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336 pages, Hardcover
First published January 1, 1990
" The concert was very good indeed, with three bands and some extremely clever light and sound variations: much more sophisticated than the Favor Bay recital. "
" Glor-ree! Do I have to land all that mass there myself?
No, Lamebrain, I'll pick it up at 24.578.82, the lazy rich baritone voice drawled in every mind, that nice little convenient black dwarf midway. You won't need to strain a single neuron in your pretty little skull.
The silence was deafening.
Well, I'll be . . . came from the Rowan.
Of course, you are, sweetheart - just push that nice little package out my way. Or is it too much for you? The drawl was solicitous rather than insulting.
You'll get your package! replied the Rowan, and the dynamos keened piercingly just once as the ten tonnes disappeared out of the cradle.
Why, you little minx . . . slow it down or I'll burn your ears back!
Come out and catch it! The Rowan's laugh broke off in a gasp of surprise, and Ackerman could feel her slamming up her mental shields.
I want that stuff in one piece, not smeared a millimeter thin on the surface, my dear, the voice said sternly. OK. I've got it.
Thanks! We need this.
Hey, who the blazes are you? What's your placement?
Deneb VIII, my dear, and a busy boy right now. Ta-ta."
" She may be Prime material but she's also a young girl and that side of her development shouldn't be neglected as -' Lusena tactfully broke off.
'I think a few words in the ear of the Medical Office might produce some results - especially if Bralla,' and the Interior winked at the woman, 'and Gerolaman notice that the Rowan is becoming listless, with no appetite . . . you know the sort of thing that can afflict the overextended youngster, Lusena.' 'Indeed I do.' 'Ill?' Siglen's eyes enlarged while she also appeared to compress herself.
'How is the child ill?' Rarely indisposed herself, Siglen had no patience with sickness.
'Well, as you know, Siglen, girls her age are prone to minor ailments and I do think she's sickening for something,' Bralla remarked. 'Why, you know yourself that her appetite's been poor these past few days. You might suggest to Lusena to remove her until the symptoms disappear.' 'To the infirmary?' 'Well, a full medical check never hurts,' Bralla replied.
'I'll make arrangements immediately.' So the Rowan was given an official leave to improve her health: Siglen practically ordering her out of the Tower."
"I'll fix a meal guaranteed to raise all known energy levels. Then you may sleep as long as you need to.' She 'saw' him as he shucked off his clothing: very privately she compared him to Turian's heavier build and the Captain's deep tan.
Then she decided that she liked his spare build, lean, muscled back and narrow hips; bulky people irritated her.
With good reason, Jeff remarked as he eased himself into the steaming pool. She had half-expected him to dive in, for it was deep enough, and heard his denying chuckle.
Another time, he told her with a sigh of total relaxation as he floated. Fix me that food, love, or I' ll starve to death in my sleep.
She sent the water pillow to hold up his head and felt her lips tingle with an impressed kiss. She smiled as she collected the necessary foodstuffs from storage. Siglen may have adored eating for its own sake, but the Rowan had learned the fundamentals of good nutrition and the value of well-prepared and presented food.
'What will people think of me when they see you so thin, Rowan?
Eat more! It's really delicious. If you'd only force yourself to eat . . .' Siglen's wheedling tone resounded in the Rowan's ears.
It was, however, infinitely more satisfying to prepare something for Jeff Raven. So involved was she in making certain that all nutritional elements had balanced tastefully that the Rowan was astonished to feel the rhythms of profound sleep emanating from her lover. A moment's pique was soothed by her realization that she would indeed have all the time in the world to prove her worth as a cook."
" He did a repeat of his act at Callisto Station, only this time the Rowan listened in. Just to see how he managed to charm so many people so completely in so short a time. He imaged her as a tiny mascot tucked over his ear as he talked Gerolaman into a buoyant mood.
He was nearly as fast charming both Bastian and Maharanjani, despite the fact that they had recognized him as heavy Talent and suspected his true identity."
Instead, she had gone from one lonely tower to another. Yegrani’s ‘long and lonely road’ had been before her a long and lonely time.