Part 27 Chapter 19-Riot

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We watched through the eyes of the great wolf figured as we approached Fennako City. Ferries, tankers, barges, and pleasure craft plied the waters of Tristan Bay. Housed and palaces studded the passing islands.

To Shewolf this was home, but not to me. The chatter of human communication overwhelmed me: snatches of conversations, ships arriving, business transactions, news reports, shopping lists, disputes, gossip about people I didn't know. It was all too much, so I shut it off except for channels directly to Shewolf.

A crewman walked forward on our main deck. Water flowed around our hull, and the magneto drives gave off their nearly silent pulse. Soothed by the rhythm of the ship, I retreated to my stateroom. There I reviewed speeches to be given by dignitaries in Fennako City. They had forwarded copies so that I would be ready to interpret.

At half-past four, as planned, we pulled into dock. Most of the expedition had gathered on the forward deck. Not me. I stayed behind and out of sight, but watched through Shewolf's eyes.

A Fennako-green carpet had been laid on the pier. A crowd filling the dockside had been cordoned off. Flags snapped in the wind, and it rippled the green robes of the Fennako dignitaries. In the conference room, I arranged my equipment on the table—a Fenrian tambour screen and my translating notebook with the Politkofsky Dictionary. With multiple screens, the meeting room was beginning to resemble engineering.

With my thought, Shewolf sent a view of Tyee at work below deck. It was eerie how she seemed to read my thoughts.

Gagnon hailed, Please check that your comset is turned on and sending to the entire party.

I'd be using my neuro, not a comset, so I disobeyed her and turned it off.

I did check and oriented Shewolf's cameras: the figurehead on the prow, cameras atop the bridge, another on the port side. I scanned channels for transmissions from other cameras, the ones used mounted on booms and used by the Fenrian media.

My neuro hummed with an incoming hail, Sabestes Matlawko here. That was Grandpa being a spy and using an alias. Well, maybe it was an alias.

Is that your real name? I asked.

One of them. I'm interpreting for Fennako. Don't let on that we know each other, and keep out of sight.

He'd warned me about that before. Aye.

They're starting, he sent. Tide carry you.

I shuffled through cameras and settled on a view of Gagnon and the colonel. They stood at the top of the gangway, she in a gray pencil skirt and matching jacket, he in the black of a Space Transit security dress-uniform. They wore bulky headsets with armatures holding microphones in front of their mouths.

Gagnon descended the gangway, the colonel tall behind her. One of the Fenrian dignitaries adjusted her collar microphone and stepped forward and spoke:

"Greetings. As lady mayor of Fennako City, and on behalf of Her Majesty Raina Bekra Fennako, Clan of Fennako, and the Collected Clans of the Fenrian Archipelago, we welcome you to our planet, to the Fenrian Archipelago, and to Fennako City."

I'd considered rendering her title as dame, lord, or mistress, but had settled on lady.

She bowed, and the colonel bobbed his head.

Gagnon bowed deeply and gave her prepared speech:

"Space Transit is honored. Here in Fennako City, we herald a new era of peace and cooperation."

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