Basi was blushing as he led Genique back to the First Mate’s quarters.
“We really screwed up your Christmas, didn’t we?” he asked quietly.
“Well, you kidnapped me, kept me locked in a room for thirty-one days, took my clothes, chained me up… and gave me a job. And a pretty shirt.” she plucked at the camisole. “So far, I’m not doing all that badly.”
He stared at her. “Kidnapped, enslaved…”
“Employed forcibly. And…” she shook her head. “They could have taken out a loan. My family. My employers. My friends. I would have been good for it, over the course of the loan. And no-one did.” She smiled at Basi, even as she knew she shouldn’t encourage him. “You cared.”
“I care,” he agreed, his blush only darkening his space-bleached skin. “Uh, here’s the First’s.”
“Thank you, Basimontin.” She made her escape before either of them could say something they’d regret.
In the First’s office, she was shown to a chair, much more comfortable for the jumpsuit. “Everyone starts in the Pit,” Clyd told her again, “but I’ve got some stuff I’d like you to look at before we send you down there.”
“Stuff?” Genique looked at the piles of data chips curiously.
“Stuff indeed. We have a money leak somewhere, and I can’t find it. I didn’t sign up to do the accounts. If you can find it, I’ll give you a bonus to your salary and…” she looked at the red chemise thoughtfully… “I think I have a pair of silk socks that will match that. Never worn, red’s not my colour.”
Genique smiled slowly. She was beginning to understand how things worked around here. “I could take a look,” she agreed. “Somewhere in these chips?”
“It’ll probably take you a few days. Call it three, and I’ll set you up in the office next to mine. There’s no-one there right now.” Clyd gathered all the chips together with a reader and stylus. “Good luck.”
Taking the pile of things, Genique felt herself smiling. “I do think this is my lucky day.”
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