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03 October 2015 @ 12:02 am
_Gods and Princesses_ part 4  

"And take that thing with you."

Ajha lifted the drape and gawped.

"It scares people. Only the Fallen would come up with something so exquisite and so obscene." Wrla jerked the cloth completely off the statue.

It was sitting cross-legged like one of the slightly slimmer versions of Buddha, but the erect penis and six testicles would have spoiled the serenity, had the scowling glare allowed any in the first place.

"Oh. One. Wrla, don't you realize what this is?"

The Subdirector of Research frowned, then his jaw dropped. "One of those inside out bubbles. Like what keeps happening to Action Teams that get on the wrong side of the Fallen. That can't be a real person in there, though. It's sat there since an Info Team – yours if I recall correctly – sent it in decades ago. Close to fifty years ago."

"Wrla, this not just a person. This one of their Old Gods. A contemporary of the Prophets. He's all wrapped up in some powerful spells that have kept him from working out from under the bubble." He stuck his head out the door and waved down Xiat. "How many of your new disciples would like to try their hand at taming a Fallen Old God?"

"Ajha, if you attack Comet Fall, you will be in so much . . . what the One is that?" She recoiled, nose wrinkling.

"The Great God Ba'al, the God of Virtue. I think his name is actually Barry Virtue." Ajha reached out and scrapped at the surface of the bubble. Something like a ripple ran over the surface and he snatched his hand back.

She reached out and touched the statue's shoulder with a single fingertip. "Paranoia, annoyance. A panic spell, about half repressed, but not gone. Stupidity. So he can't figure a way out. What a nasty combination! I shall have to figure out how they wove them all together like that, and duplicate it."

"Taking it off this fellow might be nice as well."

She slanted a look at the statue. "Somehow I doubt nice has much place in this fellow's world-view. He looks quite malevolent."

"You mean that seriously?" Wrla reached out to touch the statue himself. "One of their Gods?" He jumped back. "One! I never studied it, as it'd been here for so long before I arrived. Go away, Ajha, I just changed my mind. You can't have it."

"Good. I recommend you have lots of spell breakers around when you do open it. And some people with magic battle experience. He felt quite vampirish, when I first tried something."

"Vampire ish? Like those sick Arbolians?"

"I don't know. I've managed to avoid them, so far. Have fun." He headed for the door.

Xiat followed him out. "I think you should go talk to Izzo. He really will want to know what he's got tucked away in the basement."

***

"I've got a Comet Fall God in the basement? How long has he been there?"

Ajha squirmed. "Forty-eight years, more or less. Wrla's going to try to get him out. My experience is that he's paranoid, and panic stricken and not thinking much at all. In fact he wasn't even processing what he was seeing very well. Some of that may be spells on him, some might be, err, mental degradation from the long storage or just his age."

"I see." Izzo glanced to the side. "And I just read Fean's report, about the smugglers from Comet Fall. I don’t know if Urfa will send her off again with them, or keep her around as a Comet Fall expert."

Ajha grinned. "Can I go too? I'd be better at recognizing the espionage potential in that tangle of Worlds."

"Good try, but no."

***

**

***

Izzo raised inquiring eyebrows as Arsa squirmed.

"I'm certain I was quite clear about controlled scientific studies." Wrla scowled at the younger man.

"Right, but with so many climate zones and no good grasp of the variations of soils, and the cost was low . . . " Arsa sank down further in his chair as the older scientist glared at him.

"What did you do?" Izzo prompted him.

"It was all old, surplused, see? The launcher and three hundred sub orbital missiles. Dirt cheap. I loaded them with a selection of wind pollinated plants, well, their seeds, and a few odds and ends, and set them to start disbursing at ten miles up as the missile slowed in the lower atmosphere. I figure we got a solid ten percent of the sub arctic land area seeded."

Izzo blinked in astonishment. "How much of it took?"

"How much?" Wrla scowled. "You should be asking what types and where and . . . " He hissed to a stop and gritted his teeth. "Satellite photographs show spots of greenery all over the place."

"Some of them are spreading." Arsa sat up, bright-eyed and happy. "And the nursery trees I put in around the arrival point are doing well."

"Goes well with the barbeque pit, the picnic tables . . . "

Izzo grinned. "Ah. I see the problem. Paying for Gate time for division picnics. Naughty. Go see Q about a permanent Gate, it'll be cheaper in the short run. How's the other algae world doing?"

"It is getting a slow, scientifically controlled progression of lichens, ferns and palms. Even so, it's starting to take a bite out of my Gate budget."

"Right. Ask Q for two Gates. In fact, talk to her and find out if they're doing any studies of a similar nature. If she gets interested she might do the gates cheap."

Wrla growled under his breath. "Shouldn't be dependent on them."

Izzo nodded. "I agree. I'm working on several possible ways to acquire that skill. It may take another generation, though."

"Oh? You breeding up some Halfers?"

"I believe the One has that in hand. I'm going to have to pretend to not see a dozen or so young Princesses trooping eagerly through to Embassy, and hopefully coming back looking smug."

"That sounds very uncontrolled and unscientific."

Arsa muttered something under his breath. ". . . Fallen get all the fun . . . "

Izzo sent them off and got through four reports before he was thankfully interrupted again.

***

***

Queens looked over the collection of young Princesses. Three of them, Qyez(Yes), Qeas(Kiss), and Qoox(Coos) were nieces to some degree or another. Their parents, while they'd expected a high withione child, had all been upset to have produced princesses. To have to give up all thought of grandchildren. So the girls' motives, while possibly not the best, were understandable. Four others, Cwoh(Whoa), Xyeh(Say), Dowd(Doddy), and Kowj(Couch), well, she wasn’t going to ask. Knowing the parents of three of them was bad enough. And what those parents were going to say, if this worked the way it was supposed to . . . Two of the girls were complete unknowns. Boig(Bog), and Leaf.

At least she'd managed to talk them down to four maids. Halfers; hopefully they wouldn't be a problem.

"All right. Mount up. Let’s get going." She tried to hide how stiff she was as she turned to her own horse. I am not feeling my age. The handsome bay mare stood to be mounted, but moved out eagerly as soon as she tightened her legs. It was the early hours of the day, the sun still down, the Gate complex was quiet, and the guards more interested in getting them through unseen than checking their documentation. The invisible spells, and sound dampening spells helped as they passed the Gate and out into the courtyard of the Empire’s embassy on the World called Embassy.

Well briefed, the guards here checked for late traffic and waved them out into the Plaza in the center of the city. Now to find out if their first route would work.

Queens followed Izzo's guides as they led the way around the plaza, sticking to the grassy strips. The black hulk of the Disco building terrorized that corner of the open square kilometer. She ignored the ambiance and turned down the road between Disco and the Comet Fall embassy.

The two young men, Wpja and Ushy, were faint silhouettes in the night. They were letting out a very faint glow, just enough for her to identify them and follow. Whipper, who'd barely skinned through with enough numbers to be a Withione, and Mushy, who was a Neartuone, both had totally disgraceful reputations. But apparently they knew how to get to Comet Fall. "The Gate is here." Barely aspirated. The figure gestured, and rode into the wall. She tuned the horse’s head into what looked like a solid rock wall. The mare resisted, for the first time, and Queens had to thump her, to get her to stick her head into the stone, and keep going.

On the other side, a brick courtyard, redder than normal in the setting sun. They had, apparently, just ridden out of the side of an ornately decorated wooden building. She looked around.

A man was watching them, a bit surprised. "Where are you bound?"

"Rip Crossing. I heard this was the easiest way to get there." Whipper was eyeing a different stretch of wall.

"Oh sure. This one goes to Ash. Then you just go around the corner to the Rip Crossing Corridor." The man reached out mentally and flicked a thought at the wall, just where he was pointing.

Queens turned her horse and once more forced her to ram a building. As she left, she heard the man.

"I hope you know what you’re doing."

So do I, young man, so do I.

 
 
 
Zan Lynxzlynx on October 3rd, 2015 11:23 pm (UTC)
On a completely unrelated topic but here because I'm not sure where to discuss just random things...

I was rereading Dancer and just today caught that Raod and Rael's father was a Minister of Transportation and named his daughters Road and Rail.

Hah! I laughed and I am still grinning.