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NOMADS CHAPTER 18 (English/German)

Rosefield had a gaunt face, with high, prominent cheekbones. The broad forehead and the receding hairline gave an intellectual impression. Had he not been in uniform, he could easily have been mistaken for a teacher or professor.

The office on the top floor of the building where Fleet Command was headquartered was dark. Only the light from a small desk lamp spread a pale glow in which the admiral's hard features stood out. His worry lines had grown considerably more in the preceding months, Perk noted, and there would be no fewer after the conversation, of that the Zora captain was certain. Rosefield looked exhausted and haggard.

At some point, the admiral had produced a case from the jacket of his uniform, taken out a cigarette, and begun to smoke it while Perk related what had occurred on Samaria and Chester. After Perk finished his report, Rosefield had leaned back in his chair and remained silent for a long time. Cigarette smoke hung unmoving in the air, irritating Perk's eyes. All the while, the requests of the renegade commander and the blonde pirate lay on the admiral's desk, and he studiously ignored them. He stared past Perk, apparently sorting out the facts, behind his worried brow.

 "Of course I know Blake," Rosefield said at last. "I had the dubious pleasure of being his supervisor for a while."

"He's quite a bit older than you," Perk wondered.

"Blake was demoted once," Rosefield explained. "Was then captain on the Lumia when I commanded Third Fleet."

"And from the sound of it, you don't have a good opinion of him."

"A bigoted, arrogant fellow, full of misguided idealism. A modern-day T.E. Lawrence, if you will."

"Sounds like someone who was bound to go astray."

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