Garnet (part 7)

I shook my head and slumped forward. Hu’s intransigence made my fatigue that much harder to deal with, and I realised that I’d need to rest sooner rather than later.

“Doctor, I really would like you to help me. It’s clear to me that the situation here had been deteriorating for some time before Lyell’s death, and that’s a serious administrative failure. Someone has been systematically lying to us about the state of the expedition, and I think it’s obvious that there might be connections between that and the murder.”

I stood up and made ready to leave the office. “You clearly have reservations about dealing with me, but I’m here for the murder. All of these lies are going to have consequences, but discipline isn’t my job.”

“It will be if they tell you to handle it.” Her head remained as it had been since her last statement, featureless and unmoving. I could almost feel my brain scrambling to put features, eyes, anything, on it for me to read.

I tilted my head, trying to parse her body language. “Yes, it will be. I’d still appreciate your perspective on the murder, though. Call me if you change your mind.”

It wasn’t until the door sealed behind me that I realised how light-headed I had become.

The common room was thankfully very close. I saw that Ellin had set up a table as a makeshift workspace, but the place was otherwise deserted. I fetched water and sat down in a corner, feeling shakier than the gravity or even the residual mapping sickness could explain. I wished I could regulate my thoughts, even find a mantle to link with, but this body had none of those options; I’d have to use old-fashioned remedies: rest, water.

The pilot raised her head as I fumbled with my pocket terminal, but once it was obvious I didn’t need her she was content to return to her own work. After Asteyan’s display and Hu’s open hostility, that sort of circumspection was a relief.

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