The third story I’ve read by Clare, and she still hasn’t quite hit the mark for me. This is an ok story, but I do expect a bit more in Asimovs than simply ok.
The main protagonist had a NeuroLogic chip implanted in his brain as a child, forcing him to be loyal to the next in line to political power, who was of a similar age. Having grown up together, the young putative leader wishes to escape from the fate which awaits him, and the two flee to take up with rebels in the countryside. There’s some scientific stuff in the story, but it feels like it needs a bit more depth and exploration of issues. The indentured servant has their loyalty programmed in – it would have been a more challenging story if that servant had to overcome their programming, rather than simply being able to go with it.