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By David Weber

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Younger hadn't come all the way down to welcome her in individual, she observed. She intended it used to be a calculated insult—it used to be the petty type of gesture at which he excelled—but she used to be relieved through his absence. It gave her an opportunity to settle herself and get her internal defenses in position prior to the inevitable war of words. She stopped in entrance of the fast, squared-off commander heading the aspect celebration and saluted. "Permission to come back aboard, Sir? " she requested. "Permission granted, Commander Harrington. " He back her salute, then prolonged his hand. "Paul Tankersley, Warlock's exec. " His voice was once deep and resonant, his clasp company, yet there has been an fringe of interest in his sharp eyes. Honor questioned if he'd heard rumors approximately her and younger. "If you will accompany me, Commander," Tankersley went on after a short pause, "the Captain is ready in Briefing One. " "Lead on. " She made a tiny gesture for him to precede her, and the 2 of them walked during the facet celebration to the ready raise. there has been no small speak at the manner, which, Honor mirrored, most likely did point out that Tankersley knew at the least a bit approximately her. in any case, he might hardly ever start a talk with, "Do you and the Captain nonetheless hate every one other's guts, Commander? " Nor may perhaps he ask for her facet of it with out seeming disloyal to his personal CO. less than the conditions, a prudent silence used to be unquestionably his wisest direction, and he or she felt her lips twitch with acid leisure because the raise slid to a halt. "This approach, Commander," Tankersley acknowledged, and he or she him down a brief passage to the briefing room hatch. He got here to a halt, pressed the admittance button, and stood apart because the panel slid open. She concept she observed only a contact of sympathy in his expression as she walked previous him. Captain Lord younger used to be seated in the back of the convention desk, perusing a sheet of hardcopy. He did not search for as she entered, and he or she gritted her the teeth, surprised that any such trivial insult can make her so indignant. She crossed to the desk and stood silently, made up our minds to attend him out. He used to be an identical flashy, good-looking guy he'd regularly been, she famous. placing on a bit weight, possibly, however the brief beard concealed his incipient double chin fairly good, and his tailoring used to be very good. it usually have been, even on the Academy, the place all people was once imagined to put on an analogous Navy-issue uniform. yet, then, the foundations by no means had utilized to him. Pavel younger was once the eldest son and inheritor of the Earl of North Hollow—a element he had no goal of permitting a person to disregard. Honor had no notion what he'd performed to get himself banished to Basilisk Station. most likely, she proposal bitterly, he'd easily been himself. Patronage might improve an officer's career—witness the truth that younger, who'd graduated just one shape ahead of her, had made checklist 5 years in the past. as soon as an officer's identify used to be at the captain's checklist, his eventual flag rank used to be assured. until he did whatever so drastic the Fleet cashiered him, he merely needed to dwell lengthy adequate for easy seniority to determine to that. yet rank, as many a Manticoran officer had stumbled on, was once no warrantly of employment.

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