Brannon, ex-Confederation Space Fleet Marine, blacklisted and broke, dodges an arrest warrant by joining an operation that needs money desperately enough to take the worst surveying jobs on the books. The team of Gonderjhee and Company, Surveyors, includes a cheated and bankrupt owner, an elderly office manager, an over-excitable intern, a clinically-depressed alien Fleet Captain, and a staff with a host of formidable handicaps, weaknesses – and strengths. Brannon’s goal is to keep them all alive long enough to pick up his share of the profits. But they aren’t the only ones getting an education out of this adventure.
Calmly, Cyntoj answered the invisible Korgorite. “Don’t you think my own marksman will trace your shot? Think before you fire.” The soldiers were recovering quickly, and tossing hostile little glances at me.
“That?” A note of contempt--meaning me.
“No. The others. Do you think I am here alone?”
Pause. “I know you are not. There is only one reason a Tyrellian would be here. But with humans?”
Cyntoj’s voice returned to normal. “You speak remarkably good Universal Basic, Captain. I don’t suppose you worked on one of the Tyrel 3 Confederation Fleet bases.”
“Turn slowly,” the voice said. Cyntoj obeyed. The voice said, “By God.” That was a human expression, not Tyrel 3.
A large Korgorite commander stepped out from the trees, interphase rifle in hand.
“By God,” he repeated. “The Dead Man.”
“We received more fan mail for this story than for anything else we have ever published.” – Warren Lapine, Absolute Magnitude