The holo print ripples and expands, panning down an idyllic river, golden light shimmering off bumps in the water and warming black, leafless trees on the bank. In silhouette, a raft appears, the sun haloing behind the robed men who stand on its sides, poling upriver. A roughly-built wooden cabin dominates a third of the raft; from the camera’s angle, it seems to fill the back end.
The raft glides closer, golden drops of water splashing ballerina skirts into the sedate river surface. The sun’s glare lessens, and more individuals can be picked out. They are all robed, fabric pooling on the raft floor as they crouch and sit. An older man sits complacently with a fishing pole, dragging the line through waters most people don’t dare to fish any more.
A woman stands. In the brightness of the setting sun, her cropped hair is colored like fire. She looks directly towards the camera, smirking, full of amusement and pleasure, before sketching an infinitely polite bow, and turning away.
The image freezes. Randolph drops the remote on the table.
“They are the Seven and the Nine.”