Lightoller adjusted the picture to try and cut out some static. “Come on now, Navy boys, come on. Don’t want to lose the feed.” He’d promised good, hard, stolen Navy intel for the Zouaves, and he intended to deliver.

“…thanks to the availability of cheap cigarettes and rotgut where I grew up, I’ve gained a lifelong fondness for both,” the interviewee—Peg, wasn’t it?—said. “Plus, they make me look cool, and having a nasty, smelly cigarette in between your lips makes it less likely a guy’s going to stick his tongue in there.”

“Wonder if that’s really the sort of thing the Zouaves are interested in?” Lightoller muttered, raising an eyebrow. “Well, they weren’t specific.”

“Not that I have to worry so much; I don’t make as many trips ‘down south’ as most of the writhing hedonists my age,” Peg continued. “And honestly, when my last memory’s of Darren Winston, filtered through a whole lot of drunk…well, I’m glad for both of us that he must’ve been shooting blanks. After I left home, I never saw him again, and that’s a good thing in my book—he had exactly one virtue, and it wasn’t his wit or sparkling personality. Not exactly husband or father-of-my-children material.”

“Look, miss, if we could just get back to the-” one of the Navy men began, clearly uncomfortable that his interrogation had been hijacked.

He was cut off. “Then again, there are precious few that are qualified for that job opening. The benefits are great, but you’ve gotta have a top-notch resume and be willing to relocate. There’ve been some promising candidates, but the last prospective hire decided to pursue opportunities elsewhere. We didn’t…gel…on an ethical level, which is to say that he accused me of having none. I’m of two minds on the subject of reproduction anyway; while it’s obvious the universe could use another such as me, the same gene pool spawned my dumbass cousin. I figure that’s one bridge to cross when I come to it, hopefully in the arms of a well-sculpted Adonis.”

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