PartnerShip Author:Anne McCaffrey, Margaret Ball Her name was Nancia Perez y de Gras. Like the other five young people aboard she was an aristocrat...a member of one the illustrious High Families. And. like the others, she was a new graduate, just starting out on her own career. — But while the rest were bound for less-then-glamorous assignments--for reasons they preferred to conceal--on plan... more »ets in a remote sector of the galaxy, Nancia was already on duty and proud of it; as a brain-ship for the Courier Service. Born with grave physical disabilities, Nancia would never have survived without a complex life-support system. So her parents had sent her for training as a brain-ship, the one vocation that would allow her to excel, and to bring honor to the family name.
The shell that housed Nancia's human body was encased in a massive titanium column, with a direct linkage between her mind and her ship's computer. Her sense of self extended far beyond what most people considered important, encompassing the perfection of her gleaming outer hull and the ease with which she could do the mathematical calculations necessary to travel across space via singularities in order to reach distant worlds much faster than regular ships.
Yet none of Nancia's training had prepared her for the sheer perversity of ordinary humans. Well, perhaps, ordinary was in imprecise description of those five young men and women who were passengers on her maiden voyage.
Arrogant as only the children of the privileged upper class could be, each of them had dishonored his or her family and was being quietly gotten out of the way. But none of them intended to waste the opportunity. Even stranded in the back-waters of the galaxy, they believed they could gain wealth and power. And they had no scruples about how they'd achieve their goals.
Had Nancia been accompanied by a brawn on that fateful trip-a specially trained human pilot who could have given her a better perspective-things might have been different.
But, inexperienced and idealistic as she was, Nancia handled matters in her own way. She neglected to inform her passengers that she was sentient-and made recordings of the five as they not only stated their illegal schemes, but made a pact that would give the winner untold wealth and power. Evidence she could not use against the young aristocrats...until, yeats later, partnered with a brawn she could trust, an older, more savvy Nancia Perez y de Gras found a way to bring the criminals to justice...« less