March 10th, 2020

_Warrior at Large_ part 1.5

This will fit in between Ice getting fired and Ice helping Ajki and family leave Paris.

Chapter Two

Internal Relations

10 Emre 1421yp

Dog considered his long term plans.

Zizi’s delighted that I’m moving into the apartment Rumakova rented for her campaign. She knows so many people there, practically everyone on the block, she won’t be lonely when she visits me.

And . . . it’s time for the next big step, isn’t it?

It’s not like my family would disapprove.

But it’s not something a spy should do. Hell, I’m just a deep mole. The sole action I’ve taken in the whole time I’ve been here was to call Uncle Xen and tell him Paris was being invaded by the Cyborgs.

Because I knew he’d come help.

Which he did, so that doesn’t even count, does it?

My second five-year enlistment is up in eight months. I can resign my commission and just, just . . . be a Oner?

I don’t know if I can do that. Never go home. Never show Zizi around Ash. She’d love the wilderness. Mom would love her to bits and spoil her rotten.

And what will Uncle Xen-who’s-really-my-cousin say?

Damn it.

But Zizi. My Zizi.

I should tell her.

No, that wouldn’t be fair, to put that burden on her. If she doesn’t know, she can go to the One and be exonerated.

But, but . . .

I don’t know what to do.

He eyed his comm. I should call Ice.

But not from work. Dammit. I can't believe they fired him yesterday.

He told me to lay low and shrug if asked about me. Say “Oh, he was a good analyst, but kind of bossy and a real snob. Compensating for being a Native, you know.”

Like hell I’m going to say that. And if I get fired? It’s off to Tall Trees and Zizi.

Maybe President Afgu will leave Ox, Director Ahxe, in charge of Interior Relations. Well, we’ll find out in the morning. One only know who he’ll appoint Presidential Director. Not Ajki, that’s guaranteed.



_Warrior at Large_ part 5.5

  I'll probably add more to this, and then dive into Dog and Zizi's wedding . . . excitement.


"Perhaps I will drive to the Pines and mention this business opportunity, then return quickly."

***

The Pine Elders were delighted. The company that had contracted to build the fence, disgusted that they didn't get to do any of the lumbering, quit.

"Makes me wonder what they were doing on the side. Exporting rare hardwoods, perhaps?" Ice shrugged. "So . . . what other companies bid on the job . . . none?"

Rumakova shook her head. "Not one. So . . . Ice. How would you like to start a fencing company?"

"Of which I have zero experience?"

"Neither does anyone else. I was already thinking the fence was going to be a disastrous waste of money. Look at these plans! Barbed wire doesn't stop buffalo, and the antelope can easily jump it." She threw up her hands. "I talked to them about the fences the Grass Tribes built around their villages and they laughed."

Ice growled, and started a new company.

And made reservations at a good hotel for a dozen people (unspecified) then found a small bankrupt apartment complex with a good sized rec center that might be just what the One needed to get started here.

He felt the One, when they arrived.

The whole World probably felt them.

That deep . . . sense of belonging. Stronger than the local Oners' combined effect by an order of magnitude.

Rumakova bolted downstairs to greet them. Blinked a bit at Jeb's dark complexion.

Surely everyone knows the Prophets married women of all races, all colors . . . but perhaps here the invading Oners looked mostly "white" to the Trees. Who were quite a bit lighter than their Bantu ancestors, but still dark compared to Earth's European population, or a lot of Oners.

Ice stepped in. "One Jeb ibn Oliver ibn Joseph ibn Byram, I greet you.

"One . . ." Rumakova bowed. "Welcome to Tall Trees."

Jeb eyed her. "Governor Rumakova. The One has come to help you untangle this mess . . . which is mostly of the Empire's making."

"I certainly hope that you can help us." She stiffened. "I have office space here, if that is what you need. And Ice has arranged for a hotel, and has been researching other sites . . . We really have no idea of your needs."

Jeb nodded. "We've come prepared to be independent. And hopefully flexible enough to fit into a society that is not used to . . . having the One's authority actually available.

"Ice? Why don't you take everyone around and show them what you've got? I will talk with Rumakova, get a briefing on the situation."

Ice bowed and retreated. The old Priest and four ecclesiastical guards in their white with green piping followed Rumakova inside.

Ice turned back to the others. Seven older priests, four younger, plus a dozen guards. "Right. Let me call the hotel and expand the number of rooms needed, then perhaps we could detour past what I had envisioned as the sort of place you might need . . ."

By nightfall they were all settled into the hotel, a contract to purchase the apartment complex was signed, and Ice drove across town to a campground to sleep away the effect of too much time in close contact with a concentrated group of priests.

Is it because of my priest gene that I feel the group identity so strongly? I think I'll head out and check on this fence, real soon.

I'll find some local workers . . . some people who know what they're doing . . . and make them the owners of the fence company once we've got it going.