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tenure, had, in fact, transferred with Best and about thirty of Best's handpicked men from the Athena, Best's previous command. John had been happy to accept Corchoran with his strong record as first officer, and though he'd come to realize that record was meaningless, Corchoran had nevertheless lived up to it. He knew everything about the ship and her crew, and he'd been the source of some valuable information since John had come aboard, though it did seem to John that he had trouble enforcing discipline. That was why John had been forced to take action himself this morning.

"No, thanks. I need to form my own relationships with the crew, and they need to learn to accept my way of doing things. But I do get the sense that some of them resent the hell out of me, and I'd dearly like to know why."

Corchoran took a step closer and lowered his voice.

"If you don't mind my saying so, Captain, I think a number of the crew may envy your war record. Those of us who served with Captain Best on the Athena came away from the war with an undeserved stain on our reputations. Some of us have moved on, but others, I think, might resent your presence."

John wondered which group Corchoran included himself in. He was eight years older than John, and though that was not an unreasonable age for the rank of commander, it had been four years since his last promotion. If he did resent John, there had been no sign of it. Perhaps Corchoran resented Captain Best, for screwing the pooch so badly a few months ago that even his political connections couldn't save this command for him. Best had attempted to make the jump to hyperspace with an engine port open, causing a dangerous instability in the jump engines that had spat them out in the same spot an hour in the future, nearly on top of
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