Slubka’s voice was level as the solid line of her eyebrows. “You are armed. I am not. You therefore presume that I will obey you.” Her breath smoked in the frigid air. “You would not so presume if you had attended carefully during our previous conversations. As I have told you, my personal safety is not my primary concern. Your personal safety..” one corner of her mouth twitched in what might have been a smile—“is not even on the list. If you point your weapon at me; or take one step toward the door; or wait seventy seconds before dropping your weapon and rescinding your demands; I will lean back harder on this window. You are aware of the certain consequences.”
She pressed her elbow against the blackened pane. Bugnok hoped he was only imagining that the glass squealed with strain and through the thinning barrier, horribly distinct, came the eager sucking sound that almost drowned out the screaming below. “You wouldn’t do that.” Bugnok gasped.
Slubka was good at making people hear and see things that were not exactly there, or not there yet. It was the only useful skill she had learned from her nine-year apprecticeship with Grokh. It had taken her only three days to master. It had almost been worth the price Grokh charged her. But even if it hadn’t come close to being worthwhile she would have had no recourse. The mindwarping masters of the Dovagrulkht had long since ceased even pretending to abide by the Psulgthusk treaty. Slow to nonexistent law enforcement was one benefit of life on a used-up mining planet near the fringe of the universe. Of course, if law enforcement had been more consistent the planet would not have been used up so quickly. But back then the Ruling Council had good reasons for looking the other way.
“Oh, but I would.” she said.