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05 July 2016 @ 11:41 am
_Children of a Foreign God_ snippet  
It'll no doubt fit in there somewhere.

Chapter Back Home

"So, this position with Exterior Relations looks like it's right up my alley."

Arno remembered to chew, swallowed. "So are we going to move to Gate City? I mean, I know you commuted for the short contract, but . . . " He stopped, because both the parents were nodding.

Ryol was silent, big-eyed and thinking.

"We'll keep this house, of course. And with the corridors we can come home regularly, so you'll see your friends." Mom was eyeing them worriedly.

Closer to Master Xen. Good or bad?

Ryol gulped. "But we'll go to school up there?"

Erk! Good or bad? I mean, no problem with the work . . . but all new fellow students? Arno took a deep breath. I can do this. No big deal. I'll still see my friends . . . I haven't told them about . . . my biofather. I haven't told anyone. The longer I wait the shorter time I'll have to be harassed in school about it. Good. And Ryol swore she'd kill me if I let it out, so she . . . will probably not tell her girlfriends. Excellent.

I'll just start high school in a different school than I'd thought.

"Umm, can we move soon enough to start at the first day of school?"

"Yes." Mom's shoulders relaxed. "In fact, while you two were busy this summer, I've been looking at houses. I've bought one and we'll move next week. Sort of, I don't want to strip this house, after all."

Ryol swallowed. "An all new high school. OhMyOne!"

"School starts in two weeks, so you've got a brief amount of time to meet the neighborhood kids, and hopefully not feel too much like strangers.

The buzz of Dad's comm stopped the conversation. He listened for a long moment, worry lines starting between his brows. "I'll ask if there's anything either of them can do." He set the comm down and looked from Ryol to Arno. "The police have a problem that you two might be able to help with."

Chapter Bank Vault

"Some bank robbers have managed to seal themselves into a vault with their hostages. The timer on the vault won't allow anyone to open it until morning—by which time the oxygen in the vault will be exhausted. They've tried every kind of drill . . . it's shielded as well as physically as hard as it's possible. Can either of you do anything dimensional?"

Ryol scowled, shook her head. "We could call Master Xen."

"They figure they've got half an hour's air left, if that."

Arno hunched his shoulders. "I've done a tiny little corridor . . . once."

Dad picked his phone back up. "We can try. Be right there."

The bank was lit so brightly it hurt the eyes. His dad hustled him inside quickly, muttering about reporters.

A worried looking man in a suit hustled them down two flights of stairs and through four propped open security doors. The vault door was huge. Towering overhead in the high ceilinged room. There were scratches and scorch marks on it. They all looked superficial.

"How . . . " Arno cleared his throat and tried it a less horrified tone. "How thick is the door?" he looked around, not much furniture.

"Eighty centimeters." A pudgy fellow frowned down at him.

"I'll need something that size, or a little bigger, something we can climb across, maybe that chair? And another?"

Arno turned to the vault, sat down in front of it, closed his eyes.

Electric blue. Full of bubbles, like a fizzy drink. He imagined moving closer . . . reaching out and catching that bubble, right there. He opened his eyes. Got it!

He leaned and stuck it down to the vault surface, and carefully eased open a hole. Stretched it across, then scrambled to his feet and stuck down the top corners.

He turned; his dad was holding the chair.

"Shove it in, it's elastic and you have to turn it sideways and jam it across the hole . . . " Arno tipped it on its back . . . "It may not be wide enough. Is there another one?"

He climbed in, under the sagging roof of his tiny corridor and pushed the far side out a bit and very carefully opened a hole. Dull metal on the far side. Still inside the door.

He turned at a poke, grabbed the chair as it was sucked in and shoved it past the one he was standing on. The next hole opened to darkness, stale air. He reached a finger out to pin the hole's corners as men in gas masks crowded in.

Arno shoved back against the elastic skin of the bubble and let them past. Then he turn for the lights and fresh air. Tried to not show how much he needed that hug from his dad. What if it was all too late? What if there were dead people in there, in the dark?

"Good job, kid." One of the policemen thumped Arno's shoulder on the way past.

"Let's back out of the way for a bit, Arno." His dad steered him away. "We'll have to hang around to close that . . . does it close?"

"Yeah. The vault will be fine."

The pudgy man looked over at them. Wringing his hands. "You . . . you got into the vault in four minutes."

His dad snorted. "It's going to be interesting, figuring out how to secure . . . damn near anything."

The man bobbed his head, then suddenly darted back toward the vault. A stumbling figure, a middle aged woman in a rumpled suit, staggering, supported by two men.

"Jyeh! Oh, thank the One!"

Then a man on a stretcher, oxygen mask over his face . . .

Arno was shepherded out of the way and didn't see too much of the other people being removed. Tried to not listen to the hasty command coming from medical types, and the wails of ambulance sirens as people were whisked away.

Finally stuck his fingers in his ears. "I don't want to hear if anyone died."

His dad squeezed his shoulder.

After what seemed like hours, the police decided they didn't need back into the vault. "Can we take the chairs out?"

Arno scrambled to his feet. "Let me shut the far side first. And watch out, sometimes things shoot out kind of fast once they're halfway."

He peeled loose the corners inside the vault and let that hole seal, maneuvered the first chair around and let it fly . . . got shoved out himself by the second chair, then reached back in to free it and got flattened.

Then he unpinned the bubble and let it go.

It was all over the news the next morning.

Half of the headlines called him "Endi Dewulfe's Bastard Monster."

An hour later, they'd added Ryol to the headlines. "Devil Children Living Among Us!"

"I hate you! How could you do this to me!" Ryol had tears running down her face.

Arno walked out and crawled back into bed. Covers over his head. Until quiet footsteps stopped beside the bed, his desk chair creaked.

"Your dad says you just had a brutal lesson in the cost of doing the right thing." Master Xen's deep tones.

Arno stuck his nose out. "Dad called you? Dad called you!"

"Yep." A hint of amusement. "Said he'd hit me later."

Ryol screeched from the hallway. "It's not funny! My picture is all over the Grid and they're calling me a monster! Why are you always so stupid, Arno!"

"Ryol?" Master Xen's voice was quiet. "Would you prefer to have a brother who would let eight people die to avoid inconvenience?"

"Well . . . no . . . " A huffed out breath, then something thumped his feet. "I'm glad you . . . were brave enough to do that. But why didn't you put a bag over your head!"

Arno sat up. "Yeah. But what do we do now?"

Master Xen grinned. "Go across the street and build sand castles."

Ryol's eyes got large. "In public? In front of everyone?"

"Yep. Show the world you've got nothing to hide, lots of talent, and that you can defend yourselves." He glanced out the door at their parents. "That you are proud of who and what you are."

"But . . . " Mom was the hand wringer now. "People will think they are dangerous."

Master Xen nodded. "They are dangerous. They are also learning to control themselves and not harm anyone. You've raised them to be honest, law abiding, and nice. They'd no more harm someone magically than they'd borrow their dad's gun and shoot them."

"What about accidents?"

"That's why they need training."


By the time they had their castles half built they had an audience.

Xen was pleased to see most of the people keeping a wary distance.

Until friends ran up and stopped short.

"Can we come closer?"

Xen glanced at the adults behind them. "May I put shields on them? Just to minimize the damage in case of accidents?"

"Minimize." The wiry muscled man glowered.

"Life doesn't come with guarantees. Ryol and Arno are careful, not perfect."

The two mothers swapped glances and nodded. "Shields. Definitely shields."

Four of them approached, eyeing him. A fifth kid galloped up. "I'm not afraid. And I can do my own shields."

Xen eyed the boy. Physical and mental. Strong. He nodded. "If you get tired of holding them yourself, let me know."

A sniff, a scooped up handful of sand flung at Ryol's castle and the battle for the beach was on. Xen waved soft shields on the other four as they threw themselves into the game.

The seven kids kept it up until the castles were in ruins, and fast being eroded by the sea. Urfa, Rael and reporters had joined the watchers. Rael and her sister grinned for the camera. Xen picked up enough of Rael's breezer chatter to recognize that she was claiming the twins, and laughing at the suggestion that she'd done it again.

"Oh no, the little kids are a hundred percent theirs." Rael grinned. "Even I am not that crazy."

Making the younger pair less of a target. Good.

Then, show over, they herded all the kids and parents into the big house and Xen found himself chatting with Axhe—Ox—and Urfa. Which was rather interesting, in as much as Urfa was more interested in Rael's oft mentioned Brother-in-Law-the-Cop than Xen.

Ox was concentrating on Xen. So Xen turned to Urfa. "Checking out your future gate makers?"

"Yes . . . that was a breathtaking demonstration of power, out there. Surprising in the boy, since he'd only just grasped power."

"Umm, I think he managed something rather unusual. I think he grasped power quietly, years ago, but only used the witch gene. Not something I've seen before, and I suspect not something you generally measure. Mind you, he's now taken to using heat and light, but he's used to having power and doing some things without realizing he was using magic."

"I'd have thought you'd seen lots of witches blossoming?"

"Yes, but it's usually tough to get the boys to use gravity for power, when they've got heat and light as an option. It's usually their backup, not their primary source."

"And that's why he can make corridors, already?"

"Umm . . . that's almost a matter of being quiet and careful. Ryol there, for instance, is just as strong, but her mind tends to jump around and not concentrate. Mind you, at their age, it's Arno who's the outlier and Ryol who's normal."

muirecanmuirecan on July 5th, 2016 06:12 pm (UTC)
I had thought Xen had deliberately not passed on the dimensional abilities. Then again this pair are a special case. Hmmm at some point their mother is going to realize if she hasn't already. Possibly in this story... .... :D Oh will that be fun to watch the sisters when she realizes. It was a good reason and all but ....
matapampamuphoff on July 5th, 2016 07:05 pm (UTC)
No, after he let the first couple of wives catch him and he realized this might actually be a way to derail the War Party's plans, he swapped (in a small part of his body) his power genes to Oner. The dimensional talent is enabled by other genes. And he swapped his power genes back to normal as he prepared to depart. Which was when Rael seduced him.

Let me find the list . . . of his 12 sons, four have all of his power genes (no Oner X at all). Of his 15 daughters, four have a Oner X and his combo wizard/witch X chromosome.

All of his children will have some dimensional ability, grading from slight to strong.

Do I need to repost the start of this story?

Edited at 2016-07-05 07:07 pm (UTC)
muirecanmuirecan on July 6th, 2016 12:55 am (UTC)
Ah ok, that makes sense. I knew he had done something along those lines from the text but for some reason I thought he had blocked the dimensional abilities. Heh. All those young gods and goddesses growing up under the influence of The One. That should prove interesting.
matapampamuphoff on July 6th, 2016 04:12 am (UTC)
Especially the four boys who don't have a One Gene. Ordinary patriotism may be enough, or they may want a small patch of skin changed to the One gene. Or every X chromosome in every single cell they've got changed to a Oner gene and nothing from Comet Fall.

Of course, with four of them, I can do them all.

The Oner power gene is very similar to the Mage gene, in that it pulls power from heat. The One gene reaches higher in the spectrum, and the Mage gene lower. But the overlap is huge. So the four girls with Endi's Witch/Wizard X and the Oner X from their mothers are triple sourced. As powerful, in theory, as Q.
ekuah on July 6th, 2016 10:23 am (UTC)
Just for clarification:

Oner's One gene:
heat (light?) sourced
high frequency
suppresses offsprings with lower count father
located on X chromosome

C.F. Witch gene:
gravity sourced
low frequency
suppresses male offsprings
located on X chromosome

C.F. Wizard gene:
light (heat?) sourced
low frequency
testosterone interferes with development of ability
located on X chromosome

Oner Priest gene:
heat (light?) sourced
higher frequency than One gene
testosterone interferes with development of ability
located on Y chromosome

C.F. Mage gene:
heat sourced
low frequency
located on Y chromosome

Arbolian Priest gene:
external sourced
testosterone does not interfere
located on Y chromosome?

Arbolian God gene:
sun sourced
similar to C.F. wizard
but testosterone does not interfere
located on X chromosome?

is that right, more or less?
matapampamuphoff on July 6th, 2016 11:51 am (UTC)
Power genes.

You know how music can increase your energy? How you can feel and share the excitement of a crowd? The genes controlling that are where the research into the power genes started. The various universities and companies' research led them down several avenues.

With a lot of copying from published papers, poaching researchers, industrial espionage . . . So it's not real simple, and a lot of the early attempts weren't in the bulk chromosome insertions. Those came later. The insertions were the way they commercialized the final results.

So the "lab animals" had not just animal genes, but a lot of artificial genes outside the neatly packaged insertions, which is one reason there's extreme variation in the abilities of individuals.

The mage gene, the One gene and the wizard gene all source from electromagnetic energy.

They are all individually variable, but in general the mage gene reaches from the longest frequencies (I'll have to give some thought to whether Mages can use radio frequencies, once they are in a high tech civ!) through infrared into the mid "red" range. There are possible kinetic energy sources, especially with the Sea Kings believed to pull energy from the movement of water, and storm mages able to rep the energy from the condensation of water.

The One gene pulls energy from mid infrared through half the visible spectrum.

Wizards are infrared through ultraviolet. The effect on one being X-rayed could be "interesting."

The Witch gene taps the, umm, call it the tension of the bend in space time generally referred to as gravity. But it is also able to tap the electromagnetic spectrum as a secondary source. There are clearly some psychological factors in play, as there's no good explanation for why witches can't tap gravity when afloat, but can pull energy from hotsprings "because it's heated by the Earth." One is forced to consider the possibility that the witch gene renders one more sensitive (and better controlled) by the collective subconscious, which would explain a lot about the Gods.

Most Arbolians have "normal" mage and wizard genes. They also have a "delayed puberty" gene, the effects of which I need to emphasize in _Prince Primus_, that allows their wizard gene to work in some of the carriers.

The Vampire effect of the Arbolian priests is due to a single mutation of the mage gene. Which unfortunately occurred in a man who got around a lot. All the priests are thus related to each other. They can detect the priest mage gene from the "zap" of touching a relative, but being just a single gene it's a weak effect. Even more weakly, they can detect the normal mage gene. They miss at least 10% in their diagnosis of babies born in the temple. More of that will become clear later in the story. The vampire mage gene is crippled and can only pull power from another mage or wizard. Or witch, but that gene is extinct there.

The Comet Fall charisma gene is a throwback to the early power collection genes. It collects from crowd excitement, with a bit of a positive feedback effect. Located on the Y chromosome, it is a variation of the mage gene. Which is why the Negue family men are such popular rulers. Prince Rebo's mutated, a shift toward the vampire abilities. Several witches have carefully checked his putative children and changed the power collection gene they inherited into a normal mage gene.

Both the CF sexual selection gene complex and the Oner's select-for-power genes were designed to extend their creator's control and vision of the future down through the generations.

The CF gene complex is on the X chromosome right next to the witch gene. When the Auld Wulf fiddled with his incipient children's genetics he swapped the extra power genes for the sexual selection gene. ie, neither Xen nor Q have the selection gene.

The Oner's gene was intended to prevent the lab animals from breeding with normal people, but be fertile among themselves. They didn't get it right. The males had no problem impregnating normals, but the females were oversensitive. Back to the drawing board . . .

Test Friday! Remember to read reprints 5, 6, and 8!
(Anonymous) on July 6th, 2016 02:30 pm (UTC)
Wolfgang acted as a radio receiver in Outcasts and Gods when he was on leave on a beach in California. He was disgusted at the music station he picked up.
Does that help with the can mages use radio waves question?
matapampamuphoff on July 6th, 2016 02:49 pm (UTC)
I'd forgotten about that. Yes . . . sensitive to it probably means they can use it.
muirecanmuirecan on July 6th, 2016 03:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the lesson on Power Genes. :) I had deduced most of that but it is nice to see it laid out like that.
ekuah on July 6th, 2016 10:02 am (UTC)
'Let me find the list . . . of his 12 sons, four have all of his power genes (no Oner X at all). Of his 15 daughters, four have a Oner X and his combo wizard/witch X chromosome.'

Ok. Something is really wrong here.
Yeah. I know it's your universe and you rule.
But there are a few things to mention.
If I remember right, Endi Dewulfe had a 210 insertion count and a defective Oner X chromosome. When he switched back to Xen Wulfson he fixed his X chromosome to Comet Fall Wizard&Witch Combo.

In normal genetics for sons the Y chromosome comes from the father and the X chromosome from the mother.
So in his 12 War party sons will have his Y chromosome (mage)
and the mother X chromosome.
And that will be a Oner X most likely. Because I'm guessing the wives are all Withiones or at least high Neartuones. Else they would have been pregnant before.

There was a mention somewhere that Endi has removed the dimensional ability of his war party children.
Because of that, the Oners wanted to breed their own dimensional able magicians and sent some princesses to seduce some comet fall gods. (I think they caught Barry Sigma(Baal)

Edited at 2016-07-06 10:29 am (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on July 6th, 2016 12:27 pm (UTC)
Selective gene swaps

(1)For his employment medical, Xen changed the genes in his mouth, and scalp to have no power genes at all.

(2) He changed a small patch of skin to the One Power gene. This allowed a deeper but controlled contact with the collective subconscious and the One hive mind.

(3)Xiat got a blood sample when he pinched a finger or some such. This showed what Izzo's old field analyzer interpreted as an abnormal One gene on his X, which was actually his normal witch and wizard combo. And a Priest gene on his Y chromosome, which was actually his mage gene. In other words, they got an honest genetic sample but the machine wasn't sophisticated enough to go beyond "Recognized but but not normal." The Interior Relations genetic lab was able to get more details later.

(4) when Xen decided to go full bore for genetic sabotage, he changed his sperm and generative cells to have a normal One gene on his X and no power gene at all on his Y. In other words, a normal situation for a Oner man. So the majority of his children are normal Oners, power gene-wise. But they will have his non-insertion genes as well as a few genes in the insertions that differ from the restricted Oner suite of possibilities. These will include the first (non working) version of the peacock gene, which is one of several genes that can enable dimensional ability. Since Xen has doubles on several of those, all his kids will have some degree of dimensional ability.

(5) When he was packing to leave, he swapped his genes back to normal. He was anticipating being used as a diplomatic courier within days. The usefulness of sabotage through seduction had ended.

Strong dimensional manipulations require a lot of power. That is why most people who can do anything dimensionally have double sources. But it is the amount of power, not the double source that is the limiting factor. Without a double source, or with, say the Oner and Mage genes that overlap so much they don't much extend the range of power available to that person, most people won't be able to do much.

Also, Gisele/Rustle/Xen/Nil (the top genetic engineers) haven't made any rigorous studies. They've just noticed that all the strong dimensionally able are double sources, and the single sourcers often can't do anything, even if they can see the play cubes and the gates look a bit foggy.
matapampamuphoff on July 6th, 2016 12:44 pm (UTC)
I should add that Xen engineered only the body parts he need to for the results he desired. 99% of his body remained unchanged throughout the mission. He always had his usual triple sources available.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on July 5th, 2016 07:38 pm (UTC)

This reminded me of a a new plot point for the "Rael realises Arno & Ryol are her biokids" subplot

Rale gets a zing from & Ryol BUT she should notice that she doesn't get much of one from Raaz & Oxde.

And how's the investigation of Rael's genetics getting on ?

She, like the Fallen, should have lots of the Prophets' genes plus lots of non-radiation-damaged normal genes.
matapampamuphoff on July 5th, 2016 08:32 pm (UTC)
The Prophets also had no radiation damaged genes, so generally speaking that lack is considered a good indication of high potential, not an indication of foreign origins.

Yes, I'm sure at some point, probably soon after _A Small Family Wedding_, Rael got curious enough to find out.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on July 5th, 2016 09:56 pm (UTC)
But at this point all the Prophets are thought to be dead.

Since Rael is a granddaughter she would in any case get the 'unbelievable' reactions from geneticists as shown in Empire.

But also this is Rael's own investigation.

What about Izzo's ?
matapampamuphoff on July 5th, 2016 11:26 pm (UTC)
The Oners are seriously inbred. While in the pre-advanced-biology years they couldn't detect the differences, none-the-less, in general, the people with the high counts of the insertions would also have more than average "animal genes" as well.

And I suspect that when Rael wanted to find out, the first person she'd go to is Izzo. "Hey, can you run this DNA sample down to the genetics lab?"

Two hours later . . . "Rael, I'm sending you the report on the analysis of your DNA we did two years ago. No point in redoing it, right? And, yes, it's true, your genes are crazier than you are."

Edited at 2016-07-05 11:27 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on July 5th, 2016 11:44 pm (UTC)
When is Rael going to find out about her MIA spy blood mage dad? Brand Butcher (I think was his name)? We ever going to see the most prolific dynamic duo again? Did they follow the god of peace to whatever world they were trapped on? Did they get off on old Warmonger Earth? Did they stay or sneak through another gate?
Honestly, it would be funny if One World found them on an Elf World. Where the locals mistook them for LOtR equivalent fallen Celestials turned human wizards. After several generations of them in an odd culture, abusing the wine of the gods, and Elven Girls. We would get both WoW Blood Elves AND that weird water magic the Elves used in LOtR. It's cross species pollination via magic, who says that the resulting magic users have to follow any normal magic chart. Or that they themselves didn't go a little power mad and make their own brute force monsters. Or something, it's your series.
matapampamuphoff on July 5th, 2016 11:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Rael?
Bawhahaha! Okay, like the ideas, but Bran and Oscar were in a very strong shield that interacted badly with Pax's transport spell and squirted sideways and landed in Scandia. Scandia, the whole city, was bubbled to protect it from the comet.

They've been trying all day (as in 27 years on the outside) to figure out how to get out.

When shall I let them escape? As soon as I need them.

Where shall I let then out? Depends on where I need them.

Poor guys! At the mercy of the Writer's Muse!

Edited at 2016-07-05 11:58 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on July 6th, 2016 12:07 am (UTC)
Re: Rael?
You could always dimensionally clone them. The Schrodinger's Cat doesn't always have to be just alive and/or dead. It could also be a radioactive mutant zombie now immune to poison. At least according to the original thought experiment.
matapampamuphoff on July 6th, 2016 04:04 am (UTC)
Re: Rael?
I always thought the Schrodinger's Cat situation was too simplistic. I mean, maybe the cat had kittens? There could be seven cats in there, when you finally get up the nerve to look.
muirecanmuirecan on July 6th, 2016 12:59 am (UTC)
Re: Rael?
Ah ha so thats where they wound up and what that bubbled city is. I remember Q seeing it at one point.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on July 6th, 2016 12:18 am (UTC)
Re: Rael?
What happened to Pax etc

04 October 2015 @ 05:37 am
_Gods and Princesses_ part 5  

Pax eyed him. "Do you think we’d welcome Oner overlords? Guess again. Ygti took his people off somewhere south of here. If you can find them, feel free to haul them away. But don't even think about taking over this world."