The control room was empty, but it usually was when Arrie started her work. The chair dropped hard when she sat down and Arrie wasn’t surprised that her calls to maintenance had gone unanswered, just disappointed.

Maybe that’s why she did this work. There was so much disappointment in her own life that it felt good to drop a little wonder into someone else’s. Even if that someone else barely met the definition of sentience and had descended from primates on a savage, little planet.

Arrie typed in her access codes, and with the quick brush of her fingers, the planet on her screen spun until she stopped it with a light tap. Another flick and she’d zoomed all the way in to the planet’s surface, topography expanding, beings becoming clearer, until she found him. The boy with the telescope.

Her fingers hovered over the keyboard, hesitant. She’d be risking punishment if she allowed another shower in this quadrant. But the boy’s eyes full of hope were enough to make her almost remember the feeling. Maybe that’s why she did this work.

“Make a wish,” she murmured as she typed in the command, sure she’d be reprimanded this time.

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