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04 January 2018 @ 02:42 pm


They all turned and looked at a raised voice.

"No, no, no. You can't just leave these things wherever you want! They have to be in line to hook up the plumbing!"

Ebsa eyed the not orderly almost- line of squishies. And the familiar exasperated man waving his arms at the construction crew. "Looks like Wxxo's having problems with inexperienced delivery people." He headed across the roughly mown grass to the bulldozed construction site.

"This one doesn't have plumbing, so it doesn't matter. Just get a crane." The driver climbed back into his truck, a whine as the ramp the squishy had slid down cranked back to flat and truck drove off, leaving Wxxo swearing.

"Hi Boss. Need help?"

"No, when it finally gets too bad I can punch them myself. What I need is a crane." He kicked the cube of the just delivered squishy, all the walls floors and roof in segments that slid and folded and compacted the building down to something that would fit easily through a gate. Three to a flatbed tip. From the looks of it, the drivers had just been tipping their beds and dropping all three together. "This one isn't even turned the right direction, and if it hasn't got plumbing . . . " He leaned to read the label. "Expansion or storage. What the One bloody hell. I need places for people to live."

Ebsa eyed the ragged line of squishies, all of them still squished.

Wxxo nodded. "Yep. Half of them turned wrong, quite apart from being out of line."

Ebsa looked back at the Teamers who had followed him. "So . . . you guys ever do any levitation? No? Well, you were complaining about being bored . . . "

Yeahza laughed. "Yeah, I want to see this . . . actually, I want to do this."

Wxxo grinned. "I'll just watch, thankyouverymuch. C'mon down here and start at the beginning."

Ebsa took the south and Iqgu the north position. Six more of them slotted themselves in between, All used to each other, and Ebsa, the outsider, probably had more compass experience than any of them. He pulled his inner shields in tight, softened the outer and sank into the merge. Gathered power and started passing it around, gathering power and smoothing out into a spinning ring.

:: Take the basic levitation spell, push it over under the squishy and let it expand gently.::

:: Weird. :: ::It's a lot of mass.:: :: Don't worry about that, just ease power in until . . . there, feel starting to float? ::

Wxxo's voice. "Turn it . . . Guys! Grab it and shove!"

Ebsa let his amusement ooze into the merge. :: Might as well let them do the shoving. ::

:: Just don't drop it on their toes. :: :: Spoilsport. :: And they seem happy with it like that so now we slowly pull the power out of the levitation . . . And move it over there . . . ::

They levitated five before Ebsa eased the power all the way down and released the merge.

And looked at the audience. About half in Directorate brown or khaki and the rest in civilian business suits.

Ra'd plunked a crate of boost down, grinning. "Take a break and I'll lead the next compass."

By the time Wxxo called a halt, they'd run through six compasses and had a neat row of thirty squishies being expanded and hooked into water a sewer lines.

And twenty to do tomorrow, plus any more they deliver.

"Damn, that was fun." Wxxo rubbed his temples. He'd joined the third Compass. "Mind you I'm going to talk to whoever's loading those squishies about getting them turned around right for unloading. And the drivers about placement." He glared at the last squishy. "Not to mention the wrong kind in the wrong place."

Ebsa walked up to it. "So it's just empty? How about I get it out of your way for a couple of weeks?" He glanced around. The spectators were leaving, the sun below the horizon and the colors fading.

Wzzo grinned. "While no one's looking? Certainly. I can't wait to see what you're going to do with it. Shall we expand it for you first?"

"Thank you Chief. That would be excellent."

Ra'd laughed. "Give me the pencils. I'll put your boxes in it and scoop up the whole thing. You had better head for the kitchen. There's a crowd staring in dismay at the cold grill."

Chapter Six

Rael worked her way slowly and carefully through three layers of frequency shifting shields and eased the door open.

And was promptly grabbed.

And thoroughly kissed, pressed against the wall.

"Got you. And I'm not going to let you go until you tell what your ambassador is up to."

Rael giggled. "My lips are sealed, do your worst you Evil Wizard."

A final nibble along her jawline, then he stepped back and set her on her feet. "Does that mean you don't know, or you're not telling?"

"Don't know. Funny thing is, I'd swear that the Prime Councilor doesn't know either. Orde brought it up over dinner yesterday. My best guess is that he's decided to run for President."

"Agni's that badly damaged?"

"Hard to say, and the Ambassador, being a moderately well known member of the War Party . . . maybe he's really going to challenge him . . . and maybe he's been chosen to scare off any other candidates."

"Old Gods! Spare me from Oner politics. It's over a year until the election even starts."

Rael decided against giggling. "Perfect for testing the waters. The good news is, that would mean the Ambassador's bright idea needs to come off without a hitch."

He nodded. "But if Agni shows up, I should go into panic mode?"

"Oh . . . I doubt he'll do his own dirty work . . . " Rael trailed off. "Urg! I'll talk to Izzo. It's been less than a year since he was an insider at Internal. Drat, his move lost me my best inside source."

"But it gave me an ER Director I know and can trust to at least be honestly carrying out the president's wishes, not playing party politics."

Rael giggled at that. "Not that he couldn't, he's gotten very good at reading the plays. But you're right. He uses it to do what's right, not what will get him ahead."

"And he's a modernists." Xen stepped back far enough to study her. "Is he Orde's chosen successor?"

"Umm, give him a few years at XR to show his management style and we'll see."

"I always wondered if Urfa might run."

"He be good, too, but he was completely unknown until Orde won, and people suddenly started checking out his miniscule staff. He needs ten or twenty years in some other top positions, maybe even running for the Council."

"Oooo! Now I like that idea. Get him up to Prime Councilor . . . "

"Not a chance. The Modernist Party is growing slowly, but it's still small and, well, the Helios raid really cut confidence in Orde. It was a real squeaker. Hopefully five years of peace and prosperity, and the One settled down with a single philosophy will result in a good solid win in 1410."

"And then Izzo in 1415. Yeah, I'd like that." Xen's shoulders relaxed. "So if this isn't a power play of Ambassador Ashe's . . . what else could it be?"

Rael didn't have to fake that giggle. "Isso says he's trying to steal a chef. He says he doesn't appear to even realize that Ebsa's a warrior."

"Steal . . . "

"Show him how much fun working for the embassy is and . . . "

Xen laughed. "I've met your student. Very impressive, Paer's got good tastes."

"My student? Well, all right I mentored him at a crucial stage of his teenage angst. I suppose I could call him a, hmm, step nephew? My sister—who is actually my half-cousin—married his father, her fifth husband, but he lived with his mother and didn't meet her until the funeral. Umm, Me, my sister and Ebsa were all suspects in his murder. But it was someone else and Raod married the Cop and had four kids."

"Huh. I got the impression you were home rehabbing. Sounds a bit exciting."

"Well, it definitely got my mind off my body and kept me active." Rael eyed him. "Kept my mind off you. Except you kept popping up needing analysis. Oh One. You're . . . chat with the Earthers in Fascia! I just about died laughing over the Disco Elves comment."

"I've seen enough of the dance craze now to see why it's amusing. But it doesn't seem bad enough for the widespread . . . hysterical laughter."

Rael just patted his arm.

"So . . . apart from the first ever Multiverse cook-off . . . are you supposed to seduce any other information out of me?"

"Nope. I'm just going to pop over to building three and chatter away at everyone."

"Oh, I see. I get to chase you this time."

"Later. I need to take a first look and plan my assault on the Ambassador's deepest secrets." She batted her eyelashes, and giggled at his lowered brows. "Probably through either his wife or his princess. Possibly a secretary."

"You are such a Bad Girl. I think I need to kidnap you and hold you prisoner for at least two weeks."


"I've got a castle half-built for that very purpose, but things keep coming up."

04 January 2018 @ 08:01 pm
One . . . The Blackhorse Honor Guard
Earth . . . Bolshoi Ballet? An Opera?
Purple . . . Shootout at the OK Corral
Arbolia . . . The Liitle Gods doing sand drawing spell fireworks
CometFall/KoW . . . live music and ballroom dancing, demo then lessons
Comet Fall/Cove Islands . . . Sailing lessons on a full scale mockup of a ship's deck

Now who's going to do what to everyone else's shows and food?