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15 August 2015 @ 06:50 am
_Project Dystopia_ part 2  

Chapter Two

19 Jumada 1407

To say that interest in the Conclave had risen was an understatement. Speculation about just how many Prophets were still living were everywhere, running neck and neck with speculations about the Warriors of the One.

Ebsa, Ra'd, and Paer kicked back in warehouse fifty and watched the spectacle. They'd been assigned this warehouse while they'd been raiding New Helios. With that assignment over—no more Oners to be found anywhere, dammit—they'd all been reassigned, but the warehouse had, so far, not been yanked out from under them. It beat the heck out of living in the barracks.

And I don't have nerve enough to ask Paer to marry me. Yet. But . . . the election was a year ago. Her father is solidly into his third term. I should pop the question and get the public scandal over with before the next election. Not to mention, before she gets sent back across. She only got three days off. And this is the last one.

"Here it goes." Paer sat up and stared at the screen. Her father's press conference was going to be interesting . . .

A babble of questions, as the president walked out.

"Did you know there was a living Prophet?"

"Why didn't anyone know about the warriors?"

"Where's Qayg?"

"Who is that old man?"

The President held up his hand for silence, and got it.

"The bags of the Prophets are . . . a trite movie cliché. Based on reality. I am reliably informed that in the heat of battle it was not unheard of for warriors with one of the few precious bags to shelter soldiers and civilians in danger of being overrun and killed. They'd wait a few minutes and emerge a few weeks later. At the Battle of Rangpur, the Prophet Nicholas ordered Isakson and Ra'd, his last warriors, into Isakson's bag, inherited from his father, along with the civilians trapped there. The prophet said he'd take shelter himself after he'd checked for other survivors.

"They do not know what happened after that. But after a few minutes Isakson opened his bag and they found themselves inside another. Nicholas had enclosed one bag inside another. They opened that bag and stepped out into the Rangpur Historical site nine years ago. They have had some difficulties adjusting to the future, and to protect the privacy of the children involved, the matter was classified." The President cleared his throat. "The Prophet Emre apparently disagrees with our reticence."

"Isak ben Isak, usually called Isakson is currently a part of the Presidential Directorate, training the guards. Ra'd ben Nicholas was the teenage trainee, he attended the Directorate School and is currently with the External Relations Directorate. The other Rangpur survivors were civilians and have asked to not be specifically named.

"Isakson, through his training duties, has designated several people as Warriors. We're thinking about making this an official certification, as with Medic or Electronics Certifications, and enlarging the pool of candidates beyond the Presidential Directorate and the Black Horse Guards.

"There is no cadre of Warriors, and four days ago you saw all but two of the people who would be immediately certified. Once we get the requirements pinned down, we'll publicize them." He gave a wry smile. "Questions?"

A flood of them.

Ebsa glanced at Ra'd. "He used your name."

"Yes. He called to ask." Ra'd snorted. "We are not ashamed of what we are. We were just being quiet. Wary, in this strange place. But even the twins are ten years old, and old enough to either keep silent or deal with the consequences."

Paer sighed and snuggled up. "I'm fast enough, but Isakson said I'm too hesitant to kill. That I had the heart of a healer. I wonder if that's changed, now?"

Ra'd snickered. "Next time you spar, just visualize him as that Helaos with the three slave girls he was training to be whores."

Paer's eyes narrowed with a nasty glint.

On screen, the president was taking questions.

"No. I was unaware that the Prophet Emre was still alive. If it had occurred to me to wonder, I would have asked Isakson. I did ask him yesterday, and he informed me that to the best of his knowledge Emre was the only Prophet still living."

"What about this Warrior Trainee? You said he was in the External Directorate? What does he do?"

"Ra'd has been on teams, and was one of Ajha's team members when he was rescuing students from the Helios. He is currently based here, well, in Gate City. But not going across, at the moment."

"Who are the other two Warriors, who did not escort the Prophet?"

"Once we set up the standards and so forth for Warrior Certification, the people qualifying can either down play it or brag. But that's up to them."

Then the questions switched back to the Prophet, to the Conclave, to the outrageous suggestion that Servaone should be changed to Worker of the One . . .

"Do you know, not a single question about the Bioattack or reclassification criteria." Ebsa stretched out his legs. "I guess all the tests, and Wolfson's willingness to replace the genes is starting to take the edge off people's . . . fury."

Paer snorted. "Ra'd's not the only man who's happy to be rid of those genes. And I've gotten better at so many things . . . but that could just be age and experience. Ebsa, I think you're one of the few people who didn't change."

"Yep. Still the same count. Still not a mean bone in my body."

Ra'd snickered. "Yeah. Just ask the Helios."

Ebsa made a rude gesture . . . and walked Paer to the transport hub to catch a ride back to her project. Kissed her good-bye without getting up the nerve to ask.

shana: pic#26226061shana on August 15th, 2015 09:23 pm (UTC)
If it were this world, I would go with ibn instead of ben. Ben is Hebrew, and I've usually seen ibn when it's transliterations of Arabic.

Paer's going to have to propose, isn't she?
(Anonymous) on August 15th, 2015 09:29 pm (UTC)
Nah, I've got the whole, ring handy, romantic spot, down on one knee scene in my head. Complete with the snoopy newsie with vidcam in the bushes. I'm not sure where it's going to go, but it will happen.
matapampamuphoff on August 15th, 2015 09:41 pm (UTC)
Abd then there's the time he gives her two baby Triceratops for her birthday . . .
shana: pic#26226061shana on August 15th, 2015 10:54 pm (UTC)
Can one of them bite the newsie - maybe crunch the vidcam?
matapampamuphoff on August 17th, 2015 03:36 am (UTC)
I'll take it under advisement, but the rate the Muse is throwing ideas at me for this one, the poor young lovers are going to be so overworked, frantic, and harried I think I can guarantee no proposal and no triceratops in this one.
(Anonymous) on August 17th, 2015 05:18 am (UTC)
Did I miss something?
What is this about Wolson being willing to replace genes? Are they talking about re-inserting the rape genes? Or replacing them with something else?
matapampamuphoff on August 17th, 2015 09:50 am (UTC)
Re: Did I miss something?
Hmm, well I wrote bits and pieces, this one may not have gotten posted . . .

"First, the One World needs to stop attacking other worlds at a whim." Xen steepled his hands on the podium and eyed the human audience, well aware of all the video cameras pointed at him, and knowing that the important audience was on the One World. "Second, the genetic engineering is completely reversible."

The audience stirred at that.

"Mind you it isn't simple, or easy. Either laws about genetic engineering in the Empire will need to be altered, or several hundred thousand Oners will need to troop through to here to be treated. Because of the behavior issues with these specific genes, and their effect on other so-called magic, some considerable thought needs to go into this. Not to mention whether any other genetic engineering should be allowed."

A babble of voices.

"Umm, let me elaborate on that a bit. I under stand the incidence of rape have dropped dramatically. Do you Oners, as a whole and individually actually want these genes back, and if not, are you going to allow anyone to add them back in?

"Second, be aware that those three genes are what we call field genes. They are always switched on, using up a steady trickle of energy. Oners who have lost the genes should test their magical abilities and see if they can now do more, if they feel stronger. Then decide if they want them back.

"Third, are you going to allow people who never had the genes to get them? What about other genes? Can they add them as well? And when I say people, I mean everyone. Oners, Halfers, Multitude, and Natives. According to your laws, everyone is equal under the law. Yes, we can add the Oner power gene, we can add individual genes, and we can add entire insertions.

"These are all issues the Empire needs to address. I have informed the Kingdom of the West that further aggression will be blocked. They informed me that that was fine with them, until the Oners attacked again, then it was game on."

A man in front yelled, "But you can stop them!"

Xen cleared his throat. "Right. I've probably wedged myself into the top twenty most magically dangerous people in the Multiverse. I'd say at least fifteen of the other nineteen live on Comet Fall, and eight of them were sitting in the audience, smirking as I told them no more attacks.

"Please. Don't give them cause to lose their civilized restraint."