" We're mostly gonna be staying on the ship during this visit, but since there's no official base here, we've got free run of the town too," William said, brushing his hair. " I had to go give a little safety speech about not getting too drunk and being respectful to the locals. Who knows if anybody actually listened to that."

" Mm..."

" Something bothering you?"

" Wille... I was just thinking... I've gotten to know you too well. Every time I think I know you, you do something that makes me completely unsure about you again. So if you're going to do that, give me some advance notice."

" What do you mean? I'm the same person I've always been, aren't I?" William asked.

" Under the fifty different masks you've got on at any given moment, maybe."

A pause.

" It's not like wearing a mask," William said. " It's just that I'm getting better at being a person."

" Oh, are you?"

" Kirie said I am... So I am. With every day that goes by, I'm becoming a better and better person. That's the only way I have to go forward, and integrate into society."