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The rugged little ship scudded past the seawall into Shusaeki Harbour. In the bow, George Gordon stood spraddle-legged, the breeze toying with his curling hair, his face turned to the sun. His manservant Stilton waited nearby, guarding Gordon’s bulky trunks as impassively as a human Stonehenge. Behind the shelter of the seawall, the confused breeze brought scents of the waterfront to Gordon’s nose. His lip curled. ‘Fish,’ he growled. ‘Wet, stinking fish.’ He clambered down to the crowded deck, and rubbed the shiny black surface of his largest trunk with a linen kerchief before seating himself on it. ‘That’s all they eat here, you know Stilton. Bloody fish. And not a piece of cheese to be had on the whole devildamned archipelago.’
He hawked wetly, and spat into the water.
‘Exile. That’s the only word for it. Bloody exile. Damn the Lady Governor and her damnable secrets. The Sunrise Isles are Michio’s patch. I’ve got no business here, even if Michio has managed to get his knickers in a bunch over a blasted meteoroid.’
‘The Lady Governor seemed most insistent, sir,’ said Stilton.
‘She appeared to believe your presence here is important.’
‘Hell with her, Stilton,’ Gordon replied. ‘She’s angry with me because I spitted that wretched Oxenbould man. And then, when I showed her the proof he was literally selling political refugees offworld, she started that song and dance about my drinking.

 

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