Mik was sandy-haired and fair-skinned, with sideburns and a goatee and the kind of knife-blade eyes that hinted at ancestors invading across the plains from Central Asia. He was handsome and gifted, he blushed easily and hummed when he concentrated, and he was soft-spoken but interesting – a good combination. He actually listened, rather than pretending to listen while waiting a suitable interval before it was his turn to talk again . . .