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07 April 2018 @ 09:08 am
_Marooned_ part 6  

Then a synthesized voice from the hill. “Miss Cali? I have located a human.”

A head popped up from the broad body. Human. Messy brown hair.

“Is it Daddy? Did you find him?” A little girl voice, barely heard.

“No Miss Cali, it is a stranger.”

Xen stood up and banished his possible-illusion. He raised his voice. “Hello. I’m Xen Wolfson.”

The little girl conferred with her robodog in a low voice. The robot’s replies, urging caution, were clear. And finally.

“Accepting order, Miss Cali.”

The robodog walked down the hill toward them, and odd sliding gait with a bit of a jolt to it between steps.

The Master Hunter backed away growling, then turned tail and bolted.

“Oh!” Miss Cali stood up inside the dog’s body and watch the fleeing wolf. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare your doggie.”

“It’s just as well he ran off.” Xen studied the robot as it neared. The wide body was an oval bowl, about right for the kid to curl up in. “Hunter’s actually a wild wolf and not completely safe to be around.”

The robodog stopped a few feet in front of him.

If it attacks now, I’ve got no time to see what works.

The girl climbed out a side that suddenly bent outward, then snapped back into place and the whole body scrunched up into a nice slender robodog body.

Xen decided to start the ball rolling. “A man came to my world, on a throne, with guards, sitting on a throne, on a copper carpet.”

The girl hunched her shoulders. “That’s the judge.”

Xen touched the ugly barely healed scar on his chest. “He hit me with an electrical current, and I woke up here, three months ago.”

The girl nodded. “They were going to transport Daddy, and Uncle Connor, and Uncle Jerry, and Uncle Sam. I ordered Killerbite to run and jump onto the Carpet of Judgement right when they transported . . . he had to go so fast . . . then they transported . . . and he ran right off the other side. He turned around to run back . . . and they transported again.

“Now I don’t know where they sent Daddy.”

“Kill . . . o-byte . . .” Xen cleared his throat. “How far have you come from where you arrived here?”

The robot dog looked up at him. “Fifty-eight kilometers, Mr. Wolfson.”

“And I’m at least twenty kilometers from my arrival point. So they drop people ever hundred kilometers? Every couple of months?”

Cali shook her head. “On the last day of every month. They transport the Outcasts right at noon. So I knew when to get there.” Her lip quivered.

“But they didn’t drop the other people off?”

“Every Outcast is alone. They go back and forth and drop one off each time. In the movies it’s really, really fast, so we had to get there the first time. Now how do I find Daddy?”

Xen bit his lip. “I don’t know how they do things, if they drop people off at random. Umm, before we go any further, perhaps I should ask if your people have any prejudices about genetic engineering?”

She nodded. “The Genies run everything. Daddy’s half Genie, so he was allow to be a scientist. But he . . . he said something wrong, and the police came and took them all away. Daddy ordered Killerbite to run away and hide me. We saw in the news that Daddy was going to be transported in two days.”

“No trial, but that’s no surprise. So . . . where did you stay for two days?”

“Inside Killerbite. He found a public access plug and got a good charge before the police got close.”

“I see. And what did you eat?”

“I had some creds. I . . . had breakfast yesterday.”

Xen pulled a strip of jerky out of his pack. “It’s pretty chewy, but better than nothing. Charging Killerbite is going to be more challenging. What voltage do you take?”

“Twelve to forty volts, Mr. Wolfson. Do you have a generator?” The synthesized voice managed to sound dubious.

“I’m probably something like one of your Genies. And one thing I can do is convert light to electron movement in a wire.” He touched the scar on his chest. “At least I used to be able to. I’m still sort of relearning stuff as that nasty stuff they stuck in my back breaks down.”

The girl hunched her shoulders. “The Death of Magic. You’ll never do magic again. Ever.”

“For some definitions of ever.” He grinned. “So, why don’t you come home with me, and we’ll see if I can charge Killerbite, feed you something a little less chewy, and figure out how to look for your Dad?”

The robo dog looked down. “I am currently at five percent of battery capacity.”

“Ah, well, let’s find out if I’m recovered enough to do this. Where’s your plug?”

The girl giggled and blushed.

“Oh. Butt hole, right?” Xen sat down cross-legged and examined the robot’s rear, touched the contacts with his left hand, and gathered sunlight in his right. Thought about the electrons flowing . . .

“Mr. Wolfson, I detect a fast drain on my battery reserves.”

He reversed the flow.

“Charging.”

“Good. So, Cali, is your mom going to be worried ab . . . no?”

She studied her feet and mumbled. “I’m a ‘speriment.”

“An experiment? Are we back to genetic engineering again?”

Nod. Shoulders hunched, staring holes in the ground.

“That not a big deal where I come from. We do genetic changes in grownups all the time. So, your daddy’s raising you?”

Nod, a peek in his direction. “When they ‘speriment, they get the Halfgenies to raise the babies.” A stubborn lip stuck out and something close to a glare slid his direction. “He’s my DADDY!”

“Yes. Did he make you?”

“No. He makes things with the magic metal. He made Killerbite.”

“And now we need to find him. And all your uncles. How you doing, Killerbite?”

“I am at thirty percent charge. Thank you. Mr. Wolfson. I can now carry Miss Cali twenty kilometers to your home.”

“Excellent. Let’s get you some extra, in case of emergencies, then we’ll go.”

***

Hunter had beaten them home, and stood in front of Jiol, snarling at Killerbite, and backing into her, trying to get her to run away from the monster.

“Stop that you idiot!” Jiol nudged him, then tried a gentle kick.

Xen laughed. “He’s protecting you from this fierce little girl!”

“Mr. Wolfson, I believe I may be the problem.”

At the sound of Killerbite’s voice, poor Hunter turned tail and fled.

“Well, Xen. You appear to have found something more interesting than another forest fire.”

Xen raise his gaze. In the twilight the column of smoke was nearly invisible, but the glow below it was brightening. “Someone is setting fires.”

“DADDY!” Cali leaped out of the robodog. “We have to go find Daddy!”

 
 
 
(Anonymous) on April 7th, 2018 03:06 pm (UTC)
This just gets more and more interesting.

--TheOtherSean
(Anonymous) on April 7th, 2018 07:27 pm (UTC)
I have to say your idea of a distraction is rather distracting. Which is good, since you've managed to come up with some complete silly ideas, which usually turn into interesting stories with a lot of work.

darqref
matapampamuphoff on April 7th, 2018 08:48 pm (UTC)
I didn't use to let anyone see the raw writing, but you guys seem tough enough to handle it.
1stew1stew on April 7th, 2018 08:30 pm (UTC)
Killerbite
Oh my I'm kinda in love with that name for my next dog.
matapampamuphoff on April 7th, 2018 09:22 pm (UTC)
Re: Killerbite
Terrorbite would be good as well.
(Anonymous) on April 7th, 2018 10:20 pm (UTC)
It draw you in. I want to know who they are and what their mandate is. Also did these a..holes start the Heleos ball rolling?
matapampamuphoff on April 8th, 2018 01:16 am (UTC)
You and me both. I like it when my subconscious has an idea, but I wish I knew where it was going!

I don't think they had anything to do with Helios, but they did view it's demise and they hunted down the people who were fighting that world and followed them home to Embassy, and that "Master of the Multiverse" Xen Wolfson.
(Anonymous) on April 8th, 2018 08:19 pm (UTC)
so many questions
I want to keep reading to find out answers to:

Is there only one judge? If not, why does Cali talk as if there is only one? Is PooBah the ruler or does he have an overlord? Is there a chief judge? A council?

Why does the judge expect people to step onto his rug? Sure, he can probably snatch the first sucker, but does he expect everyone else to be an idiot? (So far...) Can he do anything to people not on the rug? Back home, he has police to help. Does he have prior experience judging on foreign worlds without police support? And how vulnerable are he and his guards if the foreign world attacks?

What are the characteristics of the judge's transporter? Apparently it does not need a beacon. Can it really look through the in-between to spy on a world before connecting? A ten-meter transporter circle is a lot bigger than a three-meter gate but then a transporter circle only takes what is there whereas you can drive an endless train of stuff through a gate. We have seen various kinds of gate accidents. What kinds of accidents can happen with the judge's transporter?

What is this magic metal? Is the judge's rug made from it? What else can be made from it (besides Killerbite, which is pretty impressive all by itself)? Is it perhaps the base of the judge's world's technology?

Why does the judge transport helpless victims to Wolf World instead of just executing them out-of-hand? Some sort of religious scruple? As if a lightening bolt to the chest would not be fatal in many cases. Or is that only necessary on foreign worlds where the judge has no police support? Does the judge even attempt to interrogate his victims before marooning them?

The judge apparently knows about drugs to suppress magic and about stripping bubbles, clothing, and tools. Is the judge really so stupid that he thinks this makes his victim helpless? Or perhaps it did so with all victims heretofore. Why bother stripping bubbles if the victim's magic is permanently suppressed? What about bionic implants? Presumably the judge could shut them down or remove them, but in certain medical cases this would be a death sentence in itself. Is the judge monitoring his marooned victims to make sure they stay helpless?

When Cali says "The Death of Magic" is she referring to the lightening bolt to the chest or to the drug implant in the back (both are mentioned just before her comment)? Why is she so certain that this permanently removes the ability to do magic? Is this knowledge from videos that were perhaps a little propagandistic? How is their society structured? It seems somewhat oppressive.

What caused the forest fire?

Has Q traced the judge's transporter? Will the judge dare to appear at Disco Headquarters a third time? How will the good guys fight back?

More, more, more ...

-TomR

matapampamuphoff on April 8th, 2018 10:31 pm (UTC)
Re: so many questions
And no answers! Yet.

Now the regulars are used to me jumping all over the place, but you newer fans, beware! I need to add stuff to _External Relations_ and then there's Spence, left in his icy asteroid prison until the subconscious decides just what it wants to do with him.

So I may (again!) jump somewhere else leaving a total cliff hanger.
(Anonymous) on April 8th, 2018 11:29 pm (UTC)
Re: so many questions
And poor Ebsa left dealing with dinner for 20,000+
matapampamuphoff on April 9th, 2018 02:37 am (UTC)
Re: so many questions
Which was _also_ a spontaneous "I don't want to write the story I'm supposed to be writing" story. And which I'll need to publish it fairly soon after XR, which means I'll be coming up with new stories to avoid writing it . . . Or am I there already?
(Anonymous) on April 10th, 2018 12:05 am (UTC)
Re: so many questions
No prob. Space Marshall is great too. And if I get too antsy I can always just go re-read the whole WotG saga back-to-back-to-back-to-... yet again.

-TomR
(Anonymous) on April 12th, 2018 06:32 pm (UTC)
Re: so many questions
Much is explained by Xen's lecture to Heliotrope in a previous novel (Earth Gate?). Citified types would die on Wolf World well before the implant finished dissolving.
(Anonymous) on April 12th, 2018 06:42 pm (UTC)
Re: so many questions
Since the gate makers can always find home even if it was only their parent's home and Rael's home appears to be wherever Xen is, could she be used as a beacon to locate him? I know, very sappy.
matapampamuphoff on April 12th, 2018 10:07 pm (UTC)
Re: so many questions
He's managed to get far enough away that Q can't find him, with-or-without Rael. Nope, the poor man's going to have to get himself home.