Tarinda felt like if one was rescuing a sleeping maiden it was important to dress for the occasion, so before she got underway she sourced some chain mail and a sword. She commissioned a whole mantle and shirt for the purpose and got it done in twenty colors and caught her hair in it and extracted her hair from it and put on a hood under the chain, strapped the sword to her back, and set out.

O'Leary Ranch, Racetrack, Riding, and Restaurant sprawled over several acres of Mars and its staff were happy to reserve a right to a pony for Tarinda to collect later, and a certified refurbished O'Leary line robot to go with it and do all essential pony care. She didn't pick one out in particular right away, although she did detour from her quest to sign up for a jousting class, since she already had the chain mail.

Miracle Movies, headquartered on Titan in a sprawling complex of warehouses and sets, sent a film student called Kayv to talk to Tarinda when she said she wanted to discuss something with them.

"Have you ever heard of 'Templars of the Antares Desert'?" she asked him.

"...yes, actually, but most people haven't, it was canceled six episodes in," said Kayv. "Sort of a cult hit."

"I need sixteen seasons of it."

"Wow. Um, why?"

"Rescuing a sleeping maiden," Tarinda said.

"Awwww! Okay, uh, does it have to be seasons in particular? That's no longer a conventional format."

"...I think comparable runtime and a similar number of plot arcs would do. But I want the original actors and writers."

"That might be expensive. The one who played Vakror in particular was vocal about not liking the show afterwards."

"Can you fix whatever he didn't like about it?"

"Probably? We'll look into it," Kayv said.

"I can pay for it. I saved up."

"What elements of the show should we be particularly sure to keep close to their original characteristics?"

"I have a list." And she presented him with the specifications for the future of Templars of the Antares Desert, including that Vakror was supposed to get together with Lyn-Tra, there needed to be more development of the Polestar Children, and whoever wrote "Escape from the Caves of Salind" did not need to be invited back.

The Cosmetic Adjustment Association was a station orbiting Venus and swarming with brightly colored and oddly augmented people. Tarinda spoke to a person of ambiguous gender with cornflower blue zebra striping on an ivory background, or perhaps ivory striping on a blue background. "Hi! What can I do for you - ooh, if you don't have anything in mind I would just love to get creative with your ears, I think you've got the sort of face that would be very well-framed with really elaborate ears - can't see them under the chain mail thing you've got going on there -"

"No thank you," said Tarinda. "I'm just wondering how well you can aim at 'pretty' as understood by past eras without that being very well-specified?"

"Hm," said the stripey person. "I mean, I'm sure I could get something that would be considered conventionally attractive. We can even usually combine that with 'recognizable as themselves'. But if they don't specify any details we risk losing parts of their face they like - you can build a lovely face around almost any individual feature or couple of them but if they don't say which ones -"

Tarinda nodded. "But if I can tell you that she likes, say, her nose and her eye color -"

"I'd be happy to offer touchups as necessary for free, given how confident I could be in the initial result with those specs," nodded the stripey person. "I mean, towards 'conventionally pretty for whenever', if she wants sparkly irises or frills later that's another matter."

"Gotcha. Thank you."

"Do you want to book an appointment?"

"No, not yet, I don't know how long this is all going to take."

"Well, ask for me when you're ready."

"I will!"

The Historical Journal of Pre-Singularity Prime-Secondary Sources had an office in Rome. Tarinda got a falafel-calzone fusion thing loaded with red onions and waited for someone to meet her and then sat down with Magister Sorrentino. "I need to deregister a sleeping maiden," she told him.

"Deregister her!" he exclaimed.

"Yes. I can't rescue her while she's still on your books as a subject. I can let her know about the option, later, but you can't come and bother her."

"We never interview people who are unwilling -"

"But you ask them to find out if they are or not, and you try to convince them. So I need to deregister this one - I have the paperwork -" She displayed it.

...He sighed. "If you insist. What is her name?"

"Corrine Wallace."

And he wanted the date and place of birth and death off the paperwork, to disambiguate her, and her name was removed from the list of possible Prime-Secondary Sources.

Morris Jenkins, Rosie Jenkins, Emmeline Jenkins, Sara Wallace, Tasha Wallace, John Wallace, Benjamin Wallace, Chloe Wallace, Paulette Sydney-Wallace, Thaddeus Sydney-Wallace, Lyric Sydney-Wallace, Nimue Locklear, Tarn Locklear, and Vera Locklear, some of whom lived on the Moon, some in Minnesota, some in Argentina, and some in Sichuan, were variously asked nicely and/or bribed to leave Corrine Wallace alone once she had been rescued. At least until such time as she asked for them.

"But she's my great aunt," said Lyric.

"She'll probably want to meet you soon," said Tarinda, "but you can't bother her until then."

"...will you make sure we know when she's ready -"

"Of course."

The Institute of Archaic Psychiatry was a glassy building on an Irish hill populated by scholars with out of date aesthetics, although more "labcoats and glasses" than "chainmail", so Tarinda still stood out. She waited until one of them had a moment to speak with her.

"What brings you here?" asked Dr. Patel.

"I'm trying to rescue a sleeping maiden and I need to know what the state of the art on curing depression is," Tarinda said.

"Ah, I see," said Dr. Patel. "There are several types and several presentations of each type. Some can only be fully treated at this time via periodic applications of miracle unless the person opts for fairly invasive modifications with considerable side effects..."

"I've budgeted for some miracles."

"Are there any comorbid conditions?"

"A little anxiety."

"Then your sleeping maiden will be fine. If she has one of the more treatable kinds, we can find that out and transition her to another solution without any resumption of symptoms, based on analyzing what results the miracle has. Just bring her here with your receipt."

"Thank you!"

"You're welcome! Good luck."

Ginnifer C. Ross, 1999-2078, 2078-indefinite, worked as an "insurance salesperson" in a reenactment village in Wisconsin.

"How much would I have to pay you to let me find your location to within ten miles at all times?" Tarinda asked her.

"...are you asking this out of character -"



"I can promise not to share it publicly but I don't want to disclose the reason. You can charge extra for that."

"Oh. Uh. Fift- call it seventeen singles?"

"I mean permanently -"

"Seventeen singles per half-century."

"Got it. Thanks. What were you saying -"

"Um, in the time period where I actually did this job, insurance was solely denominated in money, with no availability of miracles to restore anything that couldn't be replaced that way, because we hadn't invented the Singleton yet and it couldn't handle even extraordinary situations. So if I were to sell you 'life insurance' it would mostly be intended to cover lost wages and funerary costs for your loved ones."


"Yeah. ...You know your outfit is a couple centuries off."

"Oh, I'm not dressing up for the village. This is for something else."

Tarinda held a miracle in her hand, crackling and hissing - they didn't have to do that, but if you dropped one behind the couch you'd want to be able to find it again, and it was aesthetic - and brought it to the resting place of the sleeping maiden, and kissed her on the mouth and pressed the miracle into her chest.

"Cory," said a soft voice.

Cory didn't want to open her eyes. She was comfy. She was warm. Someone was snuggled up to her, breathing on the back of her neck, arm around her waist, and that was sure to be a dream and she didn't want it to go away -

The warm person nuzzled her neck. "Cory," she said.


There was soft giggling. The voice did not repeat her name, just held her.

Eventually Cory observed: "I was supposed to be dead."

The warm person kissed her hair. "Not forever. You were sleeping."

"...I thought I gave them kind of an impossible list. When they wanted a will."

"It took a while."

"Are you my dream girlfriend, then, I said I wanted my dream girlfriend."

"That's the idea. I mean, maybe you won't like me. But I like you."

Cory rolled under the encircling arm. The voice belonged to a face, rosy brown and freckled, with gold flecks in dark eyes, and a froth of black hair. Smiling. They were in a bed so soft she could have felt a pea through it. Cory was in a nightgown that she thought might be literally silk and Dream Girlfriend was in pajamas with a pattern that looked plagiarized from wallpaper. There was a heap of chainmail and a sword in the corner of the room for some reason.

"I - what else did I -"

Dream Girlfriend petted Cory's hair back from her forehead. "I have it in my pocket, do you want to read it?"

Cory nodded. She took the folded paper.

Fine, I want a fucking pony. And don't even think about bringing me back before Templars of the Antares Desert is sixteen seasons long. I want to be pretty and - don't wake me up until there is nothing you want from me. I don't want a job or interviews from history professors or a great-great-grand-nephew needing a guardian, isn't that the most selfish thing you ever heard, why are you even making me do this - I want a cure for depression and my dream girlfriend and to never have to do anything I don't feel like ever again - and to never have to see or even think about my ex - maybe if you could do all that you could wake me up. No, I don't care if you read my journal, I'll Anne Frank it up -

"All of that," said Cory. "Really?"

"Yeah," said Dream Girlfriend.

Cory touched her face. It was smooth, soft. Ran her tongue along her teeth and they all lined up. Brushed her thumb over her eyelashes. "Is there some agency that does this sort of thing? Taxpayer dollars for miracles..."

"Only if they want simple stuff. Not you. You I rescued myself."

"- what's your name -"

"I'm Tarinda."

"...hi, Tarinda."

Tarinda grinned at her. "Hi Cory."

"The not wanting anything part."

"You don't have to be my girlfriend. I'll be fine. I can find you another one if you want. But I think you'll like me."

"Then why did you...?"

"I wanted to rescue a sleeping maiden. I liked you. So I rescued you," said Tarinda. "I don't need you to do anything you don't want."

Cory hesitated. Tarinda was still cuddled up and she was warm and Cory could actually finally give a shit that she was comfortable, her head was clear and -

"It's nice to meet you, Tarinda," she said finally. "Do you want to marathon Templars of the Antares Desert with me."

"I would love to," said Tarinda.

A screen on the ceiling clicked on.

In the year 2095, a colony ship bound for Alpha Centauri encountered a wormhole, and spiraled out of the reach of the Singleton. With no miracles and limited supplies, they settled the only habitable planet in the Antares system. Now, in the year 2252, the peace of their world is threatened, and their only defense - is the Templars, intoned the narrator.

Cory and Tarinda stared up into the credits as theme music swirled around them.