Swamped Chapter 17 Page 18

“The Fall of Alexandria,” you say.

Jackson looks surprised.

“That’s in Recordkeeper’s collection, all right. But it’s the book he’s most protective of. He’s got other books that he’ll lend out to people he trusts to take care of them, but that one… he’s not willing to give it to anybody. I heard Captain Long asked to take a look once and got turned down.”

Well. That’s going to complicate things.

“Why’s he so protective of it?”

“Dunno. When I first heard about this, I thought it was a rare book. And it is, but he’s got rarer books he’s more willing to show people. Maybe he got it from a dear friend or something. That’s all I’ve got.”

Now you wonder why Feldspar’s so keen on it. Of course, you know it would be fruitless to ask.

“Well, it was just a thought,” you shrug. “So here’s my new offer. You just get as many books as you can, and bring them to the meeting grounds a fortnight after you go back to base. Or if it rains that night, as soon you can after it clears up. I’ll even give you some of our stuff to bring back.”

“A book exchange?” He looks at you skeptically.

“There’s not a lot of trust between us lately. It might not be much, but it would be a step towards reconciling. Though, you might have to hide it if Ash takes command.”

“Like I give a shit what Ash thinks. I’ll talk to Dean about it when we get back. If you keep up your end of the bargain.”

“Of course. Now let’s get you back to your cell. And you’d better not try anything again, or the deal’s off and I’ll see to it you’re shackled next time you get questioned.”

You hand him off to a guard. Now you’ve got to think about your next move.

The main issue at hand now is Starling. Your little session here has given you a thought for how to approach Doc; it’ll be unpleasant, but at least you know your path through that conversation now.

But Starling is another matter. You promised Jackson a meeting, but you didn’t let on how hard that’s going to be.

It’s not that you expect her to be uncooperative. It’s not even that you expect that much trouble persuading Locks to let one of your subordinates meet with a prisoner alone.

No, the problem is Rivers.

Ever since the squad was formed, Rivers and Starling have been inseparable. The problem is, while Starling looks up to you, Rivers still sees you as the worthless drunken lout you were when you first met.

And if Rivers tells Starling not to go with you, she won’t.

Pulling rank isn’t an option here. If you try it, it won’t end well. You know that much.

You can’t have them go together, either. This is Starling’s business. Besides, you really do need to earn your own squad’s trust if you’re to have any chance at looking like a plausible Council member.

So how are you going to handle this?

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it’s a family affair and can be safely pitched as such