Swamped Chapter 17 Page 20

When you first got assigned this squad, Rider told you that Rivers never got on well with anyone. She was kicked out of her old squad because she kept giving reports to her squad leader and then giving a second report that completely contradicted the first.

She wasn’t much better in personal interactions. Never seemed to respect anyone enough to say what she really thought. By the time she was put on your squad, nobody else trusted her.

But somehow, she bonded with Starling.

Whatever brings out all that nastiness in her, she’s treated Starling with nothing but respect, as far as you’ve seen. And you’ve made some progress; she at least manages to keep her mission reports accurate now. They’re hardly polite, but the Marshguards aren’t really about politeness in the first place.

But how does that help you with your problem? Rivers doesn’t really trust anyone except Starling…

Ah, there’s a thought. If Starling came up with the idea of meeting her cousin, rather than you putting it forward, you might be able to get somewhere.

But how would you lead her into that idea without being too obvious…

Well, you don’t have to mention the family details right away. You could just get her interested in questioning a prisoner in general. You can use regulations as an excuse for why Rivers can’t accompany her; and you can explain to Locks that you think it’s safest if Starling trains on the prisoner you’ve already had a look at, and know how to handle.

Your only concern with this plan is that it’s not really addressing the issues with Rivers, just working around them. But perhaps that’s all you can do for now.

Well, you suppose you’re as prepared for this as you can be. You know where the two of them usually are around this time. Is there anything else you should do before you talk to them?

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Better put on your thick-boots if you’re gonna be meeting them while they’re cleaning Rider’s zoo.