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30 September 2015 @ 08:33 am
_Gods and Princesses_ part 1  
I'll give you a couple of nibbles of this one, so you can see what was going on after _External Relations_ and during the end of _Project Dystopia_ But the rest of it is under construction.

Gods and Princesses

Pam Uphoff

Chapter One

15 Qadah 1408yp

"Senior Administrator." Izzo stood to shake hands, waved at a chair. "Have a seat."

The tall, broad, woman sat, body language aggressive.

Kael Withione Montevideo. One help me.

"The disastrous mess of the . . . last few weeks has left the Action and Exploration Subdirectorate in a turmoil. And understaffed at all levels."

Her lips tightened, but her gaze was as much hurt as furious. And . . . inward, not directed at him.

"The Teams have always been loosely split between Info, Action, and Explorer specializations, fairly fluid as needed. Right now we've gone from forty-one teams to twenty-eight, with almost all the losses in Action specialists. We're going to have to rebuild the Action Teams. And for that purpose, I'm splitting Action from Exploration. The Info Teams will remain with the Intelligence Subdirectorate, of course.

"In checking with the remaining Action Teamers and support staff, I find that you've been trying to restore order and keep the top priority projects working. So, shall we make that official, Subdirector Kael?"

Now she focused on him. Something that might have been surprise flickered for a moment, before she nodded. "Yes, Director. I . . . thank you. I need the official authority to . . . get repairs underway."

Izzo reached and tapped a button. "The memo splitting Action and Exploration, naming you and Ajha as the subdirectors, is in everyone's inbox."

"Ajha?" She rolled her eyes, and a tiny smile showed. "That will be interesting. One knows he has the experience. And who's going to argue with a former Philosopher of the One?"

"Oh . . . I'm sure they'll start arguing soon enough. I hope you can work with him?"

"Not a problem. It's bullshit I can't stand."


"I shouldn't have let Izzo talk me into this." Former Prophet of the One Ajha Clostuone Black Point scowled at his list.

"I'm sure you'll be an outstanding subdirector, Subdirector." Fean smirked at his glare.

Ajha tried hard to scowl as Fean walked out, laughing. It was difficult. She's so young, so independent, so fiendish. I've changed her as much as I can stand. Much better if I just enjoy the view from here. Closer could mess everything up. He turned his attention back to his organizational chart. He'd been in and out of Info, Exploration and Action Teams, and the administration there of, so many times, he knew all the teamers. Knew the ones who were no longer on the list. I hate to say I'm relieved by some. Disappointed in others. Shocked by a few. Rest in Peace, all of you who knowingly committed treason. And prison time for the rest. A few sudden retirements.

Subdirector of Action and Exploration Ebko, thirteen team leaders and over a hundred others had been executed for treason three days ago. And equal number had received lesser punishment, and were no longer his concern. The Action and Exploration Subdirectorate support personnel who hadn't been arrested were pretty well traumatized.

The Intelligence Subdirectorate support people were much less bothered, but there'd been enough overlap and swapping assignments that they were feeling the pain. In need of, variously, TLC or kicks in the rears. Or just time.

And now Ajha was one floor up, sitting at a stranger's desk, attempting to organize the staff and find out what the teams in the field were doing. Wherever they were.

It ought to be straightforward. Administrative staff. Direct support staff. Field staff.

His Exploration Teams, thank the One, did not need the same sort of support Action Teams needed.

Kael is welcome to them all, but since she's having to rebuild whole teams almost from the ground up, it seems petty to dump all the support people on her. Technically, I've got eight Explorer Teams, and Kael's got five Action Leaders and most of their teams. But I'm going to have to reassign some people . . .

"Time to make a list."

"Yes, One." A sultry female voice from the open door.

Ajha sighed. "Sorry Queens, I'll try to stop talking out loud."

"I don't mind at all, One."

He sent a jaundiced look out the doorway. Qeez's Principal, the subdirector she'd been assigned to monitor, had been one of those allowed to retire, head still attached to his body. She'd nearly run the administrative part of the Vista Colony sub directorate, and Ajha had thought her experience and reputation might put a bit of starch back in this office staff. Instead, she seemed to have acquired the reputation of a deserter. Odd. If the One had realized what the cabal was up to, she might well have received a termination order, that is, an order to kill him. And being a princess, it would have been subtle enough to be mistaken for an accidental or natural death. And Ajha had no doubt that she would have killed Subdirector Ikti. No matter how long, or how intimately she'd known him. The staff seemed to think she ought to have been in on the conspiracy. Very Odd. This loosening of loyalty to the One.

Was it just the fading away of the memories of the Prophets?

Perhaps it was the sheer number of Oners. Perhaps they couldn't collect any more minds.

Ajha leaned back and frowned at the ceiling. If we're too big, does that mean it's time to die, or time to split? To reproduce by fission? Had the cabal had the right idea, and executed it the wrong way? We could be like a coral reef. Each similar, each separate. Budding off and forming new structures. But together, spontaneously forming huge reefs. Active, rich in life, beautiful. All together, and each separate.

"The main problem with being a former Philosopher of the One is that you never seem to stop thinking of strange things that probably ought to get you executed."

Nothing but silence from Qeez.

He cued up the personnel lists and asked for all field qualified people in the former joint division. He needed to promote some people to Team Leader. And he needed a broad range of specialties. He glanced up at a perfunctory knock . Kail, of course.


She showed teeth. "Subdirector."

"I'm going through the personnel lists, looking for the best people to reassign to Action specialties."

She eyed him narrowly.

He cleared his throat. "When I was Exploration Senior Admin, I split the . . . more aggressive types up. Ebko reshuffled a lot of them, but there are still a lot of people more suited to Action than Exploration scattered through the remaining teams. So perhaps we should pull them out now and put them together. All the teams are going to get shaken up." He scowled, figured out how to get his computer to talk to this office's net, and switched his comp to the display on the wall.

"We've got thirteen current experienced team leaders, between us. I've marked your five in red, four of mine who are simply not suitable for Action in green. The yellow four could do either. The purple ticks are people I'm prepared to promote. I haven't gotten around to all the experienced field people who could be reassigned."

"Humph. You're as sensible and logical as a woman." Kael eyed the list and nodded. "I've worked with a couple of your yellows. And I'd promote . . . " She got out her own comp and they started comparing lists.

In the end they came up with twenty-two teams. Fifteen were Action specialist, and seven Exploration.

"That works for me. We're short about seventy people to fill the teams, but we can reassign people with field experience." Ajha started approving specific assignments. "I rarely need full eight man teams, but I'd like twelve teams so I can cover everything. Then multiple teams for larger projects. I'll identify some new leaders and boot some desk jockeys out for the science support teams. I don't like outside hires for teams . . . but maybe we can persuade the Directorate School to push more people into Teams."

She huffed out a breath. "And I thought you were going to be difficult to work with."

"Oh, I can see the big picture. And frankly, with the Helios problem so very reduced, we had more teams than we needed. This will be about right. Three fewer for you, and one less for me, but I'll split mine up smaller as I pull in more people. And don't think I won't yell for Action Teams when I've got a batch of idiot scientists heading for dangerous worlds."

Kael grunted. "Indeed. Ordinarily you don't need quite the level of expertise in mayhem that I need. So . . . are we going to fight over Ebsa and Ra'd?"

"If Director Izzo will reassign them, yes." Ajha sighed. "I think Ajki was getting them out of the way."

She showed teeth.

"Ra'd . . . is never going to fit a normal team. But he and Ebsa together are an incredible two man team. I think we should admit that, and keep them together as a small team. Then both of us can use them as needed."

Kael paused . . . nodded. "True. Ra'd's the most competent piece of trouble I've ever seen. But occasionally I'll need that sharpshooter and his very clever pal."

"I want them for first across, which in most cases are just two or three month assignments. So they'll be cycling back through regularly."

"Right. Let's try it that way, for now." Sharp smile. "We might even let Intel have them, now and then."

"So . . . Action team numbers are mostly one through twenty-nine. Info are all in the thirties, Exploration the forties. Let's designate Ra'd and Ebsa as team fifty. Ambiguous." Ajha grinned. "Or we could go the other direction and make them Team Zero."

Snort. "Now that you're a subdirector, you'd better report to medical and get that sense of humor removed. It's not allowed, you know."

"Oh, come now, I always thought Ajki managed fairly well." He bit his lip. I have some other people I might just assign to Team Fifty as well. You never know when you'll need a hacker or a medic."

"Indeed? Perhaps we should call them Team Buffet. Take only what you want." Kail stood. "A pleasure doing business with you, Subdirector. Why don't we let the personnel department deal with splitting the office staff? The support staff is probably going to be tedious."

"Umm. And then the fight for office space"

Kael snorted. "I'm moving into Ebko's office in the Southeast corner. Why don't you grab southwest? We can keep the big conference room between us, and that wasted space of a reception area can easily house a receptionist on either side."

Ajha nodded. "Then my people up the west side, yours up the east, and we can fight over who gets how much of the north. Pleasure doing business with you, Subdirector." Ajha sighed in relief. Moving day! I can ignore everything for . . . well, a couple of hours.

Kail nodded and stalked out.

"Queen? You and Fean want to handle moving?"

"Yes, One. An excellent bit of cooperation, if I may say so."

"You may. I think . . . I will circulate a bit and talk to people."

He wandered the halls first. Lots of empty offices. Thank the One mostly retired. Mind, you, Kael and I are both moving into dead men's offices.

They were relieved that he and Kail were cooperating. He set one of his new underlings to making a list of who preferred Exploration, and who Action, and told him to find out who in personnel was going to be reassigning people, and to give him or her the list.

Then he headed for the Team offices and barracks, inside the gate security area. Four of the old teams were still out in the field. He talked to all the rest of the team leaders, and some of the people he wanted to promote, and let them know a shake up and reorganization was going to hit them, probably by tomorrow at the latest. He broadcast the tentative assignments. "Might as well make changes now, as later, if there are people who just don't get along."

Kail joined them, they all wound up lunching together, beating things into shape.

When they finally split, all the field people were noticeably happier. This is going to work.

hollybambolo on September 30th, 2015 02:48 pm (UTC)
Kael is switching to Kail sometimes, and I think Kail is someone else, Quail's alias maybe?
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on September 30th, 2015 09:22 pm (UTC)
Yep and please fix
==Former Prophet of the One Ajha Clostuone Black Point scowled ..==

Little Egret in Walton-on-Thames