FRAFFIN GLARED AT THE IMAGE PROJECTED ABOVE HIS desk. It was Lutt, his Master-of- Craft, a broad-faced Chem, steely skinned, harsh and abrupt in his decisions, lacking subtlety. He combined all the best qualities for one who supervised the mechanical end of this work, but those very qualities interfered with his present assignment. He obviously equated subtlety with caution.
A moment of silence served to acquaint Lutt with the Director's displeasure. Fraffin felt the contour pressures of his chair, glanced at the silvery web of the pantovive across the salon. Yes, Lutt was like that instrument He had to be activated correctly.
Fraffin ran a finger along his jaw, said: "I didn't tell you to spare the immune. You were directed to bring the female here --at once!"
"If I have erred, I abase myself," Lutt said. "But I acted on the basis of past directives concerning this immune. The way you gave his female to another, the way you ... "
"He was an amusing diversion, no more," Fraffin said. "Kelexel has asked to examine a native and he has mentioned this female specifically by name. She is to be brought here at once, unharmed. That proviso doesn't apply to any other native who tries to interfere or delay you in the execution of this order. Am I understood?"
"The Director is understood," Lutt said. There was fear in his voice. Lutt knew the possible consequences of Fraffin's displeasure: dismissal from a position of unlimited delights and diversions, from a life that never bored. He lived in a Chem paradise from which he could easily be shunted to some tertiary post and with no recourse because they shared the same guilt, he and Fraffin, the same guilt with its certain terrible punishment if they were ever discovered,
"Without delay," Fraffin said.
"She will be here before this shift is half spent," Lutt said. "I go to obey."
Lutt's image faded, disappeared.
Fraffin leaned back. It was going fairly well ... in spite of this delay. Imagine that Lutt trying to separate the lovers by manipulating their emotions! The clod must know the danger of trying that on an immune. Well, the female would be here soon and Kelexel could examine her as he wished. Every tool and device to bend the native's win would be provided, of course --as a matter of courtesy. Let no one question the hospitality of Fraffin the Director Fraffin chuckled.
Let the stupid investigator try the pleasures of this native. Let him impregnate the female. His flesh would know it when it was done. Accomplished breeding would accelerate his need for rejuvenation and where could he turn? Could he go back to the Primacy and say: "Rejuvenate me; I've produced an unlicensed child"? His flesh wouldn't permit that --no more than would the Primacy with its hidebound absolutes.
Oh, no. Kelexel would know the storyship had its own Rejuvenators, its own surgeon. He'd come begging, his mind telling him: "I can have as many children as I wish and damn the Primacy!" Once he'd been rejuvenated, the storyship would own him.
Again, Fraffin chuckled.
They might even get back to the lovely little war in time to make a complete production out of it.