She did not know fully if she could trust him, but similarly did not see any reason to lie. "I was raised at Shinefel. I had a job, friends and a family, but that all ended the day the Lumatel agents came."
"What did they do?"
"They came round to the coop under pretext of testing multi-dimensional image mapping. They had some advanced technology. I was pretty taken with it all I admit. They must have taken some of my chip in the distraction."
"You were a victim of mindcraft theft. An increasingly common occurrence these days." He paused for a moment, as if finding the right words. "When you say 'some of my'..."
"-- all of it. Yep." She laughed weakly. "For a while I had no lumadata."
"How long before you regained full energy levels?"
"F-five months." She stumbled as the words brought back memories of that painful time.
"Ouch. Guess you won't be making that mistake again huh?"
"I hope so, but - but - I'm scared that..." Her throat tightened.
"That they'll come back?"
"Yes. I'd never withstand it."
"I bet. Well, they won't find you here. This is the most secure place on Earth, but you can't stay here forever. You need to learn how to secure your lumadata."
"The droids. Up there. Was it them who gave it back? My - my - ?"
"Your mindcraft field, yes. Mindcraft particles, lumadata particles: they are one and the same, although you could argue one is more fashionable an expression." He smiled. "The droids will continue to replenish your lumadata as long as you're living and breathing. They'll ask nothing in return."
"Yes, Kosmanarshi, it is but.."
"..but that can't be your saving grace. Prevention is better than cure as the old saying goes. You need to avoid situations that threaten your lumadata, and if that isn't possible then you need to get much better at defending yourself against those who pose the threat!"
Rogan glared at her.
"Because, you stupid insolent girl, every time calamity occurs because you've let some lumatel agent into your coop, it will take a little longer for that mindcraft pool to be replenished. It will be no fault of the droids. They will carry on with their duties as ever, but with each setback from mindcraft robbery, you will hurt a little more keenly. Your lumadata receptors will slow down. Your torus will permanently and irrevocably shrink."
"Oh."She looked down sadly.
"Look. Don't despair. I'm sorry I got spikey it's just; it's just I've seen this happen a lot. So tragic, especially when it could be overcome. Here." He handed her a small piece of what looked like glass. It was black, but in certain lights it showed a moody green hue.
"That's pretty. What is it?"
"It's cloud rock. It preserves mindcraft particles."
"What do I do with it?"
"You need to go somewhere sunny. Somewhere private. Like in a secluded woodland somewhere. Remove and expose your memechip. Allow the luma particles to flow away. While the lumadata is gone you will feel alone and vulnerable. They key is to be patient enough to wait for the lumadata to return to the memechip. It should do eventually because it was allocated to your torus by the droids, but it could take hours - or days."
"How will I know when that's done?"
"The queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach will subside and you'll feel normal. Then when all the luma particles are safely back in the memechip you need to take this piece of rock and place it inside your memechip just before you close and restore it. With a bit of luck it should stop the burglars in their tracks."
"Really? How?"For the first time, Rogan laughed. His laugh was kind.
"Let's just say, it'll confuse the hell out of them."