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22 October 2017 @ 07:51 am
_The Boy_ part 4  

The beach was deserted, this time in the morning, on a school day.

Winter in the Northern Hemisphere, summer here. Which, of course was why he'd come here when he'd been told to go decompress.

I ought to be spending more time in Montevideo, helping Mom.

He parked a block from the beach and walked down to the boardwalk.

"Why here?" The boy sounded suspicious. "What are you planning?"

"This is where I got my first lessons in both karate and magic. I thought I'd see if it worked as well for you as it did for me."

"Why would I want to learn from a coward?"

Ebsa grinned. "Do you think I ought to beat up Jorge? What good would it do? Is he a bad father? A bad husband?"

"No . . . "

"And would my beating him up make it any better? Especially how he treats you?"

Hunch. "I get treated like the dogs. A pat when I do something he orders me to. Mostly he ignores me. I'm Mi Madre's problem, not his."

"Oh, I dunno. He stepped in pretty quick yesterday to get me away from you. I think he figures he's your father, and I should just shove off."

"Yeah." Wrinkled nose and uncertain voice tones. "That's what he said."

Ebsa stepped up to the boardwalk and kicked his shoes off. Baggy pants, tee shirt. Not obviously work out clothes. He slid through the loose dry sand and out to the firm damp sand at the far reach of the wave surge.

"This is a basic kata—a series of moves for practice."

"Like in Vids? You don't look like a Kung Fu Master."

Ebsa stepped through the short sequence.

The boy watched, eyes hidden behind the reflection of the morning sun off the glasses.

"Try it this time. Stand like this. Toes pointed just slightly inward. That's so if someone kicks your knee from the side, it can give to the impact by bending the way it's supposed to bend, instead of tearing tendons or breaking something. Hands like this. Fists. The left blocks in a sweeping motion, the right follows with a punch, fairly high. Step forward and snap kick low."

"Heh. I know all about kicking men in the nuts."

"The problem with that is that if you miss, you hit either the air between their legs, or one of his thighs. A little high, and you'll hurt him. But most likely he'll just be pissed off. On the other hand, if you aim to kick between crotch and belt buckle, no matter where you land the blow it'll hurt him. Or her. But in a very serious fight, not a school yard brawl, but where you think you could be killed? Go for the knees. Knees are a weak point, and even a little damage means you can outrun them."

Lowered brows and a scowl. "So you run away?"

"If I'm a little boy facing an adult, damn straight. Now? No, I only run if there are too many of them, and no one else in danger."

The boy curled a disbelieving lip. But took up the starting stance and followed him through the series twice.

"So, a little magic training as well?"

"Sure." Narrowed suspicious eyes. The boy pushed his glasses back into place, and copied him as he sat cross-legged on the sand.

Ebsa lowered his shields a bit, lowered them to incoming even more. Winced a bit at the boy's boiling uncertain instinctive magic.

"Picture a mirror in front of your face. Then think of it as two sided. Stretch it. Curve it all around your head. It keeps your thoughts in, but also keeps other people's thoughts out."

"Why would I not want to read people? It's the only advantage I've got."

"At the moment. But pretty soon you'll be broadcasting your every thought out to everyone." Ebsa looked over at the boy. Prepubescent. At least he doesn't broadcast thoughts that would get him slapped.

"Wanna bet?"

"It'll get worse if you don't learn to control it." Ebsa remembered his early experiences. "Well, nothing like getting slapped to teach you something about shields. Which by the way will also block mental spells, like sleep, forget, yawn, spin . . . all the fun stuff they put in every adventure vid."

"What about slice and fireballs?"

"Those are physical and energy spells. They need different types of shields. Learn the mental shield first. Then the others will be moderately easy. A little different, but not so completely unknown. So, a double reflecting mirror around your head . . . "

They worked for about an hour. Swam in the surf, dried in the sun.

The boy was actually a bit less painful to look at.

He'll catch on to the shields quickly.

When they got to the parilla for lunch, Madam Aparicio had signed the contract with Donatello Academy.

"I talked to them. He starts Monday."

"Ah. Right."

She turned the pad around. "Pay them this much."

He reached for his cards. It's a deposit and first month's board. So if it's insufferable, not a huge loss. See if they can and will teach you what you need to know.

The boy scowled, but nodded.

Two days to practice shields. And I'll show you power collection . . . One help me, you're a menace already.



Morning on the beach, again. Karate . . . Ebsa sped up the kata, and the boy followed along.

With the X in his name, he's got Speed. And . . . other stuff he's got from me may mean he can reach the higher levels. Got to get him away from the criminals.

"You mean Jorge."

"Well . . . I asked around, and he's not nearly as bad as he used to be. But the pickpocketing and so forth . . . a seriously bad juvenile record can ruin your future. I'd recommend not doing anything irrevocable until you're a bit older."

"Huh. Fancy words. You went to college?"

"Yep. North Montevideo Regional for a year, University of Montevideo for a year, then I transferred to the Directorate School, which is part of the University of the Empire in New York City."

"And you're on an Action Team."

"Hmm, I've been on both Exploration and Action Teams. The really brutal sorts that get all the news are . . . I dunno, maybe a quarter of the Teamers? Less now. Mostly I just help science expeditions. You know, guard against dangerous animals, drive the vehicles, set up camps and stuff like that. I really like it."

"Huh." The boy gave him a look over the glasses—picked up that mannerism fast, didn't he—and shrugged. "You're still a coward for not standing up to Jorge."

"Adult interactions are a bit complex. And we have to think things over before it comes down to beating people up." Ebsa sat down on the wet sand. There were more people around, on the weekend, so he needed to get thorough all of this before it got crowded.

"So. Power collection. Open your mind and close your eyes. Feel the heat of the sun. Hold out your hands and feel the heat hitting them. Collect it, squeeze it down and concentrate the heat . . . "

Ebsa was actually glad that the kid's ability to collect power was limited.

"You'll want to practice that occasionally. As you get older, you'll be able to collect and apply a lot more. Now . . ." Ebsa eyed the kid. "That school gave me the itchies. So I'm going to show you some things about locks . . . "

Kid was a natural at that. Figures.

"So no matter what they think, you are the one in control. You make up your mind to grit your teeth and plow through what is, unfortunately necessary, because if you take a good hard look at it, you have a damned bright future. You are very strong magically. Avoid anything criminal that you can, and reach for something better."

Rolled eyes. "Rah. Rah. Heard it all before."

"Well, keep it in mind. Look around and choose a goal." Ebsa shook his head. "One! Me, of all people telling a boy to not be an idiot. Same tomorrow?"

"After church . . . maybe."

"Right." Ebsa fished out a cash card. "Bus fare. I'll be down here about fourteen hundred, if you want to come."


"Lady Gisele said you should bring him here, to the Comet Fall Hospital on Embassy."

Ebsa could hear her sigh.

"She is unbelievable. Did I tell you she could regrow eyes? Woofy's about ready to be discharged. Just a couple other people still being monitored. It's . . . such a relief." She started giggling. "You should have seen the looks on Dr. Itchy's and Dr. Vear's faces when they realized Vear was pregnant."

"We warned them. Everyone knows that stuff's reputation."

"I don't think anyone ever actually believes it, though." Paer giggled. "One of these days, buster, I'm going to tackle you and force feed it to you."

"Brute." Ebsa grinned. "So, I'll sort out all the necessary forms and get them all signed and delivered. All I have to do is let Jorge and Chacha think I'm paying through the nose, so they can gloat over screwing me."

"Oh, dear."

"Yeah. What's a nice girl like you doing hanging around me?"

Laughter as she clicked off.


Monday he popped down to Montevideo, spent the day with his mother, helped in the restaurant for a few days . . .


The clock said it was three in the morning. His comm said Ox wanted to talk to him.

"Oh crap. What did he do?"

"Tried to burn down a school. Where are you?"

"Montevideo. Did anyone die?"

"No. A few injuries, they'll probably be treated and released. Now get up here."

"Right. On my way."

The road was close to empty, the distance not far . . .

The emergency at the school was obviously over, the Fire Marshall's truck and two police cars the sole remnants of, judging by the smoke and water stains . . . what must have been a serious fire, to have spread this far from the boy's dorm. Ebsa parked beside the police vehicles and walked in.

His name got him ushered into the presence of a confrontation between, or perhaps among, the school administrator and some staff, Jorge, Chacha and Axbe, and the police and the fire department.

". . . charged with arson." The speaker was Senior Investigator Uqpy. He glanced at the door as Ebsa entered.

"And since you're an interested party . . . Axbe Clostuone Aparicio Montevideo is claiming that he was assaulted by several adult males . . . "

"Pervs." Ax put in.

". . . with sexual designs on his body. So of course he tried to burn the place down." SI Puppy—not that Ebsa had ever used that nickname—crossed his arms and stared at Ebsa.

"Them. I tried to burn them."

Ebsa looked at the boy. Looked at the Administrator. Pale and angry. But I had a bad itch about this place.

He looked at the boy.

Is that an angry accusation, or real?

Furious glare. "They were naked, they pulled my pants down and touched me."

A growl from Jorge. His loom over mother and child was protective.

"Right." Ebsa frowned around at the damage. "The fire spread all the way down here, from his room?"

"He was sneaking around, out of his room." The Administrator scowled.

"I don't know how I got there. I woke up and all these Pervs were pawing at me."

Anger, not shame. Good.

"That's the stupidest excuse I've ever heard for illegal activities, or whatever you were trying to do before we caught you and you tried to burn the school down." A woman of substantial years and massive disapproval.

"Right." Ebsa looked at Uqpy. "So what did the Priests say?"

Jorge's head snapped around.

"Priests!" The Admin stuck his nose in the air. "Hardly needed for a juvenile delinquent."

"Really, we'll sue anyone, any adult who suggested that we were actually . . . " the woman huffed in disbelief.

"Yes, I can imagine even a faint rumor would be disastrous. That's why the Priest—make it two, for a proper Truth Match—are absolutely necessary, right now, to quash any wild accusations." Ebsa eyed the boy, pale now.

Don't look so worried, they just pick brains about the way you do.

A slight relaxation around the boy's eyes.

"No, no. No need, really." The Admin, on the other hand was looking more stressed. "I'll just call the insurance company . . ."

SI Uqpy turned and faced the Administrator. Studying him.

The cop just smelled a rat. And he's going to be really ticked when he realizes he was taken for a ride by a pack of perverts.

The boy's mouth twitched in an almost-smile.

Uqpy pulled out his comm. "Mace? Roust out two priests for a Truth Match, send a car for them . . . yes, really."

The woman huffed in disbelief. "Delaying tactics won't help."

The Admin braced himself. "I'm an Athiest. I'll have nothing to do with priests!"

Ebsa showed his teeth. "Don't worry, they'll just take a quick look at the boy . . ." He let his grin broaden as he stared at the man.

The Admin wiped sweat. "I feel sick, all this smoke . . . I'll be right back." He edged away.

Uqpy looked to the side. The patroller who'd been right behind Axbe stepped out and followed the Administrator.

Axbe glared. "How come they listen to you, but not to me?"

Puppy sighed. "Because he listened to you, and I didn't."

Jorge growled. "Bloody stupid cops and bloody stupid priests. How long is this going to take?"

There were some thumps from down the hall, a wild flicker of mental energy . . .

Ebsa bolted down the hall, into a rest room. Patroller on the floor, breathing. Administrator halfway out the window.

Ebsa stopped. Eyed the wiggling legs. Glanced at the Senior Investigator as he skidded to a halt.

"I believe he's stuck."

cnmckenney on October 22nd, 2017 02:16 pm (UTC)
I believe he's stuck
The images that little tidbit calls up would get you an X rating on Amazon. Good show.
(Anonymous) on October 22nd, 2017 04:02 pm (UTC)
"I believe he's stuck."

In more ways than one, I suspect. Did the administrator really think he could escape from a bunch of local cops, an External Relations agent, and an angry crime boss? Though I imagine the consequences of not running, at this point, were probably seeming pretty grim.

matapampamuphoff on October 22nd, 2017 05:22 pm (UTC)
"Thinking" probably didn't come into it. Unless he's got some clients worse to cross than what little he knows about Jorge, and if he warned them perhaps he could survive this disaster.
matapampamuphoff on October 22nd, 2017 05:23 pm (UTC)
Of course some of them were probably there when the fires started.
(Anonymous) on October 22nd, 2017 09:24 pm (UTC)
School shortage
So so far Ebsa and Axbe have taken down (or are taking down) two of the three boarding schools that will accept precocious kids. What are the chances of a hat-trick? That area now or will soon have a severe lack of affordable schools and, in fact, probably already has a severe lack of schools period (what are the chances that the remaining school can take two additional schools full of students even if the money can be found?).
matapampamuphoff on October 23rd, 2017 12:55 am (UTC)
Re: School shortage
There are lots of schools, both public, private, and private boarding schools, but very few of the latter are licensed for precocious (i.e. under 14) magical abilities.

The District may have to step in and force the enclave to rent to Halfer and Mulitude parents of Oner children.
muirecanmuirecan on October 23rd, 2017 12:11 am (UTC)
Is this before or after Ebsa is revealed on stage along side other new warriors guarding Emre One at his speech?

I keep thinking it is after it is revealed to anyone paying attention that Ebsa is extremely dangerous. I swear that boy does his best to appear harmless yet he is a true warrior.
matapampamuphoff on October 23rd, 2017 12:49 am (UTC)

And while the XD staffers were wildly curious and tried to decide if could possibly be "the Closey." In the backwater of Uruguy, who cares? Jorge no doubt dismissed it as "another trumped up certificate for the hoity-toity High Oners" and his ten year old son nods, while perhaps being a tiny bit wishful about it.

I've got a dismissive mention in a bit, as well as something to show that Ox and Puppy are both aware he's a Warrior.
Joe Wojo Jrwojorider on October 23rd, 2017 02:53 am (UTC)
Ebsa knows that Ax can truly read minds. he has itchy feelings about the place, he noted the fences and no locks. I'm uncomfortable with Ebsa leaving him a the school without some kind of overwatch. If he was going to leave him there at all. just doesnt feel right
(Anonymous) on October 23rd, 2017 05:43 am (UTC)
RE: Uncomfortable
Me too. Ebsa is supposed to be smarter than that.
matapampamuphoff on October 23rd, 2017 06:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Uncomfortable
Ebsa is professionally paranoid and knows it. Tries to take it into account. Ax is a mind reader and didn't pick up on a threat.
And the school appears to be exactly what what Ax needs.
matapampamuphoff on October 23rd, 2017 07:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Uncomfortable
So I've softened Ebsa's reactions a bit.

Once in the car, Ebsa looked over at the boy. "On the surface, it sounds like exactly what you need. But I don't like the feeling I got from it. Mind you, I'm professionally paranoid, so I tend to be suspicious . . .You pick anything up?"

Nod. "Something about they'll like a nice little boy. I dunno who though, just some adults."

Ebsa pondered that. "The teachers, I suspect. Umm, try not to ruin the 'nice little boy' assessment too quickly, eh?"

The boy snickered.

cnmckenney on October 23rd, 2017 10:46 am (UTC)
Re: Uncomfortable
Keep in mind Ebsa actually has no legal say about the boy only what the mother is willing to grant him. He did give Axbe some self protection training but he is still operating on a hunch. Pedophiles are very good at covering their ass. Once they Truth Axbe they will probably Truth more of the students and staff. Puppy may get credit for unraveling a major net of problems.