Cover Art, Degrees of Separation

Connected StoriesEdit

Note from the AuthorsEdit

  • An excerpt, not the entire note:

This is a story about Paris, about love, and about bread....

Oh, you want to know about Paris? Well, it's like this. . . Sometimes, when we're brainstorming a story, we'll use a shorthand idea or word to hold the place of an idea, words, geography, or person that we haven't fully worked out yet.

This is, by the way, how Plan B became part of the Liaden Universe ® — it was stuck in the manuscript to hold the place of the name of Korval's real emergency plan; we always intended to go back and fix it, except — We forgot. Something similar happened when we were talking over Degrees.

Sharon, who was describing to Steve Everything She Knew about the story, said, carelessly — and they send him to — oh, to Paris! . . .and the writing backbrain caught "Paris" — and ran with it. And that is why there is now a Liaden Universe ® story which is, in part, set in Paris. Or, at least, a Paris.

We hope you enjoyed the story.


  • Family, community, and freshly baked bread
  • Love and romance
  • Resourcefulness and aspiration
  • Proper application of the Liaden Code


  • Solcintra and the Terran city of Lutetia (a Paris, if not the Paris)

"At Lutetia there were slums, surely, and the poor. But the city and the citizens provided some support. Orphanages, clinics, schools."

The chef looked aside. "We on Liad are not so kindly. The clan is all and everything, as you have found.”


  • Don Eyr fer'Gasta, clan Serat
    • son of Telma fer'Gasta, clan Serat
  • his cousin Vyk Tor, clan Serat
    • son of Delm Serat
  • Mrs. ban'Teli, Serat's cook
  • Mr. pak'Epron, Serat's butler
  • Mr. dea'Bon, Serat's qe'andra
  • Captain Benoit (Serana)
    • Captain of the Watch in Lutetia
    • Her Grand-père Filepe, who isn't blood kin, but closer
  • Councilor Vertoi -- Madame the Councilor
  • Louis Leblanc -- a nasty thug
  • Delm Abra -- a cruel wastrel
    • his chef, Mae Nir vas'Urbil
  • a gaggle of orphans at Low Port, Liad: Jax Ton, Ashti, etc.


The delm having issued no instruction other than, "Take it away, and see it trained," in the case of his sister's child, Don Eyr received all the benefits and education which naturally accrued to a son of Serat. Save the regard of kin.

The boy himself did not notice his lacks, for he was well-regarded, even loved, by staff. His nurse was inclined to be gentle with an isolated child, and collaborated with the House's qe'andra in the matter of his education. He had a quick intelligence, did Don Eyr, an artist's eye, and a susceptible heart. Very like his mother, said Mr. dea'Bon, the qe'andra, who had served the House since the days of the current delm's father.

  • Mr. dea'Bon blinked again, thinking of Delm Serat, his inclinations, and stated opinions regarding off-worlders of any kind, and most especially Terrans. "Your tutor has been teaching you Terran? " he asked, and did not add, "Does your uncle know?"

  • "Let us suppose that you will be accepted into this. . .ah — Ècole de Cuisine. You will have one semester to prove yourself. If you fail to be the sort of student the Institute expects, you will be sent back home."

  • Captain Benoit, who loved the Old City, tried to recruit herself with patience, but — truly, she would rather be out on her usual beat. If you can't be where you'd rather, be happy where you are. That had been one of Grand-père Filepe's advisories. He had long been retired from the Watch by the time Captain Benoit had taken up her training arms, a ready source of wisdom, humor, and, often enough, irony, for the youngers of the household. He was not, of course, her genetic grandfather, nor any blood relation at all. House Benoit, like all the City Watch Houses recruited their 'prentices from among the orphans of the city, of which there were, unfortunately, many.

  • In the afternoon, she had seen him, too, filling the beggars' bowls at the university district's main gates. She had noted him particularly; compact and neatly made, his movements crisp and clean. A pretty little one; and something out of the common way among the citizens of Lutetia, who tended to be tall, brown, red-haired and rangy. As if he had felt the weight of her regard, the manager raised his head and caught her gaze. His eyes were dark brown, like his hair. He gave her a nod, as if perhaps he recognized her, too. She returned the salute, then a drift of dessert-seekers came between them.

  • "I agree," Serana said softly. "They are too vulnerable. I will return, and guard them. You, with your twisty mind, will consider how we may do better for them. Come, I will escort you to safer streets, and–"

  • These two walked alert, and he'd seen them, he realized. Both of them, together, just like now. A dark-haired man, walking light and watchful; at his back a giantess, with cropped red hair, who walked even lighter, her eyes sweeping the street like beacons. They were coming this way. Of course, they were coming this way. Jax Ton made sure of his grip, and said, in a piercing whisper. "Now."

  • She spun to intercept Blanchet, kicking him in the knee with her reinforced boots. He was quick, however; the blow did not connect solidly, and here at last was Monique Sauvage, flying at her like the madwoman she was, knife dancing, while Simone Papin stood back, awaiting opportunity. The world narrowed down to the work at hand.

  • Mr. dea'Bon had a dreamy look on his face. Very nearly, he was seen to smile. He made a brisk series on notes on his pad, and looked up once more. "I believe I may work with this. May I ask, when we have achieved a successful outcome, that I be allowed to share the work with my colleagues?"

  • "I have acquired a piece of land in Low Port, at the corner of Offal Court and Pudding Lane. Before it can be put to use, it needs to be cleared of debris. See to it."

  • "The Lutetia École de Cuisine is a premier school. Their graduates go on to become chefs in the houses of queens, and in the great restaurants of the universe. Or," he raised his glass, "they found great restaurants."

  • "The wine — surprises," he said, and sank into the chair...."Understand," Don Eyr said, "I have spent the last dozen Standards learning wines and foods, in a culture that values wine and food. . .very much."

"What we shall do is make petit pain," he told her.

She stared at him. "Sir?"

"Small breads," he said briskly. "They rise once, and bake quickly. We have time enough; and they will arrive pleasingly hot at the table."

"I do not –"

"I will demonstrate," he told her moving around the station, and plucking an apron from a hook.