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China

New Moon over Gansu, 2029

Ning was watching his sister, Man-yi dance in her lilting steps among the fireflies, spread like stars over the autumnally dry fields. Her youth was still untouched by the rising conflict. She was young enough to be able to play at being a soldier without the danger of real conscription. The wounded arm still pained him, but in the deep still of the rural night, he was able to forget the horrors behind the gash. He knew how lucky he was.