Deathwalker 4.5

            I ground my teeth together, but I went ahead past him. At least there was no sign of someone staying in the room. Setting my gear down, I leaned over to make sure the bunk was unassigned. The tiny circular light by the reader was off. A good sign. I touched a finger to the reader and heard the metallic buzz as the light switched on in a haze of yellow. The drawer popped open, completely empty. I closed my eyes briefly. So it worked, and it was mine. The only question was whether they’d shut it deliberately to see me squirm or whether this room assignment had been a last minute switch.
            Pursing my lips, I stood again and turned back to the crewman. He hadn’t moved, but I’d felt his stare as I checked the bunk. Looking at his expression, I couldn’t read anything except maybe a hint of amusement again. My lips thinned. I was past done with having an audience, but I would try to be polite.
            “Crewman…” I trailed off. I couldn’t manage a smile, so I frowned instead. “I don’t think I caught your name.”
            For a moment, he seemed frozen.
            “Gri,” he said finally.
            It was hard to tell, but I thought I might have confused him. What a shame. Moving almost briskly enough to be rude, I made one of the lowest signs of respect (for a stranger of inferior rank). This time the bafflement was obvious. Tired as I was, I took a little perverse satisfaction in that. But it wasn’t enough.
            “I’m Seph.” Why waste time on the title – he knew what I was. “Thank you for showing me around,” I said with a curt finality that normally would have horrified me.
            He blinked at me, nodded once, and disappeared from the doorway. As soon as he did, I had the door shut and locked. With a low groan, I fell on the bunk, hoping that the day was finally over.


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