June 4th, 2021

_Code Name Igor_ part 26

"Right. let's start with some basic Mentalist techniques so I can tell how much training you've already gotten." He pointed at the by with the strongest glow. "You sit there, facing me. you two there and there. The other four inbetween the others. Sit."

He sat down, the boys reluctantly followed. "Now, no talking. It's all mental from here on."

Axel pulled his inner shield in and hardened it, let his outer shield soften. :: Do you have any training in mental shields? ::

A faint shock echoed around the circle.

:: That's not allowed! ::

:: Why bother we'll be chipped. ::

:: This method works best with completely unchipped Portalmakers. :: Axel smiled a little at their universal disbelief.

He shook his head. Practically no training. :: Picture a mirror. Reflecting your throughts so they can't get out . . . ::

Bog standard beginners lessons, but they're all going to be strong Mentalists. It's just those rickety, easily lost or mutated genes that in combination give them the dimensional ability that make them strong or weak portalists.

He drilled them on the shields then had then take them down. :: You need to develop that control. That you raise and lower according to need. So let's do something a little different. Reach out and hold hands, yes, like a little kiddies sing-along. :: That got some snickers. Held out his hands,, and grasped the hands of the boys on either side.

:: I'm going to pass a tiny amount of power to Khristofor, and he's going to pass it to Varlam and on around the circle to me, and we'll send it around again. ::

He kept is soft and gentle, swapped Loenid and Yuli around and did it again. :: Fell how much more you can do ttogether. That is how four of you can do the job of a Portalmaker, with no chips, because with chips you can't work together as well. :: He released the energy and went on to the next bit.

:: Empty your mind and think only of electric blue. ::

And uneasy shift from several of them. Nikita the loudest. :: I've dreamed this, drowning . . . ::

:: It's the inbetween. The stuff that separates the universes from each other. That the universes float in. Do you see the fizz? Like a soda? ::

And like coming into focus, they sharpened into view.

:: The bubbles are interesting things, but what you should look around for is something like a translucent crumpled wad of paper. ::

:: Show us! ::

:: Can't. I have no dimensional ability, I can only see what you guys look at. ::

The view swung and jerked, then smoothed out as they started coordnating.

:: Like that? :: A feeling of pointing.

:: Yes. Move closer. ::

A whipping rush down past galaxies, stars . . . a globe, the usual continents . . .

:: What is that blinking light? ::

:: A beacon. Set to that slow blink to show that it is closed because of the plague. Look to the left, around the other side. Get closer. Ah, that bright snake is what a portal looks like from here. See all the cities, the brightness is the large population of Mentalists. Check out the nothern one, to keep our distance from the portal. ::

A closer glimpse of twin bridges, tall buildings beyond, then the view collapsed, and the light merge was gone, and it was just seven teenagers flopping back and groaning. Clutching their heads.

Quick steps and Pauli was back with an armful of sodas. He handed them out to the kids, grinned at Axel and trotted away.

Chernov snickered. "He asked if anyone brought recovery drinks, then went off and found a soda machine. I guess he thought you were made of sterner stuff."

The Manager fellow sort of sidled up and eyed Axel cautiously. "Sevens and Eights. They're seventeen years old. And they found Orion. How . . . what the hell?"

"It was the Octogon. They'll need to mature a good bit before a quad of them can deal with portals for eight hours shifts." Axel glanced at his watch. "Would you all like lunch?"

Apparently they were past outrage, and they all decamped to a nearby restaurant. Grabbed a cluster of four tables and Axel outlined a basic Mentalist training program.

More boggling.

"We can't, we can't . . ."

"Go to a judge and asked to pospone chipping a couple dozen Portal Clones so their abilities can mature before they're put to work? If the judge is stiff, Evgeny here," The man sat up startled, "has connections who can get an emergency declaration."

"But . . . no chips?"

"Not during training." Axel dipped into a link with the kids :: Or ever, but no need for them to know that yet. ::

"You're a World of three billion people. Right now, three shifts for one portal, you only need twelve portalists plus a few extra in case of illness. I think Regulous can handle fifteen kids going without chips for a few years."

Evgeny sighed. "It's not as good, or efficient as normal portal operations. But until the zivvy crisis is settled, it will help the Alliance limp along."

My, what a smooth lie! I think I like this fellow.


Between Ark and the expanding number of clones, he was having trouble finding time to hunt for dairy equipment.

But here was an ad for a "complete dairy farm setup."

"And me without a clue about working order, completeness, or value." Axel sighed and reached for the phone.

***

"So . . . you're selling the land to developers and need to sell the cows and all the equipment . . . what about the workers, and their kids?" Who are all pretending they aren't listening as hard as they can.

"They'll have to retrain." Lord Yalokov shrugged, then eyed Axel. "Unless you need them."

Good God. Can I buy an entire working dairy.

"Eh, might. What about the buildings . . ."


Getting it all into the walking-stick bubble was an interesting task. Especially the little orchard.