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21 July 2015 @ 11:59 am
_Exterior Relations_ part 11  
 

Chapter Eleven

Xiat was tense. Unhappy.

Izzo took one look and led her off for some privacy. "Tell all. I have hit men, you know. Well, actually I haven't looked into it, but I probably have hit men."

"It's . . . I'd say poor stupid girl, but now that she's sober and the hangover's gone, she's more mad than upset, and nothing even resembling traumatized. No. The problem is me. You always assumed I flunked Princess school because I couldn't kill a lover. That was not the problem. They judged that I'd have sex with my assignment, and thereafter associate him with the men who raped me when I was sixteen. That I would be looking for any excuse to kill him. They were right too, until some damn Colonial came along and tempted me to rethink the matter." She stared out the window, her back to him.

"You never said anything even close . . . "

"Bah. Party. Drunk. Date rape drug. I was too hung over to realize . . . how sore I was, and why. And then I disbelieved until I realized that I had a great huge hole in my memory. And my parents had been so disgusted with my passed-out-drunk-and-brought-home-by-friends state, I didn't know what to tell them. Maybe it was voluntary, I was voluntarily drunk. And while I dithered, my period started, so I wasn't pregnant – back then we didn't get our exact numbers until we graduated, so we wouldn't go all snobby in school. As if we didn't already over With- Near- Clos- or Serva- designations. Guys were hitting on me, I didn't know how to not glow, didn't realize how bright I was. My father called me a slut . . . "

He eased up close to her, uncertain what she needed or would accept.

"Then I had my counseling session, and an offer from the Princess School. I took it. Just walked away from my past."

He could see the faint trembling and gathered her up in his arms. He'd seen her official records, knew what happened next. "And you never had an opportunity to get right with your parents before the accident. Never found out who . . . You did?" He interpreted her twitch. "What did you do to him?"

"Them. Last year when I was around them again, Ewmo said something, several others snickered . . . " She leaned on him as her voice went thoughtful. "But all I felt was a rather tepid ick! Oh, I told myself I'd kill them all later, but I'd outgrown all that. I had no trouble not killing him, Bo or Orc. I didn't even think about how I felt about it when Arlw was cleaning up his tracks." Her arms tightened around him. "Guess you're a very good influence."

"Good. I'll be whatever you need me to be."

"Maybe just a little bit kinder to Wizzy. I put a contraceptive spell on her that should hold for six months."

"You think someone spiked the wine with the Joy Juice?"

"I'd nearly guarantee it. There was about a kiloton of blackmail material at that party. From Wgli showing homosexual tendencies to four Princesses entering into a cabal's plans rather than monitoring their assigned government officials."

"Wiggly? One. Maybe I'd better have the whole report. Would you prefer to write it out?"

"I think, because of the sensitive nature, we'd best stick to verbal. The less in writing to come back, the better."

"That's my Xiat. Always thinking two steps ahead of me. And, I think I'd better find out what specific kind of training that girl has and put her to work. After I put the fear of Me into those idiots." He cupped her face in his hands. "Don't empathize too much with Wizzy. She's four years older than you were, and has already gone through Princess school. She probably thinks she invented kicking men's asses. She, umm, well to judge from you, she recognizes when men are attempting to manipulate or control her, and how to resist. She won't cringe in shame, she won't be blackmailed, and if anyone snickers she'll probably beat the crap out of them."

Xiat relaxed against him. "Do you really see all that in me, or did you read up on the school?"

"I've seen all your unexpected reactions, especially how you recognize efforts to manipulate you emotionally and decide whether to ignore them or pretend they worked. So I read up on the school. You might need to do a bit of reviewing on male egotism, though. So you understand and don't beat me up if I slip and say the wrong thing."

She pushed back and frowned at him. "Colonial, something is bubbling up inside your head, and you’re trying to not smile. If I promise to not beat you up, will you get it out of your system so you can listen properly?"

"Yes. Yes!" He swooped her up in his arms. "Nobody else has ever held your heart. Mine, mine, all mine!" He placed her back on her feet.

"That . . . that was the most infuriating, insane thing you have ever said to me."

"I hated the thought that you had memories, presumably fond, of some other man. That maybe you thought out what-if scenarios that didn't include me winning your heart. That didn't include me at all. If you let me live after that, I'll know you really do love me. Pity they only executed Bo, I'll have to arrange something nasty for Ewmo and Orc."

"I should kick you all the way down to dinner, which we are currently missing."

"We can raid the kitchen later. Now, what happened at this party?"

"She said that the party was clearly an effort to recruit herself, Mushy and Whipper into some group. No doubt to spy on you. She said there were undercurrents, and the group, in isolation showed traces of ceremonial merge ties. The other Princesses were acting like co-conspirators, they were all bound up in the merge ties, too. Two of them backed her into a corner and talked about her relationship with you. Some others cornered Whipper, and Mushy wound up somehow serving wine, which was dangerously submissive and indicative of seeking acceptance."

"Is there a Game School somewhere that I can send those two to?"

"Fraid not, otherwise I'd have sent you, years ago. Wizz said Dee noticed something and stomped across the room. While Lwar was looking after her, Wizz slipped over, got some wine and tried to hide behind her glass. Then Idzo walked by and she said she was overcome by a wave of lust and grabbed him. By the time she was paying attention again, Ziod and Dee were screaming at each other, Wgli was jacking at Ebko who was laughing like he was drunk. Izfo was naked, flat on his back with Kaeb, also naked, on top of him. Iffi and Lwar were going at it on the sofa and Ikti was trying to break up the cat fight.

"Idzo was snoring, so Wizz said she just got up and walked over to Ikti and hauled him away from the cats and down to the rug. Next time she took inventory, everyone was naked, including some of the staff, Ebko was riding Dee with Ziod spanking him. Wiggly was all over Idzo, who wasn't noticing much of anything. Izfo was busy with a maid. Iffi was available, so Wizzy grabbed him next. Then she says she thinks she did it with Ebko and Wgli switching back and forth and then they did it together while she joined Ziod and Dee playing with Idzo, who was still flat on the floor. Then they gang spanked Iffi and Ikti. At some point she hunted down her clothes and walked out, stopping to seduce someone, get dressed and walk out. She says she walked all the way home and accosted and seduced three men on the street on the way. Then she blushed even deeper and shut up. I hope she didn't attack Ohno."

"Huh. Well. I hope she did. Might loosen the stodgy old man up." Izzo ran his hands through his short hair. "All right. It sounds like a good, solid, well-rated orgy to me. They'd all better hope they don't get blackmailed, or if a game player arranged this, vids will be up on the grid, and their influence shot full of holes."

"I wonder what effect the party will have on their merge ties." Xiat frowned. "They were all Uncle Ajki's suspects. Surely it wasn't all of them?"

"And can I break them up, now. And the Princesses . . . " Izzo frowned down at her very very pregnant belly. "When we, umm, gave the Joy Juice a try, were you using any contraceptives? Anything to suppress your periods?"

"Just mental suppression. Huh. Those other four Princesses may be in for a bit of a surprise. I hope I got to Wizzy in time."

"With a disastrous disruption like this, I ought to be able to break up the cabal. I wonder what the One will do with four pregnant assigned Princesses. In fact, what the hell is going to happen when Zoid and Dee get to Makkah?"

"Oh, they'll stop about a hundred kilometers short, and take their problem to the Princess school." Xiat snickered. "I'll have to call a friend and at least hear the gossip."

***

"Well, that sure sounded like a party to remember. Or maybe you prefer to forget? The problem . . . " Izzo looked down the table at the six subdirectors, and made sure they were paying attention. "Is blackmail."

They recoiled as one. Their faces, in various shades of tan, paled and stiffened. They were spread out, avoiding each other. Avoiding even looking at each other.

Very Good.

"The worst thing to do, in the face of blackmail is to pay. Whether money, information or advancement is the price. Instead, laugh. Dare him to fuck five princesses in a row. Then you come and tell me and I squash him like a bug."

Izzo let his shield leak. They leaned away. "Especially if one of you is the blackmailer."

Now they were looking at each other. Eyes narrowed and suspicious.

Excellent.

"So go away and think about it, and keep your parties a bit tamer for a bit."

Ebko frowned at him. "What are you going to say to the Princesses?"

"Nothing. Anyone stupid enough to try and blackmail a trained Princess deserves what happens to him."

That brought both snickers and relieved looks to their faces.

What the hell is their goal? Ajki was right, about them being up to something. I need to track the Action Teams. Perhaps Ajha can figure them out. After he gets back from the last errand I sent him on.



Chapter Twelve

Grassy hillside sloping down to scattered groves of trees along a river. Flu lifted her vision. They were high up. With much higher mountains behind them, foothills in front. Between hills she could see the river winding out across plains and into the distance.

"It's very, umm, very." Empty. Silent. Terrifying. Huge. Some primal energy bubbled up from her center, filled her, and erupted in a whoop. "It gorgeous! We can keep it? It's all ours?" Flu cast a glance at the nodding Q, then turned and ran down the hill, laughing.

The rest of the kids streamed by and Q shook her head, laughing herself. She pulled rocks up from the bedrock ten feet down and formed the arch for the Gate, so everyone could find it again. Then a bit of road building, and the kids were going to need some starter buildings . . .

The kids had been talking up a new world with their contemporaries in all the towns. Spreading up and down the ages. This first group was fifty strong, with a fair number of them armed, and a few of them well enough trained magically to raise shields and slice. They shouldn't have too many problems with predators, and the naive fauna here would be easy to hunt for awhile, and as they spread out. No doubt the Oners would want to have a railroad gate down on those plains for their grain exports, but that would be next year's project. Today, a dozen large houses and a hotel for people moving onward. A water system. A large paddock for cattle being shifted through. A road down toward those alluring plains. . .


 
 
 
Bretbretw on July 21st, 2015 08:27 pm (UTC)
Damn.

That's a libertarian's dream, you know. A whole world without the corrupt governments of this one fleecing us. Flu, et al, are lucky to be able to give it a shot. Hopefully, it won't be a disaster.
matapampamuphoff on July 21st, 2015 09:08 pm (UTC)
I often wonder just how much wishful thinking I'm sticking in these books. Space colonization without the travel time, and weight restrictions. Most planets habitable, edible plants and animals. A bit of searching to avoid already inhabited worlds.

Probably one of the worst improbabilities of my multiverse is the ease with which they actually do find the natives, before they're three generations into settling a different continent.
(Anonymous) on July 22nd, 2015 02:53 pm (UTC)
Is it hitmen? I can't spell, and I'm on my phone, but the first time I read that hit as in punched.
I think it's quite likely natives would be found fast. For one, they keep pushing back the settlement dates of the Americas. Homo sapiens seems to have a really strong drive to go see new places.
For another, Fallen and Oners are going to look for minds. Natives wouldn't have much chance to hide. For a third, Oners and Earthers put up satilites, and surely are looking for campfire style infrared sources with them.

Holly, on the android.