Tranis looked at Piras, his usually grim expression lighting with a smile too. “A former spy, one who hasn’t been on that type of duty in a long time, would be best.”
Piras snorted. “That leaves you out. You were promoted straight from a spyship command only a few years ago.”
He managed to keep the grudge out of his tone. Dramok Tranis had absolutely deserved his promotion to admiral. He was smart, resourceful, brave, and everything else an officer of the fleet should be. A hero, without a doubt.
He was also the man who had taken away the one thing Piras had wanted most out of life.
Not that Piras let any of that affect their ability to work together, except for one notable time. In this era of war, he couldn’t afford to be anything but professional. He didn’t have to like Tranis to work well with him, a fact borne out by the time they’d both spent together in Fleet Command.
Hobato continued to give Piras a penetrating stare. “It's not just a matter of Admiral Tranis having been out of the spyship game for only five years. He’s also got an Earther Matara as part of his clan.”
Like Piras didn’t know that. Like the still vid picture hanging on the wall didn’t remind him, had he deigned to look at it. Not that Piras cared one whit about Matara Cassidy, the beautiful Earther Tranis’s clan had won at the end of the war with Earth. Her sweet face might spark a little envy in Piras’s heart, but it didn’t compare to the pain he felt when he looked at another face in that portrait.
It hadn’t been enough that Tranis had managed to clan Cassidy. Or that he’d become admiral younger than any other man in the history of the fleet. No, he had also clanned the Nobek Piras had loved for fifteen years. The man he’d shared his bed and body with, thinking that at any moment, Lidon would finally say yes to his offer of lifelong companionship.
Was Piras wrong to feel jealousy towards a man who had won it all? Perhaps, but he refused to add guilt to his list of hurtful emotions. Lidon had been his Nobek in everything but vow, working at Piras’s side on board their destroyer through scores of campaigns and battles. Within months of Tranis becoming their ship’s first officer, Lidon had accepted the younger man’s offer to clan.
Piras let none of the pain show. “I think it’s quite clear that the Basma would not welcome Admiral Tranis with open arms.”
“He might welcome you.” Tranis’s voice was low and careful.
Piras started and looked the bearded man in the face for the first time. “Me?”