Power Play

Free Power Play by Anne McCaffrey

Book: Power Play by Anne McCaffrey Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anne McCaffrey
the planet and maybe I’ll sing them my song, and then we’ll go home. He should have known better. His dad was always complaining about how long it took the brass to move on anything significant.
    There was one delay after another. Anaciliact was away on another assignment, and Farringer Ball, who represented the company’s interests, had been stricken with a mysterious illness that was sweeping through the upper echelons of the power structure on other stations. Ball normally inhabited Gal Three, but had been away conferring with the leaders of other terraformed colonies when the illness struck.
    That was the scuttlebutt, anyway—the details were being kept fairly hush-hush. Not that Diego cared, except for the inconvenience it was causing him. While his father’s recent illness made him pity anyone who was very sick, Farringer Ball had never seemed particularly human to him. Trust a bigwig to show his only signs of humanity just when it would royally screw it up for everyone else. Diego wondered what would happen next to detain them.
    The colonel was anxious, too, he could tell. One day she and Sally swung by to collect Bunny on the way to the doctor. Yana was getting checked for her pregnancy and she wanted to see if Bunny was having any problem being cut off from the planet.
    When she returned, Bunny was oddly quiet, and fingered the little bag of Petaybean dirt that now looked so incongruous with the modern fuchsia and teal-striped bodytight.
    “How’d it go, Bun?” he asked her.
    “Okay,” she said. “The doctor says my immune system should hold up a few more years and my brown fat deposit isn’t large enough yet to make me uncomfortable off-planet. After I’m about twenty or so, though, I won’t be able to leave for very long, ever, or I’ll end up like Lavelle.”
    “So what? You don’t want to leave Petaybee anyway, do you?”
    “Not for good, no, but Charmion asked me to come to her family’s chalet in the Strigian Alps sometime to help her set up a dog team and ski. She showed me pictures and it’s really beautiful there—all these beautiful houses, and there’s flowers all the time, even when the mountains are covered in snow. It’s not that I want to leave Petaybee, really. It’s just that I want to be able to if—you know, if I want to.”
    “Not me,” he said, folding his arms across his chest. “I’ve been lots of places, and Petaybee is the best.”
    “Sure it is,” she said. “But at least you got to pick.”
     
    “You’ll get a chance to wear those formal clothes this evening,” Marmion said, emerging from her office to the main room, where her guests were lounging. They had spent the morning exploring yet another level, as well as making another visit to the extensive gymnasium that so fascinated Bunny. Marmion was delighted with the way Bailey and Charmion were filling their days on Gal Three, and the youngsters all appeared to like each other, though young Diego seemed rather quiet at times, and for the last day or two Bunny had been less bubbly than usual.
    Once Yana and Bunny had been assured by a visit to Marmion’s personal physicians that their absence from Petaybee was causing harm neither to them nor to Yana’s unborn child, Yana had relaxed considerably. Afterward, Sally had induced Yana to enjoy some of the beauty treatments available on Second Level. But, even with so much to do, the continual delays in convening the CIS hearing were irritating and nerve-racking.
    Distraction on a grander scale was needed, Marmion decided.
    Calling for the attention of her guests, she waved a sheaf of messages in her hand. “We could go to a party on every single level. How
do
they find out so quickly that I’m back?” The question was rhetorical. “But I’ve chosen just the one for us,” she went on. “A sort of welcome for a new executive in . . .” She peered down at the sheet in her hand. “Oh, Rothschild’s. So everyone who
is
anybody on Gal Three will

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