Alone in her quarters, Ann considered resorting to a mood lifter, but taking drugs felt like admitting her emotional existence was no more than a by-product of biochemistry. She preferred to feel she had every right to be miserable.
Instead she invoked her stage. “Has this station got a casual sex roster?”
There were only two entries, both male heterosexuals.
The first was a bit of a production. He had a great body and gave her ample data to prove it. His medical record came complete with links to everyone he had slept with for years. A trophy collector if she had ever seen one.
The second was Thomas. “Needed,” his notice read beside a simple picture, “a willing woman.” His medical record was provided by default. The collection of anti-bodies suggested he hadn’t been celibate, but her own list of minor risk factors was half as bad. The shock was discovering Thomas was only twenty-five.
Ann shut the stage off without adding herself to the roster or contacting either man. “Show me historical images of Gelacks,” she ordered. “Specifically Liege Monitum and Ameron.” Both appeared wearing swords.
Ameron, the ruler of the Gelacks at the time of the Killing War, was a pale, lean man with sharp, pronounced features and gray eyes. He was dressed in an embroidered vest laced tightly closed over a white shirt and slacks. The Liege Monitum of his time was a woman, although you had to look twice to be sure because she was so lean and muscular. She had a darker complexion than Ameron, but was still light-skinned by Reetion standards.
Ann listened to one of the few extant recordings which was no more than a snatch of small talk captured, at random, in a corridor. The language spoken was English: one both sides had in common, if only as a heritage language. Ann’s stage provided a Reetion translation on a ribbon of streaming text.
Ameron said, “Have you no decent food?”
“Decent?” sputtered an unidentified Reetion of the old, pre-arbiter era. “We’re starving and you dare to complain when we provide you with the best we have?”
There was a thud accompanied by sudden movement and Liege Monitum’s alto voice ground out, “Speak to him with disrespect again and you will eat your tongue.”
Nice people, Ann thought.