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"Excellent, Governor. Physical scan says he's capable of reproduction. I'm sure he's adult by their laws."

"He obviously can't see. Can he hear?"


"How old is the damage?"

"At least six years. Nine bones were broken in addition to the obvious burns. None were set. There's no indication any treatment was given for any of the injuries. It must have really surprised a lot of people that he survived. He meets the treaty specifications. There's nothing that says the person selected for the governor has to be of the opposite sex."

"Thank you, Anverd. He's accepted. Take those cuffs and hobbles off him."


"He's an interesting choice as advocate for your world within my family."

Boer moved fast when the cuffs were removed. He pulled the boy into his arms and held him gently, but firmly, against him and laid his cheek on his head. The boy stopped struggling and slowly raised his hands, both missing fingers, to touch the face of the huge man who held him. Boer guided them to feel his tears, then slowly began to undress him. The marriage must be consummated. The scars were terrible and the fact he was capable of reproduction amazing.

He grasped his wrists and moved them to the position in which the cuffs had held them, held them with one hand while he touched the scars where his eyes had been, then dropped his wrists. He raised one of his hands to touch the coronet he wore, then guided the other to his genitals. The boy jerked his hand back, but then laid it on Boer's chest and stepped forward. Boer gently picked him up and carried him to his bedchamber.

The chief delegate was not politely escorted to the witnessing booth. Lieutenant Jastorim noted it hadn't been used in awhile and was a bit dusty when she shoved him in and slammed the door. Lieutenant Urber said it was too bad the bath the delegate was going to need would only wash the "crud" off the outside. They set the bio-monitor that was the only recording of the consummation kept for imperial court records. An assurance it would be, when the governor and one chosen for his family became well-acquainted, was usually all the proof planetary delegations wanted or needed.

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