Kill or Capture

“What I want to know,” Deek said, bumping into Dyan’s back and clattering to a halt, “is what kind of Mechanical I’ll be.  I mean, I accept that I have to be specialized, but if I’m going to do just one thing for the rest of my life I want to do something really cool.”

“Like hydroponics,” Wayland puffed, catching up.

Deek shot him a glare like a rattlesnake.  “Do I look like a Landsman?” he snorted.

“Weapons?” Shad asked mildly, pulled at Dyan’s hand again to lead them all forward.

“Meta-Systems,” Dyan guessed.  “You want to know how Buza works.”

Deek blushed, pointing his beaky nose and emerald eyes at his walking slippers.  “Well, yeah,” he admitted.  “If that’s not too much like being a Cogitant.”

“I don’t think so.”  Dyan smiled at her Crechemate, and he smiled shyly back.

“No, the thing that’s too much like being a Cogitant,” Cheela said, with a sharp edge to her voice, “is Magister.”

Dyan shrugged and tried to pretend there wasn’t envy in Cheela’s words.  “Hey, I’ll probably get a Creche straight out of the Nursery,” she said mildly.  “I’ll be wiping snot out of kids’ noses and pulling them out of Buza River while you’re chasing rustlers and runaways in the Wahai.  Doesn’t sound much like a Cogitant to me.”

“Kind of it does,” Deek muttered.

Cheela smiled teeth.  “I’ll dedicate my second kill to you,” she offered, “my lowly Magister friend.  My first kill, of course, I’ll have to dedicate to my Crechemate Shad.”

“Kill or capture,” Shad reminded her.  “Kill or capture.”

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