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The ship groans – a nearer, sharper sound than Knowhere’s tectonic shifts of bone. Carina eyes the mat next to hers. It’s empty. The whole ship sleeps. All except Gamora in the Milano’s cockpit, watching the stars. Carina steals into the co-pilot’s chair. Gamora doesn’t scold her. She says, “Your sister?”

“Asleep with the tree, I suppose. The groot.” It’s the only person on the ship Alejandra talks to.

“Is she all right?”

What can Carina say? “We belonged to Master Tivan for a long time.”

Gamora stares into the blackness again. “I know a little about that.”

You?” Carina asks, before fear or wisdom can stop her. “You’re Gamora. You’re Ronan’s assassin, daughter to Thanos.” The most dangerous woman in the galaxy. It’s there in every sleek line of Gamora’s body. Even Carina has heard of her.

“Ronan’s tool,” Gamora spits. “Pet to Thanos. Now I am neither.” The console lights flash red and gold and green in her eyes. Her cheekbones throw shadows sharp as blades.

Carina is fundamentally an impulsive, ridiculous person. She reaches across and grips Gamora’s hand. Gamora’s breath is sharp. Her bones feel deceptively thin under Carina’s fingers. Fragile. Unfamiliar heat stirs in Carina’s belly.

She belonged to Master Tivan for a very long time.

Before she can reconsider, she winds between the controls, bends, kisses Gamora’s full green mouth. “We can be anything now,” Carina tells Gamora. “We’re free.”

Gamora tangles her fingers in Carina’s hair. “Yes,” she says, and tugs Carina in again.