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*****

Though All the Mountains Lie Between


. . . In those days before the founding of the Guild, riggers lived with constant insecurity. Shrewd masters controlled them—often with subtle means, but controlled them nevertheless; and riggers then rarely supported one another against abusive masters. But if they suffered in the normal world, they found freedom in the net, in the dream by which they steered their ships, which their masters could never hope to share. The lucky rigger found a way to carry that freedom out of the net, to the other side of life . . .


—Jona'Jon'

Gazing Into Yesteryear

for ages 7-11



The starship moved quietly through the Flux, though its motion was invisible from the bridge, where Jael stood facing Mogurn. Only instruments told her of the ship's motion; she would see it for herself, more clearly, when she entered the rigger-net. She waited anxiously.

Mogurn's eyes were dark and stern. With his hands folded across his heavy chest, he studied her with those eyes, kept her frozen. "All right, Jael," he said, releasing her from his gaze at last. He glanced one final time over the thicket of instrumentation in the nose of the bridge, and then he indicated the rigger-station with a tilt of his head. "Go ahead and take the net," he said. "Don't tire yourself. " With that he turned away, his robelike tunic spinning in folds, and he strode from the bridge. The door darkened to opacity behind him, leaving Jael alone in the ship's small control cell.

He doesn't trust me, she thought nervously, staring after Mogurn. Well, I don't care. She turned and made another brief inspection of the console, even though Mogurn had already done that with her, and then she climbed into the rigger-station, a couch recessed in a tight alcove on the starboard side of the bridge. She stretched out and relaxed gradually, staring at several mirrored monitors overhead as she tried to forget about Mogurn and think instead of the ship, of the Flux. She shut her eyes and let her neck settle against the neural contacts in the couch.

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