Sturn grabbed at her shirt as he reached her, ripping it open with his left hand, his right swinging into action with the knife even as Aleisha gave a squeal of terror.
So she would die now, and for what, for not cooperating? Words of protest tumbled into her mind, but none of them made it past her tongue. It was all too quick.
She watched him go, sighed and pushed away the papers. But he was back too soon, moving purposefully, drawing her concern. Then she saw the knife held down by his right side, the big ugly blade she never wanted to see. Unsheathed, ready for use. Panic hit.
Tires squealing, the body of the big truck trying to push past the cab, promising to jack-knife if he didn’t stay in front, Raoul eased up on the brakes and let his rig promise imminent and total destruction.
The electromagnetic buffer kicked in, cushioning the impact but jolting them violently all the same as he collided with the carrier.
His gaze rose from his notes and focused on nothing for a moment. Then, looking perplexed, he faced her. She met his stare, not knowing what the problem was.
“The Khekarian Empire is the largest ruling force in the galaxy,” he enunciated with deliberate patience, “Do you mean to tell me you really know nothing about our society? Our ways?”
Aleisha forced a brave answer. “It didn’t seem important.”
“It’s extremely important.”
“Rest up awhile, Stephen, you work too hard.”
“I need another form, here, Charlie. Had an accident out on the highway, got a death to report.”
There’ll be a body.
Charlie fumbled with his glasses, knocking them off his face.
“If you dislike Terrans so much, why choose me? Why not choose a Khekarian or a Chiddran?”
“We have truthseers. While they are excellent in knowing a lie when they hear one, they rarely offer the scope of a good Terran psychic. As we are at war with the Chiddran, I would hardly trust a Chiddran. Most of all, I want someone who is not sophisticated in the art of duplicity. Someone who has no other agenda, no contact, nor want of any, with the manipulators of court intrigue. There are factions out there, some deadly in their dealings, some not. I need people around me I can trust. You will help me with that.”
“No,” Aleisha ventured. “There are better psychics out there, I didn’t come here for you.”