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the various members of the crew and reviewed their records, I've found that my evaluation of just about every crew member is in direct opposition to Captain Best's. What is your opinion of Captain Best's methods of crew evaluation?"

The sharp line of Ross's mouth shifted as he hesitated.

"I'm asking for your frank opinion, Lieutenant."

"Captain Best had his own personal criteria, Captain."

"And as weapons chief, did you often find yourself in agreement with his evaluations?"

"Sometimes, sir. Sometimes I felt Captain Best must have had more information than I did."

John's voice rose.

"More information on the weapons crew and how they carried out their jobs than you, their immediate superior, did?"

Ross averted his eyes.

"Captain Best was a real hands-on commander, sir."

This was getting him nowhere. Ross was stonewalling. John took a step closer, drawing Ross's eyes back to him.

"My sense is that Captain Best did not have more information-not about the crew's performance of their duties, anyway. He seemed to reward some of the sloppiest, laziest crew members and to punish some of the most efficient. Which leads me to believe he did have his own personal criteria in evaluating his crew, criteria that have nothing to do with those laid down by Earthforce. Would you agree, Lieutenant?"

"I'm not sure what you mean, sir."

Ross's burly frame shifted, the sharp line of his mouth hardening. John felt he was very close to a breakthrough with Ross. Spano could spout off all day and John didn't think he'd learn any more than he already had. It was all surface flash. But Ross's troubles ran deep, and if he could break through to them, find out what was eating at him, perhaps he could forge a link. Ross had been resisting his authority indirectly
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