All My Sins Remembered
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Otto McGavin is peaceful and idealistic by nature, an Anglo-Buddhist, who seeks employment with the Confederación because he believes in it and its mission to protect the rights of humans and nonhumans. The only problem is that the Confederación needs him as a Prime Operator for its secret service, the TBII, and the TBII wants Otto as a spy, a thief and an assassin.
It's not, of course, a problem for the Confederación, which simply uses immersion therapy and hypnosis for Otto's training, and then sends him out in deep cover on a variety of dangerous missions on a number of bizarre worlds.
But for Otto, it's a different matter: what he has to witness and what he is forced to do take a terrible toll on him . . .
my briefing officer this time?” “That’s right.” Tibitz pulled a long envelope from an inside cape pocket. He broke the plastic seal and handed it to Otto. “Five-minute ink,” he said. Otto scanned the three pages quickly and then read slowly from beginning to end. He handed it back just as the printing faded. “Any questions?” “Well… okay, I’m this fat old professor, Crowell. Or will be when you push me back through the mnemonic sequence. Can I speak the language as well as he could?”
forty-five, with full benefits, though few enough actually lived that long. “Wish I had the option.” She slid a large sealed envelope across the desk. “This is four-day ink, some twenty thousand words. Any problem?” “Guess not.” Otto knew the details of his mission as instinctively as he knew how to act in the Father Joshua persona. But both would fade with time; eventually, he’d have to rely on his memory. “Read it before I go?” “No, you have a private cabin all the way to Altair, on the
ask the same question a hundred different times and get a hundred seemingly different answers. But the S’kang concept of “truth” was indirect, malleable, subtle. If you tried to convince them that the universe was run by law and logic, they would listen politely. But to them, cause and effect were evanescent fictions: things happened; explaining them was both interesting and futile; the only really important things were slowing down at the proper time, rebirth, and tending the flowers properly.
Would you come back to Earth with me?” “Is there anything to eat there? I don’t think Earth insects would nourish me.” “They’d have to arrange something. It’s no problem, though.” “All right. It might be interesting; besides, I won’t have anyone to talk to here. Unless they wake up more.” “They won’t do that. The S’kang are protected by the Charter.” “As we always were.” The door opened quietly and Theo slipped in. “Prescott?” he whispered. “Ay-firmative.” “Leave us alone for a minute,
had pulled him over a kilometer, and said in the formal mode: “For your labors / this small token.” The native took it in a huge trifurcate hand and placed the coin in his mouth, then tongued it to the voluminous pouch under his chin. He mumbled a ritual answer in the same mode, then scooped up Crowell’s baggage and carried it through the open door marked TRANSIENTS’ BILLET # 1. Crowell lumbered his large frame down the walk, envying the native’s easy jog. The Bruuchian had a coat of short