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16 May 2017 @ 02:21 pm
_Scrambled_ part 23  
 

"Oh yes. Their Main Accounting building came through intact. Three hundred office workers, many old, a few in wheelchairs. Two security guards. Nice people actually. If your Minister tries to attack civilians, I'll stop him. You."

On which threat, he climbed back into the truck and drove off.

"So . . . you guys up for some more demolition work? That hardware store's got metal roof panels, and solar cells as well. And a garden department, with a nursery. We need to get the plants out before they die, and hunt for seeds."

/// Throw in some weather! Have it rain at least once.///

Chapter Lou

Day 12

"Damn, things are starting to look up."

Lou looked over at Harrison. Spiffy in clean clothes. "Yeah. Magic still creeps me out a bit, but those one way pipes are really nice. And clean clothes! My idea of a luxury has dropped like a rock . . . and my appreciation has soared."

Harrison snickered. "And no doubt Gala's appreciation has also soared."

"Huh. I think you have a girl on every floor."

"Only one? You have no idea what you and Gala missed once that wine started flowing. Speaking of which, we're going to need refills."

"Let's wait until we've worked over the pipes and see what fittings we need. Then we'll take the runabout over to the hardware store. If we can actually get water to the sixth floor, I'm moving into the big office. Gala's already taking about how to redecorate it."

"You may have to fight some other people for it. Mr. Ferguson got up and sort of walked this morning. He needs physical therapy, of which we can offer none at all. Everyone is feeling really good now that we've survived the hangover."

"We? You tried it too?"

"Everyone did. That stuff you brought home included some lemonade mix, and a couple bottles of vodka and well, the punch packed a punch even before we added the zowie juice. Ooooeeeee! It was even worth the hangover."

"Judging by your grin, it must have been." Good thing I only handed over one carton!

Harrison straightened, one hand reaching for his rifle.

Lou spun . . . relaxed. "It's Sergeant Matthis and company. Squad. Did you guys eat the whole cow?"

"Nope we were too busy." Harrison waved and walked out. "How's it going?"

"Weirdly. General Fu was out with the troops—patrolling, he says—and got his ass kicked. He raving mad, and half his troops are scared and . . . if I'm translating it right . . . whispering about magic and bullet proof demons."

"So you're taking a nice long patrol yourself?" Nick shook hand. "Good to see you guys again. Hungry as usual?"

"God yes, when the wind's right we can smell your bar-be-que. It's a wonder the whole army hasn't found it's way to your doorstep." Sergeant Ron Matthis waved at his men. "I brought some extras along, just to get them away from Fu's people. They're . . . acting weird."

Lou gulped. I wonder what Nick did to them? "Dinosaurs, maybe? Was anyone killed? Was there a fight?" Thank God Nick told me to keep low! Maybe I'll cut my hair, just in case one of them got a good look at me.

One of his men looked up from the plate he'd been handed. "They kept saying 'one man, a demon' as best any of us can work out. We all know a little Chinese, yi means one, with any inflection. Heard that a lot."

One of the young ladies handed Ron a plate. "You hungry, Lou?"

"Umm, yeah, actually." Lou blinked as a plate full of meat and some crispy thing that were probably mostly acorn was handed to him. "So, Ron, while you're patrolling, how'd you like to, umm, accidentally happen to shoot one of these oversized wild cows to take home? Never hurts to start showing the troops how to live off the land before all the food synthesizers break down, eh?"

"Yeah . . . we keep talking about, but . . . The officers are so paranoid about the Oners that they want us to save every bullet."

"Hmm, you know, those cows will sometimes charge if you accidentally get too close . . . "

"Forcing us to shoot it. And then, well, there was no danger, so . . . "

"You recruited some of those civilians to help you get it back to HQ."

The soldiers were grinning and nodding.

Empty plates were whisked away to be washed.

"It's amazingly handy, being around about a hundred middle-aged women who like to cook and are dedicated to cleanliness."

Ron smirked. "Not to mention the young women?"

"Umm, occasionally I feel a bit like the lamb invited to the wolf family picnic. Really, you guys ought to come around more often. Umm, how many of you guys are General Fu's and how many of you normal, civilized types are there?"

"Oh . . . there's over a thousand troops, General Fu's got three full companies, plus the armor . . . if he ever gets it repaired . . . And a bunch of officers and such. We've got two partial companies, and then there's the officers and clerical staff, for the bureaucrat types permanently assigned there. We're just keeping our heads down while they figure out what job and what troops belong to whom."

"Huh. I hadn't thought about that. Most of you guys are out at the big army base north of here. What . . . Oh, right the assault through the gate. Were you in on that?"

"Yeah, and let me tell you it was strange." Ron bit his lip. "We're not supposed to talk about it. I guess they don't want everyone to know how we got beat up by two guys."

"Two guys?"

"Yeah, first on the other side, then they came through the gate and blew it up." Ron hunched his shoulders. "We were some of the troops that went through. General Fu was pissed that he didn't get all the glory, but he told us off to guard the gate while his men took out all the Oners . . . "

"Guess it didn't work the way he had planned."

"No kidding. Things started getting weird, patches switching around." Ron waved at the building. "Small and close in at first, then they'd go back . . . and the next round was bigger, longer . . . Then the Gate blew. We were Across, and one of those guys told us to back up onto a concrete patch and maybe we'd get home. And it did. And we ran for it. Fastest two kilometers in company history. It kept switching around . . . We got back to HQ . . . and wound up here. Most of us, and about half of Fu's troops."

Lou nodded. "We forted up inside, when we ought to have run for it, gotten off this patch the first time we spotted something normal outside of it."

Ron nodded. "Do you think they'll ever find us?"

"Who? They blew up our gate, and we don't even know if they have one working or not." Lou looked over to where the women were clustering around Ron's squad. "Not dead sure I want then to."



Chapter BHG

Day 13

Captain Ahco turned away from the cycling docbox and eyed the priest. Finally on his feet.

"Feeling better, sir?"

The man eyed him. Shrugged. "It's rather hard to say. Physically I'm much better, but I'm still having trouble emotional and mentally. Without the presence of the One, I feel like the ten year old boy they kidnapped twenty years ago. I have memories that are . . . like the memory of a book I've read. Not a life I've lived. And . . . I can't tell what is my life and what is someone elses. I keep finding memories of things that happened before I was born."

Ahco thought that over. "That's . . ." terrifying. "That would be . . . "

"This is what they do to the children they steal. Some people are tougher minded, not as submerged in the one mind. But most of us . . . are never allowed to have an adulthood, to mature and grow." He looked away. "I think I hate them."

Ahco felt a chill, the quiet unemotional delivery . . . was not even close to normal.

"One . . . "

"No, not any longer. I am Izpo Withione Alcairo. I need to find a place to live, a job to do." He looked down at himself. "Clothes."

 
 
 
James ResoldierJames Resoldier on May 16th, 2017 10:42 pm (UTC)
Sciency stuff
Quote:

""No kidding. Things started getting weird, patches switching around." Ron waved at the building. "Small and close in at first, then they'd go back . . . and the next round was bigger, longer . . . Then the Gate blew. We were Across, and one of those guys told us to back up onto a concrete patch and maybe we'd get home. And it did. And we ran for it. Fastest two kilometers in company history. It kept switching around . . . We got back to HQ . . . and wound up here. Most of us, and about half of Fu's troops.""

:Endquote

I see we're going to eventually have to explain all this stuff
matapampamuphoff on May 17th, 2017 01:11 am (UTC)
Re: Sciency stuff
I've already had Xen and Q threatening anyone who wanted to run some tests just to understand the science.
matapampamuphoff on May 17th, 2017 03:22 am (UTC)
Re: Sciency stuff
And anyhow, this is eight books in the future, I have plenty of time to scrape up some sort of excuse to hide the reason, which was simply, "Cool! I can strand a bunch of people all over the multiverse!"
(Anonymous) on May 17th, 2017 09:32 am (UTC)
RE: Re: Sciency stuff
Oh, it's obviously an interaction between branes-- you know, you get them wrapped up with gates and all that, they start to twist (in how many dimensions?) and then some idiot blows the gate, and the unwinding unbalanced forces just drop chunks all over the place. There you go, and I didn't even use any math.
matapampamuphoff on May 17th, 2017 01:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Sciency stuff
(Great Gnu! Do they think I use math? Surely they realize it's multidimensional Handwavium!)