“Interesting? I was puking sick before we made it half-way.” She kicked him when he laughed.
“Well, I suppose it’s less disorienting when you can see the inbetween and such, even if I can’t actually see through the gates.”
A snort from the horse. :: I just refuse to see the energy, so I can see the other side. ::
Xen sat up and eyed the horse.
:: I told Q. You do it so faster and easier, I never bothered to make gates. ::
Rael started snickering.
Xen climbed back to his feet and loosened Pyrite’s cinch. “C’mon, let’s get back to the village. I want to talk to everyone.”
(1) Renshe to Embassy
(2) Han Guards decide to stay on Wolf World, wistfully ask Xen, if the opportunity comes up, to ask their (now ex—and possible reassigned) wives and children to join them. Sketch out the underground facilities, and where to find the living quarters.
(3) Set a gate to Xin Zhongguo, and set up a spy post in the woods around the bowl of the dimensional apparatus.
(4) Things to add into earlier parts—the Han spies. One or two, hanging about with the media types, camping in a solar electric vehicle on the beach, occasionally disappearing into the maze. Connor and Jerry recognize him . . . and finally tell Lon.
(a) New carpet visit with yet a third Judge.
(b) Xen & Q watching for the gate from Xin Zhongguo, checking to make sure it stays small. Wolf and Rustle on Embassy to help?
(c) Connor and Jerry jump on carpet. “We have information we need to give to AnnaKarina.” Zap, zap. Mike steps on. Zap. Poof, they’re gone.
(d) Xen, standing invisibly by the controls, follows AK and Jaejong out to where the minimally zapped trio are regaining consciousness.
(e) Climactic scene:
“So . . . Transported criminals. Returning.” Jaejong started gathering power, advanced on the trio.
Jerry choked out “Semofazing in the vaccines. That’s why none of your descendants
have power, and why they miscarry.”
“What!” AnnaKarina strode forward, and Jaejong glared back at her.
“He’s lying. Trying to come back . . .” His head snapped back around and he frowned at Jerry. “Foreign clothing. So you’ve thrown in with the World Killers.”
Jerry climbed to his feet and stumbled around the man and closer to AK. “Look at me.” He dropped his shields and glowed.
Connor staggered up beside him. “Me too. We’ve been poisoned with a low dose of the Death of Magic, probably since we were teenagers.”
Jaejong pulled power, glowing as he advanced.
AK pulled the young men forward and past her to either side. “Don’t touch them.”
Jaejong sneered. “I’m so tired of treating a woman like an equal. I can do . . .”
A dull thud. Jaejong collapsed forward, limp.
Mike stood behind him. Club coming up again. “You killed my baby.” A full strength two handed swing. Blood flew as lightning crackled, threw him back. A psychic shock, a crackling invisible hurricane of death energy swept outward.
A long moment of silence.
The judge staggered forward, stopped and stared down at the crushed mess. The guards stepped closer, hands going to their heads.
AnnaKarina stepped back, hands to her face, tears starting.
Xen stepped invisibly closer. Jaegong was dead . . . and Mike Watson was dying, his heart stopped . . . He swooped a bubble over the man, then grabbed another and double it.
He stepped quietly back as a crowd rushed in, guards and techs from below.
I hope some people stayed at the controls. And I think I’ll leave now. I can drop some block eaters in the water supplies, and check the vaccine makers . . . no. I think I can leave that in AK’s hands. She can decide whether to continue Jaejong’s horrific program of magic control, or let it go.
He teleported out.
“ . . . so just give yourself time to heal before exerting yourself.”
Xen grinned at Lady Gisele’s worried fussing, and grabbed the bag that held Mike’s few personal possessions. “Don’t worry. Between Cali and Killerbite, Mike’s not going to be allowed to lift a finger. Probably for months.”
Mike sighed. “I don’t deserve this. I murdered him.”
Xen shrugged. “Jaejong comes under the heading of ‘needed killing’ and, well, you had personal cause to do it. Jerry and Connor have been cleared of collusion, but they sentenced them to be Transported. That happened yesterday. Q found them and took them back to the village.”
“Oh . . . I didn’t think . . . they acted alone, you know, to tell AnnaKarina about the vaccines. They didn’t know what I was planning.” Mike hung his head. “What about . . . Poobah and the guards?”
“Poobah and two other judges are in a retirement home on the One World. They have staff who can deal with magical people who have dementia. The guards have recovered entirely, and their wives and children have joined them on Wolf World.”
Lady Gisele glowered. “You kidnapped them.”
“Did not. I offered and they jumped for it. Just because I didn’t get permission from the government doesn’t make it kidnapping.”
“The diplomacy is complicated enough . . .” She shook her head and faded into the Old Crone, the better to glare at him.
Mike swallowed. “I would like . . . will I be allowed to go back to the village?”
“Yes. But first you have to recover. Your heart isn’t up to carrying firewood. Yet. But the winter there has been mild so far, and you’ll be good to go in the spring.”