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14 December 2017 @ 07:40 am
_Mirror, Mirror_ part 3  

Ebsa looked over at the Priest. "What happened to the rest of the group? The Warrior Isakson? His wives and children, the wives and children of the other warriors? Ra'd's stepmother and younger sister?"

"They rebelled against the One." The Priest's eye narrowed. "But you know of them."

"In my world, Isakson is the trainer for the Presidential guards, and trains and certifies the New Warriors. A few of the widows have married, the kids are all in school. Qamar is the oldest, she's working on her doctorate in Magical Theory."

Urfa's glare was aimed at the priest, this time. "I was not aware that Azho was not an ordinary priest candidate. Am I correct, now, in realizing that we're dealing with a highly magical, highly trained warrior? I thought those were rumors!"

Ohme glared back. "They're true. And that is why we must have him."

"And this Isakson?"

"Dead, and several others of the group. We want them all, but because of his training, we want Azho most of all."

Ebsa cleared his throat. "You killed the last Warrior of the One?"

Ohme frowned back at Ebsa, glanced at Urfa.

:: So how do we use him. We can't just release him. ::

:: We'll have to be very sloppy and let him escape. I'll pretend to believe his story and relax around him. ::

Ebsa suppressed a snicker. I think I will pass on at least the first two attempts to get me to escape. See how desperate they get.

"Umm, as long as we're being all chummy here, I think I should tell you about the Department of Interdimensional Security and Cooperation . . . "

Chapter Three

It was easy enough to shed the team that was after him.

Pathetic. Their spell net was weak, their blocking shields obvious, with plenty of gaps. No real Speed, limited range of magic, no counterspells. Apart from the one fellow. He had serious depth behind good solid shields. Even I nearly took him for an ordinary High Oner.

Ra'd. He knew my old name.

Could he really be from a different One World?

A Wild Card that will break, for better or worse, this fugitive existence we live in?

Nick touched the little vial in his pocket. He could feel the spells. Healing, among other things. Dare I use it? Of course I do. I have nothing to lose.

He veered into a grocery store, picked up a few staples, a gallon jug of red wine. He'd dilute it enough for the healing spells to still work and the other spells, whatever they were, to hopefully not be deadly.

The cash card he'd picked up from the table in front of the agent worked, and showed an impressive balance. He hustled out the door and took a twisted path around to where he could see the grocer . . . all quiet.

So . . . no tracer on the card? Or are they stringing me along?

Or was he telling the truth? He knew my name.

He shoved those thoughts away and took a new route home. They'd been here longer than he felt comfortable with. But . . . he stepped into the back room. Gamer's face was flushed with fever, her eyes half closed and not focusing. He tried to ignore the odors. Failed. Feces and gangrene.  

"Oh Gamer. I should kidnap another doctor." It's too late for even a top hospital to save you. You'll be gone in hours. My little sister. Qamar ibn Nicholas ibn Victor. You should be a queen, not a criminal, in this hideous future we've landed in.

Her mother was sitting by her side, silent. She wiped a tear. "Insha' Allah."

He uncorked the wine and tipped in a few drops from the vial. Pour a bit into the untouched water glass by his sister's bedside.

Waste of time. It'll be so dilute it will do no good at all.

But he knelt and lifted Gamer's shoulders. She whimpered, her eyes opening a bit more.


She tried. Leaned her head on his shoulder. Took another sip. And another. Broke into a sweat as she took the glass in her own hands and drained it.

The smell was stomach churning. He let her lay back and pulled back the padding on her abdomen. The entry wound on her back was miniscule. The exit wound . . . was poring out foul matter. He wiped, grabbed the trash and dumped the padding, grabbed tissues and wiped.

"Don't stand there, get towels! Rags, anything. A plastic bag."

Umaya staggered to her feet and out the door, her voice carrying before her.

Meisha, the most sensible of the lot, was right back with a roll of paper towels and garbage bags. "Oh . . . what is this?" She set to wiping and Nick got out of the way.

Only the four oldest children were with them now. The other two surviving wives and their school age children had managed to stay unnoticed under false IDs. Settled, the children in school.

But Hakim . . . The Priests will take him, if they find him, if they are watching us. Abbas and I paid for our naivety. No one else will.

Karima was just eleven, tears on her cheeks, but trying to look stoic. Pressed against the window, where the breeze brought fresh air.

Abbas and Hakim were fourteen and twelve. Isakson's children. He and their mother both died fighting the Priests, trying to save their sons.

Nick nodded at the line of backpacks along the wall. "Go. Twenty-four hours on outlook."

They snatched their bags and bolted.

Nick turned back to the bedroom.

Gamer was pale and motionless. Only her chest moved with her breath.

Umaya was praying silently.

Meisha shot him a puzzled look. "All the bad oozed out. Now it looks pink and healthy. Take out all this garbage. We will wash her now."

Nick grabbed the bags, and took them out to the alley, one bag in each of four dumpsters. If found and identified, they'll have to search four apartment buildings. He washed up in a faucet, and prowled the neighborhood. No sign of police. He searched the apartment building. Meisha was in the basement, in the laundry room. Umaya was sleeping in the chair beside Gamer.

Gamer . . . he reached and took her pulse. Seventy.

He looked back at the jug of wine. Not yet. I still don't trust him. But I think I will add this stuff to the survival packs.

He hunted through the pantry and fridge, and found a miscellany of almost empty bottles. Filled them with wine and tucked them into the other four packs. Threw random veggies and the chicken he'd bought into a pot of water and turned on the heat.

If Gamer is healing . . .

He walked back to his room and closed the door. Cried. Please God, let Gamer live!

After a little while, he walked back and stood there, watching her breath.

What have I done? What if there are subtle effects, mental effects? Or something deadly? How will I tell normal weakness from a poison?

I'll have to experiment on someone else. Give them a heavy dose. Perhaps two or three people . . . Who won't be missed if I'm wrong. People I won't feel too guilty about killing. If at all. Only the ever-bedamned One knows how many I killed in Makkah.

He stepped quietly out. Taking the wine with him. Over in the Red Zone there were plenty of winos and prostitutes. He pushed down a twinge of guilt. They are drinking and drugging themselves to death anyway. Why should I not test a possible poison on them?

He bought another jug of wine on the way.

I drink out of the new one, they drink out of the treated one.

Chapter Four

" . . . so since you're a dimensionally able civ, you really ought to think about at least talking to the Disco people. Mind you, they're nasty about cross-dimensional wars. You need to give up on finding the right Earth to punish."

"Fat fucking chance of that!"

Ebsa had long ago lost track of who was who among all the people talking to him.

He was tastefully dressed in a flimsy paper . . . outfit. Everything he'd brought with him was spread out over the table he occasionally glimpsed when the door opened.

They did seem to have accepted that he was from a close parallel world. They found his testimony half fascinating and half horrifying.

They really didn't like the idea of the Exile Worlds, of magicians as strong as they were. And downright queasy at the thought of dimensional doubles of everyone over forty-five years of age.

A couple of times he was left alone for a few minutes, as people left before new ones entered. More often there was overlap.

Then they all got called into a meeting. One guy stuck his head in, visually checked that he was handcuffed to the table, closed the door and locked it.

Ebsa put his head down and settled in for a nap.

They woke him up after half an hour. Looking a bit irritated.

"What the hell are we supposed to do with you?" Urfa glared at him, glanced at his watch.

"Let me talk to some diplomats, or One forbid, some bureaucrats. I can take them, introduce them to the Disco people . . . No? Well. I can see why you don't want to give up on revenge. But you need to. Every world out there is Earth. The Earth that we deal with also attacked the Granite Peak Colony—A close split from them was a bit faster, a bit better equipped, and made it through the gate. Disco hasn't found them. When they do, it'll be time to think about how to penalize them. Until then . . . talk to everyone else."

ekuah on December 14th, 2017 03:24 pm (UTC)
So Qamar is a transgender person?
'Qamar ibn Nicholas ibn Victor'
means literally
'Qamar, son of Nicholas, son of Victor'

The female form (daughter of) is "Bint"
So maybe
'Qamar bint Nicholas ibn Victor'
would be more fitting.

But I'm not an Arab, so maybe we should ask someone who have roots there.
matapampamuphoff on December 14th, 2017 06:36 pm (UTC)
Re: So Qamar is a transgender person?
I'm having the immediate descendants of the Prophets just chain their prophet ancestors names, dropping the commoners and halfers in between.

So where it ought to be "Qamar daughter of the Prophet Nicholas and Umaya daughter of the Prophet Victor and Ula daughter of the Prophet Carl they at some point--Qamar was born over two and a half centuries after the Arrival--got it all mixed up and improper. It's assumed that everyone knows the Prophets have no ancestors, so the extra names are ancestors through the female line.

In the early years, the names of the Islamic Union's important families they married into would have been included. Those dropped out after three or four generations.

At some point the fact that 10 of the 35 Prophets had been female started getting fuzzy as well.

And now in current time it's reduced to the (parent's choice of the initials of four of the Prophets as detected in blood tests as ancestors) (Hint at # inserts) (Clan) (District). Which isn't actually accurate either in which Prophets had which inserts, nor as an indication of magical strength.

ekuah on December 14th, 2017 07:00 pm (UTC)
Re: So Qamar is a transgender person?
I know that 'today' it is really all mixed up.

But back then they obviously still used the arabic style naming system.
And if I'm not completely mistaken Qamar is a girl.
So SHE can't be the SON of someone.
(no matter if that someone is a woman or a man)
The proper reference behind her first name would be 'bint', because SHE is a daughter of someone. No matter how many generation that ancestor is apart.

Also her mother is saying "Insha' Allah" and with their arabic style first names (Ra'd, Qamar, Umaya , Hakim, Abbas , Karima etc.) gives the strong impression that they still use the old 'nasab' (arabic patronymics) naming system.

Like in ancient Greece the name of the mother wasn't of interrest.
Only the male (paternal) lineage counted.
So it would be "Qamar daughter of the Prophet Nicholas.
Or Umaya daughter of the Prophet Victor.
Or Ula daughter of the Prophet Carl.
The lineage of ancestry ends with the daughter. (Sorry)
Just like a matronymic line ends with a son. (see Xen)

Edited at 2017-12-14 07:11 pm (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on December 14th, 2017 09:23 pm (UTC)
Re: So Qamar is a transgender person?
They also speak English with no added Arabic words.

Isakson is one of the first generation of Warriors and even he speaks mostly pure English.

Two and a half centuries of a pack of Americans _deliberately_ taking over a religion and culture. A few ritual terms remain. But otherwise word usage has changed, when it's survived at all.
ekuah on December 15th, 2017 01:01 am (UTC)
Re: So Qamar is a transgender person?
'They also speak English with no added Arabic words.'

Do they?

"Their language is a hodgepodge of English, Spanish and Arabic." (The explorers from Warmonger Earth are talking about Auralians.)
Pam Uphoff, Explorers
(Wine of the Gods Book 4)
(Kindle-Position 3638-3639)

So why does the largest nation on a world, colonized mostly by north american, speak "A hodgepodge of English, Spanish and Arabic"?

And why has a world, where the dominant culture has arabic roots, no arabic words in their language?

It doesn't add up.

I cease my dispute about Qamar ibn Nicholas.
I don't want to anger you.
Your world. Your rules.
I just wanted to point out that your last argument doesn't seem very canon.

Edited at 2017-12-15 01:03 am (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on December 15th, 2017 04:24 am (UTC)
Re: So Qamar is a transgender person?
No, the language has changed.

From _Directorate School_

Ebsa stepped over to his gear. "So, where did you grow up? I can't place your accent, other than that you speak pure English. Why no Arabic words, if you're from Makkah? Or are you from one of the colonies?"

"I have never lived anywhere other than this world, although my father was born on another and came here when he was a young man. We traveled a lot, and I have only a small circle of people that I am truly close to."
ekuah on December 15th, 2017 08:44 am (UTC)
Re: So Qamar is a transgender person?
Ahhh, I didn't remember that part.
So the One world is basically an English, Spanish and Arabic speaking world (depending on the region)?
And the prophets and near descendants were a pure English speaking minority?
So that the time-stowaways inherited that trait?

Please understand that I'm not arguing here, just asking.
matapampamuphoff on December 15th, 2017 03:07 pm (UTC)
Re: So Qamar is a transgender person?
The marooned Orange Team deliberately used their "magic" to take over the Islamic Republic. They _deliberately_ set out to make English the language of the elite. They _deliberately_ set out to change the culture into something that would keep them on the top, that they wanted to live in.

Not being brutal tyrants, there were people who disagreed, who kept to the old ways. Cultures don't change very fast.

In the post-nuclear war world, there were a lot of languages spoken. In China, Mandarin and Cantonese are still in daily use, but minimally infiltrated the speech of most of the rest of the world. The third "Great Power" of the post-nuclear war was South America, led by Argentina. Spanish and a little Portugeuse is still in use and Spanish derived words have infiltrated into general, world-wide, usage. But Arabic is by far the major influence on English as it is used in the circa 1400 yp time frame.

And because the"Prophets" were using Islam for their own purposes, the common ritual phrases, and the observance of Ramadan and so forth were preserved.

And while "pure" English is well understood, Ra'd's lack of arab words and phrases was notable, especially for someone from the region.
matapampamuphoff on December 15th, 2017 06:26 pm (UTC)
Re: So Qamar is a transgender person?
Oh, and why does Auralia have a lot of Arabic and Spanish in its language?

The Telies are from "The North American Union" in 2200. The population of Mexico is 1/3 of the US pop now, Canada 1/10th.

So Spanish inclusions into American English will continue. Arab speakers, because of the problems caused by generations of cousin marriages were over-represented in the "genetic engineering to fix problems" sector that was exiled to Comet Fall.
ekuah on December 14th, 2017 03:46 pm (UTC)
Logic trouble:
This part somehow collides with the time of split:
"The Earth that we deal with also attacked the Granite Peak Colony—A close split from them was a bit faster, a bit better equipped, and made it through the gate. Disco hasn't found them. When they do, it'll be time to think about how to penalize them."

Okay, let me dissect this part first:
- "The Earth that we deal with also attacked the Granite Peak Colony"
->This means the 'Warmonger Earth', which has an embassy on Embassy.

— "A close split from them was a bit faster, a bit better equipped, and made it through the gate. Disco hasn't found them. When they do, it'll be time to think about how to penalize them."
->This means the Mirror 'Warmonger Earth'

Am I correct so far?

Now I thought that the nuking of an active gate had caused the split of the Mirror 'Empire of the One (EotO)' and the Mirror 'Warmonger Earth (WE)' (and the disconnect from their colonies) from their originals.

So when did the split happen?

Before ? Creating a mirror EotO and a mirror WE simultaneously?

Or on the nuking? Being the cause for the major splitting?

matapampamuphoff on December 14th, 2017 05:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Logic trouble:
Yes, I need to clarify that the "Before the attack on Granite Peak, the Earth we deal with now, and the Earth you tried to nuke were the same world."

The split occurred during the brief war. Ebsa's from the One World that closed their own gate in the face of the fleeing Oners, so the Earth never set foot on the One World.

_This_ One World kept the Gate open too long and the Earth got a unit through with a gate anchor.

That was in 1355 yp. 45 years ago on this One World. 56 years ago on Ebsa's One World.
ekuah on December 14th, 2017 05:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Logic trouble:
Maybe you could compromise onto uncertainty.
Ebsa:"We don't know what caused the split. It could have been the nuke interacting with an active gate. Or it could have happened just before. Allowing the invading troops to establish a beachhead. Or it could be just a cosmic hick-up."

(In the end, only Q can see the Multiverse and even she isn't sure what's causing the weirdness.)
matapampamuphoff on December 14th, 2017 06:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Logic trouble:

A lot of this get cleared up as the story moves on.
matapampamuphoff on December 15th, 2017 06:32 pm (UTC)
Extra scene
I'll probably toss this in at the end:

"I really wish I could have seen the split actually happening." Q was sitting down cross-legged on a hill, eyes closed. "It must have happened in stages. First the One World cut the gate, budding off a blister that would become the Second World."

"Don't let anyone hear you call them that." Xen was stretched full length in the grass, not looking at anything at all. I'm on vacation, damn it.

Q sniffed. "I may start calling them Idiot World A and Idiot World B if they don't stop squabbling over unimportant things. But see? That bubble caused an Earth bubble, too. The one that had to settle for capturing Granite Peak and broke the Oner's gate beacon, versus the Earth that charged through the gate with their own anchor, and held a beachhead long enough to get their anchor operating, so that Earth could open a gate straight from Earth to the One World and get more troops in."

"By which point the Second World had evacced Gate City and sent the nuke into the gate." Xen eyed his sister. "Is that the point at which the blister turned into a full split? Duplicated two entire universes?"

"Yes. This must have caused a whole-universe split, for both of them, and caused the whirlpool effect that trapped both of them." Q sighed in exasperation. "I need to look further, see if I can find any other examples. Because a decision ought not have that huge of an effect."

Xen thought it over. "I think the 'two whole universes splitting' was an effect of the nuke inside the gate. Otherwise, you have had a conventional battle for Gate City . . . and with saturation bombing I refuse to believe Earth could have kept the gate open long enough to win . . . So it would end with a huge bubble, like we see in the Earth books, that gradually 'heals' so to speak, as the various consequences fade with time and become nothing more than scholars arguing about things that happened thousands of years ago, with conflicting sources and evidence."

"Yes, I think you're right. The nuke must have detonated in transit, and done something very different than most splits, forming that whirlpool effect that dragged in whole universes when the trapped Earth established a gate to them. I'm quite glad Ebsa managed to blow the whole thing up. Very resourceful young man. Can we recruit him?"

"No. He's absolutely ideal, right where he is. A sane Oner."

ekuah on December 16th, 2017 03:19 am (UTC)
Re: Extra scene (no critique, just a random thought)
The powered gates are an electromagnetic phenomenon, right?
And a nuclear explosion generates a huge EMP.

So it would be likely that an A-bomb near an open gate would bleed into the in-between and causing havoc there.
matapampamuphoff on December 16th, 2017 04:09 am (UTC)
Re: Extra scene (no critique, just a random thought)
It detonated in that blink of time between here and there in the gate. I've got that all in _Scrambled_ which is the second part of whatever i wind up calling this.
(Anonymous) on December 14th, 2017 09:33 pm (UTC)
Minor continuity
In "The Boy" Ebsa snaps the tube of Joy Juice implying a sealed one time use only container, however here Ra'd opens the vial and uses only a few drops then presumably re-seals the vial. Again minor, but perhaps before publication.
matapampamuphoff on December 15th, 2017 03:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Minor continuity
There are several years in between, and Ebsa may be more cautious about how much and disposiblity of evidence at home, as opposed to across.

I've also considered possible changes as to the the legality of the Wine--possibly Warriors and Teams operating Across having permission to carry and use at their discretion--except the judgement of some is a bit questionable--I mean can Ick and Ux be trusted?
(Anonymous) on December 15th, 2017 03:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Minor continuity
Perhaps permission to carry and use the wine on assignment can be granted by the higher-ups. Possibly with special guidelines or restrictions as necessary. Maybe where it might be needed but judgement is questionable the sealed vial and weekly checks might be used. Trusted Teamers going Across might have looser restrictions?

matapampamuphoff on December 15th, 2017 04:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Minor continuity
_The Boy_ was immediately after _Project Dystopia_ where:

"I injected him with the anti-venom, then gave him a dose of the Joy Juice."

Paer paused. "That's illegal . . . and I didn't hear you say that." Then she ran off, eyes scanning, shotgun at ready.

However it's use then saved many lives in the disaster, and my have tipped the president toward allowing some agents to carry it. In the boy, Ebsa may have both hated to not have any, and leery of upsetting ongoing consideration of its legality, and thus taken a very small amount in a fairly fragile container that he could destroy easily.

Or, of course, since it's not published yet, I could change it.
(Anonymous) on December 15th, 2017 07:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Minor continuity
Precisely, however the container in this tale does not seem to be the same type even though he is carrying it the same way. Of course this is at least a year or two later, so perhaps the status has changed.
ekuah on December 16th, 2017 03:14 am (UTC)
Re: Minor continuity
I think mainly his (Ebsa's) status has changed.

In _The Boy_ right after his Dystopia adventure he is just a 'mere' field cook.

In _Mirror,Mirror_ he is awaiting twins from Paer.
This means that they are likely married.
And I believe that he had his warrior coming out before he proposed to her.(or am I wrong?)
So I presume that in _Mirror,Mirror_ he is an 'official' Warrior of the One.

So would it be a long shot to assume that:
Any critique about the legality of equipment for a Warrior has to be brought before the One (or Emre)?

I think it is unlikely that even a career bureaucrat would risk the ire of Emre.
matapampamuphoff on December 16th, 2017 04:26 am (UTC)
Re: Minor continuity
The announcements about the Warriors came out at the start of _Project Dystopia_.

The Government is probably still figuring out how to qualify officially and what a Warrior is expected to do and whether them having special privileges, such as "can carry any weapon they want anywhere they want" is a good or bad idea.

I thought I'd posted Paer and Ebsa's wedding?
ekuah on December 16th, 2017 11:05 am (UTC)
Re: Minor continuity
'I thought I'd posted Paer and Ebsa's wedding?'
Posted but not published.
So I could only assume that they are likely married at this time.
(Anonymous) on December 16th, 2017 04:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Minor continuity
Ebsa and Paer being married is strongly implied in _Mirror Mirror_ by Ebsa referring to Orde as his father-in-law in a few spots in the story, and by Paer being pregnant.

In _The Boy_ the opposite is implied: that Ebsa and Paer are NOT yet married, and possibly not even engaged, yet.

ekuah on December 16th, 2017 06:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Minor continuity
' Orde as his father-in-law'
Right, I oversaw that.

In 'The Boy' he tell Paer to stay away from him, until the situation cleared up.

(Anonymous) on December 16th, 2017 08:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Minor continuity
Right. Ebsa tells Paer:
"Yeah, think about the headlines. Paer's boyfriend's gangland associations."