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Two stories from the early years of Andrea Cort, later the heroine of the Philip K. Dick Award-winning novel, Emissaries from the Dead. “The Coward’s Option”: On the hostile home-world of the Caith, Andrea Cort has been assigned the case of a murderer who’s been condemned to a horrible death. All legal options have been exhausted, but the Caith offer a rarely-used alternative to execution, one that purports to ensure that the accused will never break the law again. Alas, it’s not so much another chance at life, but deliverance into a hell far worse than mere death… “Tasha’s Fail-Safe”: Once, she and Andrea Cort hated each other. Now, the victim of a savage assassination attempt by a traitor to the Confederacy, she lies in an unresponsive state, the identity of her assailant locked inside her head. Can Andrea penetrate a vital secret she never even knew existed?