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04 July 2015 @ 06:27 am
_Rescue Mission_ part 6  
 

Chapter Six

Ajha looked around at the knock at the doorway. "Ra'd, excellent. This is Tayc, Hioz, Amsi. Wpxa, and Offe. Ra'd is officially Wqlw Withione Makkah, right?"

"Yes. I prefer Ra'd." The young man nodded to the other as his eyes swept the room. "So, what do you need me to do?"

"At the moment, a bit of catching up on what's going on, in Cannibal HQ." Ajha looked around . . . Fean pointed and he stepped over to pick up his mini comp. "Here are the files with the maps, synopses of what our ears are picking up, links to the full translations, and analysis. Feel free to share with Ebsa." Ajha noted Ra'd's flick of glance toward Offe. No doubt Offe had reacted to the mere mention of Ebsa's name. Jealousy plus political ambitions thwarted. One save me, this is why I hate large field encampments. Worse than home, where there's enough space and other people to get away from the bickering.

Ajha drummed his fingers. "Even with translation difficulties, it seems that they are alluding to something, but never actually saying anything they wouldn't want overheard. The question is, are they going behind their superior's backs for some reason, or do they suspect we have them bugged?"

The kids stirred. Five of them. So young, so arrogant, so clueless about how little they have to be arrogant about.

"So Fean and I are going to take quick look across. Hob, you'll in charge." He bit his lip, eyeing Ra'd. "Hopefully you won't have to come rescue us." The young man nodded, looking reluctant, but not arguing. One! I'd nearly forgotten what it's like to work with someone who will follow orders. "Once you're familiar with the situation, I'll take you across to see it all in person. We'll leave after lunch and be back for dinner, tomorrow." He hesitated. "I have a spell, from Q, that stabilizes the Chromosomes in your body, and reinforces you personality, in case of merges. I've pretty-well cover everyone in camp, may I put it on you?"

Ra'd nodded. "A wise precaution, under the circumstances."

He wafted the spell that direction. "Since I'll be taking you through, the next time Q is here I'll ask her to personalize one for you."

At the pavilion, Ajha was surprised to see Ebsa chatting away with the Earthers. Six "observers" who spent more time observing the Oners and the Fallen than they did the Helaos. Of course the Fallen, well, the Disco personnel from Comet Fall usually just popped in to drop off reports, and left again. Not a single one stationed here.

Wonderfully aromatic soup in serve-yourself tureens. Plates with sandwiches, sitting on beds of ice.

Ebsa was replacing the sandwiches as quickly as they were disappearing.

". . . just snob stuff. The office workers try to pretend they're better than field agents, and usually get in the minimum amount of field work that'll get them onto the promotion track back home. Me? I love being out in the field."

His analysts were sitting close enough to overhear, tossing the occasional scowl toward Ebsa and the Earthers. Surely they knew how real field agents felt about the dilatants collecting their minimum required points?

". . . Love the dinosaur worlds. You wouldn't believe the trouble we had getting tracking tags on some of those critters. Oops, excuse me." Ebsa stepped to the oven and opened the door. The mixed aromas of baking pastry and hot fruit wafted across the drafty building.

Pies? The boy is baking fresh pies? Oh Dear One! Wxxo's never going to let him go.

The large oven disgorged eight pies, and Ebsa reloaded it with pies from the fridge. It looked like the fridge was stuffed with them. Then he was back production-lining sandwiches. I don't recall anything about cooking on his records, this must be home grown. All this and brains . . . he'd be a massive intel asset. No one would think he was anything but a really good cook. Not that it matters to me, I'm getting back to X Teams as fast as possible. Ajha winced, and refused to believe he'd transitioned into management.

Back at the buffet tables Ebsa was shaking his head. "Nope those are for after dinner. It'll take me that long to get them all cooked."

Ajha exchanged glances with Fean. "We could wait until after dinner . . . "

***

They walked across, with backpacks, guns, and unnoticeable spells. On their first trip, they'd had a hideous time keeping anyone from noticing their very different vehicle. Since then, if they needed one, they'd simply stolen one.

Today lines of trucks were streaming to the west.

Ajha bit his lip. "Let's go see what they're up to." The Helaos had no magic, so unnoticeable spells were all they needed to walk closer, with no one ever seeing them. He waited at the edge of the road until the inevitable traffic slow down. They swung aboard a truck, peeked under the canvas and climbed in. It was stacked with crates . . .

"Ammunition. Looks like they're planning for war."

Fean nodded. "But who are they planning to attack?"



Chapter Seven

A grinning Paer came by early. "Oh, this smells heavenly! Mind, you, I think you're underutilized as a chef, but after weeks of vendo food I'm not going to complain. Meals were worse than being treated like a barely trained nurse by the doctors."

"What? You’re a fully qualified field medic, with Comet Fall medgician training!"

Paer's smile was wry. "They don't consider that a plus."

Ebsa sniffed. "I knew there was a reason I preferred docboxes to live doctors."

"Oh? I have a suspicion it involved not having to explain how it happened."

"Well . . . yeah."

"Oh, I'm actually here to get meals for our two hospitalized patients." Paer flashed up the orders on her comp. "Heat stroke."

"Hmm, let me show you how to get customized stuff out of the fab." He opened the control panel and tapped in for special products. It requested his administrator password. He typed in ADMIN. "That's the factory password. I have yet to find a single incident of anyone changing it." After which it was easy to get specialized meals. Fortified soups, in this case.

He sighed as she walked away. I can see why they'd under-appreciate me. But Paer? What a pack of idiots.

Of course the analyst puppies couldn't leave him alone.

Offe in the lead, they came and scowled as he fried meatballs. Equal parts fabbed goo, vat meat, and thawed beef. With mostly real spices. The sauce was simmering in three huge pots, and the fab was mass producing spaghetti.

"You are so far below that girl, you are barely qualified to drive her car, let alone be seen getting private with her. Don't you care about her reputation?"

Ebsa turned down the heat. Turned around. "Offe. Paer is a grown woman who can choose for herself who she wants to associate with. You should respect that. Instead, you manipulated her."

"I did not . . . I was doing it for her own good."

"You demonstrated brutal indifference to her feelings. And then you topped it off by showing her how essentially weak you are."

"She'd have gotten over her pique quickly enough . . . wait. Did you call me weak? You stupid little Closey, what do you mean weak?"

"You allowed yourself to be used by a second rate society reporter to create a juicy scene that would improve her ratings. Were you insane? You compromised the security of the President's daughter and are probably marked down as a security risk. You looked stupid and easily influenced to your superiors. One, Offe. At least have the sense to keep your head down and work your ass off for a while. The recordings were all confiscated and the reporters all warned. It didn't go public. So unless you keep stirring the pot, everyone will forget about all this in a couple of years."

They all stared at him, appalled. The other four sort of eased away from Offe, and he stepped back, a bit pale.

"You guys are supposed to be hotshot young analysts. Ambitious. Open your eyes and take a good hard look when someone dangles something you want. There's always a cost. Always. Analyze it. You're swimming in the shallow end of a big pool full of sharks. Learn fast. Before you find yourself tossed into the deep end."

They meandered off, looking . . . well, hopefully that was thoughtful, not stubborn.

Ebsa shook his head and went back to finish the meatballs, and start the garlic bread . . .

Ra'd snorted, behind him. "Sounds like I missed something interesting."

"Well, if I'd reacted like they expected, they'd probably have had a nice little high society news item." Ebsa took out the first trays of garlic bread, put two more in the oven. "So, you get to apprentice under Spy Master Ajha? Now that I'm jealous of."

Ra'd snorted. "Reading reports."

Ebsa walked down to the fab and grabbed the first load of pasta. Sprinkled parsley, spritzed with olive oil, tossed a bit, and started loading the hot buffet. "Yeah. Actually this is more fun than reading reports, so I'll just shut up. Until you get to do something really interesting." He swapped the garlic bread again, started the next, shoveled the bread into the tubs under the warming lights. Eyes the casual loungers who were drifting in and almost lined up. "Oh, c'mon ahead, you might as well get started."

He shifted the first two pots of sauce—traditional tomato based, and an alfredo sauce—out to the hot buffet, then the meatballs, and started preparing refills of everything.

He grinned at Ra'd. "The scary thing is, I'm enjoying this."

Ra'd laughed. "We'll see if you say that next month."

Breakfast was in full spate the next morning when Ebsa spotted the running men. Running through the tents of the army encampment.

Those are Helios uniforms!

Paer was sitting across the pavilion, facing him, with a couple of the other medical staff . . .

:: Paer! Behind you! Shield! Now! ::

:: Ra'd! Weapon up! ::

 
 
 
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on July 4th, 2015 09:32 pm (UTC)
Hee !

Start with a staff meeting !

The Oner staff allocation system seems to be a combination of bureaucratic and a maniac joker in the background.

Now we have foreshadowing for Ebsa since there is construction going on at the Empty World spy site AND the construction chief for the Dino World promised to pass the word. Hence the grapevine/ construction mafia could have done it.

But how do they link to Ra'd ?

Hob the hacker ?
matapampamuphoff on July 4th, 2015 10:09 pm (UTC)
Cue Maintenance Chief: "Did you see what he did to that warehouse! Did you see that! Inside and out! Everybody loves it! It's completely non regulation, and EVERYBODY suddenly wants to check out the paint sprayers! I don't believe this! Get him out of here, so I can repaint it!"

Cue Senior Administrator Kael: "Send him wherever his buddy went to. At least they only engaged in heroics, not beating up their own side. Or worse, weird art. I can't deal with an Action Team Artist!"