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17 May 2017 @ 10:44 am
_Scrambled_ part 24  

"I think that can be arranged." Ahco turned for the outer doors. Spotted Booze—Princess Zoob—and waved her down. "Have you guys got a list of empty apartments? Izpo needs a place to stay and clothing."

Booze looked the former priest over, and nodded. "We've got a list, including the sizes of clothing abandoned there. Looks like you'll need one of the lower floors."

The pale man nodded. "At least until my legs have finished healing and my muscles built up more strength. And . . . is there anything anyone needs doing? I need to work, to . . . earn a place in the community."

An elderly couple turned and stared. "But you’re a Priest!" the man sounded horrified. "You shouldn't have to do anything."

Izpo looked baffled. "But we always had tasks. Things that needed to be done. On top of . . . of listening to the people, to everyone. I will help here as well. What do you do?"

"We're retired. We have our pensions." The woman frowned at Ahco. "The government takes care of us."

Ahco boggled. One! She's right. We've been doing entirely too much for too many people.

"But we're marooned here. There are no pensions, nor, for that matter, a government." Still in that soft mild voice. "I think that tomorrow I will walk out and see what edible plants I can find."

The sputtering couple looked at the priest and then turned on Ahco.

"Surely you don't intend to make us . . . do what? Pick berries?" The woman was clearly aghast. "I am Former Subminister of Finance Zeux Neartuone New York, and my husband is Doctor Wjdi Withione Caracas, Professor Emeritus of the Paris Institute of Technology."

Ahco eyed them. Active looking, healthy. Clearly well into their second century, but with no obvious infirmities. "Berries would be nice. But I recommend going in a group, with a guard."

"What!"

"In case of predators." Ahco looked back at Booze. "Find Izpo an apartment. I've got to see if the Minister is . . . To see how the Minister is doing."

Booze had her lips pressed firmly together, but the laughter shown in her eyes.

Yeah, funny the first time, but there are going to be a lot of upset people when word of this gets around.

Heh. Maybe I can refer all complaints about the lack of government pension guarantees to MacU. Keep him too pestered to restart his miniature war.

***

Ahco stood well back and watched the Minister of War being manhandled like a baby. Rather like a Royal Heir being born with plenty of witnesses.

Ijje hovered grumbling about how they ought to have left him in longer, as the man coughed and spat to clear his lungs of the repair matrix fluids.

"What . . . " Hack, cough, spit, "happened?"

"We retreated in good order, and got you into the docbox." Ijje edged forward. "You can read the repor . . . " He stopped at a snarl from the minister.

"Retreated! Where's Major Atzw?"

"Dead, and forty other men. We were out numbered, and not trained for the mission."

"You are Army!" Cough, retch, spit.

"Retired. Half the Guards are over sixty, and even the young ones aren't as fit as we ought to be. And we've trained as guards, not soldiers."

"Don't give me excuses." The minister managed a credible snarl before he started coughing again. He glared at Dr. Edrw. "Do something about this!"

The doctor shook his head. "No. Coughing is the most efficient, least damaging, and least painful way to clear your lungs. Keep it up. You'll be fine in another ten minutes."

More coughing and spitting. "I feel like the Ones own Hell!"

"Yes. The doc box has done all it can. you'll need to rest quietly for another week at a minimum, and then gradually build your strength up to normal."

The Minster spat, sat up and looked around the makeshift ICU. Eyed Ijje, frowned. Eyed Ahco.

"Captain Ahco, what would you recommend to eliminate the Earthers?"

"At the moment we are badly outnumbered. We need to recruit from the civilian population, and also start some specialized training among your current guards."

Ijje glared. "What?"

"Shields. Your people didn't have even rudimentary physical shields to protect the Minister, let alone themselves. That has to be addressed immediately. If there are insufficient men capable of shielding, we'll see about the recruits. A lot of the residents of the apartment towers are With' and Near'."

Ahco looked the Minister in the eye. "The next battle, we need to fight like Oners."

***

"I've put my foot in it this time!" Ahco looked at his guards. "I am now in charge of magical training. Any of you have teaching experience?"

Shaken heads. A couple of snorts from the men who'd been assigned to the Black Horse Guards as grooms. "Some of us don't even have much student experience."

Coff nodded at Ajdo. "You two are the best at battle shields. Surely we can figure out how to get some of the Ministry guards up to speed, and train the rest on coordinating with the shield carriers."

Ahco remember his earliest lessons in projecting a physical shield an arms length in front of himself. It had been very difficult, and . . . difficult. "That's going to be time consuming."

The Princess were in the back. Myyk caught his gaze. "We all have training, but not training in training others. We'll work something out. Shields, definitely. Fireballs? Too energy draining, for showy but minor results. Slice? Stun? Very short range on those. But if they get that close, and we're low on ammo . . . One. This could get nasty."

Dipper but her lip. "I could ask in the Red Zone . . . but . . . "

Ahco winced. "But what would the Minister say if he found out Azho the Priest Killer was holding magic classes? I shudder to think. Go ask."



Chapter Nick

The women pounced on the nursery plants.

They split the little seed packets among the gardeners and cleaned up.

"Not," Nick pointed out, "that Umaya—and probably all the rest—won't have me digging holes for the trees."

Gammer snorted. "As if we can't dig our own holes? Just because women didn't get proper Warrior training doesn't mean we don't know plenty of magic."

Nick grinned. "And probably wider applications than mere warriors?" His attention jerked to a woman dismounting from a horse he hadn't noticed approaching. My Princess. He kicked himself mentally. Not mine, dammit.

"Princess Deip. How may we help you?"

"Actually, we've been discussing magic as well. Specifically, training both the guards and the civilians in defensive and offensive magic." She shrugged. "I figured we should try to rope in a Warrior, since we've got one handy."

"Yeah! Us too!" Hakim and Zog raised their hands and gathered power.

Zog got a little too excited and . . . Nick quickly redirected the little fireball into the cooking fire. Zog dodged back behind Hakim, but he was too late to avoid notice.

Dipper was standing with her mouth open in horror. Shut it, put on her poker face.

Marco and Enuf were nodding. A couple of the women looked hopeful.

"I never much tried." Enuf shrugged. "But you know, even the little I've picked up from you is pretty handy."

"Right." Nick looked around. "The lessons ought to be taught on bedrock, so there's a power sink available."

Dipper nodded. "Pretty much straight out from the apartments there's a limestone outcrop at the crest of a hill."

"I'll check it out tomorrow morning. Perhaps Captain Ahco could send out a few people he wants trained and we can . . . figure out how best to do this." He glanced over at the boys. "A beginners class before school, perhaps. And intermediate after that?"

Gammer crossed her arms and glowered.

"And perhaps a class in advanced battle magic, for people who are strong and already well trained." Nick grinned. "Although the thought of Umaya with a hundred meter punch is a bit scary."

She glowered, but a bit of a smile leaked through.

:: You already know damn near everything. A couple of days training and practice, and you'll be utterly terrifying. ::

Nick walked over to Dipper. "What training do the Presidential Guard Princesses get? Or does that Princess School train all their students?"

"None of us have any experience teaching magic." She backed away, leading the horse, and walked beside him. Glanced back.

Nick nodded. "Yes. I recognized him. He's safer here, where he's just one more kid, than heavily guarded in a war zone. He's calling himself Zog, and thinks himself well hidden. The dog hasn't bitten anyone yet."

"Oh . . . One bloody Hell."

"Perhaps you . . . or one of the other guards . . . could develop an interest that brings you here more often." He was walking much too close to her. Arms nearly brushing.

"Oh . . . One bloody Hell."



 
 
 
James ResoldierJames Resoldier on May 17th, 2017 08:17 pm (UTC)
Oh ... One bloody Hell! Nick's gonna have his own Nighthawk! (or maybe his own Rael...)
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on May 17th, 2017 08:56 pm (UTC)
She's interested, yes.

But what doesn't ring quite true is that the Princesses aren't making suggestions for magic training. They, being all trained themselves, should have ideas.
matapampamuphoff on May 17th, 2017 10:41 pm (UTC)
Or maybe he's going to get his heart broken. Or she'll shoot him. Or she tries and he kills her. Or the Earthers kill her and he goes berserk on them or . . .

There's not much planning going on with this one. Heaven help the Characters if I have indigestion some night.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on May 17th, 2017 11:27 pm (UTC)
Indeed.

You could have a nightmare when your characters realise you are the author and Take Exception.

Is Rael the only Princess we have seen with a gun?
That didn't turn out well.
matapampamuphoff on May 17th, 2017 11:47 pm (UTC)
The Presidential guards tend toward stunners, and always concealed when in plain clothes. The assigned Princesses don't carry. They have more subtle ways to kill people.

My excuse for the stunners is that the bodyguards won't have to hesitate about shooting in crowds or at someone close to the President or family member they are guarding. The outer perimeter is more heavily armed.

See, for instance, _Olympian_, or in Empire, the attempt to kidnap Paer while she was riding.

I envision the stunners as some sort of ultrasonic effect, that can be blocked by an energy shield if it extends down into that frequency. I need to find an excuse for one to be used on a Comet Fall Mage, who sucks up the power. Really, worse than trying to burn one at the stake.

However the Princesses are trained with all weapons, and the Presidential Princesses practice regularly with the Black Horse Guards. I've just never shown any of that.
matapampamuphoff on May 18th, 2017 01:32 am (UTC)
Nightmares? How about daytime audible hallucinations? Xen _sneered_ at me when I tried to make him all angsty after I killed Rael in Embassy. He leaned on the back of my chair and informed me that he was not going to angst over a character I'd deliberately added to a late draft just "to get him more emotionally involved" by killing her.

Honestly, I was afraid to look around. Got right to work on that final scene, and he hasn't bothered me since.

It's . . . interesting, what the subconscious will do to get your attention.
mbarkermbarker on May 18th, 2017 02:17 am (UTC)
Given that the Wine has a whole mess of healing spells in it, I wonder what it would do with say a mental trauma? I mean, sexual urges are one thing, but add in subconscious driven hallucinations aimed at healing a mental trauma, and you might have something really terrifying!
matapampamuphoff on May 18th, 2017 02:31 am (UTC)
I suspect it only heals physical trauma. Emotional or psychological problems would only be addressed to the degree that they affect/are affected by out-of-kilter adrenal glands, or other misbehaving chemicals, chronic pain, and so forth.
mbarkermbarker on May 18th, 2017 04:39 am (UTC)
Yeah, given what the shared subconscious is already doing, we really don't need to complicate things anymore. Yung, God of Zeitgeist, would probably step in and mess everything up!