• published in A Liaden Universe Constellation, volume 2
  • also in Eidolon: Adventures in the Liaden Universe book 14
  • see The Books (and other stories)


  • SY 1392, while Operation Plan B is in effect
  • Space Station Bazaar, where ignorance is winning out over persistence
    • Jeshu's Superb Surfaces, a rug shop at the Bazaar arcade
    • Charleschow, a fine restaurant


  • Beba, co-operator at Jeshu's Superb Surfaces
    • a strong empathic aura - reader, and clairvoyant: "she oft remembered things that hadn't happened yet"
    • (gifted, and tutored, but not officially, because Liad doesn't acknowledge Terrans as potential Healers or Dramliz).
    • Beba's family owns The Sinner's Rug
  • Joshu, owner of the rug business and Beba's Senior Partner. An optimist.
  • Conrad, Con Rad (Pat Rin yos'Phelium)
  • Essa (Natessa/ Inas Bhar)
  • Pilot Cheever (the big man, Cheever McFarland)


After gaining the ring at Teriste, Pat Rin, Cheever, and Natessa sneak quietly onto Bazaar to buy rugs for a shop on Surebleak. Meanwhile, Joshu's Superb Surfaces is at risk, because Joshu and Bebe are finding Bazaar increasingly hostile to empaths, persistence, and fair trade. Ignorance is winning.


He stood before her, shorter by a hand than she, and bowed an exquisite bow. His colors went cool, as if the ritual were calming, and his eyes were on hers when he finished the bow. There was in them frankness, while over all of his face flickered a strength and determination all limned in steel. She'd never seen color take form like that, down to the shine of metal honed to edge, down to the shape of knife and gun, behind it all the scent of blood and the scent of carpet intermingled. She stepped back, startled...


The larger man. She sighed, for she had been known to be fond of larger men herself, but she admired him not only for his stature but for the way he masked his elegance of walk and motion. He appeared to the public face to be perhaps one as might carry burdens or stand as bodyguard, and truth was he carried a public gun. He was, however, far from the shambling person he projected and his eyes were clear and alert.

.... now the large man made no attempt to hide his grace. While perhaps no match for the Essa or for Con Rad, he was silent in ways that were surprising, and her attempted read brought only the vague purple of concentration and the distant green of well-being.


"Persistence." She said that word out loud, knowing that, after all, she'd done this to herself created in her own head the idea that there were only two volitional forces at work in the inhabited universe. Those forces were not necessarily antagonistic, except that somehow persistence ultimately was superior since ignorance was entropic and the evolutionary dialectic favored life's anti-entropic organizing principles.

Alas, she'd written that in a paper for philosophy class back when she'd still been permitted public schooling and the result had been a severe setback to her grades as well as her social range. Original thinking, it turned out, was antagonistic to her novice philosophy instructor's preordained lesson plans...


Friends grew more distant if they thought you knew exactly what they were thinking, though of course there was none of that precision in her family, at least, and perhaps none anywhere save among the legendary Healers of Liad. Damn the Healers, that they expressed no kinship, and offered no assistance, to those probable kindred living among the Terran worlds.