As every thinking man knows, every slave always yearns for the freedom his master denies him...
t he had never owned a groundcar. What need had a spaceman of a groundcar? Still, it would be nice to drive one just once, he thought; it would be a new experience, certainly.
Right now, though, he was looking for a Class Three bar; just a place to have a small, quiet drink and a bite to eat. He had a perfect right to go into a lower class bar, of course, but he had never felt quite comfortable associating with his inferiors in such a manner, and certainly they would feel nervous in his presence because of the sidearm at his hip.
No one below Class Three was allowed to carry a beamgun, and only Ones and Twos were allowed to wear the screening fields that protected them from the nerve-searing effects of the weapon. And they, being Execs, were in no danger from each other.
Finally, after much walking, he decided that he was in the wrong part of town. There were no Class Three bars anywhere along these streets. Perhaps, he thought, he should have gone to the Spacemen's Club at the spaceport
In an incredibly rigid class society (we're talking much worse than Victorian England here) of allied planets, a "guesser" is necessary to get spaceships to ports through a gauntlet of classless pirates. He calculates by training and precognition where the enemy ships will be, and uses fire control to direct the ships weapons to the exact place they'll show up momentarily in order counter their defensive maneuvering.
On shore leave, something very bad happens to the Guesser, which I won't give away, and he must try to set it right one way or another.
The plot rolls right along till the somewhat disappointing ending. It is fun getting to understand the protagonist's class rank in the society and how it determines his actions, and this could be the first chapter of a really fun novel. Maybe it is, and I don't know about it. I think it's a disappointment that Mr. Garrett has created such an interesting and detailed universe but doesn't follow up. Read it anyway.