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He waved a hand. "This is assuming I undertake the assignment. I'll have to think further about that. But as for a preliminary look-see, well, I note that the Queen of Apollo arrives next week. She starts back to Hermes three days later, and first class accommodations are not filled. We can talk en route. " Cairncross flushed. He smote the arm of his seat. "Admiral, this is an Imperial matter. " "It has waited, by your account," Flandry drawled. " Cairncross declared. Catching his breath: "If need be--the Emperor is having a reception for me, the normal thing.

Now he must make a heavier choice than that. With a blind urge to draw strength from his land, he strode out of the room and through the antechambers. Beyond, a sentry snapped a salute. Cairncross returned it as precisely. His years in the Imperial Navy had taught him that a leader is wise to give his underlings every courtesy due them. " "I don't want to be disturbed, Wyatt," Cairncross said. " Cairncross nodded and went on down the hall. Until new orders came, the lieutenant would make sure that nobody, not the Duchess herself, got near the Grand Duke.

The liquor was cold and pungent on her tongue. She and he reclined facing each other. Twilight deepened. " he inquired. "Yes. " He frowned. " Her voice wavered the least bit. " "Of course, since you asked. " "I explained. If the Duke knew, he might well decide to stop me. " Banner took a protracted sip. Her free hand fumbled in her sash pocket for a cigarette case. " "Hoy? " Runeberg drew breath for an argument. "Maybe he is being ungenerous. We could afford it. But he may well deem--in fact, you've quoted him to me to that effect--that our duty to ourselves is overriding.

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A Stone In Heaven by Poul Anderson

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