"There are still people who believe I know where that old lost mine is, and I'm keeping it to myself," Granpa Harker told Kay. "It ain't true, though. My mangy double-crossing partner hit me over the head and took the map, and left me out in the desert to die. By the time the Injuns found me and nursed me back to health, I plumb forgot where I'd been. I went looking a time or two, but I never did find the place again."
Caroline was the new shift supervisor, who'd taken over Kay's shift after Sylvia was let go when questions arose over what she was using the storeroom for apart from storing coffee beans.
The wolves were running. They ran often these days, and Kay ran with them, four legs carrying him swiftly through the snow – ever since the night that two legs had not quite carried him swiftly enough.
"Well, Kay?" said Edward. "How went the meeting with the Lords of the Admiralty?"
"They agreed with our proposal for a task force devoted to fighting piracy," said Kay, "in all details except one."
Kay smiled, a bit crookedly. "Allow me, Captain Jones, to be the first to congratulate you on your appointment as commander of the anti-piracy task force."
"What? But we all agreed that you were to be our leader, Kay."
"And so I told them. But the Lords of the Admiralty insist that your Maria must be the flagship of the force. It was felt that it would give the wrong impression to have the force follow the lead of a ship named Plunderer."
"The starship is equipped with an experimental hyperdrive," the old man explained. "The controls are very simple: press this lever to the left to go swift, and to the right to go small."
Born Another Gender
Kay grumbled under her breath, and set to unpicking the stitch.
"This comes of being a girl," she told herself. "If I had been a boy, I should be spending my mornings being taught useful things, like Latin."
Kay trailed out onto the playground under a cloud of gloom, which was pretty normal for Kay after a period of English.
"Pouncer's given me detention after school again," he told Maria. "The old witch has no sense of humour."
It was a detective from one of the other teams down the hall, whose name Kay had never caught. He wasn't going to catch it now, either: she skipped the preliminaries and led off with: "I may have found a lead for your investigation, Harker. Old woman lives up north, name of Susan Trigger – at least, that's the name she signs to her paperwork these days, but we have reason to believe it's not the name she was born with. Care to hazard a guess what her father's name was?"
"I need to get in touch with one of the Folk," Kay said. "Edward, for preference, or Maria, but any of the ones I've dealt with before will do in a pinch."
Nibbins nodded thoughtfully. "They're all making themselves scarce these days," he said, "since the Pouncer started sniffing around – but I'll see what I can do."
"I say," said Kay. "Who is that striking young woman in the green dress?"
"That's the youngest Miss Jones. 'Striking young woman' is a very apt description, I'm afraid: last time she was here, she gave some poor chap a black eye after she decided he was getting too personal. My advice to you, Seekings, is to steer well clear."