ၮ [PDF]- Download ┝ The Heart of Valor ᒅ PDF Author Tanya Huff ᣈ

ၮ [PDF]- Download ┝ The Heart of Valor  ᒅ PDF Author Tanya Huff ᣈ ၮ [PDF]- Download ┝ The Heart of Valor ᒅ PDF Author Tanya Huff ᣈ Fast pacedThe intriguing and well designed aliens and intricate plotting keep the reader guessing. Publishers WeeklySeries fans will enjoy this fast paced adventure, appealing to the same audience as David Webers Honor Harrington series. Library JournalAs a heroine, Kerr shines She is cut from the same mold as Ellen Ripley of the Aliens films tough but humane, fiercely protective of her charges, and utterly determined to prevail Like her heroine, Huff delivers the goods Valors Choice does not make light of war, but at the same time it is incredibly fun to read Howlingly funny and very suspenseful I enjoyed every word. Scifi.comAn intriguing alien race, a likeable protagonist, a fast moving plot, and a rousing ending What could you ask for Science Fiction ChronicleThis sequel to Valors Choice, featuring a gutsy, fast thinking female space marine protagonist, establishes veteran fantasy author Huff as an accomplished spinner of high tech military SF adventure. Library JournalThis book is Rendezvous with Rama for the rest of us exciting, mysterious and full of action and puzzles to solve Torin is everything you want in an action heroine or hero, for that matter , and this book will leave readers anxious for her next adventure. KLIATT Also by TANYA HUFFThe Confederation Novels VALORS CHOICETHE BETTER PART OF VALORTHE HEART OF VALORVALORS TRIALTHE TRUTH OF VALOR THE ENCHANTMENT EMPORIUMTHE WILD WAYS THE SILVERED SMOKE AND SHADOWSSMOKE AND MIRRORSSMOKE AND ASHESBLOOD PRICEBLOOD TRAILBLOOD LINESBLOOD PACTBLOOD DEBT THE QUARTERS NOVELS, VOL I omnibus SING THE FOUR QUARTERS FIFTH QUARTERTHE QUARTERS NOVELS, VOL II omnibus NO QUARTER THE QUARTERED SEA The Keepers Chronicles SUMMON THE KEEPERTHE SECOND SUMMONINGLONG HOT SUMMONING OF DARKNESS, LIGHT AND FIRE WIZARD OF THE GROVE omnibus CHILD OF THE GROVE THE LAST WIZARDTANYA HUFFTHE HEARTOF VALORId like to thank Steve Perry for artillery and general military advice, Steve Stavitzky, Dave Alway, and Gary McGath for helping find the words that gave the aliens a voice, and Bill Sutton and Bill Roper for assistance with metaphors Id also like to thank Olympic gold medalist Xeno Mueller, who graciously explained the dynamics of rowing machines.Table of ContentsONEFROM HER POSITION ON ONE of the upper galleries, Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr studied the Humans, diTaykan, and occasional Krai filling the public terminal from bulkhead to bulkhead About half, the half whod probably never left their home worlds before they boarded the recruiting shuttle, were gathered in clumps of their own species The other half were showing off how much socially evolved they were than their country cousins.Theyre surprisingly cute when theyre young.Fighting to keep her expression neutral, Torin turned, came to attention, and snapped off a perfect salute.As you were, Gunny.Now she could smile Glad to see you up and around, Major.Major Goran Svensson returned the smile, carefully rearranging the muscles by his mouth Glad to be up and around Although his nose was as prominent as she remembered, his face had the shiny, unlived in look of new tissue and the regrowth of silver blond hair was as high and hard as any oldEarth drill instructor could want it The fingernails of his left hand, the hand that rested on an old fashioned wooden cane, were a pale greenish gray and, against the matte black of his uniform, his skin was an unfortunate corpse white Under his uniform, the major had been rebuilt almost from scratch.That almost had wormed its way into nearly every conversation Torin had been a part of in the just under twenty eight hours shed been on Ventris Station At what point did the pieces of the Marine put into the tank stop being a Marine and start being merely pieces Had there been enough of Goran Svensson put in to get Goran Svensson out, or was this just something that looked like the major and sounded like the major but was nothing than shaped meat As far as Torin was concerned, it was a no brainer Shquo Company and the Battalions heavy weapons company had been dropped on Carlong in support of Captain Svenssons people, who were in imminent danger of being overrun Unfortunately, imminent had proven to be a conservative estimate, and all three companies had fought a bloody withdrawal to the pickup point only to find the Others were keeping the Navy too busy to get them out During the battle, the captain had proved himself a good officer and a fine Marine, and Torin had no intention of losing either.It only validated her good opinion to later discover he was a Mtaj, one of the forty percent of Corps officers promoted from the ranks Until she had evidence to the contrary, the only change between the Marine whod gone into the tank and the Marine whod come out was that the former was a captain, and the latter a major.Congratulations on the promotion Major Svensson nodded toward Torins sleeve I hear you were busy while I was tanked A few battles won, a new species courted, and an unknown alien spaceship outsmartedIm surprised they didnt commission you.It was mentioned.The major held up his hand and grinned, this second smile like the one Torin remembered I dont think I want to hear your response Actually, I dont think I need to hear your response, but I promise you, I dont take it personally He let the hand fall but not before Torin noticed the way his fingers had started to tremble I also heard you took some time for romance.Sir If hed said hed heard shed taken some time to go exploring gas giants, shed have been less surprised.With the civilian salvage operator who found said alien spaceship Some of the medical personnel here on Ventris recently transferred off the Berganitan, and theyre very taken by your touching love story.Torin snorted Love story So no romance No, sir.Too bad The fine folk in PR would be all over a touching love story Tightening his grip on the cane, he moved to the edge of the gallery and glanced down How many do you think well keep A little taken aback by the sudden change in topic, Torin frowned Sir Most of them will finish their contract and go home Some of them, the lucky ones, will never see battle even in the midst of a war But in every new group theres always a couplelike you The grin flickered again like mewho find a home in the Corps and that means there have to be a couple down there.Ah Keep Now the question made sense Torin studied the crowd again The recruiting shuttle dropped off seventy two recruits at Ventris every tendaytwo full training platoons 150 days later, between sixty and seventy Marines graduated from Basic The major was asking her to distill down those sixty or seventy to the few whod stay.Her, she said after a long moment The diTaykan with the lime green hair and the orange jacket The recruits closest to her are calmer than the rest, and shes standing so that she can see both exits Shes probably from a military family thats served for generations, and shell stay until biology forces her out.What about her The major raised his hand just far enough off the rail to indicate a tall, fair haired Human staring at the inner entrance to the station as if she could open it through force of will alone She looks like she wants to be here.A little too much That attitude says I know whats best, and itll be a fight to get her to listen Shes probably from one of the first families, and she thinks it means something here I very much doubt shell make it through Basic The fourteen first families off oldEarth were as close as humanity came to an aristocracy these days.Ive got ten that says she does.I dont want to take your money, sir.Commendable, but Im than willing to take yours.Ten it is, then Torin turned slightly, not enough to draw the attention of those down below but enough to direct the majors attention where she wanted it See the Human standing by the outer doors, just to the right of the terminal map Brown hair, hands shoved in his pockets Looks like hes wondering what the hell hes doing here Yes, sir, thats the one Well keep him.Put your money where your mouth is, Gunny.Ill give you twenty on this one, sir.She heard the rustle of fabric as the major turned to face her Now why would you do that Torin watched the recruit lean back against the map and jump forward again, face flushed as the map announced where he was He reminds me of me.Major Svensson Torin kept her attention on the major as he pivoted carefully around the cane, wobbling slightly Only when she was sure hed successfully completed the maneuver and was now scowling down the gallery, did she look up at the Navy corpsman approaching at a run Fuchsia hair whipping back and forth in agitation, the corpsman slid to a halt, looked into the majors face, and clearly reconsidered taking his arm.Sir, youre not supposed to be out of bed.For a diTaykan, the most enthusiastically indiscriminate race in known space, to not turn that statement into a blatant innuendo, Major Svensson had to have detanked in an impressively bad mood.And yet here I am.Sir, Dr Sloanll kick my ass out an air lock if she finds out youve been walking around in the public areas of the station One hand rose to fiddle nervously with his pheromone masker, and eyes the exact same fuchsia as his hair widened pleadingly Please come back to Med op with me.Major Svensson sighed Torin suspected he was aiming for world weary, but there was too much plain old weary in it If you put it that way, Corpsman Id hate for you to get into trouble on my account.Thank you, sir Ill get a chair.No I can manage Before Torin could protest, or even before she could quite figure out how to phrase a protest, the major added, But if youd be comfortable giving me your arm so that I dont wander off again, I could live with that.Yes, sir No mistaking the relief in the corpsmans voice.Fingers of his free hand wrapped around the corpsmans elbow, the major braced his cane and turned his upper body just enough to bring Torin back into his line of sight Im glad I happened to run into you, Gunnery Sergeant, he said formally Seems fitting we should spend a few minutes talking to each other since everyone on this station seems to be talking about us Nearly everyone, he amended, his tone lightening as he nodded toward the recruits If you get a few free minutes, Id appreciate the company.Ill come by if I can, sir.MajorI know, I know Dont just stand there, Corpsman, start walking.The corpsman wisely refused to allow Major Svensson to set the pace they moved slowly and carefully toward the decompression doors He glanced Torins way as he helped the major over the lip, and just before the door closed she heard the older man snap, Yes, it is.Had he asked if that was really Gunnery Sergeant Kerr Apparently everyone on the station was talking about herexcept when they were talking to her and then they were talking about the major Beginning to think it was no coincidence Major Svensson had happened to take a walk in her direction, Torin frowned down at the new recruits, not really seeing them.She didnt like being the center of attention that never ended well Once certain people started overreacting to other people doing nothing than getting the job done, life tended to get interesting Given that she was involved in fighting a centuries old war with an indeterminate foe, Torin figured her life was quite interesting enough.The sound of the inner doors opening jerked her attention back to the terminal.Listen up, children, because Im only going to say this once.Torin stared in disbelief at the familiar figure standing just inside the open doors Hands tucked behind his back, scarlet hair moving slowly back and forth, his uniform like a matte black shadow than actual fabric, stood Staff Sergeant diAllak Beyhn.A little over ten years ago, hed stood in exactly that position, said exactly those words and had, over the next 150 days, gone on to be one of the main reasons Torin had become a career Marine.It couldnt be the same Marine.It had to be another diTaykan trained by him, another diTaykan with the same coloring whod picked up the same phrases and mannerisms An imitation, not the real thing Hed had than a few years in back when hed been her DI, so Staff Sergeant Beyhn had to have moved on to quiTaykanthe breeding phaseand left the military.I am Staff Sergeant Beyhn.Or not.He swept a scarlet gaze over the recruits When I give the word, heres what youre going to do youre going to pick up your gear and move in an orderly fashion through these doors Once inside, youll make a quick left, proceed to the end of the corridor, and arrange yourselves on the yellow lines Anyone who cant figure out how to accomplish that should consider enlisting in the Navy.A couple of the recruits snickered.Staff Sergeant Beyhns expression made it clear he wasnt kidding, and the snickering stopped This is your last chance to reconsider your decision to become a Marine, he continued, redirecting his attention to the room at large No one will think any less of you if you decide to turn around and take the next shuttle home.Torin had never heard of anyone taking him up on the offer the recruiters made sure that anyone who got this far would make it past the yellow lines at least, but she supposed there was always a first time.No one moved.She checked the brown haired young man by the map He was frowning thoughtfully.Gunnery Sergeant Kerr.All attention snapped suddenly to her as the recruits followed Staff Sergeant Beyhns gaze up to the gallery She saw two or three heads dip together and was sure she heard a whispered Silsviss, the sibilants making the word carry.When you have a moment, Gunny.Fighting the urge to snap to attention and shout, Sir, yes, sir Torin nodded Im on my way down, Staff If he could use the diminutive, she could use the diminutive Shed have to keep telling herself that.He nodded in turn, one smooth dip of the headit was hard to tell at that distance, but she thought the ablin gon savit was smiling, fully aware of what her instinctive reaction would be Stepping back out of the doorway, he snapped, Lets move, people The brown haired young man was in the last group of recruits through the doors into Ventris Station Torin made a note to check his name he was going to win her an easy twenty.The station studied her identification for a moment and then let her in through the decompression door at the end of the gallerybig open spaces in stations made people nervous, so the designers added redundancies to their fail safesand by the time Torin dropped down a level the recruits were moving off the lines and into the hygiene unit Given that diTaykan hair wasnt hair at all but a uniform length, multistrand sensory organ and the Krai had no hair to speak of, the Corps had come up with a compromise for their Human recruits that acknowledged they were part of an integrated universe and managed to satisfy tradition as well The hygiene unit removed dead tissue from all three species, so for the 150 days of Basic, it was business as usual for the diTaykan, a slightly shinier scalp for the Krai, and on Human heads, stubble If nothing else, the stubble made it perfectly clear that no Humans were going to get by on their looks.Torin maintained her own hair at diTaykan length, but she knew Human Marines who kept their personal hygiene units locked at the dead tissue setting She thought it made them look like theyd just been detanked, but hellif they were into an I nearly had my ass shot off hair style, who was she to complain Staff Sergeant Beyhn stood by an inner wall, watching the last recruits cross into processing Up close, he looked tired, like he hadnt been sleeping diTaykan didnt get bags under their eyes, but he was close.Theyre not mine, he said as Torin joined him Ive got a group coming up on one twenty I should be with right now, but for the last few days this place has been jumping like the seals are blown, and assignments have therefore been late coming down He turned to face her You wouldnt know why, would you, Gunnery Sergeant Kerr I hear Major Svensson has recently been detanked, Staff Sergeant.He made a noise that from a Human would have been noncommittal but from a diTaykan bordered on insulting Dont give me that crap, Gunny The whole station knows that you single handedly brought the Silsviss in on our side and followed it up by outsmarting a big yellow spaceship and bringing your recon team safely home.Not all of them Torin closed her hand around the memory of the small, metal cylinder that held the remains of PFC August Guimond.Beyhn stared at her for a long moment, his eyes moving from near pink to scarlet as and light receptors opened Finally he nodded, his expression relaxing, and Torin realized that shed been measured and not found wanting.A smart person would have let it go You thought I might beGetting too big for your britches.Torin blinked What Means full of yourself Picked it up from a Marine who came through on his SLC.There could only be one Marine that fond of oldEarth idiom Hollice Thats the name He headed down the corridor, and Torin fell into step beside him So, since its unlikely they promoted you for just doing your job, Im guessing youve got blackmail material on that General Morris who seems to like you so much.As it happened, she did, but since her old DI wasnt actually digging for information, she merely said, Ours is not to question why, Sergeant.He snorted Yeah, thats what they keep telling me. Your O930 briefing has been moved to L6S23C29 Torin tongued an acknowledgment and checked the time. 0858 No need to hurry.New implant You half winced just there, the sergeant continued when she raised an inquiring brow Like you were reacting to the memory of pain.She fought the urge to cup the left side of her jaw, recently cracked by the techs back at Battalion whod installed her new unit during the short time shed spent with her company on the OutSector station before being ordered coreward to Ventris The bone ached and the skin over it felt tender Good call.Not really Automatic upgrade when you hit Gunny, he reminded her Been a long time since I got cracked, but I seem to remember them saying it wouldnt hurt.Yeah Thats what they say.Lying bastards Where you heading L6S23C29.You remember how to find your way around I do.An ability to negotiate Ventris Station was a hard earned skill The word tesseract had been mentioned on than one occasion Other, less scientific words were used frequently, the Corps having a long history of creative profanity and two new languages to practice it in Torin had refamiliarized herself with the unique aspects of station navigation early that morning on her five k run.Well, if you find your way to the baby sitters club sometime when Im not hand feeding the future of the Corps, Ill buy you a drink Then he glanced at the half dozen chevrons surrounding the crossed KC 7s on her sleeve, looked up, and nodded that same single dip of the head Good work, Marine.Hed been the first person to call her Marine Shed just finished two tendays on Crucible, her and the rest of Platoon 29, learning to actually use all the information theyd had crammed into their heads over the first 120 days of training Theyd been in ranks, bloody but unbeaten at the pickup point, and, as the VTAs hatch opened, Sergeant Beyhn had yelled, Double time, Marines Were moving out That had beenand remainedthe proudest moment of her life.Dont get all choked up on me now, he grinned as he opened the door into Hygiene and the sound of seventy two recruits being sanitized drifted into the corridor I bet Sergeant Hayman youd make Gunny before I got out and Judes just contributed a solid fifty to my offspring fund.Torin didnt bother hiding her shudder Thats the scariest thing Ive ever heard.That I bet a fifty on you That you have an offspring fund. Level 6, Section 23, Compartment 29according to the station directory, she couldnt get there from where she was Torin snorted and headed for the nearest vertical All routes on Ventris Station led to the main parade square Logically, from the main parade square, it was then possible to get to any address in the station. They should never have let the Hsan help with the design. She slowed to let an approaching captain into the shaft first, waited for the next available rising strap, and stepped across a whole lot of nothing to catch hold of it The public terminal was on level one, but there were fourteen sublevels under that Her stomach did a lazy loop in the zero gravity, then settled.Even with the workday underway for almost an hour, the shaft was busy She nodded at a descending technical sergeant, politely ignored a pair of officers sharing a strap while they discussed their latest liberty, and raised an eyebrow at a Krai recruit adjusting her uniform as she passed, one foot holding the strap, both hands attempting to straighten her collar The Krai had no problem in zero geeno nausea, no disorientationbut other species werent so lucky Human and diTaykan recruits whod spent their whole lives dirtside were tested in zero gee modules before they were allowed into the shafts, but even then it was pretty much a guarantee that the rest of the station would be dodging wobbly globes of vomit and the embarrassed recruit trying to clean them up at some point during the first thirty days of every Basic course Since a new course started every ten days, it paid to pay attention in the verticals.At Level 3, Torin grabbed the bar over the door and flipped out into the deck The link station was right where she remembered it By the time the link arrived, there were eight Marines waiting with her, and she had less than twenty minutes travel time left.Not a problem.Like the public terminal, the main parade square had been designated as an outside area of the station On her way around to the link station that would take her to Section 23, Torin snapped off three salutes and then stopped by a recruit who stood staring around at eighteen potential exits in rising panic.Where do you need to be she asked.Pale gray eyes holding an equal mix of determination and fear locked on her face Sir ThisDont call me sir, Im not your DI Call me Gunnery Sergeant.Sir Yes, siYes, Gunnery Sergeant This recruit needs to be at L4S12 main administration.She checked his collar tabs He was still in his first fifty Are you cleared for verticals Yes, Gunnery Sergeant Take that shaftThat shaft She reached out and turned his head Take it up two levels Turn right immediately out of the shaft Keep moving until you get to Section 12 then take the first vertical you see back down a level.He glanced at his watch I have to be there in four minutes It was hard not to smile Then youd better hurry.Yes, Gunnery Sergeant She watched him double time off, turned back toward her station, and saluted a Krai lieutenant wearing a Ventris patch who was staring at her with disapproval.The recruits need to learn their way around on their own, Gunny.Stifling a sigh, she stopped walking She really didnt have time for this The recruits need to learn they can depend on other Marines when the chips are down, Lieutenant.And what does he learn if you tell him how to get where hes going That it isnt a weakness to ask for directions.He didnt ask for directions, Gunny.Now he knows he can, sir.The lieutenants nose ridges flared You cant ask for directions in combat Torin did not drop her gaze to the lieutenants chest and an absence of ribbons but was so obvious about it, she might as well have Youd be surprised, sir She snapped off another salute and was in the link and gone before he realized hed been dismissed.She reached L6S23C29 with three minutes and forty two seconds to spare.And found her reputation had preceded her.Congratulations on the promotion, Gunnery Sergeant Kerr.Thank you, Captain Stedrin And you on yours.The captain smiled, pale blue hair flicking back and forth I suspect the general thought it was easier to promote me than to break in another aide Besides, weve got an actual staff now, and he probably believes the extra bar will make it easier for me to take command.I dont think youll have any trouble, sir.Captain Stedrins hair sped up a little Thats quite the compliment coming from you, Gunny.Yes, sir She meant it, though When theyd first met on the Berganitan, Lieutenant Stedrin had been a typical stick up the ass young officernot, as it happened too different from the lieutenant shed just been talking to on the parade square although the attitude was temperamentally unusual for a diTaykanbut hed made the right decisions when it mattered, and while he might never be much of a line officer, shed been in the Corps long enough to know that a good staff officer, one who cared about the Marines than the paperwork, was worth his weight in ammo Maybe not the impact boomers, but definitely the regular rounds.She glanced across the front of the small lecture hall to where General Morris, still without that third star and his promotion to Tekamal and apparently destined to be her personal pain in the brass for years to come, was speaking to a diTaykan major The deep orange hair made it a sure bet that it was Major diUninat Alie, the Intelligence officer whod debriefed Torin just after shed arrived at the station The generals filling her in on what he considers the pertinent points, isnt he, sir I think thats a given.General Morris had chosen her for the mission to Silsvah She supposed it was a compliment that hed believed her capable of doing what was necessary to bring the Silsviss into the Confederation before the Others could recruit them, but shed lost thirteen Marines on what was supposed to be ceremonial duty, and while she had no trouble following orders, she disliked being manipulated Hed also chosen her to lead the recon platoon into Big Yellow, the unidentified alien vessel found floating dead in space Probably another compliment Hed needed a senior NCO capable of riding herd on a glory seeking officer destined for promotion to placate the Krai members of Parliament, but since Captain Travik had spent most of the mission unconscious, the official reports were slightly different than the reality of the situation.Torin really hated politics.Fortunately, she wasnt expected to smile as the general approached.Staff Sergeant Kerr Good to see you again Ive just been telling Major Alie what she can expect.Sir Captain Stedrin cleared his throat, a Human noise the diTaykan had adopted Its Gunnery Sergeant now.Why, so it is General Morris florid cheeks flushed darker as his gaze flickered to her collar tabs and back Congratulations.Thank you, sir.Im looking forward to hearing what you have to say.Sir About the Silsviss.He was staying Well that was just fukking wonderful Yes, sir.With a final, patronizing nod, the general moved toward an empty seat in the last row Captain Stedrin let him get most of the way there before he caught up and bent to murmur something in the generals ear Standing by the lectern, Torin couldnt hear the captains part of the conversation, but the generals, What now came through loud and clear After a moment, and an inspection of the captains slate, he shook his head and stomped off out the rear door.Captain Stedrin shot her a very diTaykan grin as he followed.The bastard had waited until the last minute to clear the general out just to watch her sweat Nice one Hed known from the beginning theyd be leaving, or hed have left his slate with the others on the table near the lower door Torin had been warned her slate wouldnt recordCompartments 21 to 39 were configured to prevent itbut slates were designed to be ultimately flexible, and there was only one way to be certain no one would enter the information with a stylus and that was to take them out of the hands of their owners She suspected there were certain things about the way the Silsviss had joined the Confederation that the highest levels of the Corps preferred the general population never knew Ultimately, thered be no way to prevent it, butin the here and nowthe top brass was doing what they could to slow things down.Are you ready, Gunnery Sergeant Kerr She faced Major Alie and nodded, an echo of Staff Sergeant Beyhns single dip Yes, sir.You dont look nervous.Are they likely to shoot at me, sir The majors eyes lightened as she smiled I doubt it.Then Ill be fine.Torin assumed every one of the thirty officers in the roomthered be other rooms and other ranks laterhad read not only her report, but General Morris report, Lieutenant Jarrets report and probably, depending on their clearance levels, both the diplomats and Cri Sawyes report She wasnt here to go over the facts of the mission one time lest something crucial had been left out that effected the acceptance of the Silsviss into the Confederation and their eventual integration into the Corps She was here because later, after the facts had been presented one time, thered be questions and she was the only one who could answer many of them.It was both clichd and dangerous to believe that insight into a species could be gained by wholesale slaughter, but Torin was willing to bet that, here and now, no one knew the Silsviss quite like she did.Slate to hand in case she needed to refer to her notes, she faced the tiers of seats and began During the mission in question, I was a Staff Sergeant with 7th Division, 4th Recarta, 1st Battalion, Shquo Company My orders were to put together a platoon out of able bodied Marines to accompany a group of diplomats and their support staffMictok, Dornagain, and Rakvato Silsviss under the command of Second Lieutenant diKa JarretThered been diplomacy for a while, but then all hell had broken loose.When she reached the point in the story where the Berganitan had returned to Silsvah and sent down a VTA to lift them offthe VTA theyd landed in having been lost in a swampshe saw a few of the officers begin to stir Either they hadnt heard what happened after liftoff and they thought she was nearly done or, likely, she was just getting to the part they were interested in.The Silsviss have a pack mentality They know where each one fits in the pack, and the strong fight to rise Theyd just joined our pack, and they wanted to see how much they could push us around.They wanted you to kill General Morris.The statement came from a Human lieutenant colonel He might have felt safely anonymous in the dim light amid the other twenty nine black uniforms in the room, but Torin had spent too many years pinpointing smart ass comments from the ranks to let him get away with it Glancing over at him, she abandoned the last 4.5 minutes of prepared speech and said, No, sir They wanted me to believe it was the generals fault and then use what I had learned about the Silsviss to save the treaty by killing him.And why didnt you Because we werent joining them, sir They were joining us.General Morris report said he was willing to die.I wasnt privileged to read the generals report, sir.But you would have killed him if it had been necessary He was leaning forward now, one hand pale and obvious where it gripped the dark fabric over his right knee.Torin lifted her chin, locked her eyes on his face, and said, As it wasnt necessary, sir She loaded implication into the pause well never know.The lieutenant colonel looked away first and, as his gaze dropped, Major Alie stepped forward Since we seem to have already opened the floor to questions, Gunnery Sergeant Kerr will now address any other points you may want clarified. Interesting emphasis, Torin thought as a Krai major began the official QA.For the most part, the questions stayed fairly close to her observations of the Silsviss military and how well she felt theyd integrate As they revisited the same points over and over again, Torin became increasingly grateful that she wouldnt be part of the team designing the integration protocols Given how long it had taken before the Krai joined mixed fireteams, she figured shed be long retired before she had to worry about maintaining discipline with diTaykan sized lizards in the ranks.When the briefing finally ended, just before 1300, Torin followed the majors silent order and stepped back to let the room empty before she left With the major acting as a barrier between her and any further questions, she kept her gaze locked on the far wall to give no one a chance to draw her into conversation.As the last officer retrieved his slate and disappeared out the door, Major Alie turned toward her and smiled Thank you, Gunny Grab some food, and Ill see you back here at fourteen hundred The officers attending this morning have orders not to approach you out of this room, so you should be allowed to get to the SRM in peace.Thank you, sir.The captain whod asked the first question had been Intell, seeded into the group by Major Alie It was inevitable those particular questions would be asked, so the major had arranged for them to be asked under controlled conditions The timing, before the QA officially began, had allowed her to cut the questions off when the information shed wanted released had been covered It was a smart move.Torin appreciated smart, but she had no intention of mentioning that to the major Intell got a little snotty when one of their subtle plans turned out to be that obvious.The afternoon session was a near exact copy of the morningsminus General Morris small part Finished at 1800, she skipped the Senior Ranks Mess and headed to a pub she remembered fondly from her last course on station She was expecting a call and didnt want it going through the duty officer before it reached her in the SRM Off duty and in a public part of the station, the message would be bounced straight to her implant.On the OutSector stations the lowest two or three levels of the center core were set aside for off duty and civilian personnel On a station the size of Ventris, certain broad concourses had been set aside for stores, bars, and cantinas The recruits were given access to the lowest concourse on their last tenday They never saw the other four until they returned to Ventris as Marines.Suttons, on Concourse Two, was about half full A group of privates and corporals were watching mixed league cricket on the big screen in the corner Apparently it was an oldEarth sport the Elder Races had taken to the way the Hsan took to cheese, but Torin couldnt see the attraction Along the other side of the bar, eight of the small tables were full, two of them pushed close so a group of four officers and their companions could eat together Three diTaykan sat at the bar itself, bodies close and looking about five minutes from heading to someones bunk for the night.Torin took one of the small tables, where she could see both the door to the concourse and the door behind the bar leading to the kitchens, and coded her order into the tabletop To her surprise, Elliot Westbrook, the grandson of the original owners, came out with the first part of her order.Gunny, he said as he set down the beer, I hear you single handedly got the Silsviss to join up Any chance you can give me a scouting report on their beverage selection Seemed that Major Svensson was right everyone on the station was talking about her Still, it never hurt to cooperate with the man cooking dinner and, while information about how shed single handedly got the Silsviss to join up was classified, what the giant lizards drank was not Whats , if they were going to join the Corps, it was an important cultural touchstone The upper ranks drank fermented fruit juices, but the lower ranks usually drank beer.Good to hear.The beer was usually green.Elliot grinned So theyre Irish When her pie arrived, he left her to it, heading back to the bar muttering notes about ales and lagers and fermentation times into his slate.She was just mopping up the last of the gravy when the call came through. Ive docked Section 8, slip 17 Pushing her plate away, she tongued an acknowledgment and murmured, On my way, just loud enough for the implant to pick up.They were naked twenty two minutes later.TWOPUSHING DAMP HAIR BACK out of her eyes, Torin rolled up on one elbow and frowned down at her companion I get the impression you missed me.Funny, because I got the impression I was right on targetOW Tugging her fingers out of his chest hair, Craig Ryder wrapped Torins hand in his, immobilizing it Since she wasnt planning on going anywhere for a while, she allowed him to think he could hold her You win, he said I missed you Youre just lucky I needed to register new salvage tags.Youre talking like Im the only one here who got lucky.Wouldnt dream of it He waggled his brows suggestively But you are saying you got lucky, then She freed her hand, moved it lower on his body, and squeezed A couple of times.Bloody cheek But this time when he grabbed for her, Torin rolled off the bunk and rose to her feet out of reach That things too small for comfort.Youd better be talking about the bunk, mate And you are not sitting your bare ass down on my control panel, he growled as she moved the very small distance to the other side of the cabin.Torin snorted Not after what happened the last time Scooping his discarded shirt off the floor, she tossed it on the pilots chair covering the majority of the duct tape and sat One of the reasons the bunk was too narrow for them both was that Craig Ryder was a big man Undressed, there was a little softness at his waist, but most of his bulk was muscle, his arms and shoulders so broad and heavy, they distracted from his height.What All right Maybe she had been staring Rumor has it that this is a romance.Really Craig rolled up on his side, head propped up on one huge hand He looked amused, the bastard Whos been talking, then She shrugged a shoulder, suddenly wishing she hadnt brought it up Some of the medical staff off the Berganitan are on station Apparently, Im a topic of conversation.Apparently When she shrugged again, he laughed Fuk, all youve done in the last year was convince a race of aggressive lizards to join up right before you outsmarted a big old alien spaceship Cant see why theyd be talking about you Obviously, theyre talking about me.You Dont mean to skite, but Im the other half of the romance, arent I Torin scratched at the drying sweat on her stomach There is no romance Theres sex.Good sex.Granted.Thatll do, then Blue eyes gleamed So what the hell are you doing all the way over there Later, when she stepped out of his showerwhich meant stepping out of his tiny hygiene unit into the main cabinhe handed her a mug of coffee and said, You ever hear what happened to the escape pod from Big Yellow.Torin took a drink, set the mug on the small, half circle table folded down from one of the cabin walls, and started dressing Its a piece of unknown alien technology, I expect RD has it tucked away somewhere, probably somewhere on this stationalthough theres always a chance that one of the Elder Races rabbited off with it All I know is that the whole things been classified Top Secret, and I have orders not to talk about it during my current the Silsviss are our friends tour Skimming her pants up over her hips, she reached for the mug again Why I rode it from Big Yellow, yeah Yeah She knew where this was going.That makes it my salvage, doesnt it Technically, the Berganitan retrieved it.He folded his arms, the motion causing the worn sweats hed pulled on to fall a little farther from his waist I was in it And in salvage, like life, possession is nine tenths of the law.The vacuum jockeys from the Berganitan had rescued him, directing the spherical escape pod into a net in one of the ships shuttle bays Given the mulish expression he was wearing, Torin decided not to remind him of that You must have made inquiries, she said, buttoning her shirt.I did No one knows anything about it.Thats because its classified Top Secret.No They wont talk about Big Yellow, but they dont seem to know about the escape pod.Youre a civilian Neither branch of the military is likely to tell you what they know.Please Fingers digging in his short beard, he snorted I deal with the military all the time I know when theyre fukking me around and this was like they honestly didnt know.Torin set the empty mug back on the table and frowned Maybe they didnt know You couldnt have been talking to anyone with a very high clearance.Thats possible.She stared at him for a long moment You want me to ask someone, dont you He grinned It is good sex.Not that good.Liar.Fine Theres an Intell major running the Silsviss briefings Im doing If I get a chance, Ill ask her She slid a foot into her right boot and bent to tie the laces How long will you be docked Odds are good Ill be gone by 1400 tomorrow.His tone pulled her attention back to his face If he was off station by 1400, this was it Theyd probably see each other again when she got back to her unit Civilian salvage operators werent unknown at OutSector stations, but only the brass knew how long theyd keep her here All right, Ill ask at the morning briefing.Ta.Both boots secured, she moved to the hatch and paused, left hand rising to touch her jaw The upgrades got a signal strong enough to reach ships in space.Craigs brows rose when she stopped, clearly expecting .She didnt have any .His fingers went back to his beard Youve got the Promises codes.I do Her left hand settled against the scarred surface of the hatch The upgrade went to grades Gunny and above, so that if they had Marines dirtside, and the comm unit got hit, they could call for evac They werent forShe glanced back at Craig from the way the corner of his mouth was twitching, he knew exactly what she was thinking Cocky bastard Stepping out onto the ramp, she turned again Be careful.He nodded You, too. Major Alie.The majors hair lifted Is there a problem, Gunny No, sir diTaykan didnt have the concept of personal space, so Torin stepped a little closer They were standing, once again, at the front of Compartment 29 waiting for the mornings group of senior NCOs to finish taking their seats, and Torin figured that her odds of getting an answer were better if the major thought she couldnt be overheard In the raw light of day, minus post coital endorphins, this was obviously a bad idea, but shed told Craig shed askand that left her only two options Keep her word Or not The CSO whoYoure seeing The words were tame for a diTaykan The innuendo was all it could be.Yes, sir Torin responded to the words alone He was wondering what happened to the escape pod off Big Yellow.The majors hair flattened The alien ship is classified, Gunny.Yes, sir.And classified means youre not to speak of it.No, sir.Not even to your vantru.Given the majors expression, now was not the time to mention that vantru or less translated as primary sexual partnerwas a bit strong, if only because of the diTaykan weight the word carried and not because she was actually getting any anywhere else.Ive got no way to keep him from mentioning it to me, sir. NinLi civilians Like many sentient races, the primary Taykan religion had not only the concept of damnation but the profanity to go with it.Yes, sir.But while the major had said, The alien ship is classified, her expression had added, What escape pod It was fast, gone almost before Torin saw it Someone watching a little less closely would have missed it entirely, but Torin had spent years learning to spot bullshit and next to some of the diTaykan shed commanded, for whom bullshit was a vocation, Major Alie was an amateur.Her anger at not knowing had given her away.Intell hated to think there were things they didnt know.At 12 45, Torin set down her lunch tray and pinged the Promise from a table terminal in the SRM. What the bloody hell did you ask at that morning briefing Torin poured creamer in her coffee, the artificial stuff significantly safer than the real cream in the other jug There were no cows on Ventris Station I asked the major about your possible salvage. Just like that, then You wanted to know. I expected you to be a little I dont know, circumspect.I said Id ask She took a preliminary swallowthe coffee had probably been started by the first cook on Ventrisand added a splash creamer This is not the kind of thing that I can sneak about trying to discover for you Nor would I if I could. I had a visit this morning from a couple of Marines who thought I needed to be reminded of what classified meant.That wasnt entirely unexpected And They pointed out that military salvage tags dont grow on fukking trees.Neither was that It was, after all, the only handle they had on him Happy ending Theyre letting me bail, if thats what you mean In fact, they pretty much told me to rack off. She heard him sigh, could see him sitting back in the pilots chair, feet resting on the spot his heels had worn shiny on the control panel Im never going to see that salvage, am I Never mind Dont answer that Are you in the crapper for bringing it up It surprised her that hed ask Not so far. Good Let me know when youre back at OutSector.I will She cut the connection, ate her soup and her sandwich, and wasnt at all surprised to find a Marine waiting for her in the corridor outside the mess when she left. Come in, Gunnery Sergeant Kerr I wont keep you long.Torin entered as ordered and came to attention in front of the desk, staring at the gray green plaque on the wall just over General Morris head It was the same color as Major Svenssons fingernails and that led down paths shed rather not travelalthough artificial fingernail was not the strangest building material shed ever seen used She couldnt quite make out what battle the raised letters commemorated.Damn it, stop doing that You know I hate it.Yes, sir She relaxed slightly into parade rest.What escape pod, Gunny That drew her attention to his face Sir Hands linked, he tapped joined index fingers against his chin You asked Major Alie this morning about an escape pod from Big Yellow.Not a question but she answered it anyway Yes, sir.What are you up to Sir There was no escape pod, Gunny.By the time shed made sergeant, Torin could remain expressionless under any condition That skill came in handy now There had been an escape pod Shed seen Craig Ryder get into it on Big Yellow and had seen the alien ship spit the pod out into space One of the Jades from the Berganitans Black Star Squadron had caught it up in an energy field and maneuvered it back to the ship, tossing it into a net strung across shuttle bay one to catch it General Morris had been there when Craig had emerged from the pod.General Morris was a politician at heart, but he wasnt that good a liar.He believed there was no escape pod.I spoke of the escape pod in my mission report, sir.No, you did not. Yes, I damned well did. If I could seeNo, you cant The mission reports concerning Big Yellow are classified He leaned back, eyes narrowed within the folds of flesh But I assure you, Gunnery Sergeant, there was no mention of an escape pod in your mission report Nor in any of the others Nor at any of the debriefings.The recon team had been debriefed separately and then sent back to their respective units It was possible, if unlikely, that no one else had mentioned the escape pod But she had She remembered it clearly. Wed lost the first one because we misinterpreted the controls, but the second one launched with CSO Craig Ryder inside.The Elder Races insisted they were against violence in all forms Torin found herself wondering how they felt about mind control And why would they wipe General Morris memory but not hers or Craigs I understand how the kind of attention youve been under lately can go to your head, but you, of all people, should know better than to exaggerate for the sake of your audience Not that you should have an audience, he continued as Torin blinked at him You know the information about Big Yellow is classified.Okay Firm ground here, at least Even the patronizing tone was familiar Yes, sir.Thanks to Presit a Tur durValintrisy at Sector Central News, the greater part of the Confederationthose who were not actually on the missionknows exactly what we want them to know And we dont want them to know anything else His eyes narrowed above florid cheeks Do I make myself clear, Gunnery Sergeant Kerr Yes, sir.Good Youre going to have to hurry to make your afternoon briefing.Yes, sir She came back to attention, pivoted on one heel, and left the office Well, that was a whiskey tango foxtrot conversation.Gunny.Torin stopped at Captain Stedrins desk.He glanced toward the open door to the outer office, where two corporals and the Krai private whod been sent to fetch her toiled over the generals data entry, and beckoned Torin closer.She leaned in.Look, if you were anyone else, youd have been up shit creek for that stunt this morning Im finding it hard to believe that the Marine I knew would make up a salvage claim even for a vantru. Youre golden right now, Kerr, but dont let it go to your head.No, sir.Lieutenant StedrinCaptain Stedrinhad also been there when Craig came out of the escape pod.She made it to her afternoon briefing on time, but only just Distracted by the certainty that something hinky was going on, she dropped into the wrong vertical and had to start again from the parade square.Major Alie met her as she entered the compartment Problem, Gunny Torin glanced at the multi Sector chronometer on the front wall She had thirty seven seconds to spare No, sir.The matter of fact tone seemed to throw the major a bit the movement of her hair sped up, and she frowned slightly. Does she expect me to tell her that General Morris kept me late Torin wondered If Major Alie expected her to feel chastised and show it, well, the Hsan would take up knitting first.Maybe, because she was, after all, an Intelligence officer, the major was wondering why Gunnery Sergeant Kerr had asked about a nonexistent escape pod.Probably not, Torin acknowledged as she stepped forward to lay out her experiences with the Silsviss for the fourth time in two days The integration of large, aggressive lizards into the Corps was of immediate concern than either the possible existence of escape pods or a possibly delusional NCO.Two days of briefings finished off the staff officers and NCOs, and she spent the day before she began at the Recruit Training Center going over her notes and making some of the changes Major Alie had suggested She no longer ate alone every meal in the SRM became a sort of mini briefing Since going out would only expose her to questions from officers and speculation by other ranks, she stayed in.She was rapidly reaching the point where being shot at by the Silsviss would be preferable to having to talk about them It didnt help that most of the private questionsand many of the briefing room questions for that matterinvolved second guessing the decisions that had been made in the field. Contamination levels were rising slowly why didnt you stay with the VTA Why didnt you empty the armory Why wasnt every Marine carrying two or three weapons Why didnt you put your ammo for the emmy under cover so it couldnt be hit As that second guessing was coming from Marines whod spent most of their tour on their asses behind a desk, Torin figured it was inevitable that shed end up in the gym late one night, pounding the snot out of some pompous desk jockey When it finally happened, it started with a Krai technical sergeant demanding to know why she hadnt killed Cri Srah when she had him in the choke hold Then it moved into the declaration that, if it had been his people sent into ambush, hed have made the Silsviss pay Finally, it ended with him pinned to the floor, Torins knee on his throat.She had a bite taken out of her paddingKrai invariably bit, but the padding slowed them down a littleand a few bruises.The incident would have broken the monotony except that it had been so appallingly predictable.She spoke to the one fifty recruits first On their last tenday, they were almost done with Basic and, having returned from Crucible, were considered Marinesnothing left but finishing up the appalling amount of documentation the military required before posting There were no recruits in one thirty or one forty they were on Crucible and probably wishing, if Torins memory of those twenty days was anything to go by, that they were anywhere else.It took a few years of actual combat to put Crucible in perspective.The one twenty recruits included Staff Sergeant Beyhns Platoon 71 as well as Platoon 72 under the command of DI Staff Sergeant Connie Dhupam.You havent stopped by for that drink, Gunny.Only time Ive had free, you were with your platoon, Staff.Theyre keeping you busy He snickered, but not unsympathetically, at Torins expression This isnt your job You should be out there keeping the kids Im sending you alive Why the hell arent they putting your second lieutenant through this crap Lieutenant Jarret was unconscious for the final battle and in Med op for the aftermath.And youre General Morris golden Gunny.Torin snorted For my sins.By day one hundred and twenty, recruits had survived long hours of training both physical and mental and were showing the arrogance that was a natural result of that survival Two tendays on Crucible would temper that arrogance, but nothing would ever completely remove it As Major Alie instructed the two platoons in the discretion expected of a Marine given sensitive information, every single recruit leaned slightly forward to show they were listening.It was the appearance of rapt attention, at least.Most of them looked intrigued, a few looked amused, all diTaykan hair was in movement, and the half dozen Krai were showing teeth One or two of the recruits were showing no expression at all, and Torin decided they were in Staff Sergeant Beyhns platoon only because that was where shed begun.They hadnt read the diplomatic reports, but theyd studied every word written by Marines about the battle and the political aftermath It was possible, Torin realized, that this group of recruits could represent the first Marines to integrate with the Silsviss They were only on a three year contract, so it was unlikely, given the speed of politics, but it was possible As she talked, it became obvious there were going to be a lot questions than usual at least a dozen recruits looked as if they wouldnt make it to the end of the briefing without interrupting.They did, but Torin would have bet her pension that a couple of them managed to wait only because of the DIs standing behind and to either side of her.The sergeants handled the QA, motioning recruits up onto their feet.Gunnery Sergeant KerrThe standing recruit was a tall, medium dark Human, her nose given remarkable prominence by the deadhead hair.is it true you have the Silsviss skull the pack leader gave you in your quarters back on OutSector Essentially I put it in storage when I got my orders to head here.This recruit wonders why you kept it.Seemed rude to throw it out.Then this recruit wonders why you didnt give it back to the Silsviss for proper burial.Because that would have been dangerous The skull is than a battle trophy When the new leaders of the pack handed it over, it symbolized them showing their throats to the victor Giving it back would have meant we planned on killing each and every one of them.But giving it back nowTorin raised an eyebrow and cut her off When she figured the pause had continued long enough, she said, What would giving it back now mean, Recruit Her brows drew in Disrespect Are you asking She jumped at the tone No, Gunnery Sergeant Kerr All right, disrespect and A challenge.The short sharp crack was the sound of a Krai in the second row beginning to snap his teeth together, suddenly realizing where he was, and trying to stop just a little too late He managed to look sheepish and apologetic simultaneously.And what would a challenge mean, Recruit A fight.A fight, Torin agreed She found herself wanting to remind them that every species has their own way of treating the dead but knew their DIs wouldnt appreciate her inference that they hadnt already learned that lesson Insofar as it didnt interfere with the functioning of the Corps, the Corps respected those differences.A fight with who, Gunnery Sergeant Kerr This recruit was male, Human again, with the heavy muscle that came from working a physical job before hed signed up.Depends on who received the skull.So if it went back to the representative of the Silsvah World Council, would we find ourselves fighting the entire planet Its possible And that would certainly interfere with the functioning of the Corps Which was why she had the skull in her storage locker Well, that and because a couple of the politically correct NCOs at Battalion didnt want the skull of a sentient species hanging in the SRM Theyd just have to choke it down when the Silsviss arrived because it was definitely going back up then.Gunnery Sergeant Kerr Even at parade rest, the diTaykan recruits inherent grace was evident Torin could see a long list of aristocratic forebears in his postureno one got that self assured in a single generation He reminded her of Lieutenant Jarret and she would have been willing to bet his family name had no than three letters in it His cobalt blue hair swept slowly back and forth as he asked, Is there a chance we can see the skull, Gunnery Sergeant Torin could feel Major Alie getting ready to step in.That is, the recruit added, if you dont think the Silsviss would mind.There was no way the major could answer that If she knew what the Silsviss would or wouldnt mind, Torin wouldnt be there.With no doubt that the recruit had phrased the second half of the question so that the major would not have the deciding voice, Torin kept both expression and tone neutral The Silsviss would understand showing battle honors to the young Theyd also understand using the skull to explain Silsviss strengths.What strengths can you learn from a skull, Gunnery Sergeant Kerr Krai, male his voice on the edge of insolence.Why dont we wait until you get a look at their jaws and you can ask me that again.Gunnery Sergeant Kerr Another diTaykan Emerald green hair this time When you were facing those hundreds of Silsviss and your platoon was surrounded and almost out of ammo, were you afraid Gunnery Sergeants dont feel fear, recruit We eat overgrown lizards for breakfast and wash them down with a side of Hsan However, since I was only a staff sergeant at the time, I can tell you that the moisture controls on a pair of Marine Corps Class As work to design specifications.That got a laugh.Gunnery Sergeant Kerr, is it true you knew Major Svensson before he was tanked Motivated only by guilt for having not yet gone to see him, Torin let the major move in on that one and remind the recruits that they were here to discuss the Silsviss and only the Silsviss. Kichars in love.Miransha Kichar ignored him and continued polishing her boots.The pink haired diTaykan lounged against the wall beside her bunk and grinned I saw the way you were looking at the Gunnery Sergeant when she snapped at you this afternoon during your little question and answer riff Youre in love.Is that a bad thing, Sakur Sakur turned enough to direct his grin at the Krai on the next bunk Love is never a bad thing, Hisht But the Gunny will never return Kichars affection, and thats sad.Hishts nose ridges flared as he considered the diTaykans words His jernine lived deep in the forests, and until the day hed climbed to the crown of the prayer tree and seen the airship go by, he had thought he would spend all his life surrounded by his extended family Staring up at the silver ship, a deep curiosity had grabbed him, and he had left all he knew and followed its path and, eventually, when he finally became aware of just how much there was outside his small bit of forest, he had ended up here surrounded by people who were not people as he had known them and who did not always think the way people thought It was exciting and confusing, and he did not always have the right words in his head to understand To love without love in return is sad, he said at last, even though he knew that wasnt the point being made.Even Hisht gets it Sakur laughed Laughed harder when Kichar glared up at him.In the forest, Sakurs behavior would be that of a young male trying to get a females attention In the Marine Corps, he was merely acting like a pain in the ass That was a concept Hisht had no trouble understanding. Staff Sergeant Beyhn took a long swallow of his beer and set it back down on the bar of the RT SRM You run a good briefing, he said Everyone seems to think so.Torin dropped her head into her hands God, help me Ill never see my unit again.It was beginning to look that way.After she finished speaking to the remainder of the recruits, right down to the latest group to step off the recruiting shuttle, the Corps wanted her to look at a few simulations of the battle and finally review the official documentation that came out of her briefings After that, Ambassador Krikvir, the Mictok whod been one of the diplomats on Silsvah, wanted her to address a Parliamentary committee.Parliamentary committee, General Morris snorted, staring down at the request Half a dozen species rummaging around trying to reach a consensus on what beverage they should have on morning break Ridiculous waste of time.Torin had never been so much in agreement with the general.Unfortunately, he added, we have no good reason to refuse them I will, of course, accompany you to the Core.And her prospects went from bad to worse.On the first day of her three ten, Torin went for her run, took care of her kit, spent two hours at the range blowing away a target she mentally painted with General Morris face, and finally headed over to see Major Svensson The station allowed her into Med op, but there was a door, a desk, and a delay before she could get to the convalescent compartments.Im afraid the majors physical therapys running a bit late, Gunny The yeoman on duty at the desk peered down at her screens Ah Hes with ElusoyDiTaykan Torin asked as though that explained everything Which, considering the circumstances, it pretty much did.The young petty officer nodded and colored faintly You can wait.Thank you Hands clasped behind her back, Torin wandered slowly around the small waiting room The half dozen uncomfortable chairs were empty, but she had no desire to sit She read the charts on the wall, checked the display of biscuits for her slate, discovered they were all at least three years out of date, and found herself back at the desk You were on the Berganitan, Yeoman She looked up, startled.Torin hid a smile Major Svensson had mentioned there were personnel in Med op whose last posting had been the Berganitan that was why shed looked Youre wearing the ships ribbon.Oh Right A quick glance down at the single ribbon on the left side of her chest Yes, I was there when youWhen we transported you toyou know And back.Right.I put together some of the data for your medical files.Thank you.She shrugged narrow shoulders, a quick up and down motion, and smiled shyly Its okay Its what I do I did Craig Ryder, too We scanned himjust a quick scan just in casebefore he went back out for you.Her tone, her expression, pretty much everything about her explained the rumor of romance the major had heard Rubbing one finger along the inert trim of her desk, she stared up at Torin like Torin was the heroine in a Hsan opera.Thats right I got my people out of Big Yellow, and I got the guy.Gunny Praise for the Confederation series The action is solid, and the marines arean entertaining mix of oddballsled by the highly competent and eminently likeable Staff Sergeant Kerr A rousing military adventure LocusAn intriguing alien race, a likeable protagonist,a fast moving plot, and a rousing ending What could you ask for S.F ChronicleThe notable Tanya Huff proves herself equally adept at military science fiction as contemporary fantasy A writer of great versatility, Ms Huff captures the ambiance of an elite military group and addsa rare depth to skillful characterizationto make each personality stand up and be counted RT ReviewsThis book is Rendezvous with Ramafor the rest of us exciting, mysterious and full of action and puzzles to solve Torin is everything you want in an action heroine KliattReaders who enjoy military SF will love Tanya Huffs Valors Choice The level of detail is intricatethe blow by 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    • The Heart of Valor
    • 4.1
    • 322
    • Format Kindle
    • 0756404819
    • Tanya Huff
    • Anglais
    • 19 May 2017

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