Part 14 Chapter 0X-Howling (part 2)

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After breakfast, the colonel had herded us back into our staterooms, probably still worried about drunken natives

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After breakfast, the colonel had herded us back into our staterooms, probably still worried about drunken natives. Level three lock-down was almost as dull as space travel. Almost. Setting in my berth the small stateroom shared with Gagnon, I accessed ship's camera to spy on the other members of the expedition. This time using audio only. Twitching wolf ears are less obvious than blinking eyelids on robotic camera lenses.

In her stateroom, Sanchez whispered in Terranglic, but no one was answering her.

My blanket soft against my chin, I closed my human eyes, feeling for the ship. I didn't have the knack for her yet. Shewolf was way more complex than Wulfie. I merged with Shewolf the best I could. Water seemed to ripple along my belly and toes, probably this was from her hull.

We were slowing and turning. I opened up to receive, but must have missed the captain's orders. I started to hail with my neuro, but changed my mind.

I sat up and reached into the headboard for a comset. Instead of transmitting, I spoke; "Hailing Captain Alop. Ms. Politkofsky here. What's happening? Why are we slowing?"

"Routine maintenance check." Captain Alop's voice echoed with duel reception, heard with both with my ears and my mind. "A minor technical problem."

"What kind of problem?" I asked. Gagnon was sitting up and watching me.

"Nothing to worry about. We'll keep you posted," Said Captain Alop.

I put the comset back in the headboard niche.

Gagnon arched her penciled eyebrows.

"Maintenance check," I said. "We're stopping."

"Let the colonel know."

I relayed the news, then seated on my berth, knees to my chest, I practiced my cover story:

My mother is Isdal Politkofsky, Comryez sept. She thought it only fair that girls get neuros too. Don't tell anyone that I'm Comryez.

A simple truth and easy to believe; easier than believing I wouldn't catch Solstice Flu.

#

From the breakfast buffet, Tyee collected a steaming bowl of porridge and a strip of smoked salmon belly.

Most of the guests and crew had already eaten. The dining room was near empty. After working the evening watch, Tyee and his watchmates were expected to sleep in.

Rothrocki plunked a strainer of herbs into a mug and held it under a tap. As hot water struck the herbs, they steamed with a whiff of peppermint. He groaned. "Won't someone invent something stronger than this piss water? Something that'll jolt a guy awake."

"Good thing you didn't fall overboard on deck watch," said Keta.

Tyee tried to stay out of the banter.

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