matapam (pamuphoff) wrote,

_Marooned_ part 28

Wolf snorted. “And what kind of a fixated idiot is he? We may need to check him for mental modeling when we get our hands on him.” Shrug. “If we do that and don’t just cut them off.”

Gisele sniffed. “I’m going to go meet these other people Xen collected.”

Q poked her brother, who started awake. “I’m going to get my brother to show me how he did some dimensional work . . . if he can stay awake long enough.”

Xen shook his head. “I have to sleep.”

Wolf nodded. “Three weeks in a fast room. C’mon, Boy.” He glanced at Rael.

She shrugged. “Message from the Boss. Come to a meeting tomorrow morning—which is just six hours from now.”

“This Corridoring about gives me the worst jetlag ever.” Nicholas looked over at her. “May I offer you a ride? I get expedited everything, and I suspect they’ll want to ask me about those two . . . where on this World are we, anyway?”

Wolf snickered. “Pacific coast of Mexico, south of Puerto Vallarta. It’s an Ice Age World, so the climate’s cooler and wetter.” He leaned and shook Xen’s shoulder.

Rael let him manhandle Xen and nipped ahead to open the fast room. Everyone followed.

Not that I blame them for being curious.

“Nice little house.” Nicholas grinned. “I sort of expected a bit more for someone like that.”

Rael giggled and started opening the concealed doors that lined the hallway. “Mountains. Hotsprings. Beach. Castle.”

“Oh . . . well I guess he does live up to his reputation.”

Rael left everyone to explore and checked on Xen.

“Old Gods!” Rustle touched the scar across his chest. “I surprised he’s alive.”

“’m okay . . .”

Rael sighed. “So much for a good bye kiss.”

“Well . . . Wolf, why don’t you go see that Judge person and his guards. Rael? I’ll stay here

tonight. Let me know if you can come back. If not I’ll see about how to insure his privacy.” Rustle cast a glance at her son’s bare chest and shivered. “Food, let me load up on food for him . . .”

Rael helped strip the rest of Xen’s clothing off . . . Dammit, I wonder where those leather pants are? Tucked him in and sighed.

“Two or three weeks in a fast room, and we just might double up if he looks like he’s doing well.”

“He’s even got a little gray at his temples. Laugh lines. He actually looks his age. I suppose by the time I get back, he’ll be back to looking barely twenty.”

Wolf laughed. “You’re much like that yourself. Rael, go take care of business, we’ll make sure he’ll be here when you get back.”

Rustle hustled back in, pinning absolutely nothing to a dozen spots all over the little table. “If he looks all right after a couple of sleep cycles, I’ll make a second speed bubble and then he’ll heal really fast. From our point of view.”

Wolf stepped out and came back with a pair of barbells. “And if he’ll stretch and lift weights a bit, whenever he sort of wakes, he’ll be in good shape when he wakes up all the way.”

Rael looked over the preparations in dismay. “I guess you’ve had enough experience to have it down to a routine.”

“Yes.” Wolf looked down at Xen and shook his head. “I wish he’d stop doing this.”

“Dreaming for a year.”

“Yes. He won’t really notice the passage of time. It’s like getting a good night’s sleep, barely waking up to eat and then going back to bed. You lose track of how many time you’ve done it. And one morning you wake up feeling terrific, and off you go.”

Rael sighed. “How many times have you done this?”

“I haven’t kept count. Once or twice a century, perhaps? This is Xen’s forth critical injury, and he’s only forty-seven.”

And I’m fifty-four. How did that happen?

A quick grin. “One year at a time, unless you’re in a fast room. So I suppose he’s catching up with you, if a few years matters to you. I’m afraid it looks awfully silly from my perspective.”

He turned away and walked out of the room. “And now I’d better see if I can get everyone out of Xen’s worldwide web of . . . backyards.”


Both the President and the Presidential Director were with the analysts when she got there. The expressions on everyone’s faces when they realized who’d walked in with her were hysterically funny.

“Breaking news. AnnaKarina is one of the original colonists. Jaejong Chou was, through a web of family, the owner of TransWorld Travel, and possibly a marooned explorer trying to get home. And Commander Nicholas knew them both.”

The Prophet grabbed a chair propped his elbows on the table. “I knew AK moderately well, and Jaejong not at all. He tended to staying the background, acting like an aid, chauffeur, or bodyguard to whichever Board of Directors type person visited.”

Izzo looked boggled, so Rael stepped in to give him a bit more time to adjust.

“Five Comet Fall Gods and Charlie Alpha from Arrival were there as well. They were all quite certain they were the originals, not a chance resemblance.”

Nicholas nodded. “The voices, the body language, it was them. And as Ambassador Ashe said, why is that small world picking on us. I talked to Wolfgang, and we came up with two reasonable scenarios.”

Well, he is Commander Nicholas. Drat. I missed him and the God of War talking tactics and strategy.

“It maybe that they hope that breaking Disco by removing as much of the power and command staff as they can lure in will release the subject empires to attack each other, making them easy pickings, or just removing what they see as a huge threatening coalition of worlds.

“Second scenario, Jaejong and Annakarina are at odds with each other, and one of them sees a low level conflict with Disco as a way to weaken the other.

“We don’t have enough information on the leaders to know how that stands.”

Ox, Rael’s brother-in-law, now the Presidental Director nodded. “And do we have enough time to gather that sort of information, or do we need to move even though we know how much we don’t know.”

Rael cocked her head. “I wonder if a Priest could do anything about the mental modeling? We’ve got the judge and six guards . . .”

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