Sharon L Reddy
Fire Eagles and Swan
Cover background: NASA, ESA, STScI
Loadman Frain was a bum. He was good at it. He'd bummed his way across most of human space. His secret was a recipe for apple pie he'd picked up in a museum. He'd hunted it down. A nine-year-old girl had given him a piece of the pie she'd made for a project in her history class and he'd gone to the museum to find the recipe right after he ate it.
He liked people and he liked to cook. It was amazing how many people operating one to three-person ships would suddenly arrange for the pantry to be stocked with very nice food for one extra for a twelve to twenty-day journey. Loadman Frain was considered the best bum by the other bums, who sought adventure and travel and exchanged company and someone else's cooking for passage to somewhere.
Loadman Frain was twenty-seven. He'd been a bum since he was a very mature-appearing fourteen. He was the only one who knew his age. He was also the only one who knew where he'd spent the first fourteen years of his life, but some people knew someone had spent fourteen years there. They were still hunting the one who had. They were sure that one had answers they wanted. Only he knew he didn't. All he had ever had were questions, but those who still hunted wouldn't believe it.