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matapam
17 June 2019 @ 08:13 am

One of the other professors complained about the lack of office space. Dr. Espy gave a sour smile. “Perhaps you should ask Professor Rael’s Native boyfriend.”

All she could do was roll her eyes. As punching her department head would probably end her career as a college professor rather quickly.

The others eyed her thoughtfully, as they were dismissed.

***

At least the commute was fast, and a pot of chicken soup was keeping warm on the back burner. She snuggled up to the best almost-husband on the planet. “I ought to have suborned you years ago. You’re very nice to come home to.”

“Huh. And here I thought I was suborning you. Going to have to work on that.”

“Ha! You’ll be lucky to avoid working on expanding offices for everyone in the department. They were looking rather calculating, when the possibility was raised.”

Xen laughed. “Dead easy, so long as they do the decorating. I’ll suborn Oner’s to the ‘I like the Fallen Club’ one office extension at a time.”

She snickered . . . but it wasn’t until she watched him try to charm her family all weekend that she started wondering if he wasn’t, in fact, planning to use this opportunity to recruit for ‘Friends of Comet Fall.’

Or worse. Look at the state of Oner Magic Training. Sabotage or stupidity? Good thing it started long before Comet Fall found us and sent in the spies. Of course we don’t actually know when they first found us, we only know when Xen’s infiltration started.

We found them, what? Five years before the Granite Peak disaster? When did the Kingdom of the West first learn about us? And when did they actually start spying on us?

Oh damn.

But if they did have a deep long term penetration, Xen wouldn’t know about it.

Right?

They slept in the fast room, but when Rael woke after four hours, she stepped quietly out, to check on Exzy—who’d been asleep for twelve minutes—and then grab her computer for some quick research.

They’d found Comet Fall—Target Forty-two back then—in 1335. Explored cautiously, then left it for detailed work later. Which had started five years later. Kael would have been twenty-seven. I wonder if she was active in Teams? I wonder when she first went there, and if she know whether they’d done anything in the Kingdom of the West, and attracted the attention of the trained magicians?

She turned back to her research. Earth found Granite Peak in 1355, or rather that’s when they attacked our settlements. I wonder how much earlier they found it? If they . . . no, they are so mentally open, they’d have been lucky to take a stroll around the block without someone calling the police to come arrest the foreigners. I don’t think they could have gotten close to our gate, or stowed away on a vehicle, without being detected.

I wonder when they discovered Purple? I wonder when they figured out that Purps could pass, here?

More research. This time into the copied data from the Library on Embassy. Translating the dates, they found Purple in 1350. Five years before they attacked Granite Peak . . . and probably almost that long before they discovered it. So . . . How long would it take them to believe in Oner Magic—without being discovered—and how long to figure out Purps could pass? How long to find some with the magic but no purple, recruit and train them and somehow sneak them through the gate . . . To call the timing tight is ludicrous.

Researching the School. All the cross-dimensional studies had been organized out of the . . . Biology Department? Well, not a bad place to start. Then, when Natives were found on several worlds, the Sociology and Linguistic departments, got into the act. Geology, for the mining potential . . .

The Granite Peak Disaster changed everything.

It wasn’t immediate, but the people working on different aspects were pulled together, and in 1357, the School of Directorate studies was founded. And hired people away from all the other disciplines, including the School of Magic.

The curricula, the degree requirements, all included firearms training, Martial Arts, and Magic. On top of the usual academic requirements.

She looked through the reorganization details. Started recognizing names.

Chancellor Adse had been a Sociology Professor, and when the senior professors had been recruited by the new School of Directorate Studies, he’s wound up Head of the Sociology Department, then twenty years later, Chancellor of the School of Humanities. Fifteen years later, chancellor of the entire University.

She grabbed the biographies of the faculty and found a history of hiring people from all over the World, all over the Empire.

Oh, and here was Eshy, good grief, a grad student working on a double doctorate? Sociology and Magical Theory? In Paris. Huh. Ten years later he was teaching Advanced Magical Theory, here. Rael grinned. That would make him my main suspect in the Plot to Sabotage Magical Education . . . except here he is with parents, a sister, school records from start to finish . . . Drat.

These people are too well known, and Comet Fall, Earth, and Purple would have been ignorant of our modern IDs . . . “Frigging maze of . . .”

The modern ID card were developed in 1340, and originally used as forgery proof ID for high government officials, and high security positions.

“And in thirteen fifty-two, they went Empire-wide.” Rael sat back with a huff. “So up till then, someone might have gotten by with forged ID, and then just walked in to get reregistered?”

Earth and Comet Fall both look pretty unlikely. So . . . how about Zingo, eh? Jaejong and AnnaKarina had teamed up a century before Granite Peak. And they’ve got magic.

Hmm, this is a distinct possibility. A nice subtle infiltration to derail magic training, right at the time the Directorate School was forming, and trying to figure out how to train kids to fight magically. And . . . hmm. Too subtle?

But speaking of magical training, I need to write that Advance Magic Techniques quiz.

Right after I bury this research. So the bad guys don’t get a hold of it.

Even if Xen’s the only one with access to it.

Dammit. Must be Zingo.

Or my well-trained-to-be-paranoid imagination.

Not Comet Fall.

Xen has nothing to do with it.

She checked Exzy, sound asleep, and headed for the fast room. I’ll nap for a little while . . . then write the quiz.