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19 July 2015 @ 09:21 am
_Extrenal Relations_ part 9  
 

Chapter Ten Trade agreement

It was all over the Paris papers. The Council had voted to approve direct trade among the Colonies. The President was going to sign the bill tomorrow morning. Which would be about two in the morning, local. Mushy and Whipper were both put to work, racing around organizing motor pool cars and drivers for dignitaries from all the Colonies wanting to be present for the signing.

Wizz wound up in the cubbyhole across the hall from Kiel making hotel reservations, and organizing instant celebration parties. It was a bit tough at twenty-two hundred, Paris time. She was all perked up and looked like an entirely different person than the angry teenager of two months ago.

Izzo cursed when Xiat showed up dressed to the nines.

"Your tux is in the car, for the parties tonight. Thank the One we hadn't sold your old apartment yet. I handed !Tok the key and the Homesteaders are taking it over for the next couple of days. We'll have to make a showing there, and then for the Freelands Party at the Agavi. And then, last I'd heard, only two other Worlds were throwing their own parties. And of course the Presidential Ball."

He moaned. The Freelands – the seven Colonies on Empty Worlds – were known to throw wild parties when they got together.

"We're out of limos and drivers, I do hope you remember how to drive my car."

He managed an innocent look. "Having trouble fitting behind the wheel?"

She made a rude gesture. "Saving my strength for manhandling a drunken Colonial all the way home."

/// Round of Parties, Run in with parents, Argument with Governor Arry of Granite Peak. His son, packed into a rented tuxedo was there, and the head of Colony Security, Ulvi.

***

"There is a request from Dr. Quail Quicksilver of Disco to meet you at your earliest convenience."

Izzo paused. "Please tell her I will make myself available, and would she prefer to come here or should I come across?"

Half an hour later Davi drove him through the Gate and dropped him off in front of Disco.

"I swear half your reputation is based on the subconscious effect of this building's geometry." He shook hands with her. Shook his head. "And may I say that you had us so very, very fooled. Fourteen years ago." And you still look like you're sixteen.

"Did we? You investigated us. At the time I was hoping you just had good tastes in glassware."

"We were investigating some forged ID blanks that were circulating. I hadn't a clue you lot weren't Oners with various odd genetic problems your family was trying to cover up until about half an hour before that assassination attempt. And I do have good tastes in glassware. Unfortunately your vase was tested to destruction, afterwards."

She chuckled. "I suspected it would be. That's why I stole the horse back. Well, I shan't keep you long. I had an interesting request yesterday afternoon. A delegation from Granite Peak of mixed Oners, part Nomads and the descendants of some of the miners the Oner resistance freed from the Earther's. Every single one of them seventeen or eighteen years of age."

"Kids?"

"Kids. They want me to give them an Empty World." Q had, by this time, led him up to her office.

He sank into a chair. "A pack of kids just walked in and asked for a world?"

"Yep. They said it would be a part of the One Empire, the citizens would be anyone with Granite Peak antecedents, no matter which group, even pure Earthers and pure Natives. They said they would move, with as many of their age mates as they could persuade, and their parents and grandparents could come too, or just die of old age in battered, ill starred ghost towns, nursing their grudges and their pride. Their choice."

Izzo leaned back and thought it out. Started chuckling. "You're going to do it aren't you?"

"Yes. It's the first positive action we've seen. But I didn't think I should blind-side you with it."

"I appreciate the heads up. If you just happen to place your gate in such a way that the Granite Peak authorities are unaware of it . . . it might give the kids enough of a head start and momentum that the Governor couldn't stop them."

Q grinned. "Director, you're not living up to your reputation for murdering enemies in public. If you're not careful you'll gain a reputation for sneakiness. Would you like me to teach you that goat spell, so you don't have to irritate Nil next time? That's really not a safe pastime."

"I noticed. He really wasn't warned ahead of time?"

She shook her head. "Nil grew up in a very dangerous place. He is always prepared to be attacked. He generally responds in kind. That is, if your guards had attacked physically, he'd have chopped them into sushi with his sword. Just as well your boss tried a spell."

"It was certainly a learning experience for all of us." Izzo thought back to the entire collection of spells in the web and shivered. "We still haven't gotten the power suppression spell off everyone yet. I don't suppose we could negotiate for the handling word?"

"Umm." She unfocused briefly. Smiled. "Try 'Tolerance' on them. It will help if at the same time you say the word, the person under the spell tries to feel tolerant."

"Humph. You can't telepath through a Gate, can you?"

"Not usually. In this case, I asked Xen. He was there and observed the spell net. We've both trained under Nil, and he does not coddle his students. The handle to a Chain spell is one thing we've both learned to notice when attacked. Have you gotten the other spells off? The goat spell is tough, unless you know it."

"We . . . hmm. You are good at getting people chatting, aren't you. Yes, we have broken the goat spell, the paranoia, the panic, the stupid, the distraction, the sex change and so forth. The Chain has, so far, baffled us. The totality has terrified us."

"We're actually quite easy to get along with."

"Yes. It's convincing the majority of the One of that, that is difficult."

She grinned suddenly. "Now controlling us, or even getting us to just stick roughly to orders . . . can't be done."

"How does King Leano deal with that?"

"He discusses things with us, and makes suggestions. And just tells us to do what we think is best. We . . . value his opinion."

"He's a relative of yours."

"His older brother General Rufi is my great grandfather, on my mother's mother's side. Analyzing us, Director?"

"I don't understand why you magicians aren't the rulers."

"In the past, the highly magical have ruled. At the moment, everyone is a bit magic. So in one way, we do. Just not the very extremely most magical. Nil, who's been on top, says it's mostly paperwork and you can't hardly even murder your worst enemies, so why bother?"

Izzo snorted. "Why bother, indeed. Your average citizen has about twenty-six percent of the Prophets' genes. You're a world full of Halfers, from our point of view."

"And like your halfers, many can do low level or subconscious magic. But we're all descended from the American Exiles of the genetically engineered. And we've got that American heritage, even now, fourteen hundred years later. Independent, self reliant, tolerant, egalitarian. Of course, our version of your Prophets living so long has helped maintain that. Did Ajha publish the Gods' recollected history?"

"No. It's gotten classified. Everyone had absolute hissy fits over it."

"Ah well. Romeau says it's nice to finally find out what happened to the Orange Team, the Telies from Number One Kids, inc."

"The One is considering all that. Umm, might I know the names of these enterprising, world building, children of ours?"

"The spokes-child is named Influenza, with most of her support from Oghw and Uvli. Nicknamed Ogg and Evil. Kian and Cherry. Those five are going to be the owners of record, here. Yes, Director?"

"Oghw? The Governor's son is in on this? One! You are making my job so interesting. I think I'd better go tell the President he's about to gain another . . . hmm, I think I'll call it a Target World, not a Colony. This month. And I know just the wildlife expert to put to work on it."

Izzo had Davi stop by the Guard's barracks. Three of the six remaining chained guards were there. "Tolerance" worked; the other three were summoned in from their duty posts to get theirs removed. As he left an impromptu party was springing up.

***

Mushy felt his fight or flight reflex kick in. It was screaming "Run!" Casual party my ass!

The room was full of Subdirectors, a few of their Princesses. He, Whipper and a few pretty servants were the only others.

"So. You're Izzo's pet errand runners, eh? Hard to believe." Ebko was definitely getting into his space.

Mushy was much too sensible to object. He turned his eyes away from the man. Six Subdirectors, five Princesses, and not necessarily as assigned. Wizz is here, and that old one belongs to Dr. Wrlo.

"Old one?" She smiled nastily. Her age showed in the loose skin of her face, the bony spotty hands. Up close she still attracted. Devastated.

"May I top off your drink?" Mushy pulled out his flask, unscrewing . . . Stopped at her glare. He looked around, spotted the decanter. "With this no doubt excellent wine?" He squirmed away from them both, and there he was with his flask in hand and the decanter just sitting there . . .
 
 
 
matapampamuphoff on July 19th, 2015 02:22 pm (UTC)
Tomorrow's going to be busy, but I should post _something_ _sometime_.