Bad Tölz had twenty cities . . . which to be honest were more like city-states. An urban area surrounded by agricultural, lumbering and mining lands that they had under reasonable control. That is to say, the workers were chipped.
Beyond that, the natives went their own way, unchipped, and any signs of urbanization were destroyed. Occasional hot heads raided . . . and were killed, the places they came from bombed out of existence.
After two hundred years, apart from a small amount of trade, both sides mostly ignored each other.
And every city had colleges, and a campus of the University of Bad Tölz.
The University of Bad Tölz Katz City was the largest campus, and unfortunately the snobbiest. Fynn’s classes at Katz City College were sneered at, and he was signed up for the “much more rigorous” equivalents at the University.
At least they didn’t wear academic gowns every day. But the dress code was stoles over black or white shirts, black dress pants. The stoles were three foot long, three inch wide ribbons in the color of the field of study—Hard Sciences was dark blue—with embroidered bits. Name down the left side, honors added on the right as they were earned. Fynn at least started out with the purple braid of having passed his challenge, putting him one-up on about half the Freshmen.
It saved him a bit of hectoring, but not all. The student mix here was different. Fewer “Working Class Lords,” and too damned many snob-class Lords.
Fynn managed to not look around for his father who was being called, and turned. A quick read on the stoles, “Giebler, Hammermeister.” Doesn’t look much like Helly, hopefully not a close relative.
Giebler sneered. “We like to welcome all the Working Class Students, and make sure they know their place.”
And Helly wants to come here?
Fynn cocked his head and studied the pair, nodded thoughtfully. “Yes, I can see where you two might need to suppress the opposition, but I’m not worried about the competition.” He turned away, putting up a physical shield, even as the mental impression bounced off his habitual shield.
He recognized it and turned back. “Itch? How juvenile.”
Hammermeister compacted a handful of heat and threw it.
Fynn swatted it down. “That on the other hand, is dangerous and was almost strong enough to be assault with a deadly weapon. Grow up, before you find yourselves explaining things to an Inquisitor.” He softened his shields enough for them to see that he was hiding a lot of strength. Hardened up and walked away.
And perhaps the classes were more rigorous that KCC’s going into a bit more depth. But not much.
Some upper classmen got pushy. “And who’s your Father? You’re nothing.”
“My Vater, who trained me in both martial Arts and Mentalist usage is Intel Head of Analysis Lord Lorenz Rembold.” Fynn looked them up and down. “Perhaps you should ask your Vaters who he is.”
The next day the admittedly minor hazing ceased and he could concentrate on the academics.
And he again coached a few uncertain student in what they’d need to pass their Presentations.
He got top grades. Signed up for Japanese immersion, four hours a day, for the summer semester.
In late May, Pascal Wolfram Rembold arrived without a problem.
In June, Tier Three Yokohama attacked in force.
June 4, 3740
The University was two miles north of the Government District. The first explosion focused everyone’s attention south, to the oily black clouds behind the four original office buildings.
“All the governor’s offices are on the other side of Central Plaza. That was either them or something right in the plaza.” Fynn pulled out his computer. “Schwartzen Building has a cam on the roof, showing the plaza and the Governor’s . . . Oh. Shit.”
The plaza was full of people, and the bright white oblong to the right was probably a Portal seen from above and the side . . . a tank drove out of it, barrel swinging around . . .
Vater. Vater will be out there . . .
Fynn shut the computer, slid it into his pack and started running. Caught a tram that was still running . . . when the crowds fleeing the invaders got too thick, Fyn suggested the operator fill up on passengers and get them out of the central area.
Couldn’t run until the crowd thinned, came up on the Ritter building . . .
“Kid, you can’t go in there!” A Cyborg in police uniform.
Fynn looked down the street. The police were behind a barricade of cars, just off the corner of the building. “Did they get everyone out of the other buildings? There’s the old tunnels . . . my Vater showed them to me . . .”
The Cyborg waved a couple of others in. “Show us!”
Fynn ran after him. “Stairs? There’s a level below the basement . . .”
Fynn took the stairs a bit slower than the three Cyborgs . . . at the bottom, two doors. One open, the other locked. They were cursing it as it failed to open for them.
Fynn reach in and laid his hand on the palm reader. The lock clicked.
Same at the bottom. Then the Cyborgs were racing down the hall, splitting up to get to the other buildings.
Hope getting out is easier . . .
Fynn slapped his hand on the disguised tile. Shoved the door open, closed it behind him and headed for the control panel. Noted a missing gun and magazines.
Both sets of armor are still here. He didn’t even grab the chest and back plates.
First unlock all the basement doors. Then it’s time to get dressed.
He caught the feed from the Schwartzen Building, and watched as he stripped.
A dozen tanks facing outward, protecting the Portal. Trucks now, with lots of . . . there’s a helicopter chassis. Where are they going? That way’s . . . the airport. Are they attacking the airport first thing? And are those bombs? They’ve got the Guard unit stationed at the airport, they have military surplus planes, old but perfectly capable of dropping bombs . . .
He grabbed the second set of armor. Lord Roman Decker’s armor . . . He pulled on the ballistic undies catsuit and started strapping on the hard pieces.
Calculated which weapons he was going to need. And how to carry enough ammo for a war.
Even the boots fit!
He looked back at the screen, showing the steady traffic through the portal.
Right. That’s the first priority. Anything that can fly, next.