“Permission to speak freely, Komad?” Dox said.
Sofita moved closer, “I’ve been waiting for you to do just that.”
Dox had remained silent when Sofita submitted her mission report to Orny’s log recorder. In it she detailed the group encounter she’d engaged in, along with the termination of the leak at Port Yukon. Sofita omitted ordering Dox to hack into a Cloister Admin Cluster, and also left out the subsequent visit from CR Banto.
“Why were we hacking into CR Banto’s system?” asked Dox.
Sofita said, “CR Banto served as a liaison advocate at Nazca Base before her heritage forced her back to Vanda—”
“Banto’s the donation of Committee Member the Fourth, Tee Banto,” Sofita said. “She’s duty bound to serve in the Chamber, a prerequisite to ascension.”
“Ascension?” Dox said.
Sofita said, “Someday, she’ll ascend to the Tenth Gen Committee.”
“I thought when your—”
“—when the Primary’s gen-heir died, the Tenth were nullified?”
“Someone at Nazca contacted CR Banto about something related to this mission?”
“CR Banto excels at preserving peer relationships, these associations endure,” said Sofita, sensing more to Dox’s discomfort. “That’s why we invaded her privacy.”
“If I’d known what I was doing,” said Dox. “I wouldn’t have done it.”
“You were under orders,” Sofita leaned back in her chair.
Dox turned back to her console, “Orders I find objectionable,”
“What is it with you Eleventh’s, and hyper-rectitude?” Sofita said.
Dox gave a start, “What’s a helovx girxhole have to do with my Gen?”
“Rectitude is integrity, honor,” said Sofita, laughing.
“Honor’s important, Komad.” Dox said, without a hint of embarrassment. “It’s what separates us from the helovx.”
“I don’t want to make light of your convictions, but only six chromosomes separate us from the helovx, and their rectums.” Sofita said.
“We can’t breed with them, Komad,” the Donmat did her best to remain respectful, “It’s more than a few chromosomes.”
“You’re right, we female Citizens can’t breed with them.”
“We female Citizens? What is it with you Tenth’s and living in the past?” Dox closed her eyes. “Forgive my disrespect, Komad. My generation has no males, they’re obsolette and aren’t part of the everyday vernacular.”
“Did you say vernacular? That’s a complicated word for a bruiser that doesn’t know an helovx ass from her honor.” Sofita became serious, “Life is moribund with each passing moment. Your manifestation of prevalence is obsolete.”
Dox fixed her eyes to the forward array.
“Yet if you wish to pick nits,” Sofita said, “My Gen does have males, as does the Gen before it, as did the Gen before that. You tend to forget this, Donmat, peculiar really, since this Division specializes in matters connected to those particulars—”
“—I didn’t know this section existed,” Dox said, “I only accepted assignment to the Sorority of Defense so I wouldn’t be snapped back to walking the ice.”
“You didn’t want Division?” Sofita said.
“What I want no longer matters, Komad,” Dox said. “Staying on topic, I wasn’t aware our males bred with helovx women, until assignment to the Femitokon Division.”
“Donmat, look at me,” Sofita said.
Dox turned as ordered, “Yes, Komad?”
“Zhang was sired by Carl Crystal,” Sofita said.
“The cult leader from the California’s?” asked Dox.
“No, Caro Cristi, the male farc from Ramaxia,” Softly said. “He was surgically altered to disguise himself.”
“They’ve had him jail for a long time. How have they not figured out what he is?”
“Nauist convicts get no medical care. They get a room with no view, and they’re fed once a day.” Sofita could see that Dox was more annoyed than intrigued, “When he was free, he had children with helovx women. One of them was Pym Zhang, our devoured geneticist.”
“A hybrid seeking repatriation,” Dox said.
Sofita nodded, “Nauists don’t know they have a farc, and the Committee didn’t want them learning about it from Zhang.”
Dox stared at her, “Komad, I don’t like the word farc. It’s a slur.”
“Yes, it is,” Sofita took great care not to grin at the conservative nature of her Donmat. “I won’t say it again.”
“Thank you, Komad.” Dox wasn’t finished with her yet. “I also don’t like it when you fraternize with helovx males. Orta might be okay with us engaging in sexual intercourse with helovx when they’re suspected of being spies and enemies, but I’m not.”
“I appreciate your candor,” Sofita said.
“I’ve no place telling you how to carry out a mission, Komad, but if you’re going to engage in future helovx-violations, I don’t want to know about it, before or after, the fact.” Dox said, then shook her head in anger, “You’re laughing at me,”
Sofita sat up, “I’m not amused in any way.”
“I can see it in your eyes!”