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21 September 2015 @ 12:02 am
Scrap 2  

Chapter Four

2 Yusef 1409

Gate City, One World

"Thank the One you're back!" Paer's voice was loud over the comm.

Ebsa paused, half out of his grubby field khakis. "Problem?"

"It's my birthday! Dad's arranged this huge party, practically a ball, and invited everyone I've ever met in my entire life. The party starts in three hours, you have to get here." She sounded desperate.

"Paer? Are you all right?"

"Yes! It's just . . . men keep cornering me and . . . explaining what strategically valuable husbands they would be. I'm getting calls from arrangers. Please come. I need your sanity."

"Right. Three hours. Government House or Versalle?"

"Government House. Dad's . . . well, he needs to regularly get into the news, and . . . "

"A big birthday bash works nicely. Right. Tell all the guards to let me in, please."

"Yes, yes, yes, yes!"

"I still have to clear it with Ajha."

All the rich men bringing her presents . . . Oh hell. I have the perfect gift, something none of them can beat. And no import license . . .

A deep breath over the comm. "Yes. Go clear it with him. Wow. Just hearing your voice has helped. I'll be fine if you can't come."

He snorted. "Oooo, that had putting up a good front all over it. I'd better run."

He punched off, and tapped in Ajha's code, while pulling up the right forms on his comp.

"Ajha, do you owe me any favors?"

"Free lessons in the subtle use of influence?"

"Leave to leave almost immediately for Paer's birthday party in Paris and an import permit for the present I want to give her?"

He tapped away at the form . . . sent it.

"You have two actual . . . in a bubble, I presume? Where did you get them and for how long have you not been telling me about them?"

"Umm, four years? There from that world where Ra'd and I first encountered the Helaos." Ebsa walked to the kitchen fab and ordered a bucket of pseudo tomato cubes. And a large red ribbon.

"I really don't know how you fail to mention these things to me, now and then. What is Paer going to do with them?"

"Play with them until she finds a good zoo to take them, or releases them to the wild back on their world of origin."

There was a thump from the comm that he hoped wasn't Ajha's head hitting the desk.

"Right. Your permit is in the works. Go with my blessings or some such nonsense."

Ebsa found the bar handles of the double bubble at the bottom of a drawer and opened the bubble. Excited cheeps. He pulled out the big dog crate, and checked for cleanliness. With the double bubble, essentially no time had passed and the bedding was still clean.

"No, you can't come out and play, and no I'm not feeding you yet. Paer will feed you." He shoved the container of tomato cubes into the bubble, tied the ribbon around the crate and slid it back in as well. The cheeping died away as he closed the bubble.

Then into the shower. Into his good suit. He frowned a bit at the slight fraying around the lapels. I guess I need a new suit. But it'll do for now.

A long line at the corridor, and then Paris traffic being what it was, he was late when he finally pulled up to the side gate at Government House.

At that point he got the expedited treatment. A grinning guard directed him around to a side entrance, where Ohhe took the wheel to park the car while Wsca hustled him inside. "Rescue the poor kid from that bunch of snobby leaches."

"I'll do my best." Ebsa scanned the room. The crowd thickened from left to right, where Paer was seated, and apparently was in the process of opening presents. A pair of newsies with almost discreet vidcams riding their shoulders. One of them, Koil, of course, turned to get a good shot of Ebsa.

Ebsa edged into the group, trying to pick up cues as to how far along the party had gotten. It looked like Paer was on the last present. Buffet tables were in the process of being refilled. Quiet music, no dancing.

Up front a young man knelt and produced a small box. Just right for a ring.

"Paer , I have the highest regard . . . "

"No." Paer pushed back in her chair. "Don't. Just don't."

"Paer, will you . . . "


"Do me the honor . . . "


"Of becoming my . . ."

"No! For the One's sake, Evdu . . . "

"Wife?" The idiot finally sounded a bit uncertain.


"But, but . . . " Now baffled.


"My father . . . " But still trying.

Paer lifted her eyes, and spotted Ebsa. She lit up and jumped up out of the chair.

Dodged the idiot, who had risen with her and apparently thought he should kiss her. She didn't even notice. Her elbow to his ribs was just a reflexive clearing of an obstacle and barely thumped him. Unfortunately.

Then Paer reached him and threw her arms around him. "You made it! I was getting worried."

"Traffic. Sorry."

"Who is this?" The idiot had followed.

Everyone was gawping at Paer's public display of affection.

"Ah, Ebsa this is Evdu Withione Paris. Son of the Minister of Health. Doo, this is Ebsa Clostuone Montevideo, a colleague of mine at Exterior and a War . . . "

"Clostuone! What are you doing hugging a Clostuone?"

Nods and murmured agreement all through the crowd. And other murmurs. "Old fashioned suit . . . " "Country hick . . . " "A bit threadbare . . . "

Paer stiffened, a faint growl . . .

"And he showed up late without a present." Idiot, nose in the air.

"Oh, yeah." Ebsa grinned and turned to Paer. Pulled out the metal bars, which of course she recognized as the handles of a dimensional bubble. "I've been waiting for the perfect opportunity to give you these."

He knelt on the floor and opened them. Pulled out the crate, to much excited cheeping from inside.

"Ebsa, what in the One . . . "

Paer opened the door and four legged "chicks" the size of large clumsy puppies crowded out, cheeping in excitement. A little fluff of feathers, but naked skin showing, faint striping, . . . with neck shields and three stubby horns above their beaks.

"Triceratops?" Paer folded up on the floor as the clumsy babies milled about cheeping in confusion. Then identifying Ebsa, they charged up and butted him and tried to climb into his lap.

"Yep, they hatched, oh, their time line, maybe a month ago." He pulled the bucket out of the bubble. "They love tomato cubes." He hastily pulled off his coat and spread it in her lap. Handed her the bucket.

The chicks transferred their allegiance to her immediately and slurped, smacked and dripped tomato everywhere. Mostly in her lap.

And the giggling Paer didn't seem to mind at all, as she fed them cubes. The coat caught most of the drippage.

Ebsa glanced to the side. A beaming President of the Empire wiped a tear from his eye. "That's my little girl."

The other guests of a more mature age were split behind rueful shakings of heads or appalled disbelief. The newsies were grinning and getting it all.

The younger cohort was mostly aghast.

Fortunately for the sake of the party, the chicks quickly stuffed themselves, pooed on Ebsa's coat and collapsed for a nap.

Ebsa put the puppies, or calves or whatever a baby triceratops ought to be called, back in the crate. A snickering maid took Ebsa's coat away, holding it at arm's length.

Paer was still grinning, and took his arm. "Dad? I'm going to stand you up on the first dance."

Evdu hissed faintly. ". . . dead meat, Closey."

"Of course, Honey."

Ebsa offered an elbow and led Paer to the dance floor as the band segued into a waltz.

If looks could kill, Evdu would have had his wish five times over.

At least the President looked happy.

Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on September 21st, 2015 03:10 pm (UTC)

But Ebsa is smart so would have brought a couple of waterproof throws even if not a bib and somewhat insufficient in coverage.

Also whose car is it ?

Little Egret in Walton-on-Thames
matapampamuphoff on September 21st, 2015 04:58 pm (UTC)
I'm off-and-on working on their senior year at the Directorate School. Raod gives Ebsa his father's car as a graduation present.
(Anonymous) on September 22nd, 2015 12:28 pm (UTC)
I'm wondering if protocol might not call for dropping the with/near/closetoone designation once Warrior status is achieved. Formal introduction would be something like "Ebsa, Warrior of the One". Of course Ebsa would have to wear his green agal.
matapampamuphoff on September 22nd, 2015 01:08 pm (UTC)
Somehow I can't see the High Oners acknowledging a status tier above them.

And the Directors are finding Ebsa and Ra'd more useful when unknown. I'm picturing a situation with a beset manager: "Ahhh! I told the Director I had a problem, that I needed help! And look at this! Look at this! He says it's probably just a morale problem and he's sending me a chef!"

I need to write something that showcases Ra'd. Poor man's been turned into a sidekick with big guns.
(Anonymous) on September 22nd, 2015 03:13 pm (UTC)
I wasn't thinking so much above as separate from.
(Anonymous) on September 22nd, 2015 04:16 pm (UTC)
I wasn't thinking so much above as separate from.
matapampamuphoff on September 22nd, 2015 05:25 pm (UTC)
If there are ever enough of them, and a need for a cadre of them, that may happen. For now, it's just an extra title that hasn't quite settled into place.

Hmm, the wedding planners are going to have an interesting time with Ebsa's head gear for the wedding. "But the keffiyeh _must_ coordinate with the tuxedo, and _must the agal be _that_ shade of green... And I mean, Montevideo, the boy's probably a Catholic... Can't we just forgo the whole head gear thing? And what about Paer's tiara and veils? They'll have to be..."
(Anonymous) on September 23rd, 2015 12:44 am (UTC)
I would love to see more about Ra'd and Nighthawk. And Xen. And Q. And I just had an interesting thought. A fencing exhibition match between Isakson and The Auld Wolf. It would do them both good to have some real competition for a change.
matapampamuphoff on September 23rd, 2015 01:17 am (UTC)
Remember who taught the Prophets how to fight. I've tossed in a few comments, "fights like the wolf" and so on. Isakson really wants to meet this much spoken of Warrior who was left behind. It will happen eventually.

I've got an idea I'm saving for NaNoWriMo. Ra'd's assignment to Embassy, at the same time Ebsa and Paer were on Bug World.

Xen and Q will be front and center for _Embassy_ and when I get to the Cannibal World encounters.

More immediately, Xen was the MC in "Bad Karma," and will have a lot of page time in _Corridors_. Q will get some time in the story right after _Sea Wolves_.