Chanur’s Legacy by C.J. Cherryh

Chanur’s Legacy

C.J. Cherryh

Chanur’s Legacy

C.J. Cherryh


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-one

Chapter One

Meetpoint was in one sense the center of Compact space: in another sense, this place where all the Compact met for trade was the hindside of every species’ separate territory, and, along with its cosmopolitan character, it had that chancy watch-your-back kind of feeling on its dockside, even in these days when weapons were discouraged and peace governed the dealings of species. Meetpoint’s oxygen docks were redolent of cold and oil and volatiles, its dockside shops and bars echoed of trade and business and offered a selection of vices. Its methane side—the methane folk had to answer for, in their multiple-brained thoughts and stranger songs: but on the oxygen side, the stsho, who were the landlords of Meetpoint, traded in what pleased them. Among those spindly, white-skinned merchants one could find hani, mahendo’sat, kif and (at least when a certain ship was in dock) a stray human from a world named, unenterprisingly, Earth.

That certain ship had been here. That certain ship had departed twenty-odd days ago in pursuit of its own business, a circumstance which completely satisfied Hilfy Chanur, captain of , newly in dock at Meetpoint and besieged by her aunt’s unreceived mail—beset also by every hanger-on, would-be and might-have-been politician, inventor, and academician with every offer of favor, every piece of influence-peddling, every crackpot idea and complaint for forty light-years about.

Being niece to the President of Compact space, the elected President of the spacefaring amphictiony of Anuurn, the mekt-hakkikt of all the kif, the Personage of Personages of the mahendo’sat (gods only knew about the methane folk) … in short, entailed a few liabilities.

It remained to be seen, with the Legacy past the initial formalities, whether aunt Pyanfar’s latest dealing with Meetpoint’s governor was about to become another of those liabilities. It remained imminently to be seen, because at the top of the message stack which had landed in the Legacy’s files at the instant of their docking, sat a message from gtst excellency No’shto-shti-stlen, requesting the presence of “the august niece of the most distinguished (untranslatable) Pyanfar Chanur in the inner most hospitable (?) administrative offices,” and so on and so on, “omitting customs formalities which this office will be delighted to obviate,” and so on in that vein.

One didn’t trust that those formalities were going to be ignored, by the gods, one didn’t. One set one’s second-in-command to handling them, in case the honorable or excellent No’shto-shti-stlen changed gtst mind and charged one’s ship with smuggling.

So Hilfy put on her administrative-offices best pair of black satin trousers, and (acutely aware of her youth) combed the mane until it crackled with static (and looked fuller) and the mustaches so that they somewhat covered the youthful scantness of beard. Hilfy Chanur’s ears at least had no scarcity of rings to signify her voyages. Her red-gold coat was brushed to a sheen. Her mood was even cheerful as she took the lift down from topside to the main lowerdeck corridor and put her head in at lowerdeck ops.

“I’m off, cousin. You’re in charge. How’s it going?”

“Smooth so far. Are you sure you don’t want one of us to go along?”

Tiar was harried, hurried—they were a small crew, in a strange port, dealing with officials they didn’t personally know. The crew was eager to go on liberty, which they couldn’t do until the forms were filed and the cargo was delivered.

“I’m fine. I know this place. I know exactly where I’m going.”

“You’ve got the pocket com.”

She patted the pocket of her trousers. “No problems. Just a walk down the dock to the lift. You get those forms filed, make sure we’re clear of customs … make them sign the forms anyway. Refer them to the governor’s office. I’m not taking any chances.”

“Aye, captain,” Tiar said, and Hilfy walked on and into the lock, cycled it through to Meetpoint’s biting air, and walked the frost-rimed yellow tube of the ramp to the wide open docks.

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