Shannon's Reaction


Shannon had decided to take advantage of Cortin's skill during the

afternoon session. It had been some time since he'd combined his two

preferences purely for pleasure instead of as an "object lesson"--since

Piety, in fact--and he was overdue for some recreation. He'd told his

aide he was tired and would be napping after lunch; Cortin would

provide the violence, Victor the sex. Victor was homo, raised in a

ly that saw the Church's increased tolerance in the last two and a

half centuries as abhorrent. But Victor couldn't deny his drives; the

best he could do was conceal them, feeling guilt whenever they became

strong enough to make him take action.

Shannon had picked him for that, perhaps more than for his

administrative ability, then arranged for Victor to find him apparently

asleep, naked. Since then he could count on the man sneaking into his

room several times a week; it relieved some of the tension, and

Victor's guilt not only added spice to the affair, it made him even

more devoted to the one he thought he was victimizing. And, Shannon

thought smugly, he couldn't possibly be faulted for being an innocent


Stretched out, with only a sheet covering him, Shannon waited for

Victor to decide he was asleep. In the meantime, he considered the two

ordinations that had just taken place. He found them abhorrent, even

though he was aware of their necessity. His continued existence could

well depend on four humans who would, except for the approaching

invaders, be major enemies--two here, one in the Terran Empire, and one

currently dead. Three of the four, to his disgust, had to be priests

of the Crucified One. That was galling enough, but the worst part was

that he had to promote faith himself! Not necessarily in that

particular deity, though it would benefit most, he thought bitterly.

There were times he was tempted to rebel again, tell the Adversary to

do it all, instead of having to drive people toward that one, rather

than urge them away as he preferred. Existence, though, wasn't

something to be given up, even if maintaining it meant doing some

things he found truly repugnant.

Cortin, of course, was his immediate concern, though Odeon would

ultimately be the source of far more difficulty for him. Before then,

though, the scar-faced man could be made to suffer--which would be a

very enjoyable procedure indeed, after the problems that particular

individual had caused him since their last encounter. And there was

always the chance Odeon would make a bad decision--though considering

the effect that would have on Shannon himself, he couldn't seriously

wish for it.

To main storyline: 5. Azrael