By Helen S. Wright
An issue of Oaths
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Additional resources for A Matter of Oaths
His hands were shaking. “My neck-contact will need cleaning,” he apologized. Joshim took the bottle of cleaner from him. Rafe unfastened the band at his throat and put that with the others. He tipped his head forward and pulled the curly strands of grey and brown hair out of the way. “Nice contact,” Joshim commented. ” “I don’t remember, sir,” Rafe said, sharp with embarrassment. It was one thing to ask a web-mate to clean your neck-contact for you, another to ask a strange Webmaster. He flinched as Joshim applied the cleaner and pulled away after a few seconds.
Rallya scoffed. “No problems at all. ” “Emperors, of course he wants the berth! ” Rallya said in exasperation. “Still, if it will make you happy to ask him first, ask him. And ask him which he wants to be: a Commander or a Webmaster,” she called after Joshim’s retreating back. ” *** Rafe poured himself a third glass of jack and drank from it without tasting it. Sleepers would be a safer way of achieving the oblivion he sought — alcohol on top of web-cramp was a fool‘s trick — but sleepers had to be obtained from the station surgeon at the cost of a question and answer session to which Rafe refused to submit.
Sorry, sir. After the trouble you took over me today, I ought to be treating my web with more care than this, I know. But tonight, there isn’t any alternative. ” Joshim seated himself on the edge of the low table, so that his eyes were on a level with Rafe’s. Green eyes, Rafe noted, a cap of sleek black hair, and uniformly pale brown skin, at least as much of the skin as Rafe had seen. A ring bearing the silver web of a Webmaster traced through a green stone on one hand, and a silver pendant with the linked circles of an Aruranist, visible earlier today but now hidden inside a black jacket.