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27 May 2017 @ 10:48 am
_Scrambled_ part 30  

Chapter BHG

Captain Ahco watched in disbelief as the Minister outlined his plans.

"With our magic, we can take them. That Priest alone can take out their soldiers by the hundreds." His gaze fell on Ahco. "And not another word from you. I don't want to hear from pacifists, and your men will be out there. Don't quote separate status of the Black Horse Guards at me. That is solely for the purpose of guarding the President and his family, and you haven't got any."

Blink. "Actually . . . we do. And I and my men will continue to put the safety of Agzo Withione Gerund Canary first."

"What! The spoiled little snot is here? Why was I not informed?"

"We have maintained a low profile and kept him out of sight. We felt that keeping him invisible was the best way of keeping him alive."

"Bring him here!"

"No, sir. He will not enter a War Zone."

"That was an order, Captain!"

"It is in direct contravention of my standing orders from my legal chain of command. And may I point out, sir, that everyone's respect for that same Home World authority is the only reason you have any authority here? Do not deny that authority."

"You treasonous son-of-a-bitch. I will have you court-martialed."

Ahco nodded. "As soon as we return home." He turned and walked out.

Ijje reached for him, winced as his fingers hit Ahco's shield. "You are going to be responsible for every man who dies out there."

"No Ijje, the war mongers carry all the blame on both sides. My recommendation is to try and cool the minister down. There is no need for this."

Ijje fell behind and glared as Ahco kept going.

He galloped Panther back to the apartments and summoned his guards.

And sat on the horse in the middle of the road and looked them over. "Minister MacU is bound and determined to attack the Earthers. Any of you who feel the need to join them, write out your resignation from the Black Horse Guard and head for the army base. I'm going to check on the President's son, and warn the people over there that there will be a battle very soon. Then I will return and we will discuss the best way to carry out our duties."

Panther answered to his weight shift, turned to head down the now well worn path across to the Red Zone.

He slowed down. No matter the sense of urgency thumping at his skull, it would take days for Ijje to get his plans under way.

"I One damn hope." He looked back at galloping hooves. Slowed to a walk to let Dipper and Yucky catch up to him.

"Made up your minds, eh?"

"Yep. The Minister's going to get everyone killed. Myyk's talking to all the building committees, and figuring out how to shield the towers." Yucky looked back. "No one resigned. The Army's got seventeen people now who can hold shields."

Dipper nodded. "And Poe. Poor little priest is still following orders from anyone with the faintest whiff of authority. We might actually be able to win. If we're willing to slaughter enough people."

"Is it a form of insanity? To fight without cause?" Panther had dried, so Ahco booted him back into a trot.

"Coping mechanism of someone who can't deal with the situation, I figure." Dipper raised her voice from behind him on the narrow track. "A half-panicked belief that to be safe, you have to get rid of the threat. Of course the Earther's apparently call us mutants and insane murderers."

Yucky laughed. "You're kidding! Where'd you hear that?"

"From the Miners. They were all born on Earth and grew up being taught that. After all, we caused the disaster forty-seven years ago—according to them."

"Yeah, after they attacked our colony and then invaded us."

"Don't yell, Yucky. We know that. But I'll bet it isn't taught in school." Ahco spotted Nick at the school pavilion and steered that direction.

Frowned at a stranger talking to the local leaders. A raggedy unfamiliar uniform.

Nick looked his way, and stepped out of the group. Looked at the sweating horses. "Problem?"

Ahco nodded. "The minister wants to attack the Earthers again. I thought I should warn you to all be prepared to run, if necessary."

Nick summoned the stranger with a wave. "This is Lou Valenti. He's a security guard for their Main Accounting building, which arrived intact. He says General Fu is planning an attack."

Ahco slid off the horse. "Some days I feel like hitting my head on something hard . . . other day's I wonder if applying something hard to my own leaders' heads might not be a better idea."

Lou barked out a laugh. "I couldn't get close enough to do that, but I'll be hauling three hundred accountants and bookkeepers out over the hills for a few days."

Ahco grinned. "I wish my civilians would do something so sensible."

He met Nick's gaze. "I've told the minister I'm out. I'll try to protect . . . people." He tried to not let his gaze drift toward Zog.

Nick nodded, his gaze northward. "Those fools just won't stop. I feel like I'm trapped in one of those stupid movies with families fighting to the death over some slight that happened three generations ago."

He threw his hands in the air and stalked in a small circle. "I just want to be left alone. Dammit, why . . . " He broke off to listen.

A deep thrumming.

"They got at least one tank running again."

"Damn them! They're attacking now." Nick spun and ran for the corral. He pulled a pair of teenage girls off Zombie's back and leaped aboard. Turned her north and kicked her into a run.

Ahco looked from Zog, back in the direction of the apartments. Back to Zog who met his eyes, and nodded.

"I'll get out of here. I'm just one of hundreds, here, you've got thousands to protect."

Damn. Well, he is Agni's son.

"Right. Yucky, you stay here. You can form a small Compass and raise a shield if they start firing this direction." He looked after the galloping horse. "Dipper, go . . . observe by preference, help if you can do anything, and be sneaky!"

He swung back aboard. "Sorry, boy, but I need to get back fast."