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30 March 2018 @ 11:41 am
_External Relations_ part 4  

Izzo stepped into the car and tried hard to not slump. To not snicker when Davi sniffed and looked around with a frown. "Umm, do you know, I haven't the faintest idea where my secretary reserved a room."

Davi actually looked surprised at that. "The Director's house is yours now, of course!"

So much for the little ranch in the country. "Ah. Well that takes care of that problem."

He kept his eyes open. Be embarrassing to have to ask directions to my own home tomorrow. Davi turned a few corners and headed west on a major thoroughfare. Izzo glanced from time keeper to speedometer. They were out of the built up part of town quickly, turned north, turned in through automatic gates and up a hill. Izzo's heart sank. "Mansion" was insufficient, but at least it stopped short of "Palace." As Davi swung the car around the circular approach and halted smoothly in front of the doors, Izzo eyed the ornate carved stonework, trying to identify the style, and settled on "Gothic Horror."

He climbed out and walked toward the massive double doors. They swung wide, displaying a well lit tasteful entry. I hope the inside will be normal.

The dignified, white haired man operating the doors inclined his upper body. "Welcome to the Residence, Director Izzo. I am Ohno Servaone, at your service."

"Ohno, a pleasure to meet you. Are you in charge of all this?"

"I manage the household staff. Master Gordon manages the outside help, and Mistress Fail keeps the books." He frowned over his shoulder are the sound of running feet.

The footfalls slowed and the young woman coming around the corner looked elegant and poised. "Director Izzo! I'm so glad to meet you at last." She looked eighteen, which for a high Withione meant she was probably under fifty. But there was something bubbling behind her shields, excitement and trepidation, that felt incredibly young. She was exquisitely beautiful, with a soft golden brown coif to match her big hazel eyes. "I'm Princess Gewz, assigned to you from the One."

Oh. Shit.

She stepped closer, her shields falling. She stepped right up against Izzo and kissed him. He choked. Threw up his hardest shield and hastily backed away. Grabbed her right hand in his and shook it.

"Pleased to meet you Princess. Gewz . . . Gee Wiz? Please understand that I am a happily married man, expecting my first babies, and you and I are going to have a very professional relationship."

She stared at him in disbelief, and glowed harder. Poor Ohno was leaning toward her, his eyes glazed. The girl's excitement was turning to ire, and the trepidation faded to reveal the hunting predator.

"No. Sorry." He frowned down at her. "How old are you?"

"I am twenty. I just graduated from the Princess School." Her eyes were angry now. Affronted. She pulled in her glow and Ohno staggered back.

"Why don't you two show me the family quarters. Have you been briefed. Ohno? My wife and I are expecting twins in about two more months. I expect my parents will be frequent visitors."

"Oh. You'll want to be away from your wife, so you can sleep." Gee Wiz smiled cattily.

"No. Absolutely not. And you will not be sleeping in the family quarters, Princess."

"I am assigned to you!" A bit a growl to that.

"Yes. As the One's check upon me. Not as my mistress. Some men no doubt enjoy such relations with their Princesses, I'm not one of them. You can be a social secretary here, something useful at the Directorate, or do absolutely nothing. Your choice."

The family quarters consisted of the standard two large bedrooms separated by dressing rooms, closets and two complete bathrooms. All interconnected, so one could get from one to the other without going out into the "public" hallways. Five other bedrooms, each with its own bath. The one closest to the master suite was obviously occupied.

"Move. Preferably to the opposite wing."

Inarticulate growl.

Izzo compared the two connected bedrooms. "We'll take the corner room, the babies the other, until they are grown a bit."

Ohno nodded. "You have an excellent library and office, just above these rooms." A door gave access to a stairwell and he followed the old man up.

Real, actual paper books. Gleaming wooden furniture, all carved curlicues. "It's magnificent." Right in keeping with the exterior.

Chapter Three

Family dinners were . . . difficult. Grandmother was fifty years younger than Grandfather, and looked fifty years older. Oners often lived to see their two hundredth birthday, and never looked truly old until they were past a century and half. Grandmother's father had been a miner—she always said mine supervisor—that the Earthers had brought in, native to who knew where. Who'd seduced a Nomad girl. Grandmother always made it sound like she was the result of a grand romance. Well, the Nomads had had mixed feelings about the bastard halfbreeds being born into their tribes, and most of the girls—like grandmother—had married either the Refugee Oners or the miners they "freed" from the Earthers.

Mother, despite being half Oner, had the high sharp cheekbones of the Nomads and pale washed out skin tones and stringy red-brown hair that probably came from that miner grandfather.

Tonight they'd gotten to snipping at each other. Grandmother was a bastard. At least she hadn't had a bastard. Oh? Did you really marry? Was that a dowry or a purchase price?

Flu tried to ignore it, like Grandfather. Not easy when the subject turned to "and if you'd married a Oner, 'Flu would have a future."

"What? Married off to the first low class One who lusted after her?"

"At least she could marry into a Oner Clan . . . "

After dinner, Flu slipped out the back door. The cook, an elderly servaone, sniffed dismissively. "You ought to be scrubbing pots, not sitting at the table like a High Oner. Uppity natives need to learn their place . . . "

Flu ignored her and trotted into the old over-grown orchard. Her father's family farm had been off and on occupied by Earthers during their reign, and the orchard not pruned properly. The trees were old now, and dying. Flu had a path, partly a wildlife track but improved with a bit of sawing. The path led to a small lake, where the neighbors kept a small beach clean and cleared. The younger generation had pretty much taken it over.

Tonight it was the boys practicing, tussling with each other magically, and when that failed, sometimes physically. They were just getting out the stones, and doing their preliminary exercises.

Last year, I’d go down there and practice with them, even though I was never allowed to take classes.

Behind a screen of brush, Flu got out her own stones, and started meditating.

If my father was a Oner, there was a fifty percent chance that I might be a Oner. Of course, I have no idea who my father is; Mother refuses to say. So the magic classes are closed to me, just like they were closed to Mother.

And no matter how much she meditated, no matter how hard she glared at her stones, nothing happened. Out there the stones were glowing, lighting up the beach. Hers were dark lumps. She resisted the impulse to throw them at those boys, so bright and confident of themselves.

If I was a Oner, I would have blossomed by now.

I'm sixteen. It should have happened by now.

Worthless Halfer. Native.


Flu carted the tray into the board room and started pouring. The other new office assistant, a pretty blonde girl a year older than Flu, started handing the cups around and offering sugar and milk. The men ignored them.

"We could be the leaders of this World, not some disenfranchised beggars on the fringes of the Empire. The plains were the bread basket of the Empire, they can be the basis of a trading empire. We have mines—although the Earther's have been careless of the safety of their workers. We can make anything, do anything. Or trade for it if that's cheaper or quicker."

Flu had heard the exact words several times. They were loosing their punch with repetition. But this group was all nodding. They'd heard it before, had probably written the speech. They'll be the top echelon of their World. But how deep will the top reach, and where will I end up. Do they see me as a summer student, earning a bit of cash, or do they see me as a servant, lower than the Servaones?

The blonde girl stepped out and sighed. "Tak. Tak. No. Do. Do."

Flu blinked, recognizing the accent. "Oh. I hadn't realized you were, er . . . "

"A Not-Native." The girl snorted. "Think Oners got problems? Ow bout us? Da were a Miner f't'Earthers. Cough Cough freed 'im. No go home, can't stay."

"Yeah. My Grandmother was a Nomad. So the One don't want me, nor the Nomads. I'm Flu."

"Cherry." She shrugged. "An we too yong f'anyone t'listen to."

"I hate not having any say, no control over my future." Flu shrugged. "But what can a bunch of kids do?"

ekuah on March 30th, 2018 08:53 pm (UTC)
Please Pam.
Please make the first confrontation between Gewz and Xiat EPIC.

"Eww, how can a wife, pregnant on the first marriage, a breeeeder, how can such a woman compare to a Princess"
"Humpf, how can a 'princess', a mere assigned concubine, an exchangeable piece of eyecandy, how ca such a girl compare to a true WARRIOR of the ONE"
"You are not"
"Oh yes, I am"
"There are no female Warriors of the One"
"Haven't you seen Emre's latest address to the Conclave?"
"Sir, don't you want to stop them?"
"Do I look suicidal? Would you dare to step between them?"
"Honestly, no Sir. But they are nether my wife nor my princess. I just fear for all the combustible books when they continue with their glowing contest in the library."
"Well, better warn the fire brigade then."

Edited at 2018-03-30 09:26 pm (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on March 30th, 2018 10:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Please Pam.
It is.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on March 30th, 2018 11:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Please Pam.
Indeed, see the July 2015 version.

Gewz hasn't done her research and is ignorant even of Xiat being a Princess school graduate.

". . . It's not right that his first wife should be so low class as to get pregnant."

Emre One's New Warriors speech hasn't happened yet I think, but Xiat was present at the Assassination attempt so another research fail.
matapampamuphoff on March 31st, 2018 12:53 am (UTC)
Re: Please Pam.
Emre's address to the Conclave of the Clans was recent, but passed. Ajki shifted Ebsa and Ra'd away from the issues coming up, that Izzo has transferred in to deal with.

Neither Izzo nor Xiat was at the Conclave, and neither have chosen to make public their inclusion in the group of "Immediate certificates or whatever, once we figure out how to do this."

All three books, _Project Dystopia_, _Fractured Loyalties_, and _External Relations_ are roughly simultaneous. I'm publishing them in the order that creates the fewest spoilers.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on March 31st, 2018 01:01 am (UTC)
Re: Please Pam.

Little Egret in Walton-on-Thames
mbarker: Me typing?mbarker on March 31st, 2018 02:34 am (UTC)
Random thought... is the shift in the teamers culture (from rape and plunder) and the shift in the philosophy of the one (friendly, right?) going to also be reflected in a shift in the Princesses, away from sexual conquest towards... heck, professional teamwork? Just a thought...
(Anonymous) on March 31st, 2018 09:57 am (UTC)
"Her father's family farm" - should that read Grandfather's family farm? She doesn't know who her father is.