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05 June 2017 @ 06:09 am
_Scrambled_ part 37  
 

Chapter Nick

Nick stood back. Out of the reach of temptation.

Grab her. Carry her off.

Get killed.

"Take your time. Be sure. If you return, I'll be here . . . Or maybe over the hills, hard to say which way the governments will jump. Any of the five of them."

He could see her swallow. The sheen of tears.

"I need to see my mom, my sister, a doctor . . . think."

Nick nodded, glanced back to watch MacU stalk through the corridor, most of the ministry guards following him.

Half the civilians from the apartment towers were staying, the rest were packing. Ebsa had pointed out that with no danger here, there was no rush and they could arrange moving companies to come and take everything away to whatever new apartment they leased.

Same with Main Accounting, and even some of the Earth soldiers. We're getting rid of the problems and the unwilling. It's going to be a lot better now.

Dipper looked around as Nighthawk walked up.

"So, sort of almost sister-in-law. Take this. It can hold an entire building, should you have one handy. Like, say, a barn full of cattle, sheep, and goats. Just in case you've truly lost your mind." The dark woman grinned. "Like me."

She blinked in astonishment.

Nick edged a little closer. "The bags of the prophets were made by Those Left Behind. Now that we've found them . . . I suspect they'll get a whole lot more common."

A laugh from his . . . older brother. "Not really. The governments hate how easy they make smuggling." He held out two bars. One shiny and one with rust spots. "Would you like a new one, or father's?"

Nick stared at the rusty one . . . swallowed, remembering the priests taking it away before they anesthetized him . . . "It has too much freight of emotions and memories for me, now. I'll start anew. Thank you."

Ra'd nodded and looped an arm around Nighthawk's shoulders and steered her away.

Deip blinked back tears. "I . . . "

"Yeah. Well, I'll be busy and running around doing things. It's not like I'm going to pine away . . . But I will be waiting for you."

Just scoop her up. Take her far away, where they'll never find us.

Nick stepped away. Couldn't stand it. Turned and walked away. Spotted Zog petting Zombie . . . who was not looking much like her name since Nighthawk had worked over her cheek.

"Zog . . . You're an honorary member of the Red Zone Gang. And my family. Find out if Hakim is wanted, if not, then once he's too old for the One to take, he could go back, go to college."

Zog brightened.

"Now, remember what I've taught you. Especially the parts about control, responsibility and honor. But don't forget to fun." Nick saw Ahco approaching. "So. have a nice trip."

Zog shook his hand, then straightened his shoulders and wiped the woe-be-gone look from his face. Nodded. "Maybe I can come back for vacations." Then he turned and walked away. Deip joined them . . . one last meeting of eyes . . . then they all walked through the corridor and were gone.

Not forever.



Chapter Poe

Poe followed the Black Horse Guards, stomach roiled, hands trembling. I have to know. I have to free myself openly. I can't just cravenly hide for the rest of my life, wondering when they'll drag me back into their mental enslavement.

I must free myself.

And . . . I have an apology and repatriations to make.

The corridor took them to hill above and north of the pinwheel.

Fifty meters to another arch of rocks.

Poe looked back . . . It was all an accident. Or a miracle. Certainly an opportunity. Please One . . . no, Allah, no. No. I won't to a god. Just let me be free to return to this place of my awakening.

He turned back and stepped through the gate. A larger wrench this time. A flat prairie of shorter grass, a newly paved road. Buildings that looked like they were intended to be temporary. Signs on them. He followed the Black Horse Guards to, and into the one labeled "One World."

A man with a handheld scanner was passing them through as quickly as their implanted ID was recognized. Poe got a startled look. "One Izpo?"

"Yes. I need to return to Makkah. How can I best arrange that?"

The man tapped at his comp . . . "A taxi will take you to the airport, a ticket on the 1525 flight to Alcairo is paid for and the train to Makkah is, of course, free."

"Thank you." Poe headed out the back door and walked through another gate . . .

The thick syrup of the presence of the One rolled through his mind.

He had no trouble knowing which taxi had been paid to take him to the airport, his ID passed him through the ticket check, a restaurant fed him, then he walked onto the plane. There was no pressure, just the subliminal presence of . . . everyone.

The plane landed, he walked down to the passages to various destinations, took the slidewalk to the train depot . . . he was most of the way to Makkah when the voices started.

:: Welcome, welcome. ::

He closed his eyes to the outside world. Held his inner shields hard and started thinking.

:: I have come to say goodbye. I will not be a part of this any longer. ::

:: You are ours, part of us. ::

:: You took me when I was a child. Never let me grow. But now I have. And I will not be part of you again. ::

:: You will. ::

:: A hundred and twelve years ago I gave up when I ought to have kept fighting. But I am not that child. Now I will not stop fighting. ::

:: You will. Eventually. Everyone gets tired eventually. ::

:: I am sorry. I am shamed that I never stood up for the boys that refused you. Never tried to make us obey the laws. We all had the right to refuse. And we never accepted that, once our own refusals had led to nothing. ::

:: We need priests. ::

:: You do not need them so young you over ride them, take their unprotected mind before they can even grasp power. There has been no war for nine centuries, no need for the extreme power of the eunuchs. Men and woman who feel the call should be able to answer it without being mutilated, at any age. ::

:: No. They will bring their ideas, their preferences, their memories. ::

:: Do you fear to lose the memories of the Prophets? ::

:: The personalities, the presence of the Prophets is with us still. We will not allow it to be swamped, overwhelmed and lost in an ocean of personalities. ::

:: And so you rape the minds of children. All of you who are younger than me, I apologize that I did not help you in your desperation. I will try to help you now. I owe you that. ::

Pressure now, on his inner shields, as the train slowed and stopped at the plain unroofed, unornamented platform.

Poe hefted his backpack and walked out into the city. Priests—both men and women—saw him and passed by. The outer world meant little, here.

:: You will tire. You will sleep. We will wait. ::

He didn't answer them, just walked past offices and side temples. Walks and fountains. Their only purpose, he finally understood, to give health exercise to the bodies that built, cleaned and maintained them, while the One Mind employed most of their thoughts and attention.

A cafeteria, buffets laid out, almost ready for the next meal.

He stopped and pulled a bottle of wine out of his back pack.

 
 
 
mbarkermbarker on June 5th, 2017 12:02 pm (UTC)
We're going to have a party!
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on June 5th, 2017 12:41 pm (UTC)
Are we to have a mention of Nick's stepmother?
matapampamuphoff on June 5th, 2017 01:07 pm (UTC)
Depending on how long I drag out the Happily Ever After we'll have The Usual Gang having a bit of a vacation in the wilderness.

Paer will teach medical magic, Nighthawk and Raven will demonstrate the nitrogen fixing and bug repellent spells to all the gardeners, the hot pipes, window "screens" that heat of cool air . . . probably learn a few tricks from these Oners as well.

Marco will demonstrate the proper construction of a Wild West Log Fort, and log cabins.

Nightly cooking contests, hands on midwifery and neonatal care . . .

And of course Dipper will return, no doubt with a barnful of domestic cattle, sheep, goats, chickens in her bag. Riding a pinto smart horse . . .

The fun scene, of course, will be President Agni meeting President Orde and having the other Agni bull his way into the meeting.
Orde looked over at the Nuked One Guards. "Don't kill him, but otherwise, no problem."

muirecanmuirecan on June 5th, 2017 12:57 pm (UTC)
Oh my. That is going to hurt. :D Good!
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on June 5th, 2017 11:05 pm (UTC)
Pam

I see that Dancer (Wine of the Gods Book 15) is a freebie this week

was it mentioned anywhere?


Mike D
Little Egret in Walton-on-Thames