"Mom!" Tilla Dryden's exasperated voice rung down the halls of the Moth.
"No! No! No!" Came Seli's terse reply. "You are not getting on my ship as my observer. As a visitor yes. Stopping by for my birthday maybe. But as my observer? Hell no!"
The two women, when they broke out of the hallway into main airlock, looked very much alike. Both had Seli's blue eyes, narrow nose, and thin build. Tilla's hair was wavy brown and her skin fuller, but otherwise, very much the child of her mother. Tilla's traveling bag was slung over Seli's shoulder. Saul and one of this crew members waited in the anti-chamber to the airlock with Dicer and Jane.
"Here." Seli said, flipping the bag to Saul. "My DNA was just leaving."
"She can't leave." Saul said. "She's genetically keyed to the lock on your engine. Only she can keep you flying."
Seli was steaming. "This is a rim job Saul and you know it!"
"It's the best I could do."
"The best you could do? Sending my own daughter to spy on me is the best you could do?"
"Well, the council wanted to send Parker."
"Parker? That stooge! I could dynamite a planet right out from under his ass and he'd never know what hit him. He..."
"Yes." Saul broke in. "That's why I convinced them that young Ms. Dryden here, was both responsible to the IDF and close enough to you to be in no immediate danger of getting dynamited."
"Immediate danger! Immediate danger!" Seli sputtered unable to think of a strong enough response.
"It'll be okay mom." Tilla put her hand on Seli's shoulder. "You've always said we need more time together. Remember? You wanted to know what you would have been like if the European hadn't scrambled your DNA. Well, here's your chance."
Seli grumbled. "Well, when I paid Dr. Hammersmith half my life savings to pick out a clean copy of my DNA, I didn't plan to have the result following me around the galaxy like some spook reporting back to my boss."
"It won't be like that mom. Come on. We'll cook together. Remember when you taught me to cook Tilla Nuts?"
Seli was silent for a moment. "This is dirty pool Saul. You know I can't tell her no."
"And you know you'll lose your ship if I have you arrested again. Just be nice and don't blow up any more unauthorized targets."
"There are no authorized targets any more. You won't authorize any of the targets I want."
"Enjoy the cooking." Saul said, tossing the bag back to Tilla and turning back to the airlock.
"Thanks Saul." Tilla chimed in quickly and turned back up the hallway.
In a second, Seli was alone with Dicer and Jane.
Seli looked from where Saul's man was securing the airlock to the hallways Tilla had disappeared into then to her two crewmen. "Well?"
Dicer cleared her throat. "Your daughter is very...charming."
"Yeah, well, if you ever get the idea that you'd like like to spread your DNA around, do yourself a favor and keep your genes in your jeans if you know what I mean."
Dicer nodded. "I understand. I will remember that." She said to Seli's back as Seli set off up the corridor. Once Seli was out of ear shot, she turned to Jane. "What does, 'keep your genes in your jeans, mean?"
"To most people it would mean 'don't have a baby.'"
"That's not what it means to Captain Dryden?"
"No. Dryden never had that baby. She's a clone."
Dicer shivered. "A clone? On our ship? Is it safe."
"Oh yes." Jane assured her. "Clones are safe. As long as the original DNA was good."