Chanur's Legacy

Chanur's Legacy by C. J. Cherryh Read Free Book Online

Book: Chanur's Legacy by C. J. Cherryh Read Free Book Online
Authors: C. J. Cherryh
Tags: Fiction, General, Science-Fiction, Life on other planets, Space ships
would open the door unannounced, and showered and dressed in the only pair of breeches he had, everything else being on the Sun. He made his bed meticulously.
    But when he went to go out, the door was locked.
    He tried it a second time, to be certain. His heart sank, and he debated whether to try the intercom and appeal to be let out, but they knew he was here and they surely knew why they had locked the door.
    So, with nothing to do, he sat down on the carefully made bed and stared at the furnishings, listening to the sounds that a ship had even when it was at dock, the rush of air in the ducts, the thumps and occasional cyclings of hydraulics. He had no breakfast. Which he supposed they might omit, thinking he was still asleep. But he had looked forward very much to familiar food. He had thrown up most everything they had given him in the jail, and there was nothing available here but water—which at least did not smell of ammonia, there was that to be glad of.
    He listened to the sounds of the cans moving out of the hold. He heard the hatch cycle more than once. Finally he lay down and stared at the ceiling, trying not to despair. He did not want to think about his situation. It was like the jail. It was better if you didn’t think there, either, or wonder about things.
    He did not need to wonder about his ship. He had every certainty where it was, in hyperspace, bound for Hoas. He had every certainty why it had left him, and he supposed now he should not have been surprised. If he were back on Anuurn, he would have had to quit the house, because when boys grew up, they had to leave. They had to go out into the outback to live, team to hunt and to fight each other and if boys lived long enough they could come back and try to drive some older man out into the outback to die. If the man’s wives and sisters didn’t beat him to death before he got a chance to challenge one on one.
    That was what he had been headed for. That had been the order of things forever. There were always too many boys and most of them died. But Pyanfar Chanur’s taking Khym Mahn into space, her moral victory over the han and its policies, and her outright defiance of the law and the custom ... had given him a chance at the stars, at... freedom.
    Well, it was freer than shivering in the rain and killing to eat and to live. Freer than getting beaten off and driven off and told he was crazy because he was male.
    He didn’t think he was crazy. He thought he did a fair job of holding his temper. He hadn’t meant to hit the kif. He’d only wanted away.
    Probably, though, the captain had heard the story from the police and the station authorities, and that was why the door was locked. So he could get out of this. He just had to be quiet and patient and not cause any trouble, and prove to the captain that he’d learned something in his apprenticeship aboard the Sun.
    Hilfy Chanur was Pyanfar’s niece. She was one of the crew that had fought at Anuurn. She was one of the ones that had changed the world. She wouldn’t do what wasn’t fair. She wouldn’t judge him without giving him a chance. She wouldn’t just put him off somewhere, or send him home.
    He would rather die than go home. Not after ... after all he’d learned, and worked for, and seen existing just outside his reach.
    Granted he hadn’t fitted in. The crew of the Sun had accepted him, slowly—well, they were on the way to accepting him. He tried to outlast their opinions, and they were almost, sort of beginning to take him for granted once they’d gotten used to the idea of having a male aboard. He’d gotten them to show him things, he’d done the best he could, he’d studied everything he could get his hands on, and he’d been getting better, in spite of the growth spurt he’d put on.
    He hadn’t lost his temper. They’d played jokes on him, but that was just to see how he would react, it was just because he was there and he was different, and he’d proved he could take

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