“Taggert! How nice to see you, I thought that perhaps you didn’t intend to call on us.” Haylen Rorge kissed her estranged daughter coolly on the cheek and went on, “Won’t you take a seat? We were about to pour the tea.”
Taggery looked around the room and realised that the only vacant chairs were the low status, backless but upholstered stools that could double as foot rests. “That would be delightful,” she replied cheerfully and crossed the room to push the stool sitting between her Aunts Merlen and Gannet back so that she could lean back against the wall once she’d put her betrousered rump on the padded seat. “I admit that I hadn’t intended dropping in before father and Tellin assured me that you’d be hurt if I didn’t. Our last meeting rather left me with the idea that you never wanted to see me again.”
“You did embarrass me by refusing the favour I obtained for you,” her mother calmly poured tea into a porcelain cup and passed it to her right.
“I chose to find out what I’m good at rather than spending my life being a rather bad third-rate Navigator,” replied Taggery.
“Oh, surely not as bad as all that,” protested Aunt Gannet from Taggery’s left, her tailored robed sitting gracefully around her.
“Worse,” corrected Taggery cheerfully. “I would have been an embarrassment to you all and everyone would have known that I wouldn’t have had a position if not for my mother’s intervention. My way created less enduring embarrassment for everyone.”
Haylen had been about to pour tea into a third cup but stopped tilting the teapot in her hand. “You believe that you acted in our common interest? How interesting.” She looked at Taggery and asked, “So what is it that you do to support yourself, Taggert? Teach – history is what you were going to study wasn’t it? Your father and brother said something that I can only think was rather garbled, because I could make no sense of it.” She resumed pouring the tea.
“I’m Pilot on the Farflung Yawl out of Sebastopree and owned by the Klaething Expeditionary Corporation. If you need confirmation, I’m sure our Navigator, Bartelen Jyrne, will vouch for me.” Taggery leaned back against the wall with just a little more attitude and crossed her legs, incidentally showing off her expensive, and comfortable, boots.
“You’re doing well then,” said Great-aunt Brennan from her high winged chair in the honoured corner of the room. “That is a ship whose progress has been noted.” Great-aunt Brennan’s robe had a rose lower front panel while everyone else’s was green. “Tell us more.”