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“There have been, ah, some changes in arrangements.” As openings went, Genique had done better. But this was the Quartermaster. “I need to change my bunking arrangements, that is.”
Genique was growing familiar with all of the officers on the pirate ship, but she had not yet entirely figured out Marist Irio, the Quartermaster.
For instance, the way the woman was looking at her now, on Genique’s home planet, would have been a leer. But there was something about it that seemed almost innocent, compared to the way, say, Genique’s older brother had once leered about a gentleman caller.
“You know, you are my type, but I didn’t think I was yours, cougar-lady. But I do get a nice plush bunk as Quartermaster.”
Ah! Genique ducked her head and hoped she wasn’t blushing as badly as she thought she was. “Marist…”
“Relax, relax! I wondered what you’d do with that. Farm folk, land folk, can be…”
“Prudes.” Genique forced herself to meet the woman’s gaze. “Yes, they can. But I’m here now, aren’t I? I’m a pirate, now.”
“Or at least a pirate’s accountant. So, who’s the lucky pirate?”
“I don’t know if he really counts as lucky…”
“Listen, pretty cougar-lady, he’s shacking up with you. I wasn’t kidding about the offer of my bunk, even if I was trying to get a rise out of you.”
Genique studied the woman, head tilted. “I’m ‘normal,’“ she reminded her. “Boring.”
“Normal’s different than boring, kitten.”
A month ago, Genique would have swallowed the pet name. Now, she shot the Quartermaster a smile she’d copied from the First Mate Clyd. “’Cougar’ is fine. ‘Kitten’, however, not so much.”
Marist Irio simply grinned at her. “Go you, cougar, you’ve got spine. Now. If you’re not looking for a room with me, are you going to tell me who it is that you’re asking to bunk with?”
“Well, I was hoping you’d tell me what the procedure was.”
“And, what, have you try to bypass it?” The Quartermaster was still grinning. “Gossip is gossip, cat-lady. And if I’m going to give you a bunking form, you’re going to tell me why you need the form, and the bunk.”
Genique looked at the wall behind the Quartermaster’s head and gathered her thoughts. “Okay. You still have a box of forms that needs detangling. I need a copy of – hunh. Do you not GET bunking change forms? I haven’t seen one yet.”
“They really don’t come up all that often.” There was something weird about the way Marist Irio wouldn’t quite look at Genique, but then again, there was something a little weird about everyone here. “It’s form Q12-18. Maybe when you’re done in the Pit we should have you redo our forms, too.”
“I’d like that.” It would make sorting out the next mess so much easier.
“You really would, wouldn’t you?” Marist shook her head. “If Basi had only known what he was grabbing…”
“Well, that doesn’t matter now, does it?” And why was she a what, anyway? “Can I have the bunk-change form?”
“If you tell me who it’s for.” Marist reached behind her, hands on a stack of forms.
“Marsey Wilswoodronny.” There couldn’t be any harm in telling, could there?
The Quartermaster’s hands moved down a form. “Ah, I see. Here’s your form.”
“Thank you.” That hadn’t been that hard.
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