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carefully hidden from Afra's sight.
`If Xexo and me did get a piece together, you'd be awful proud of us, wouldn't
you, Dad,' Rojer said, smiling with the charismatic brilliance that this
grandson had inherited in far too generous a measure from his mother and
grandfather to suit Afra.
Even so, the Raven charm melted his severity.
`Your mother and I would be immensely proud, of course, but we'd be prouder if
you could - at least once a week - remember you are needed for mundane
duties.' `I do my Tower duty like everyone else.'
`Few would consider those hours mundanely spent,' Afra said, gesturing for
Rojer to clean up his workspace and himself and hurry back to the house.
z'o ZI I `Leave it, Roj, Xexo said, rubbing greasy fingers along his jaw. `Not
the pieces. I want to puzzle this a bit longer. It'll be here for you tomorrow
- if you're free.' The engineer shot a quick glance at Afra and received a
nod.
`And do remember to feed yourself sometime today, Xexo, Afra said, although he
sent word to Damia at the house to see that some sort of hot meal appeared
near enough to Xexo for him to see, and eat, it.
`Sure, sure,' Xexo agreed but he was already brooding over the
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artefacts.
DINNER TIME IS NOW, GRL, KTG, Afra added to the `Dinis who hadn't looked up
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from their shoving and shirring.
HUNGER NOT IMPORTANT. MUST FIT PIECES. GAIN MUCH RESPECT AND
ENLARGE THIS PAIR, Gil said but it jumped upright in the sudden way of
`Dinis shifting position. Sometimes Afra thought they must have some latent
kinetic Talent to execute such rapid displacements. And there was still the
conundrum of how `Dini dreams could penetrate human subconsciousness.
In deference to their `Dini companions, for Afra's friend, Tri, was waiting
outside, enjoying the fresh air, the Primes walked up the slope to their home.
Lights were coming up as dusk was well settled on Iota Aurigae.
The ever-present dim noise from the mines and smelting works which were active
on an uninterrupted schedule reached their ears, punctuated by occasional loud
rattles, like distant avalanches.
More big daddies to shift tomorrow then, Rojer thought with a resignation
which he quickly depressed where his father couldn't sense it. But
involuntarily a sigh escaped his lips.
It's good practice for a developing Prime, his father said, permitting a
little pride to be read in the thought. Linking minds as well as `porting
masses.
`Porting all the time is booooooring. As soon as the thought crossed his mind,
Rojer regretted it.
And spending hours contemplating bits and pieces is not? Afra gave a
good-natured snort.
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Rojer answered that with a sniff. Not the same thing at all, Dad.
Link, grip, lift, push! That's boring. We're never allowed to hang about and
listen to what the other Primes tell you because, and here Rojer allowed his
disgust to colour his tone, we're too yung The time of being too young is so
short, my son.
The wistful tone in his father's mind surprised Rojer and he glanced at Afra.
Suddenly his father smiled and Rojer answered because they both realized that
he didn't have to look so far up any longer.
They were nearly of a height.
Yes, Rojer, the time of being young is very short.
There are very few months left when you may indulge your enthusiasms.
But, Dad, haven't there been engineering Primes?
The critical need for FT&T right now is for Talents able to handle the
responsibilities of a Tower.
Or a ship? Like Thian? That prospect did excite Rojer. Dad, couldn't I at
least ship out?
Because Thian has? Afra smiled without rancour, for Rojer adored his older
brother and, most of the z'z time, chose to emulate his example. That is not
up to either your mother or me.
Wouldn't you at least ask Grandfather?
Afra placed his arm gently across his son's shoulders: broad enough already
and certainly strongly muscled.
Your grandfather is aware of every facet of your training, abilities, and yes,
your wishes. I will not say we have to transcend
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personal preferences right now - You just said it anyway, but Rojer grinned at
his father. And I know my duty!
Afra heard the resignation in that and wished that Rojer were as pliant as his
older sister and brother, as enthusiastic about the shape of his future as
they had been. He also remembered how rebellious he had been at Rojer's age
but, he devoutly hoped, without the same cause.
As much as they could within the framework of their contracts with
Federal Transport and Telepath, they tried not to prevent their children from
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feeling trapped by their Talent. They'd sent their children to other planets
Deneb, Earth, Altair, and once even Capella though that was not a successful
visit - to broaden their outlooks and perspectives. The service of FT&T was
not without its prerogatives which - most of the time - made up for the
responsibilities. He must have a few words with Jeff, to be sure that the head
of FT&T was fully aware of Rojer's mechanical aptitude and interest. Or
perhaps a word with Gollee Gren - who was head of Placement and Training -
might be more fruitful.
Aromatic odours wafted on the soft evening breeze and both men and
`Dini increased the speed of their strides.
`I'll tell you this but once, Rojer,' Afra said sternly as they hurried up the
terrace steps to the house, `you hunt next, by yourself, on Thursday, and if
you forget, you'll not only get no supper of any kind, but you're
sequestered!' `Yes, Dad,' Rojer agreed meekly because that was fair. Zara
hated to hunt - she was really so sensitive an empath that she could not
accept the necessity of killing for food.
Good thing she had gone with Morag who had no such compunctions
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and had developed into the best shot in the household. But she shouldn't have
to do all the hunting: that wasn't fair either. But he had been so sure that
he'd find the match the very next minute --WE ALL
GO. WE FIND MUCH TO EAT, Gil said earnestly, tugging on Afra's fingers.
Afra squeezed once in acknowledgement and then pushed open the door into his
home, always aware of his great satisfaction in being here!
You're in good time! `Wash!' Damia said, scowling at the state of her third
child and his `Dinis and pointing a slender but firm finger towards the
washroom.
Zara was coming down the backstairs as Rojer entered the washroom and she gave
him a look of such deep reproach that he knew his hunch had been right. Morag,
not at all sensitive when the quantity of food on her daily plate might be
reduced, came clattering down and grinned when she saw him.
You're in deep kimchee. I called! I called good and loud! [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]