Erit blinked. “Sold?” the word had lengthened and risen in tone. Her clutchmate paused, “You are the only one who had any of the skills required. Skrit, Tesrit and I are already indentured to the Company. You are the only one left. With your assignment, we may be able to repay the last of the Brood debts. We stand a chance of our offsprings’ offspring regaining a place in Society.” She had hung her head in acceptance. Her rank in the clutch, as the only female had been tenuous at most. She knew that it was merely a matter of time before she was sacrificed to the greater good of her male clutchmates.
The fact that she had received technical training and had embarked on a career had been an unprecedented boon. Few females ever left the Brood homestead, let alone took up a place in the males’ world. The fact that her Brood had no homestead had always struck her as one of those classic twists of fate where you are damned before you even began. Her parents had gambled, and lost. Their progeny were left to pay the price.
Landless, with nothing but their wits and native aptitudes to draw on, her clutchmates had done the best they could. It had taken a mere eight passes for her to earn her Biotech grade. Something that had warmed her pride, although she was careful never to show it.
She had the patience, diligence and focus that were inherently female traits. The males in her classes were quick and sharp, leaving her feeling slow and heavy in her thinking and learning. But she was not cursed with the same temptations that faced her classmates. She knew her place and wasted no time in engaging the political jockeying that often undid her male counterparts. She did not get distracted by power plays and the intrigues that took up valuable energy or study time.
Bitterly she realised that her success had been her undoing. The Brood would have received a higher price because she was educated. She seriously doubted that her brood potential had earned extra credits. She was to be sent offworld, where none of her kind were to be found. So there was no likelihood of earning political clout with any partnerships or liasons she could engage in.
Her farewells were brief and entirely devoid of any emotion from her clutchmates. It was the way of her kind. Her duty, once set, was not to be dwelt upon, only executed as efficiently as possible. The Company official who had tested and accredited her had been more sympathetic. He had been considerate and detailed in her briefing, and had obliquely acknowledged the sacrifice she was making to her Brood.