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08 August 2015 @ 07:09 am
_Exernal Relations_ the end  

Izzo rubbed his arms uneasily. "A blue rabbit? No offense meant, Dr. Quicksilver, but isn't that a bit silly? Girlish?"

"Sorry. When I hit the ground that spell just sort of splattered everywhere. Luckily it's not one of the really complex changes, so I could reverse it quickly." Her eyes twinkled. "Silly, yes, but it has a major panic component to it, when applied to a big strong man. Even though a hundred kilo bunny is a rather dangerous critter. So, how many of these people do you want changed back, and do you want me to leave the Chain spells on them?"

Izzo looked out over the uneasy herd of ponies, goats, rabbits and dogs. The dogs had learned quickly that bunnies the same size as themselves were not prey. And were just as angry. Fortunately application of Wine and spells had saved the life of the eviscerated dog.

"For now, let's have the Governor, Wgli and Ebko.


The alarms sounded. "Director, we have a visible distortion at the Granite Peak Gate Arch."

Urfa set his coffee cup down and trotted for the armored car. It took off with a squeal of tires and was in front of the gate site in moments. Not directly in front. That spot was held by the tank. Its barrel was pointing straight at the whirling fog as it abruptly spread to the edges and the center cleared and spread behind it.

Izzo stood front and center. Q was sitting cross-legged on the ground beside him. On Izzo's other side, a girl who looked even younger than Q had her hands clasped innocently in front of her. She wasn't controlling her expression, which was solid glee. Izzo's incompetent Princess? He had a feeling the One was going to have to re-evaluate that princess.

Behind her, a line of men, hands on head. First in line, Governor Arry, Subdirector Wgli was next, then Subdirector Ebko. Then some people in disabled adaptive camo. "Action Teams? Surely not . . . but the Governor's Militia doesn't have adaptives. Nineteen of them. There are twenty-four Action Teams. So. All but five Action Leaders. Damn."

Two men in Directorate khaki field uniforms held carbines at rest, but the muzzles definitely tilted toward the two Subdirectors. Urfa'd never met them, had seen pictures.

Hain snickered. "It must be so embarrassing to be seen to be arrested by those two idiots."

"I wonder what they did with the Princesses?" Uvko tapped impatient fingers on the steering wheel as Izzo walked through the Gate.

Urfa got out of the car and walked forward. "I see you've had an interesting time. Is this the whole haul?"

"Unfortunately no. The others are either running around on four legs or imitating statues. Ajha, Ra'd and Fean are pursuing the ones that got away." Izzo glanced back as Q stood up and walked across.

She made a circular gesture at the gate. "That should hold it. Unless there's something urgent here, I'll head back to reopen the other gates." She nodded politely to Urfa, and stepped back through. She gestured and the prisoners started forward.

"That girl is so scary." Izzo shook his head.

"I'll want a complete report."

"Yes, sir, and all of us who were morphed need a detailed genetic analyses. I don't know if it will give us any information on what she did, let alone how she did it, but overkill never hurts."

"Oh really?" Urfa eyed him. "Us? She changed you?"

Izzo raised an amused eyebrow. "Yes, things got a little wild and spells were flying. And she changed me back, but did she get every single cell?" Izzo cleared his throat. "She was very busy, so the results might be interesting."

Urfa sighed as he looked at the twenty-three prisoners. "Well, Ajki did say he couldn't pin down who was helping the Governor. But I didn't expect half of his potential suspects to be guilty."

"I regret to inform you that four others were also involved in the early stages. They thought better of it before any actions were taken. I'm not sure how that works in the game, as far as treason charges go. But they are all going to leave Exterior Relations."

Urfa nodded acceptance of that demand. "Indeed. Well, if you'd stop resolving your problems in a few hours, and give me a day or two to catch up, I'd appreciate it."

"Sorry, Director. I should have had a picnic before letting Q open the gate back up. Now, if you could take these people off my hands, I suspect Q has a gate open to Embassy, and I think we need to chat so things don't get messy."

"Good thought. Most of this is getting relayed through to the President, and hopefully the Earth is getting it all without too much delay."

"Then perhaps I should emphasize that the violence between the Earthers, and the Nomads was planned. Faked, in the case of the 'Nomad raids' that hit both us and the Earth’s farmers. Arry and company are the Principals. The Mercs the Earthers hired are major abettors. They hired one of the Hors de Combat, and have, so far, escaped. The raids the Earthers claimed we were committing were carefully planned to hit the people who didn't agree with the Separationists. The Mercs did the actual raiding themselves, and moved the Earthers who we, or the Nomads, supposedly kidnapped down to a location to the south. Ajha and Fean raided their stronghold. The Earth should be getting an earful Real Soon Now. On this side of the continent, it was the Action Teams raiding the farms and kidnapping Oner wives and children. Ajha turned the kidnapped women lose on Governor Arry's big rally. It was a spectacular denouement."

Urfa shook his head. “Subdirectors, colonial governors, and action teams. This is going to be quite the clean up.”


Q sat crosslegged on the pavement, and reached for a cone. Paused and looked around at the approaching Earthers. "Morning Mr. Montgomery. I'll open a gate to the Earth settlement in a moment. Be careful when you go through. The mercenary company the colony company hired has been subverted by you separatists and made a pact with the Oner Separatists. The Oners are clearing up their end of the mess, but this side is still . . . well, I have no idea what is going on. Be careful."

All the diplomatic and security people turned an looked at the two men and one woman in the blue uniforms of the mercenaries.

"Uhhhh . . . " The fellow in charge looked poleaxed. "Surely you are mistaken."

The embassy guards in their immaculate suits closed in on them. More guards appeared, and the mercenaries were chivvied toward the Earth embassy building.

They were attracting quite a crowd, with Disco personnel first, by reason of proximity.

"Hey, Xen, Lon." Q looked the rapidly thickening crowd over.

Lon glared. "I really wish you'd stop getting into fights."

Ah, he'd noticed the burned hole in her sleeve. She'd already healed the burn, it was just a graze, after all.

"Nothing to worry about." She waved an airy hand and grinned. "Now let me open up this gate and then we can chat in the forum."

Xen shook his head. "How about a brief? Earth mercs and Oners?"

"Oh, well . . . Arrow, one of the Combat group got used to further a revolt. It blew up in their faces. A second, refreshingly Politically Correct revolt, has resolved matters rather nicely."

Lon snorted. "I never should have recommended you study twenty-first century Earth. What do you mean, Politically Correct?"

"Some Oners, the Earthers' imported slave labor and half-nomads, a young bunch of Nomads, impatient with their Elders and their rules, the Oner farmers' halfer offspring, and all their various interbreedings. I think only the Nomad's Elders and the Earth Farmers were left out."                                 

"What did you do to them?"

"Umm, well first of all the Politically Correct were actually a completely separate plot, which Izzo and the President have approved. The first schemers involved the leaders of the Oner Community, a minority of the Earth Farmers, and the Mercenaries who were supposed to be protecting the Earth Farmers from the One and the Nomads. It was the Merc's that actually had Arrow."

Xen and Lon swapped looks.

"Q, far be it from me, a mere elder brother, to criticize. But perhaps, just this one time, you might be speaking ahead of your brains."

"Sorry. Ahem. Let me finish this." She subdued the emotions, and reached into the blue for cones.

Two hour later, she stepped up to the podium. "The recent problem was caused by a joint attempt by a few Oners and a few Earthers to free Granite Peak from all outside interference. The Empire's Director of External Relations, Izzo Withione Alcairo, has arrested the Governor of Granite Peak, several members of his government, and about half his own subdirectors on charges of treason. I have, at this time, some of the co-conspirators from Earth wrapped up and I will turn them over to the Earth authorities shortly. They were the leaders of the minority party in the Earth enclave, and some officers of the Mercenaries hired to protect the Earth Farmers.

"In the course of all of this I have granted ownership and opened gates to two Empty Worlds. The Oner's are beginning to shift into theirs already. The Earth Colonists are planning to move following their harvest. Now, unless there are questions, I'll see about opening Gates from those new Worlds to here and to Earth, from their new colony World."

The Earth Ambassador rose quickly to his feet. "We are not ceding our interest in Granite Peak."

"Yes you are."

Silence lengthened.

The Oner Ambassador rose. "I will consult with the Council and the President before responding."

"Certainly Ambassador."

Q looked down at the Earth Ambassador. Shook her head. "Sorry Mr. Montgomery. But you took the World by force, and that just isn't going to stand. Go home and brag about the Whole New World you scored. In fact, come along and I'll show it to you."


". . . so I pack everything for the move, and by the time I get here, this Wgli fellow is under arrest." Biah rolled her eyes. "I thought being assigned to a subdirector was a sign that I was trusted. Instead, it means I was available to fill a hole for an end-game play."

Xiat snickered. "It could have been worse. Your first day could have held a termination order."

Wizzy's eyes widened in horror. She was being very quiet and circumspect in this company. And following Xiat like a puppy, otherwise. Someone had apparently passed on some information about just who Xiat actually was. Probably Luet or Faix, she'd known them both in Paris.

Luet whistled. "I didn't think about that. My guy bellied up and confessed all, throwing himself on the mercy and so forth. It looks like he'll be given the opportunity to retire." That got a few nods from the crowd of Princesses. Not that the "small" parlor was crowded, a mere fourteen people couldn't fill the room. Princesses, on the other hand, tended to glow and take up much more air than seemed possible. Kaeb and Lwar had been recalled, to explain their joining the cabal. Gauge, Quick and Queens were here for now. Whether they took over monitoring some other official was up to the School and the One.

Queens sighed. "I hope I get assigned to Wrla. He's an interesting fellow. And he makes me feel young."

Xiat grinned. "There's a new life extension potion the One is contemplating. You could volunteer to test it."

Gauge chuckled. "And the Joy Juice. One Damn it all, here we are with a chance to have children, and I've no man handy to seduce."

Faix tilted her head. "I think you’re a bit old for that, Dear. But it could be a whole new philosophy of Play. Only the men whom we most admire would be chosen to sire our children." She eyed Xiat's girth. "Although if it produces twins as often as people say, we'd have to well and truly admire him."

"We could bundle it with the sex selection spells, have the . . . "

Xiat's attention was suddenly pulled inward. She tried to relax, breathe deeply. She could see the babies, Xiaz's head was down in the pelvis, Ixto crammed up against the top of the uterus. She could see it all so clearly.

"Goodness! Such self awareness, I've heard of it happening, just never thought I'd experience it myself." She panted as the contraction eased.

Queens closed her eyes. "Really? Let's see your aura. Whoa, look at the complexity just folding up and crinkling and . . . I thought you were pretty impressive before. One! This going to take some thinking about. In the mean time, perhaps we should call this man of yours to take you to the hospital."

"No rush. I've been reading up on childbirth, it takes hours." Xiat suddenly switched to her deep breathing, forced her voluntary muscles to relax while those involuntary ones got to work. "Although it's also supposed to start a bit slower than this."

"I hope you realize that not a one of us has a clue, since we never expected to deal with such . . . goodness look at that glow! Xiat, I think you've just started something."


Izzo held his daughter. She grasped his fingertip with one incredibly perfect tiny hand. "Life is good."

Xiat moved up beside him, their son in her arms. "Your hair is growing in blue."