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13 May 2018 @ 11:28 am
_Marooned_ part 31 edits  
  And then a powerful piece of the One was ready to meet the judge.

They walked down the slope and into the trees. Under the trees. Great huge oaks, their limbs arching out and dropping to form cave-like spaces. One tree was fortified with walls that might keep out wolves, but not bears.

Rael touched a wall of three inch branches and felt the shield within. Or maybe it will keep them safe. This feels like Xen’s work.

Jeb was staring up into the tree. “I’ve lived in the desert too long.”

Ytry snickered. “Wait till it rains. You’ll change your mind.” He dropped his gaze and frowned at the three people eyeing them warily.

Jeb sighed and turned away from the tree. “Mental modeling. Fairly light on the tall ones, but they’ve seriously damaged the . . . this would be the judge, right? Yes, I don’t think we can get him back, but at least we should be able to deal with the compulsions.”

Hummer walked closer, peering at the Judge as he recoiled. “What are all those odd dull spots all over his brain?”

“That’s that seemofazing.” A woman—One! What was Paer doing here!—walked in behind the priests.

“Xen says it’s a ribozyme that attaches to nerves and muffles the transmission of information.” Rael stepped closer to Paer, not that she was assigned to protect the president’s daughter anymore, well, former president, but . . .

“Hmm, that would explain why I couldn’t find a chemical suppressant.” Paer bit her lip. “They still have the pellets in their shoulders. They’re aggressive enough that their not having magic sounded like a good idea.”

Jeb nodded.

Rael could feel the soup of power building up among the priests, lumpy and odd. “You know Ytry, they call it a compass because it’s round.”

He shot her an irritated look. “Yeah, yeah. I guess it doesn’t matter when you’ve got a couple hundred priests, but it looks like we’ll need the symmetry here. Bossy redhead . . .”

Rael shook her head. To her inner eye the power was still limping along.

Ebsa cleared his throat. “We’ve experimented a bit over the years. In small groups, same sex works best. Maybe I should join . . .”

“No. I will.” Ajha stepped into the ring of men. “You two keep your eyes open for unusual attack modes.”

Hummer stepped back, looking irritated. “No women in compasses! Ridiculous.”

Rael nodded. “The Fallen witches work in triads. I’ve worked with Q . . . hmm . . . I wonder if we could do it without any witches, just Oners?”

“Really? Three women . . . sounds dangerous.”

“Oh yes. It’s quite amazing. With a dimensionally able witch in the group we could all see dimensionally.” Rael’s attention jerked back to the Priests as the compass collapsed.

Ytry stomped over to glare down at the Judge. “We’re done. Those dull spots are blocking our efforts to do much more than examine the mental modeling. Paer? Can you remove those hideous pellets? One knows how long it will take for the effect to wear off.”

“Yes, sir. And I believe Xen has something that will speed up the natural clearing of the effect.”

Rael nodded and pulled out her flask. “The new, improved, Joy Juice.”

Paer grinned. “Figures you’d have some. Ebsa? Go fab up some wine. I want to have this stuff on hand.” She was opening up her medical kit as the Priests all filled out, Hummer and Ajha with them. Ebsa followed, but Ra’d remained inside.

Just as well, the guards are starting to look less intimidated. I don’t think anyone bothered to introduce themselves or ask permission to muck around in their minds.

Rael cleared her throat. “Umm, you know, we really need to mind our manners, and ask permission.”

The Judge shivered. “So strong . . . they loosened up something in my head. I want it gone. I want it all gone.”

Ra’d stepped forward and eyed him. “That’s very nearly the most spontaneous speech we had from you for two days. Excellent. Perhaps they haven’t destroyed your personality.”

He stepped back and eyed the guards. “Order them to slap each other.”

The three of them—Renshe? Or would they be Han?—looked at each other.

“Slap each other.” The Judge’s voice was a whisper.

The guards raised their hands . . . wavered, fought it . . . traded slight taps.

“Good, good.” The judge collapsed onto a log section-seat. “Maybe those terrifying people can help us.” He wiggled his arms out of his orange overall. “Now take that thing out.”

Paer wiped his back down, applied a painkiller spell and sliced the length of the slight lump on the Judge’s back.

Rael looked away. Silly. All the times I’ve seen my own blood, to get queasy over someone else’s. Maybe I can blame it on the things this trip did to my poor tummy.

She felt spells flying. Debriding and healing. When she glanced back, Paer was stripping off gloves and dropping them into a plastic bag labeled Hazardous Waste. And donning new gloves as she turned to guards.

Ebsa slipped back through the door, and held out two carafes of red wine.

Rael dripped in a bit of hers . . .

It’s my imagination, they did not just gleam!

She screwed the lid back on her flask. “I guess I’d better lay in a supply of doctored wine before we tackle these people. In fact I may ask Lady Gisele about a insert of our own, with slow release Block-eaters.”

Ebsa grinned. “Just in case they catch you again? Yes, Ajki sent us a copy of your report. Wait till Isakson hears you let five men capture you.”

“I didn’t want to kill anyone . . . well, not then, later I would have been happy to. But please note that letting them capture me resulted in my finding Xen two days later.”

“Not that you knew that. Ox, by-the-way, has been looking like he had indigestion for a month straight.”

“Hey, I called home as quickly as possible! And Xen told them I was fine, the day before that!”

“I know. Doesn’t change the month you were missing, or for that matter the six months Xen was missing. The brats have decided that they like him, and even Ox says he’s a better man than he’d expected.”

“Ha! What he actually says is that Xen is terrifyingly powerful and expects the kids to be equally powerful. And that he’s a much better father than Ox had ever expected.” Rael reached for three crude cups sitting on a log. “Don’t sneer at the crudeness. I think these are some that I made. Three little jots, then I think we should leave them to work through the . . . side effects . . . by themselves.”

Ebsa grinned. “Yeah. This stuff is amazing.” He poured a half-cupful or so into each glass

Across the tree house, Paer stepped away from her last patient. “The wine in those glasses will clear the rest of the Semofazing from your system over the next few days. You will feel very drunk and lustful, so we’re just going to leave you alone until it all wears off. We’ll be back.”

She gathered her kit and walked out. Rael followed, glancing back to see Ebsa handing the glasses around. Ra’d grabbed the two carafes and headed out.

They climbed the slope up, out of the trees. The two new crawlers were getting underway, so Rael headed for the Junkyard. The old crawler had been wrecked, fixed by magical manipulation of the metal, re wrecked, fixed, customized, baked in a solar flare . . . the Vehicles and Maintenance division finally refused to take it back, so Ajha had permanently assigned it to Team Fifty. The customization had gotten a bit out of hand after that.

matapampamuphoff on May 13th, 2018 04:29 pm (UTC)
And _now_ we can have the cat fight back at Xen's village.
(Anonymous) on May 13th, 2018 04:47 pm (UTC)
How will there be a cat fight. As far as I recall, all the women there know and respect each other.
(Anonymous) on May 13th, 2018 04:55 pm (UTC)
I doubt that even Ra'd could put a 155mm on a crawler, but maybe tow missles? Definitely medium mortars. Paint job? Warrior camo, or artistic labeled pill? I assume that the gun safe has a bubble inside to allow for storage of enough ammo and an adequate selection of firearms. Of course Ebsa has bubbles to store fresh food, possibly also a full kitchen and dining room (for diplomatic purposes only (including making other teams and Oner army detachments VERY glad to see them)). What will his mother have to say about his portable restaurant?
(Anonymous) on May 13th, 2018 04:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Customization?
Oh, and let's not forget their equivalent of the Great Stone Inn, only permanently mounted to the crawler. Possibly good enough that they live there full time even when they are not across kids included (bubble them when they are going into a dangerous situation).
matapampamuphoff on May 13th, 2018 07:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Customization?
Don't forget the bedrooms and the electronics. Detection, decryption, massive computing power . . .

I need to pop back and have Xen tell Lala to send the Great Stone Inn along. I'm sure most of the Priests will appreciate it, even if it does ruin the primitive ambiance of the village.
ekuah on May 14th, 2018 03:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Customization?
My guess is,

For Ra'd:
A complete armory.
Big enough to equip a whole battalion. Complete with howitzers, main battle tanks and a whole frigate (just to be prepared).

For Nighthawk:
A complete house.
With living room, study room, play pen, kindergarden, painting studio (for Ra'd) etc.

For Ebsa:
A restaurant sized kitchen.
Several dining rooms (of varying sizes) and a warehouse sized larder in a no time bubble.

For Paer:
A horse ranch sized stable.
With tack rooms, carts, buggys and a dozen horses.

Also for Paer:
A whole private practice with the best what the Empire of the One (equipment) and Cometfall (potions) can offer.

Could be funny if some of the exploration projects start to fight for 'junkyard-team-time' instead of 'gate-time'.

Edited at 2018-05-14 03:41 pm (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on May 14th, 2018 03:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Customization?
I don't _think_ they'd be quite that over-the-top!

On the other hand, you've to know that Ajha uses them to train new teams. And every summer, interns. Especially when Xen's kids go.

"Interns again? Drat, I'll get a standard crawler from the motor pool, can't spoil the tykes. Now what _interesting_ projects does Ajha want us to train this batch on?"
ekuah on May 14th, 2018 04:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Not quite that over-the-top!
You just have to add one small thing after another. And sooner or later you end up 'quite that over-the-top!'
(Anonymous) on May 14th, 2018 05:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Customization?
Pam, is anyone working on a homing bubble that when cast loose "travels" to a known spot and pops. Great for messages and lifeboats.
matapampamuphoff on May 14th, 2018 11:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Customization?
Wolf has those message pouches. Not sure how I can logic them into the dimensional developments since then. Minicorridor that only he can unlock? Beacon that triggers when something is put in there? I don't know--it would have to be something the other gods can't see.
(Anonymous) on July 27th, 2018 02:40 am (UTC)
Re: Customization?
What happens when one person grabs a bubble from one world and another person grabs it from a different world? What if they both then put a hole in "their" bubbles?
matapampamuphoff on July 27th, 2018 02:56 am (UTC)
Re: Customization?
The first person to grab it would be bringing it into partial contact with their world and I doubt it could be grabbed by someone on another world. The likelihood of two people grabbing it exactly simultaneously is too small to happen accidentally.

Should I ever need a disaster (or farce) I'll have to keep this in mind.
(Anonymous) on May 14th, 2018 03:58 pm (UTC)
RE: Re: Customization?
I think Nighthawk's kids are a bit older now. And Paer and Ebsa have a couple. There is also the young computer Wizz.
If you add one more male and one more female, you get a small compass and a triad.
ekuah on May 14th, 2018 04:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Customization?
Who said that Ra'd and Nighthawk stopped with 'just' two kids?
(Anonymous) on May 14th, 2018 04:47 pm (UTC)
RE: Re: Customization?
Oak would have Xen's modified X, possibly (certainly if Nighthawk used WotG to be certain of conception) so she'd be Witch-Wizard One with no anti-male selection? While Fox is presumably Witch-Wizard Priest.

It just occured to me to wonder what Rufi Xenson is up to. He'd be One Mage, right?

matapampamuphoff on May 14th, 2018 04:56 pm (UTC)
Re: Customization?
Lieutenant Ruff Hasty is a guard at the Comet Fall embassy on Embassy World. I occasionally wonder what would happen if he got transferred to the CF embassy on One World.
ekuah on May 14th, 2018 03:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Paintjob?
Probably blue with paned windows in the classic Gilbert Mackenzie Trench design.
But nobody gets Ra'd's joke.

Hint: google for 'Gilbert Mackenzie Trench design'

Edited at 2018-05-14 04:00 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on May 13th, 2018 11:10 pm (UTC)
Minor suggestion for clarity
Thank you. Much easier to follow.

Only place I got lost and had to seriously re-read:
'He stepped back and eyed the guards. “Order them to slap each other.”'

Suggest you clarify who by chaging to
'Ra'd stepped back and eyed the guards. “Order them to slap each other.”'
(Anonymous) on May 14th, 2018 01:03 am (UTC)
Kitchen and dining room
I wonder if Ebsa kept his bubbled squishy from cooking hot.
(Anonymous) on May 14th, 2018 11:37 pm (UTC)
location of action
I'm still having difficulty interpreting the location of action at the beginning of this section. Somehow the priests get inside, but how and when is mysterious.

They walked down the slope and into the trees -- Walking down the slope is outside. "Into the trees" must mean "into among the trees", so the action is still outside.
Rael touched a wall -- She could have been outside when she touched the wall, or inside when she touched the wall. Presumably she was outside, because there has been no cue that anyone has moved inside.
Jeb was staring up into the tree -- This could happen when Jeb was outside, because trees are tall and you can stare up into them even if you are not directly under them.
Ytry frowned at the three people eyeing them warily -- Seems like the three people were lounging in open view. Perhaps they were sitting outside leaning against the outside wall. Still no cue that any action is happening indoors.
Jeb sighed and turned away from the tree -- Well, he was staring up into the tree, so somehow the three lounging people must lie in some direction different than the tree relative to Jeb. Maybe Jeb had to turn right or left to look along the outside wall to see the lounging people.
Paer walked in behind the priests -- In order for Paer to walk in, the priests must already be inside. But how and at what point did they get inside?
The Priests all filed out -- At this point it is clear that the priests must have been inside for much of the previous action.