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The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye (Cover Art)

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Chapter 11 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]


The jumps to Tharkad...


...allowed Dinh to get his bearings again, and the Condo owned by Kowloon in the 'offworld noble's district' held another surprise when he walked in.

"Oh Jesus, what did they do to you??" Anne Severance-Ngo, his wife, met him at the door.

"They didn't say?" he was a little confused.

"DAD!!" his son David brushed past his wife. The last time Dinh had seen the boy, he was five. The eight year old glomphing on to him was almost a stranger.

Dinh reached down, and found he didn't yet have the strength to lift the boy.

"Oh god, Dinh..."

"I'll recover." he said. "Is the whole family here?"

"No. Truk's on business at Coventry, the Leaguers really did a number to the metalworks..."

"And my sister?"

"Still missing...Her Majesty's men say they found what might be the transponder from the Marissa, but they're not sure..."

"I see...I have to be sworn in." Dinh said, "And they want to talk about a security matter."

He let his wife lead him in, "David, could you go spend some time on your simulator?" Anne asked, "Your father and I have adult things to discuss."

'Yes mother." the boy said sullenly, and headed for his room.

"What do we need to discuss?" Dinh asked.

Anne pulled out a device and put it on the breakfast nook table, switching it on.

"Your brother's friends brought a Warship home while you were away." she explained.

"A wreck?"

"No, it's operational. A Lola Class Destroyer variant."

"You're not bringing this up as my wife, you're bringing this up as the representative of the Rockjack Co-ops." Dinh's tone was an assertion of the obvious, not a question.

"Correct." she said, "We are still debating whether to reveal this to the Lyran authorities, now, I know you treasure your friendship with Arthur Luvon, and your freedom is a gift from the new Archon, but..."

"...but it can raise questions we don't want answered." Dinh frowned, "The kind of questions that lead to visits by Terran operatives?"

"Exactly."

"Why? What's special about this one?" he asked.

"It's a Caspar class, and it's reasonable." she explained. "shopping it to the Lyrans would be...unacceptable to the Burrows."

"Reasonable...you mean sapient?"

She nodded.

"I can see why it's under debate instead of a fait accompli, then." he nodded. "We still don't have legal precedent for artificial lifeforms, Annie. I'm not sure we could win the case if they find out on their own."

"What's your gut tell you?" she asked.

"Arthur would be horrified we hadn't already pulled the cores and melted them down. I barely met Katrina, but she doesn't strike me as someone inclined to accept the philosophical position of the Free Stars doctrine, and religiously?? She's a good Lutheran-which means she might bend to a reasoned argument well-presented, but she might NOT if it's not well presented enough."


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