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27 March 2016 @ 07:30 am
Happy Easter! I'll write some more _Surveillance Camp_ later and post it. For now, this insisted on being written. It'll go in the wedding story, somewhere.


"Today we are honored to have with us a Warrior of the One, born 256 years after the arrival of the New Prophets of the One True God. Please Welcome R'ad ibn Nicholas."

Ra'd walked out, trying to relax, trying to not think the hostess's toothy grin made her look hungry rather than welcoming. How the Hell did I get talked into this?

He smiled back, shook her hand and allowed her to retain it as she led him to a pair of chairs on the stage. "Thank you for inviting me, Miss Dear."

"Oh do call me Deary."

"I'd rather not." . . . I probably should not have said that out loud.

"Oh. My." The toothy grin expanded. "You are old fashioned!"

"Very. Although I am trying to adjust. After all, it has been almost twelve years." Ra'd wondered briefly if there was some gas encouraging a loose tongue. Or perhaps there were some subtle spells in play.

"You were just fifteen, at the Battle of Fort Rangpur. A Trainee."

"Yes, but please understand that in the middle of a desperate war, it was on-the-job training. I killed a Chinese soldier when I was thirteen."


"Yes. I was scouting and spying. With the right clothes and few goats, I was taken for a Hindu peasant. Ignored. I telepathed ahead the strength of forces attacking us, the specific weapons."

"And you killed one of them?"

"Two soldiers had surprised another Warrior, were bringing their weapons to bear. I killed one. Kyle Emreson killed the other." Ra'd had to glance away. "My uncle. He died at Rangpur two years later."

"Your uncle? Umm, your mother's father was Emre?" Her voice was a little high now.

"Is. Yes, and Eltia was my maternal grandmother."

She blinked and the teeth retreated a bit. "Oh. Umm, so you are . . . a Prophet."

"I am a Warrior."

". . . as powerful as a Prophet? Stronger than a mere Oner?"

"The abilities and strengths of the Prophets were individually variable. As are the One. The . . . evolutionary sorting and resorting of the genes of the Prophets has produced some very interesting abilities, widespread across the Empire. Sometimes in places you people seem to find very unexpected. Take Speed, for instance. I am privileged to know a man whom some fools call a Closey Upcomer Bastard. Which he says is technically accurate. He is faster than me. Faster than Isakson, which I didn't think possible.

"All Oner's top to bottom, are unique, with individual skills, and should be judged as such. But then, the Prophets believed very strongly in the individual. They looked at the Multitude here, and saw equals."

The teeth disappeared altogether. "The Multitude are not my equal!"

"And that attitude is the one thing that I will never adjust to, in this modern world."


Ra'd glanced over to where Rael was wiping tears of laughter from her face.

"Fortunately, due to the advertising breaks, the show is only forty minutes long."

Rael snorted, blew her nose. "I don't think she's ever punched a guest before."

Qayg tsked. "I don't think she's ever punched anything harder than a pillow. I really enjoyed the way she cried and cradled her hand. Pity nothing was actually broken."

"Ha!" Isakson clapped him on the shoulder. "Good job. They need to stop thinking we're just a quaint pair of over-hyped swaggerers. We knew the Prophets. We know how they thought before they trapped themselves in the knot of power."

"Hmmph." His stepmother nodded. "They needed to stop thinking that you are just a Directorate Agent."

She shook a finger in his face. "And you should not have insulted your friend in public. Even if he is a nice boy."

Ra'd's turn to snort. "Ebsa was not insulted. In fact he is nearly impervious to insult.

Qammar galloped in, a gangly twenty-two year old. "I can't believe you didn't hit her back!"

"I was trying too hard to not laugh at her."

"But I liked your speech."

Rael started laughing again. "The part about how the Council wanting to go to war was 'like a hysterical woman throwing her best china at the wall in a fit of rage, after her husband has walked out and slammed the door behind him. Do you want Disco to walk out and close the gates?' Oh dear One."

"They can close the gates anytime they want to. And don't think they can't take out our powered gates." Ra'd shrugged.

"We know." President Orde walked up. Grinning. "And no doubt I'll be questioned about it at the next press conference. Just now however, those people who have been making movies about what they think happened? They really want to talk to you."

"Oh, yes. They will be so impressed by two stolen police cars, all the accidental damage we did in our rush. Electronic transaction fraud through mental manipulation. Assault on the ecclesiastical guard, both physical and mental. And, of course, refusing the One's right to take Isakson's son. And the One's refusal to accept his rejection. The One will not allow that to be known."

"Especially after you called them Thirty generations of perverted child abusers in a stuck Compass." The President of the Empire was failing to stifle snickers.

Paer glowered at him. "And they aren't perverts. They're all eunuchs."

"Oh? And they don't commit sexual violence on ten year old boys?"

" . . . Well . . . "

"They need to stop. To disengage." Ra'd shrugged. "They need to obey their own rules., and allow the boys to refuse."

Rael shifed. "They have the Comet Fall hormone repression spell now, and various herbal and medical methods."

"Indeed. But do they allow boys to chose to not join the One? A mental rape as bad as the castration."

"One! And as Ebsa's best man you are going to be on public display for another three months."

"Perhaps Ajha can send me across for six weeks."

"I'll mention the possibility." Orde snickered. "Ebsa will be back in a few days . . . I wonder if Deary wi'll have the nerve to interview him?"
shanashana on March 29th, 2016 03:23 pm (UTC)
Ah, I see Ra'd is the one triggering the collective mind to make the One to allow boys to choose to be priests.