A small figure wearing a brown uniform and striding with purpose towards him caught his attention. He recognized the woman weaving in and out of the knots of people making their way through the ship. Piras knew she recognized him too—not surprising given he was one of two Kalquorians in her path. At least this time she paid attention to where she was going. She skirted around him with no greeting, but she did give him a side-eyed stare.
Piras remembered he was supposed to dislike Earthers until he saw her name tag. He froze and twisted around. He ignored Mostar’s scowl.
She swerved to stop close to the wall, staying out of the way of traffic. Her suspicious glare was as fierce as a Nobek’s as she faced Piras. It didn’t discount her dainty features, though the almost irate look didn’t fit them. Piras wondered how she looked when she smiled, but he appreciated that she didn’t appear cowed by him or scarred Mostar, who always looked like he suspected foul play.
Her voice was firm too. Steady. Unafraid. “Yes, Kalquorian?”
“You are related to General Nath? His daughter, perhaps?” Piras knew he was attracting the wrong kind of attention by those who passed, but he burned with curiosity.
The Nath woman was no more impressed with the stares of her fellow Earthers than she was with Piras and his guard. She aimed her ill-tempered glare at those who spared the slightest glance before answering. “What of it?”
Piras knew he couldn’t appear too friendly, but he thought the more he knew about the general and his personal life, the more it might give him an edge. He adopted an even tone that hinted at no particular mood. “I was just curious. After working with your father today, I’m most impressed. He is an excellent officer.”
The voltage went down in her glower. Her frown eased a touch, though she did not smile. “Did it cost you much to admit that about an Earther…Admiral, is it?”
He dipped a slight bow. “Piras. Probably as much as it would cost the general to compliment me, if he found reason to do so. Excuse my prying.” He couldn’t resist adding, “And watch where you’re going, Matara.”
The corners of her mouth edged upward, and her dark brown eyes twinkled at the reminder of their last meeting. Having scored the small victory, Piras nodded to her and turned to follow the silently waiting Mostar, who regarded him with the mistrustful look that was the man’s resting expression.
Her voice followed him, dropped so low that he doubted any of the passing Earthers heard her. He heard her however. “Don’t run anyone down, Admiral.”
Piras gave no sign he’d caught the sally. He walked on, suppressing a smile.
Releasing Summer 2017