Switching between the two sets of characters here leaves rather more of an unresolved cliffhanger at the end of the previous chapter than I'd realised!
Chapter 11: That Far Country
Dar watched the two offworlders in the shadowy light, wondering how much to tell them; how far he must betray his friend and that scarred, unhappy past. They’d given him a wild enough story of alien marvels, of teleport travel and miraculous escapes, and he was not entirely sure he believed it.
But whatever —whoever— they were, they would be new faces to Erik. They would have that moment’s precious advantage... and whatever tales they had heard, they were not in unthinking awe of the Ghost. They had not been terrorised, dominated and manipulated; they had not been moulded like the Organisation into an instrument aimed by Erik’s hand. And they had not seen Buquet’s body, broadcast one morning in all its splayed ragdoll ruin as a warning. As an object lesson, Erik had said blandly, when Dar, who’d had to deal with the Federation and the resulting enquiry, had dared to question the act.
The Ghost hadn’t been content to break Buquet’s neck. He’d broken practically every other bone in his body. Most of them, Dar thought, all too familiar with human debris, after death. Most of them.( Read more... )