" Ki- ri- e, did Dawson send over that star course he's assigning us yet?" William called out, leaned over his desk.

" Oh, uh, I think Sivira has that," she said. " We thought you'd be gone another three or four days, so I told them to go ahead and start putting it in."

" That's fine, then, just let me see it afterwards. I want to know where all he's sending us."

A moment.

" Where's Nova?"

" The garden, I think."

" Why did Dawson assign us a course, this time? We haven't had that done since wartime..."

" I don't know, Kirie, why don't you guess."

" Well, it could be worse," she said with a tired smile. " No demotion or staff withdrawals."

" That's because everyone loves me," William replied.

" True."