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13 July 2019 @ 01:05 pm
  Xen walked around pulling the heat from all the fires, and eyed the thirty plus foot diameter bare circle. So this is where their magic carpet lands. I wonder how often?

Xen check the radio . . . and caught the shortwave signal. Disco Thirty-two, open for settlement.

So we’re back in the known part of the Maze. And thirty-two? That’s one of the Worlds off the Deadly Desert . . . They just hike to Embassy from here.

I wonder whether I found their spies in camp or if someone’s going to get a nasty shock when they return to check in?

He jogged back to the mine field, and followed his path carefully. Felt for density differences and found nineteen more mines. “Dammit, I shouldn’t leave them here . . .” He hopped through the gate, bumped Alf who was blocking . . . a whole pack of kids.

Xen looked at all the youngsters—the Feral Teens had joined forces with Centauri and Dagger—and shook his head. “No, you cannot go through. They’ve got a minefield, which I’m going to attempt to set off in a minute, and all the Zingos are bubbled.” He stepped back through the gate. Eyed the trees and picked out a nice tall pine. Sliced a wedge on the side toward the gate, and as it started leaning, cut deeper and jumped through the gate.

Waved Alf to the side and angled a shield as the first blast blew wood and shrapnel through the gate. He counted five more explosions, as each shifted wood and set off others. “Drat. Let me try that again . . .”

The teenagers followed them all the way back to Disco. Xen bought them all lunch at the kitchen and after sorting through somewhat confused memories of their history classes, designated their home world as Earth 2020 Tunguska and sent them off with a dozen claim beacons for “the Feral Company.”

Then all the Disco people put their heads together about what to do about Zingo spies.

“Simple. We wait until the ‘Last Sunday’ and see who heads for Thirty-two to report back home.”

Xen bit his lip, nodded. “So, shall we invite the friendly Renshe for a visit? Maybe just the first five?”

“Especially the robot dog.” Fyre bounced in her seat. “All the messengers talk about Killerbite!”

Grins all around.

Xen nodded. “And somehow we need to figure out how to talk to those people.”

Inso nodded. “Orde’s got most of the Worlds on board for some sort of official non-aggression and trade agreement, and has a nice assortment of people to go talk to the Xin Zhonggou government, once any sort of agreement to talk is reached.”