By Helen S. Wright
A question of Oaths
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Rafe smiled apologetically. “But I’m a chance-child. ” “You could be his brother, the resemblance is so close. Or his son. ” Sajan snorted again. “Although he isn’t a man for women. I should know. I tried hard enough when we were serving together, before he made Commander on Janasayan. That was fifteen years ago, of course. Surprised he isn’t on the Guild Council by now. One of the youngest Commanders ever. ” “Sounds like you have a lot in common with him, Rafe,” Rallya suggested slyly. ” There was an hard edge of anger on his voice, unmissable evidence of a temper; Rallya wondered what it would take to make him lose it.
It probably was, Joshim thought approvingly: all the more credit for saying it. “I appreciate the warning, but you can’t be any clumsier than a junior in their first berth,” he said easily. ” “My extension is greater than any junior in their first berth,” Rafe insisted. ” Joshim finished his preparations. ” He walked round to Rafe’s side and picked up the neglected bunch of web-contacts. ” He made it an order. Rafe unfastened his wrist-bands and removed them, putting them in easy reach on the ledge at the head of his couch.
Rallya could see equal numbers of Webmasters, Cargomasters and Captains, and every one of them convinced that they had something useful to say. At least it was an opportunity to identify the troublemakers and the steady few who would not panic in an Outsider attack. There was one Captain to whom it would be worth talking; she had survived Outsider attacks on her last two runs along the convoy’s route. When the conference had straggled to an end, Rallya rose with the intention of intercepting her but was delayed by a Webmaster hoping for an apprentice’s berth with Bhattya for a protégé of hers.
A Matter of Oaths by Helen S. Wright