“It’s a shame I couldn’t meet this other friend of yours,” said Roman. “Colt, right?”
Hector bobbed his head to the side. “Heh, uh... You probably wouldn’t have liked him very much, anyway.”
“Oh? Why do you say that?”
“Because I don’t like him very much,” said Hector, still with a smile.
“Ha. That just makes me even more curious.”
Roman and Gina both went to have a word with the pilot, who looked rather shaken up and out of place. Hector guessed that the poor man had probably gotten more than he bargained for with this trip, but Roman was reassuring him that there would be handsome compensation for his trouble.
Harper was next, and he looked rather less formal than Hector had been imagining. “I heard the others mention your name,” said Harper. “Hector, right?”
“You look younger than I was expecting.”
After having wandered off a little with Voreese and Mehlsanz, Garovel floated closer to Hector again. ‘Harper Norez, correct?’
‘Indeed. And I’m Darsihm.’
Four glowing skeletons in one place, all with scythes and black shrouds. Hector supposed the number didn’t seem like much to anyone else here, but this was the first time he’d seen so many without there being at least one who wanted him dead. It was a nice change of pace.
‘I’m Garovel, by the way. Roman said you two were with the Vanguard?’
“That’s right,” said Harper.
‘If you don’t mind my asking, what’s your rank?’ said Garovel.
‘Harper is a Lt. General,’ said Darsihm.
‘What the--?’ Garovel looked over at Roman, who was just joining them again. ‘Why didn’t you tell us earlier that he was a freaking Lt. General?’
“Oh, I assumed you already knew,” said Roman. “Voreese and Mehlsanz already did.”
Hector eyed Garovel, not wanting to ask his question aloud. ‘Uh, is that, er... how high up is that, exactly?’
‘The Vanguard is split into three divisions,’ said Garovel privately. ‘Army, navy, and air. Lieutenant General is an army ranking, and there are only four ranks above it: General, Captain General, Field Marshal, and then the High Commander, which is Sermung’s official title.’