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The Aeolian Master - Book One - Revival


"I guess I can live with that," said Ben, "but I wouldn't have had Rodde killed."
"Yes, it's unfortunate," she said, "nevertheless the point's been made." She walked between the two beds
until she was parallel with Ben's chest. "I guess I'll have to cancel the swording match."
Ben raised his head. "Not on my account," he said without hesitation. "With the administration of the SR I'll
be up in three days."
"But you'll be weak."
"Maybe, but I'll be ready." He said with a tone of conviction.
“I can see you’re a man of determination. I guess that comes with being a great athlete.
Ben looked at his dessert. It was a square cake with cream-colored frosting running over the top and
dripping down the sides. Ben stuck his fork under one edge and flipped the cake up and down a couple of
times. The waiter told him it had a fruit compote filling that was "absolutely scrumptious."
He continued to look at it, while thinking about his luck. He had always considered himself above average
in the luck department, but here he was in a most unlucky turn of events. If he had stayed aboard the
Commander or if he had gone back to the computer complex to study some of the archeological findings, or if
he had gone anywhere except to Hurd's office that day, he wouldn't be in prison. No one would have given him
a second thought.
Why was his luck turning on him? Especially now that he had met Lyil.
He looked up at the guard standing about ten feet away. "Hey Jake, you want my dessert?"
The guard looked at it longingly, "I'd like to," he said, "but I'm on duty, and if they caught me eating it,
they'd have my ass. Thanks anyway."
"Yeah," said Ben. He kept flipping it up and down, and then it occurred to him to take it back to his cell.
"Hey Jake," he called in a loud whisper, "okay with you if I take it with me?"
The guard pondered for a moment. "Fine by me," he said, and then added, "But I don't know anything about
it, if you know what I mean."
"Yeah, thanks," said Ben. He unfolded a paper napkin and pressed out the creases as he did. He put the cake
in the middle, wrapped it up, and put it in his swording helmet. That'll keep it for a while, he thought.
There was a large crash from the other side of the room as a busboy dropped a load of dirty dishes on the
floor. When he bent over to pick up the dishes, one of the waiters who was passing by, playfully thumped him
on the head and then bent down to help him. The waiter said something, and they both started laughing.
The accident happened on the other side of the swording mat, which had been placed in the middle of the
Officer's mess hall. The tables and chairs had been moved out of the way, but not taken out of the room;
instead they had been crowded together in anticipation of a lot of spectators. There were already quite a number
of officers and their spouses sitting at the tables talking and laughing—causing a drone of conversation
throughout the huge room.
"Are you feeling up to it?"
Ben turned and saw Sharpie standing behind him. "Damn straight," he replied.
Sharpie gave him a look. "I'm going to let it slide this time," she said, "because you don't know me, but I’ll
tell you now, I don't like people swearing when they're talking to me or even when they're talking to someone
near me."
"Oh, . . . I'm sorry," said Ben. "I'll keep that in mind." He knew Sharpie was his best chance for getting out
or escaping from prison, so he wanted to stay on her good side.
"Let me ask again," she continued, "has your wound healed, at least enough for you to compete in a
swording match tonight?"
"Darn straight," replied Ben. He looked around the room at the officers, wondering why she had arranged
this match. If he were to beat a local guard in a swording match, how would that help him out of his
predicament.
Sharpie continued to look concerned. "Talman Hisser will be here in a few minutes," she said, "but if you're
not feeling up to it, we can put it off until tomorrow or the next night."
"No, I'm fine," said Ben as he stood up. He picked up his swording helmet and started toward the mat.
 
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