Chapter Three: Consequences

Thrawve and the guard went to the main museum entrance to meet his mother. Thrawve ran up to her and hugged her. "Mum!" he said.

"You are the living end," his mother said. "What possessed you to go off like that?" She held him back a moment and studied him before relenting and hugging him. "At least you haven't hurt yourself." She looked over at the guard. "I'm sorry you had to deal with this," she said. "Thrawve's a good kid, but he attracts very strange sorts of trouble - he gets enthusiasms and doesn't know when to stop."

"Just see that he doesn't do it again," the guard said, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Actually, what he told be about how he did it is going to help us patch a couple of holes in our security."

"Really?" said Thrisa interest.

"I'm sure he'll tell you all the details," the guard said. "Do be sure he doesn't do it again," the guard says. "I don't want him getting hurt, and we really can't have children wandering around here in the middle of the night."

"I shall see to it that you are not troubled by him again," she said.

"Well, the best of luck, and goodnight to you, or perhaps I should say good morning."

"That is not for another hour yet I think," she said. "But in any case, thank you for looking after him."

Thrawve left the museum holding his mother's hand. He was silent for most of the long train journey home as he was very tired. Shortly before the end of the train journey, his mother woke him.

"Wake up, Thrawve," she said. "We will be home soon, and we need to talk. What you did is not acceptable. While I'm certain school will have a punishment for you, I cannot let this pass either. I imagine you used my red viewer to help you see the lines in the museum." She waited until Thrawve nodded. "You can't borrow it anymore."

Thrawve nodded again. He had a sort of expected that, but if he saved up his pocket money for the next month and volunteered for a few extra chores, he would be able to afford one of his own.

"In addition, you are going to apologize to the school and the museum in writing." Thrawve nodded again. He had been planning to do that anyway from the moment he'd decided on the wild escapade in the first place. "You are are also banned from my art studio for the next tenday, and I'm confiscating your sketchbook for the same amount of time."

That seemed a little excessive to Thrawve, and he tried to argue, but she just smiled and said that if he didn't like it he shouldn't have done it. Thrawve sighed and stopped arguing. It was only later he realized that if he'd made more fuss about the earlier punishments she might not have taken his sketchbook, since she trying to find something harsh enough to make sure he didn't do anything similar in future.

Over the next week, as he duly served his punishments, he thought about the mysterious artwork he'd seen. He tried looking it up on the computer systems at school. He found the artwork, but only as seen under lights and with the exact same information he'd seen at the museum. He also looked up early Chiss history, but the standard story was that the Chiss had evolved on Csilla. There were even studies of genetic relatedness between the Chiss and several other animals. It certainly looked like Chiss, cats, mice and other Csillan mammals had evolved from the same stock, but Thrawve couldn't help feeling that something was wrong with this picture. That artwork could not be what they said it was... As the months passed, he pushed the mystery to the back of his mind, but he never quite forgot. He promised himself that one day he would find out the whole truth.

The End... of this particular story.

A note on naming: From the (rather scanty) evidence available, I've decided to make the first portion of the name indicate blood family. The middle part is individual, and the last part is individual unless you are part of a registered Family. Merit adoptives do not adopt the name of their Family unless they have been Trial-born, which is rarer and of higher status. This is the only reason I could figure out for Thrawn being 'nuruodo and Thrass not when they are in the same Family. It also explains why Feesa and Formbi have the Chaf at the beginning of their names rather than at the end: they were born into the Chaf Family. Otherwise the Chiss naming system makes no sense whatever.

I also decided that the family name is generally passed down through the female line, since maternity is more certain than paternity, and to get away from our own society's standard.