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11 January 2018 @ 11:37 am
"See? My mother always said you'd throw me over and break my heart."

She shook her fist at him.

Ebsa grabbed it and kissed her knuckles . . . retreated hastily. "And I'd better start dinner or I won't be able to support a wife and everyone will nod knowingly and make snide remarks about gigolos."

 They followed the graveled path to the paved paths between the buildings and out to the main courtyard. Some odd clinks . . . Paer straightened and trotted ahead and around the corner.

Ebsa followed and found Paer surrounded by black horses . . . or rather Black Horse Guards.

". . . trot them all through until they take it in stride. I hadn't realized it was worse than a corridor." Yfda, the head of the Drill Team was dressed casually today.
All the riders looked around as a horse leaped through the gate, snorting and prancing.

Paer giggled. "Poor babies, ruining their spook-proof reputations. Mind you, I agree with them."

Ebsa snickered. "Oh, it's not that much worse. But a good thing they're getting practice . . . Oops, Baron just put on the brakes,"

Paer glanced at him, then pulled him aside. "Ebsa . . . people keep saying things . . . When I look through the gate it's foggy. I wasn't sure which horse that was. What do you see?"

 Ebsa eyed her. "It clear and sharp. No fog at all . . . C'mere."

"What? Where are we going?
"To find Xen Wolfson. Or Dr. Quicksilver. She's the expert, after all."

"Ebsa . . . ?"

"Paer, you know Nighthawk always had to have one of us look through the gates to see what was on the other side."


Ebsa grinned at her horrified expression. "All right. You watch the horses and I'll grab what I need from the kitchenette and start dinner. Then tonight we'll hunt down Wolfson."

"Arg!" Paer swept her fingers through her hair. "No, right now. Otherwise I'll find a perfectly good reason to not ever ask him about it." She straightened her shoulders and headed for Disco.

I hope I don't regret this!

Wolfson was in. And waved them up to his office. "Thank you for bringing the law student around. Andrei wants to hire him. He's not only typed everything in, he's organizing it. And spotting holes and asking until he gets answers."

He pulled out chairs in invitation and sat behind the desk. "So what has you two so on edge?"

Paer spread her hands. "I'd noticed some discrepencies in what people said about gates, and what I see, but it wasn't until a few minutes ago that I realized that everyone else was just ignoring the fog I see . . ."

She broke off and Wolfson slapped his hands down on his desk.

"Paer! Do you mean to tell me thatafter testing hundred of Oners for dimensional ability, one of the Oners I know best is the One I ought to have started with?"

He sat back and snatched something out of thin air and twisted and manipulated it and set it—still looking like nothing—on the desk. "What do you see?
Ebsa shook his head, but Paer was peering at the desk.

"There's . . . sort of a blue glow. Pretty dim, almost imaginary." Paer looked worried. "What is it?"

"A test and a training tool. You have a bit of dimensional ability—the first Oner I've found with any at all. That it's so dim means that it's probably not strong enough that you can ever do anything with it. I wonder what the genetic basis is for it. I'd thought none of the Prophets had dimensional talent."

Paer frowned. "I'm, both my parents, are Ottoman Clan. We're supposed to be descended from Alexander the Traitor. Ra'd said that the Prophet Fatma was pregnant at the arrival, and Alexander was her son."

Wolfson nodded. "And maybe his father was a Telie from one of the other groups. Someone with dimensional ability. How interesting."

Ebsa followed that though down a hole. "We underwent two periods where we, the Oners, practiced a lot of outcrossing. And while we later concentrated the insertion genes . . . we ignored, or were unaware of, the rest of them."

"Oh." Paer raised her brows. "So I've got, what? The basic dimensional genes, but not the, well, helper genes?"

Wolfson nodded. "Something like that. Tell your father, or Urfa, that I'll test anyone. And since you are going to be here for three months, I'll work with you and see if just knowing it possible will help you focus on the ability and develop it."

Ebsa followed his glance toward the door.

Good hovering. "Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt. Just something about land ownership . . . "

"Oh. I suppose that's another big hole."

"Yeah. You sell the land for the embassies, but what about the businesses? The houses? There's nothing, no laws about it. No regulations or procedures."

"Oh. Well . . . right. Check with both your people and Earth's for the sort of laws we need about it, massively streamline it and give copies to me, Lon and Inso. We'll hash out something, no doubt arguing with your father all the way."

"Right, assuming dad comes in to work tomorrow. He caught something, but his secretary says it can't be too bad, he sounded a bit tired, but happy, when she called to check on him this morning."