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She chuckled. "Yes, as a matter of fact, they were. Dad was of pure Japanese
ancestry, but
Mom, well, she was sort of Hawaii. Her dad had been a Swedish sailor, I think,
who married a
Samoan student in Hawaii and they both just stayed there. I always thought
that Swedes had blue eyes and that brown eyes dominated, so maybe somebody was
fooling around. I don't know. But they've always been green."
"Well, I'm New Zealand born and bred," he told her.
"Old stock, as New Zealand goes that's anybody whose ancestors date from
before the start of the twentieth century. British stock pretty well through.
The past hundred and fifty years or so it's been either high-tech or sheep for
New Zealanders, and I've always hated the stupid woolly bastards."
They laughed at that. Finally, she said, "You've got the meeting at ten
hundred?"
He nodded. "Yeah. In seven and a half hours.
Bleah
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!"
"Want to stay over here tonight and we'll both go over there together?"
"And I was going to ask if you believed in kissing on the first date."
"I'm serious!"
"So am I." He looked at her. "Another one-night stand?"
"We'll see."
He went back down to his unused suite and got a change of clothes and his
toiletries bag, then returned upstairs. She was already waiting for him.
12
THE SORCERERS LEAGUE
Toby Haller counted forty-six people in the room, counting himself;
twenty-seven women and nineteen men. Many had guesses about why they were
there, but few had any real idea and all were curious to see if their
speculations were right or wildly off the mark. Interestingly, there were no
military personnel present, at least in uniform or looking like they had
followed military dress codes. If he'd guessed right, then only Signals and
Security would have been represented anyway, and those were little independent
kingdoms of their own.
No one expected Rembrandt van Haas and Admiral Cockburn to both enter the
room. Both bosses, though, meant something very big was up.
Van Haas didn't look much older than he had when Haller had met him fifteen
years before for that first and only personal interview, but he didn't look
any younger either. Cockburn with a tall, gaunt figure, looking old but
ramrod-straight, with piercing blue eyes, a hawk nose, and a mane of thick
white hair. He wore the khaki uniform of headquarters command, loose and with
no tie, but the four stars on his collar were easy to see. Several years
before, to maintain morale among the officers, all the commanders had elevated
themselves, Cockburn to full admiral, the other three to lieutenant generals,
so there would be some room to establish local commands with a promotion path.
Haller was so impressed, he almost forgot his tiredness and his hangover.
"Good morning, ladies and gentlmen," van Haas began. "I'm sure you are all
curious as to what is going on here, and I will, with some necessary
background, attempt to inform you, with the admiral's help, as best I can.
"I'm sure you're all wondering what you are doing here, although some of you
may have guessed the heart of it. All of you have had long sessions with the
direct computer interfaces either at the computer center or in remote
locations, and all of you have spent a fair amount of time in the raw Flux
region, or void, as it's commonly called. All of you have demonstrated, at one
time or another, to a very significant degree, the ability to call up programs
from raw Flux without the aid of mechanical devices. All of you have managed
to gain some control over this, to varying degrees, and all of you have also
reported this yet kept full security on this abiltiy from anyone not your
superior. You are not all the people who have developed this unprecedented
ability, nor even all the ones who have reported it to us, but you are among
the top ten percentile in ability and control and you have shown yourself to
be loyal and reliable. None of you are in the military arm, as you might have
noticed. There are reasons for this. Admiral?"
"This morning, we, the combined boards of military and company, took the
unprecendented step of dissolving the existing organization and and forming a
new one," Cockburn told them in a clipped upper-crust New Zealand accent that
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sounded quite at home to Haller. "This is because the nature and mission of
this colony has changed. Until now, everything was in getting this place
established, running smoothly, and undertaking all the research projects our
charter commanded.
This has now been done. Now we are looking beyond this, inward, to our own
future and our children's future."
"The corporate board of directors will continue to have jurisdiction over New [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]