Gooshan has encountered her long-lost friend, Thodn, from near the beginning of the book. He is safely in another school, still a slave. She decides to offer him a chance…
“Do you – do you want to be free, Thodn?” she asked quietly. “It will be dangerous, but I’ll do everything I can to help you. You can come with us, and they have some small safe places set up that I can get you to. You can spend time quietly there, just learning and doing whatever you choose.”
“Whatever I choose? You mean, whatever I choose from the options they give me. Without leaving the area, and so on.”
“No, Thodn! You can leave the area. You can go out on your own at any point you want.”
“I can do that now. What kind of choice is that? ‘Here, you can go on your own if you like, aren’t you free?’ Yes, free to die. If I want to live, if I want to eat, play games, enjoy life, then I need community.”
“But Thodn, right now you don’t get any choice about community. You stay in the school you’re in and hope to live out a long life there, if they don’t work you to death.”
“Do I really get more choice in the Invisible Remnant? You’re still at great risk for death from Deepers, and the only difference is you’re working yourselves to death. You’re free to pick community – from the Invisible Remnant only. Which I have to imagine is small, and probably spread across the ocean. Did you pick your companions?”
Gooshan’s thoughts turned red with a sudden flush of embarrassment. Though she wanted to defend herself, she could tell this wasn’t going the way she had wanted.