the bane of her third year ethics class. Always with an excuse, scrambling into her masters on the back of a string of special considerations while Connie had been told that the bad back she’d got working night shift shouldn’t stop her sitting exams. There were two sets of rules. Connie just didn’t know how far they reached.

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