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Книга Komarr. Содержание - CHAPTER TWELVE

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Tien's brows wrinkled. "Well … he couldn't have been aboard that ore ship, then, could he? How could he have gotten all the way out to the second asteroid belt and boarded it before he even left Komarr?"

"He might have joined the ore ship en route," said Tuomonen.

"Oh. I suppose that's possible. My God. He's married. Was married. Is his wife still here in town?"

"Yes," said Tuomonen. "I'll be meeting shortly with the dome civil security officer who's taking the official notification of death to her."

"She's waited three weeks with no word from him," said Miles. "Another hour can't matter much at this point. I think I'd like to review your report before we leave, Captain."

"Please do, my lord."

"Professor, will you join me?"

They all ended up trooping into Vorsoisson's study. Miles privately felt he could do without Tien, but Tuomonen made no move to exclude him.

The report was not yet an in-depth analysis, but rather a wad of raw data bundled logically, with hasty preliminary notes and summations supplied by Tuomonen. A full analysis would doubtless arrive eventually from ImpSec-Komarr HQ. They all pulled up chairs and crowded around the vid display. After the initial overview, Miles let the Professor follow the thread of Radovas's career.

"He lost two years out of the middle of his undergraduate schooling to the Revolt," Vorthys noted. "Solstice University was shut down entirely, for a time then."

"But it looks like he made up some points with that two-year postgraduate stint on Escobar," Miles said.

"Anything could have happened to him there," opined Tien.

"But not much did, according to this," said Vorthys a bit dryly. "Commercial work in their orbital shipyards … he didn't even get a good research topic out of it. Solstice University did not renew his contract. Not a man with a gift for teaching, one feels."

"He was refused a job in the Imperial Science Institute because of his associations in the Revolt," Tuomonen pointed out, "despite the amnesty."

"All the amnesty promised was that he'd never be taken out and shot," said Miles a shade impatiently.

"But he was not refused it on the basis of inadequate technical competence," murmured Vorthys. "Here he goes on to a job rather below his educational level, in the Komarran orbital yards."

Miles checked. "He had three small children by then. He had to go for the money."

"Several bland years follow," the Professor droned on.

"Changes companies only once, for a respectable increase in salary and position. Then he is hired by—Soudha was fairly new then, but hired by Soudha for the Terraforming Project, and moves downside permanently."

"No pay raise that time. Professor …" Miles said plaintively. He touched his finger to air on the vid display at this juncture in the late Dr. Radovas's career. "Doesn't this downside move strike you as odd for a man trained and experienced in jump technologies? He was a five-space-math man."

Tuomonen smiled tightly, by which Miles deduced he had put his finger rather literally upon the same point that had bothered the captain.

Vorthys shrugged. "There could be many compelling reasons. He could have felt stale in his old work. He could have grown into new interests. Madame Radovas might have refused to live on a space station for one more day. I think you'll have to ask her."

"But it is unusual," said Tuomonen tentatively.

"Maybe," said Vorthys. "Maybe not."

"Well," sighed Miles after a long silence. "Let's go do the hard part."

The Radovas's apartment proved to be about a third of the way across the city from the Vorsoissons', but at this hour of the evening there were no delays in the bubble-car system. With Tuomonen leading, Miles, Vorthys, and Tien—whom Miles did not remember inviting, but who somehow had attached himself to the expedition—entered the lobby, where they found a youngish woman in a Serifosa Dome Security uniform waiting for them, none too patiently.

"Ah, the dome cop is female," Miles murmured to Tuomonen. He looked back over their cavalcade. "Good. We'll seem less like an invading army."

"So I hoped, my lord."

After brief introductions all around, they took a lift tube to a hallway nearly identical to every other dome residence building Miles had so far seen. The dome cop, who was styled Group-Patroller Rigby, rang the door chime.

After a pause long enough to start Miles wondering, Is she home? the door slid open. The woman framed there was slender and neatly dressed, appearing to Miles's Barrayaran eye to be in her mid-forties, which probably meant she was in her late fifties. She wore the usual Komarran trousers and blouse, and hunched into a heavy sweater. She looked pale and chilled, but there was certainly nothing else in her appearance to repel any husband.

Her eyes widened as she took in the uniformed people facing her, radiating the message bad news. "Oh," she sighed wearily. Miles, who had braced himself for hysterics, relaxed a little. She was going to be the underreacting type, it appeared. Her response would likely emerge oddly, and obliquely, and later.

"Madame Radovas?" the dome cop said. The woman nodded. "My name is Group-Patroller Rigby. I regret to inform you that your husband, Dr. Barto Radovas, has been found dead. May we please come in?"

Madame Radovas's hand went to her lips; she said nothing for a moment. "Well." She looked away. "I am not so pleased as I thought I'd be. What happened to him? That young woman—is she all right?"

"May we come in and sit down?" Rigby reiterated. "I'm afraid we are going to have to trouble you with some questions. We'll try to answer yours."

Madame Radovas's eye warily took in Tuomonen, in his ImpSec greens. "Yes. All right." She gave way, stepping backward, and gestured them all inside.

Her living room featured another standard conversation circle; Miles seated himself to one side, letting Tuomonen share line-of-sight across from Madame Radovas with the Group-Patroller, who introduced the rest of them. Tien joined them, folding himself onto the bench, a picture of awkward discomfort. Professor Vorthys shook his head slightly and remained standing, his gaze taking in the room.

"What happened to Barto? Was there an accident?" Madame Radovas's voice was husky, barely controlled, now that the news was sinking in.

"We're not certain," said Rigby. "His body was found in space, apparently associated with the disaster to the soletta three weeks ago. Did you know he had gone topside? Had he said anything before he left that would shed some light on this?"

"I …" She looked away. "He didn't speak to me before he left. I think he was not very brave about this. He left me a note on the comconsole. Until I found it, I thought this was an ordinary work trip."

"May we see it?" Tuomonen spoke for the first time.

"I erased it. Sorry." She frowned at him.

"The plan for this . . . leaving, do you think it was your husband's, or Marie Trogir's?" asked Rigby.

"You know all about them, I see. I have no idea. I was surprised. I don't know." Her voice grew sharper. "I wasn't consulted."

"Did he often make work trips?" asked Rigby.

"He went out on field tests fairly often. Sometimes he went to the terraforming conferences in Solstice. I usually went along on those." Her voice fluttered raggedly, then came back under her control.

"What did he take with him? Anything unusual?" asked Rigby patiently.

"Just what he normally took on a long field trip." She hesitated. "He took all his personal files. That's how I first knew for sure that he wasn't coming back."

"Did you talk to anyone at his work about this absence?"

Tien shook his head, but Madame Radovas replied, "I spoke to Administrator Soudha. After I found the note. Trying to figure out . . . what had gone wrong."

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