Alys comes to with a buzzing head, curled up against something wooden, narrow and perhaps as wide as one leg. Her hands are folded in her lap, her ankles are crossed, but she can feel open air to either side of her, below and behind. It takes a great deal of will not to startle, but at least she doesn't fall.
There's tremendous noise below her, and her left temple aches, and Miles is somewhere nearby arguing with his off-worlder lady friend. An entirely unsuitable match, Alys would have said once, of the slender woman with the mannish jaw and greying brown hair, but she's amusingly scandalous in her tight pants and she makes Cordelia smile, and Alys would once have called Cordelia unsuitable too.
As the buzzing in her ears subsides Alys can make out shouts and screams and the high-pitched sounds of some kind of energy weapons. The Nexus Fair South Exhibit hall has high ceilings; they must be in the rafters somewhere. Alys doesn't actually want to see how ridiculously high up they are, and now she make out words. "---aunt!" The girl's whispering urgently. "I can't be responsible for her---"
"I well understand," Miles hisses, "the importance of civilians." More charmingly, "Especially my aunt Alys. Which is why I know she'll be safe with you, Bell."
"While you go down there and--- what?" Bell snorts, sounding exasperated. She must know Miles well. "Walk up to those idiots --- and I have to say, on my planet we conduct political protests a little differently--- and ask them to stop shooting up the place?"
"Something like that." Alys can just picture Miles's smile, the one that always makes her son Ivan cringe. She'd better say something before he gets himself killed.
But when Alys opens her eyes her head throbs severely, sparks of pain clouding her eyes; when her vision clears Miles is gone, and Bell, crouched beside Alys, is sighing and shaking her head.