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06 June 2018 @ 11:34 am


So, armored gyp with lots of “stuff.” Jack drove his gyp out into the old burnscar, turned and backed into the brushy edge of the forest behind him until he was under thick enough growth to subdue the undergrowth. Then he drove forward back into the burn scar.

“If they have real trackers, that won’t fool them, quite apart from the open view of the parking lot.” Arrow pointed out.

“I know, but from a distance, I don’t want it to be obvious that we started right here.”

Arrow nodded. “I’ll change the corridor entrance so it can be almost closed. Just on general principles.”

He crested the hill and drove down and into the forest. “I have a chain saw along. So why don’t you let me fell some of the trees? And make longer sections, I’ll move them.”

She nodded. “Noisy, but perhaps necessary. I’ll fell a few then rest, while you work.”

Jack strolled out into the forest. “We can bend around that thicker stand, then head that way.”

Arrow walked up to a tree. A wave of her hand and a thick wedge flew out the side. Then a cut from the other side and tree leaned away from the planned road. Arrow stepped away as the tree crashed down. One slice through the trunk, two meters up, and a flat cut at ground level and she walked away, looking at her next victim.

Jack rolled the stump away, and levered the cut section around and rolled it out of the way.

Headed for the next tree. There were already two others down.

He move the gyp up and got Arrow to sit down and drink something sweet, eat half a sandwich before she did any more.

After lunch he suggested she relax while he tried out the chainsaw.

As the second one hit the ground, he spotted a man leaning against a tree, watching.

A familiar one, one of Governor Arry’s men. “Amac, isn’t it?”

The Oner shrugged away from the tree and strolled closer. “Yes. And you’re a few days early.”

There was movement in the forest. At least two more Oners out there.

“I decided against using the aircar.” Jack shrugged. “I dislike having barely enough fuel for the round trip.”

“Sensible. But have you found someone who can destroy gates?” He straightened and looked behind Jack.

“He has.” Arrow walked up beside Jack and looked the Oner up and down. “This is who wants to hire me?”

“He’s not the boss, but these fellows on general? Yes.”

“Hire?” Amac frowned at Jack. “We paid you for her.”

“You paid me to find her. I deeply and sincerely suggest you hire her. Trying to force someone as strong as Arrow to do your will, will fail and all your plans will be for naught.”

Jack glanced up at Arrow. “Arrow may I present Amca Withione? Amac, this is, in the Oner form, Arrow Clostuone Blissful Ash. Except, of course, she doesn’t have the One power gene.”

Three men ghosted out of the forest and formed up behind Amac.

Arrow snorted. “They’re forming a minor compass.” She waved her hand.

The top third of a tree folded over, and crashed through the lower branches slowly enough that the Oners could scatter.

They collected again, this time in a belligerent line.

Jack suppressed a laugh. “Why don’t you go tell Governor Arry that he’s got a Comet Fall Witch on a short contract. Let’s see. Close three or four gates? Four million . . . rials, plus another two million per gate opened, if he needs any.”

“That’s double what Disco charges.”

“Hazard pay. As soon as the first gate goes down, Disco’s going to swarm us.”

Amac sneered. “Which is why we’re waiting to kick this off just before the summer solstice, when that bitch Q will be off dancing naked under the moon.”

Arrow nodded. “That’ll slow her down. But what about Xen?”

“What about him? We’ve poked him a couple of times. He’s trying so hard to not react, he’ll be slow to catch on to this not being another annoying game. We’re planning to close your gates gates at 2 in the morning here, which is four on Earth’s Nowhereistan, and then fly you to Cough Town to close the gate to the One World at four in the morning here, which will be nine in the evening at both Gate City and Embassy. By which time everyone who had business here has gone away. I doubt anyone will notice.”

“For several hours. “Jack thought about the Earth’s huge field of gates. “Good idea. No one will notice until someone tries to cross. So by the time the alarm goes up, we’ll have three gates closed, and Arrow standing by to close your gate to Embassy, if they make it necessary.”