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25 April 2018 @ 09:28 am
_Marooned_ part 20  

Chapter Fifteen

What a Mess

“So I leave for a week and you guys trash my plaza.” Q eyed the muddy mess down in the pit where the water mains had spewed until someone had shown up and sealed them. And the new sewer lines, too.

“And you didn’t even keep anyone here for me to kill.”

Inso cleared his throat. “No success, I take it?”

“I finally got close enough to pinpoint the right world, but it’s going to take a solid month to get there.” She looked around.

The bottom three steps of the Disco build were gone, and a damn good thing the Earth embassy was set well back from the street. They’d only lost their security fence. The Comet Fall embassy had lost their courtyard and part of the front wall of the building. The angle and curve showed the size of the sphere the Poobahs had gated away.

“So, did they kill anyone? Snatch anyone?”

“No deaths.” Inso gritted his teeth. “Rael was standing on the steps there and went with them.”

Q closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “Rael. Well. Guess I’d better get back to work on gates.”

“Yeah. I suppose we should fill the hole.”

“Oh.” She reached for the beach and stepped into the sand. Grabbed a bubble and swooped up a huge swatch.

The next storm will fill it in. She stepped back to her office. Dusty and forlorn. Four months since I’ve worked a normal day. Dammit . . . I’ll put in a week of work, but then I’m going back out.

She swiped a tear off her cheek.

And I will deal with losing my big brother. My rock.

When I have to.

She trudged back outside and opened a hole in her bubble. Sand poured out, and she recrystallized it as it filled the hole. Got it level with the sewer line and she formed new pipe. More sand and repair the water main. Smaller pipes back to Disco, then fill the whole thing, level it off two feet below the plaza, so she could redo the stone work sometime, then level the road, rough up the surface for traction. Curbs. New steps for Disco.

I can do anything except save my brother.

Walked back to her house. More alone than ever. She crawled into bed.

I’ll check on what everyone is doing, then I’ll head back out and finish the last gates. I can see that world in the distance. I can get there.

Chapter Sixteen

“Weak women. Can’t work and you won’t even put out, will you?”

Rael set the bowl aside and wiped clay off her hands. “Oh hell no. What are you griping about now, Sam? Hangover?” Must not kill one of the seventeen humans on the planet.

“Yes . . . although the jump in my abilities . . . I can really feel it now.” The old man scowled. “But we men still have to do the heavy lifting and the hunting.”

You don’t hunt, but you do hump rock up the stream bank, and cart firewood. Grumbling all the way.

“Making more things to cook with and eat off of is what needs to be done right now. I’m sure I’ll be hauling a lot of firewood . . .” She broke off as Sam’s eyes widened, turned. “Oh, the bears are size extra large around here.”

The bear on the far side of the stream was looking them over, then started down the bank at a low stalk, eyes focused on them.

I haven’t tried the death punch. Small diameter push spell, gather some extra heat and . . .

The bear charged, galloping over the cobbles.


The bear hit the ground chin first and tumbled, rolled to a stop not quite at their feet.

A faint choking noise from Sam.

“That bear was at least ten meters away . . . is it dead?”


:: Hey Jiol! Got your bear fat for you. ::

Rael giggled. “Shall I be a weak little woman and get Xen to butcher it?”

Sam snorted and picked up a stick to poke the bear with.

A rattle of stones and everyone except Xen showed up to admire her kill, and muscle it up to the “village.”

Rael walked out to the low hill where Xen was meditating, and softened her shields as she sank down beside him.

:: See? That’s Xin Zhongguo. I think. Home is that way, beyond it . . . so faint, so far. But see that little thread, way out there? I can just barely see it, can’t touch it. Yet. It’s a permanent gate. Q’s, I’ll bet. ::

:: So the path to Embassy is right there. So close. ::

:: Toss up whether she finds us before I can get to her last gate and salvage a little bit of my masculine pride. ::

:: Ha! You’ve been around Sam too long. ::

:: Oh? Is he being a problem? ::

:: Verbally. But I think I may have just impressed him. Want to come help skin a bear? ::

The blue faded. “A bear, huh?”

“Yep. For your research, Sam was astonished I could do a needle punch from ten meters away.”

Xen sighed. “I suppose, you being so dangerous and all, I shouldn’t choke and gasp in horror about you letting a large animal get that close before you killed it?”

Rael giggled and led the way back to where Karl was lecturing the poor city boys on what to do to turn a dead animal into a month of fine dining.

“And not a single faint or vomit. I guess a bear just isn’t in the same class as cute little bunny rabbit.” Xen grinned as he got glared at, and fetched a bowl. To the horror of everyone but Karl when he mentioned blood sausage.

Rael grinned and mostly watched. The poor City Boys didn’t actually want to touch the dead bear, especially not all the blood . . .

But then, neither do I.

Sam was telling everyone about it. “ . . . staring death in the face, and she just points her finger and kills it! Look at the hole! Between the eyes and all the way through See the other hole? In the back of the neck, must have hit both the brain and the spine. She’s a powerful moshushe, I tell you.”

Connor rolled his eyes. “We know. You’ve told us three times already.”

Rael cocked her head. “Moshushi. Magician.” ///Find out how to mark tones and whether KDP will accept them///

Sam and Connor looked at her, exchanged glances.

Connor shrugged. “It’s just a coincidence. She doesn’t really have the same accent as The Boozy.”

Rael’s eyes narrowed. "That's almost like the Mandarin 'Buxiu' which means immortal or immortality."

"Yes. Boozy Jaejong."

"Huh. Kinda lost the tonality over 1400 years."

"800 years. You Lingmen can't even count."

"Oooo! Lengmen. Outsider." Rael giggled. “Where’s a linguist when you need one? I only had two years of Mandarin in school.”

matapampamuphoff on April 25th, 2018 02:50 pm (UTC)
Q's chapter obviously needs to go earlier, but what the heck. Rough drafts are rough.
(Anonymous) on April 25th, 2018 05:14 pm (UTC)
So the bad guys' years are almost twice as long as the good guys' years. The bad guys had at least one gate connection to the original Earth 1400 years ago, so their time should be sync'd with everyone else's. Is this some weird Chinese calendar thing, or is something very strange happening to the multiverse?
ekuah on April 25th, 2018 06:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Years
As I understood Pam's Multiverse, only permanent gates sync worlds.
On regular gates the time runs only the same speed as long the gate exists.

But on the other hand, what makes you think that the " the bad guys' years are almost twice as long as the good guys' years"?
(Anonymous) on April 25th, 2018 06:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Years
Earth, Comet Fall, and One World are all in sync and have been for 1400 years. I'm not sure how that impacts speculation one way or another.

(Anonymous) on April 25th, 2018 08:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Years
My understanding is that any gate sync's worlds.
As far as bad guys' years being about twice as long, they had 800 years while everyone else had 1400 years. Since the planets times were sync'd, that means that each bad guy year was 7/4'ths of a good guy year or almost twice as long.
matapampamuphoff on April 25th, 2018 09:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Years
Xin Zhongguo has been drifting through some odd and distant branches of the Multiverse, connecting with worlds experiencing time differently and the syncing has not been all one way, nor self correcting like Earth and One who have been connecting several times daily with the same multiple worlds for centuries and sort of "averaged out" any local variations.

The time rate difference with Disco is large enough that there may noticeable adjustments through the web of permanent gates, or it may be that that web was large enough to swamp XinZho's effect and the sync was accomplished with changes to XinZho's time rate.
(Anonymous) on April 25th, 2018 09:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Years
From Rael's research in the Xin Zhongguo library:

Two hundred years after the Exile, they had working gates ... They persevered ... off and on for a thousand years.
Until one test ...
And for the last century and a half, Jaejong and AnnaKarina had explored the muiltiverse, and planted scores of colonies.

That adds up to 1350 years since Exile.

But keep writing. Q is more pissed than ever. I want to find out what happens next. More, more.

(Anonymous) on April 25th, 2018 06:41 pm (UTC)
Given the dismissal of women's magical strength we've seen from Sam, I have to wonder of the Chou's primarily had the mage gene on Y (or something similar).

matapampamuphoff on April 25th, 2018 09:22 pm (UTC)
I believe the approved answer to that is "Tum te tum te tum."
matapampamuphoff on April 25th, 2018 09:37 pm (UTC)
However, Jaejong's power gene is on an ordinary gene, and can be inherited by both male and female children.

The inserts, the lab animals, those are all Earth inventions.

Once the Chous got over their "Icky! Animal Genes!" reaction they started marrying into the Exile population, and cultivated those grandsons with the mage gene.

The Eden refugees had very few engineered genes.

And I'll stop there, because it isn't fully worked out in my head.
(Anonymous) on April 25th, 2018 10:14 pm (UTC)
Except, of course, for the "brilliant and powerful" magician AnnaKarina.

But she is a Tellie. As I recall, Mercy and Giselle had difficulty conceiving due to XXY genetics even after their fallopian tubes were repaired. I don't remember about the Orange team female Oners. So maybe AK is the only Xin Zhonggou female with serious magic.

(Anonymous) on April 25th, 2018 10:30 pm (UTC)
IIRC, the Orange team females were XX but suffered from a different fertility problem (sperm need higher magical gene count than the egg?).

matapampamuphoff on April 25th, 2018 10:34 pm (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on April 25th, 2018 10:33 pm (UTC)
Mercy had no trouble conceiving when she birded Pax. Since then, no sex.

Gisele was the oldest Tellie, XXY. There were no doubt other experiments.

AK, like all the younger Tellies may have been experimented on, or she may have been a double witch.

(Anonymous) on April 25th, 2018 10:41 pm (UTC)
It shouldn't all come down to Q. I would have thought some other family and friends would show up to repair stuff. And boggle the neighbours with their building style. Rustle and Wolf must be upset. And don't we have a new little smuggler mum who can see the militiverse and could help?
matapampamuphoff on April 25th, 2018 11:30 pm (UTC)
Arg! Yet another story I really need to finish.

Not to mention the short story with Rael meeting Rustle, the Auld Wulf, The Ash Witches, Nil . . .