Actually, I missed not one but two beats with Ella’s Story.
In the first place, this week’s post was supposed to go up Monday, not tomorrow (Wednesday). But that’s just the frosting on the cupcake.
Far more brain-banging is that I skipped a whole chapter, posting chapter 10 as chapter 9 and dropping the real (mercifully short!) chapter 9 altogether. Yes. So that means Chapter 10 is actually Chapter and…and…and math is over my head anyway.
In the Small Mercies Department, just one chapter (“After her shift one evening…”) had gone up before I noticed this little lapse. And, conveniently, Ella is the only one of the three presently serialized books that lacks a table of contents. Hence: just one chapter has to be renumbered and no (0.00) complicated internal links have to be coded in.
So, here’s what we’ll do:
Publish the Real Chapter 10 right here in this post, and also install it in its rightful place in the full running narrative. Renumber the post published last week, giving its rightful place as Chapter 11. The new copy appears shortly after the remark that Lohkeh “didn’t seem to realize she herself had been a ranking member in the organization back on Samdela. No doubt, she figured, because he hadn’t noticed her.” Tomorrow: Chapter 12.
And so, herewith, the Genuine Chapter 10…
Months passed quietly. An airless moon is by its nature a quiet place, even when partying aristocrats decide it looks like a vacation spot.
Ella stayed quiet, herself. She worked steadily, did what was asked of her, sometimes even added a little more.
Bhotil had her reading Varn fluently in just a few months. He practiced her with every form and document and instruction manual he could think of, making her read aloud some of the driest data in creation. Then he gave her things to read in her spare time, stories and image tales and even poems. These she came to enjoy. As for the rest, it wasn’t long before she was writing those boxed words and entering data on her own.
She moved into a more responsible job, keeping track of supplies and moving linens, tools, and provisions from site to site within the colony. Her skill at managing information and organizing projects becoming evident, before long she was scheduling deepspace ship arrivals, offloads and transfers of freight, shipments to and from the planet’s surface. And she was keeping all the records of supplies and needs…that is to say, she was doing mostly what she did for the bosses back on Samdela.
Well. Except for arranging the travel and the female companionship. Or male companionship, depending.
She grew closer to Vighdi, who told her she was proud of her, who often gave her small gifts for milestones or sometimes just for general progress. Did these lead her to work harder? Probably not. Work was in her veins.