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02 October 2018 @ 11:01 am
_One Love_  
Just noodling around researching a few things, so have a couple of days in the lives of Directorate agents.

Chapter Two

“Tsetse flies?” Paer looked over at Ebsa, as he pulled into the line at the corridor to Gate City.

“Yeah. Ra’d says it’s not fair, the worst danger not being amenable to just shooting it.” Ebsa grinned. “And the elephant stampede! I don’t know why they were in such a big hurry, but we just put up the strongest shield we could manage, wedge shaped, with the crawler at the point, so they sort of bounced off the angled sides and kept going.”

Paer sighed. “And I’m stuck in the hospital. Again! Maybe I’ll plan a tsetse fly eradication program.”

“I’d love it—especially if you could come supervise it.” He sighed wistfully.

Paer nodded. “We really need some private time.” She glanced at her watch.

“Yeah, with the traffic, I’m barely going to get you to the hospital for your shift. And I might have enough time to run my field clothes through the wash.”

“You are such a bachelor! Ick!” Drat. I need to change that, but Dad . . . there are times I hate being the president’s daughter. But this should be his last election, so maybe in a year . . . two at the most. I mean, we’re both still young, what’s the rush?

She gazed as his profile as he drove forward. He’s even a good driver. The guards don’t worry about him showing off and getting me killed or, or, anything.

She grinned suddenly. And he gave me two baby triceratops! Anyone who knows me this well is dangerous. And dangerously yummy.

But yummy or not, he did barely have time to kiss her good bye, before she bolted through the hospital staff’s door to check in.

She spent the whole shift working on broken bones and a nasty bit of nerve damage. “Doc, you need to send more people to Embassy to train with Dr. Heath.”

Dr. Agre sighed. “Indeed. I’ve sent them, and they do come back better. I went across myself and talked to Dr. Heath. She says you have a rare combination of seeing, understanding, and being able to manipulate tissue.” The old doctor grinned wryly. “Congratulations! You’re the best student she’s had since Xen Wolfson.”

“Ooo! High flattery.” She glanced back at the room she’d just left. “I’ve got Irbw’s nerve cells splitting. I’ll check in a couple of times a day, it may take two or three days’ worth to span that gouged out bit. Then we’ll see if I can get the fibers all sorted out and connected to the right one on the other side.”

Dr. Agre sighed. “Call me, and I’ll round up the usual suspects to watch how you do it.”

“Right. Do you suppose we need to catch potential Medgicians earlier? I could pop into the School and coach a few of the Medical Aid classes. Maybe identify people with potential?”

“Yeah, right after you liaise with the Elf Project people. No, don’t look excited, there’s still no contact.”

Paer nodded. “It’s been a year and a half. I suspect they don’t want to contact us.”

And on her break, she researched the tsetse fly.

Insecticides, traps, sterile male release, and of course their real threat was the diseases they carried. She’d need to know what that world’s Tsese’s were transmitting, then if they could eradicate the disease in the native species that was hosting it . . . Not that eradicating a nasty bloodsucking fly wasn’t a good idea in itself.

She sent a message to Ebsa about the best insecticide to use around their campsite and how to get samples so she could identify the diseases, then went back to work.

***

“Hey, Paer says that dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane we used on Dystopia will help the tsetse fly problem.”

Ra’d frowned. “DDT? You actually used DDT on your giant bugs?”

Ebsa eyed the man. “Oh, I hadn’t thought about that as a logical acronym. I’ve read about it. Do you mean to tell me that you’re . . . well . . . one generation removed from that old Earth panic about it killing all the birds?”

Ra’d paused. “Panic? Sounds like I need to research the matter. It was considered . . . something we used for expediency, but needed to discontinue as quickly as possible. Because it built up in the environment.”

Ebsa folded the last of his field pants and carried the pile straight into the Junkyard. Not that the crawler looked like the disastrous mess the transportation people had told him to keep. Nighthawk had done a fantastic job fixing it to better than new standards. Ra’d’s Comet Fall girlfriend was handy to have around. Witches were so good at working metal.

He frowned at his foot locker and dug out some of his mineral samples. A little gold nugget, so to speak, the assay had been nearly eighty percent copper. Native silver . . . He scooped those up and hefted them.

I’ll practice metal working in small bites. And . . . well . . . rings. If I’m ever going to marry Paer, the newsies won't let me get away with a cheap jewelry shop ring. And I really can’t afford the sort of extravagance they’d approve of.

He looked down at the scraps and his heart sank.

Maybe . . . I could get away with a one-of-a-kind handcrafted “art” ring. Maybe.

More likely anything I could make would be sneered at as amateurish and crude.

How can I even think about marrying Paer? What do I have to offer her? I’ve saved up a decent down payment on a house. I could blow it on a spectacular ring . . .

He dropped the nuggets in his pocket, and headed for the crawler. An hour to gate time. They’d better get moving.

The assay mission had an eight man Exploration Team running security. He and Ra’d were “Science Support,” with secondary orders that involved keeping an eye on the team and getting them shaped up for their new job. All eight had been security guards for the Empire’s embassy on the Embasssy World, and had recently transferred to Exploration.

Essy, Arc, Boner, Fly, You, Ed, Moo, and Kobold. They were quite gleeful about the sudden jump in what they were allowed—expected—to do.

And lined up and ready to return to the fly and elephant infested World EH 15579, AKA Bonanza.

All the gold fields of South Africa, the diamonds . . . the event that split this world off from what they called the Main Stream Earths must have been in the last 100,000 years. Possibly even more recent. The flora and fauna were all modern Holocene. All that was missing was humans. Or even humanoids, or smart apes. Neanderthals, or Elves. Zero, zip, nada.

Which was really nice for the mining companies. The mission would turn in a report, the world would be auctioned . . . And Teams Fifty and Forty-five would go on to other assignments.

A crawler and a big excavator pulled up next to them. The crawler was a bit crooked and off center.

Ra’d snorted. “Go. Otherwise I might punch someone.”

Ebsa climbed out of the driver’s seat, and headed over.

He eyed the excavator’s height, and got a laugh from the crew cab. Okri, the Camp Manager, better known as Okay Boss since Ra’d had corrupted the whole mission’s modern vocabulary, stuck his head out the door. “Wxxo made me take it down to the test track and drive it through the ring. So stop worrying. It will fit through.”

Ebsa grinned and walked past him to the geology lab. “All right. Who’s going to admit to parking like this?”

Vee grinned. The other seven all pointed at him. “I think they want you to drive, Ebsa.”

“Uh Huh. And how many times did you drive through those rings?”

Vee squirmed. “My mom called and needed me to come home.”

Ebsa shook his head. “I’d call that sad, except I have one of those kind of mothers too. You have to learn to lie convincingly. Shave a day off your down time, and tell her you have to head back right after dinner. Then you give her the big-eyes and ask if she can fix your favorite ever, no one does it better, dinner. Makes her feel appreciated.”

Vee shook his head. “You’re shameless. I will try that one, next time.”

 
 
 
mbarkermbarker on October 3rd, 2018 01:31 am (UTC)
These are the days of our lives... Directorate Agents! I remember that opening theme -- I think one of my sisters watched the soap opera?
(Anonymous) on October 3rd, 2018 06:59 am (UTC)
Ebsa. The lady works with her hands. Smooth, narrow, no snags for with surgical gloves . . . blingy rings are bad for working with your hands. Make her a simple, narrow, thin, smooth band, easy to clean, and she'll be delighted.

Silly boy. Ignore the media. Maybe Rael can give him some advice.

Holly
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on October 3rd, 2018 05:23 pm (UTC)
But politics too, ie the ring must not be made on Comet Fall.

Borrow the money and place a bet that Paer will be married within the year.

Edited at 2018-10-03 05:25 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on October 3rd, 2018 05:59 pm (UTC)
Ask Q what she would charge to reopen the Knickknack shop for long enough to make a ring. She is after all both a noted artist (among those who know) and one of the heroes of Helios. That should be far more impressive than just an ordinary ring that costs the same as a house down payment. As a side benefit, Answer would probably be aghast the Q supported a wedding.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on October 3rd, 2018 05:19 pm (UTC)
Pussy said to the Owl, 'You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?'

[THE OWL AND THE PUSSY-CAT, Edward Lear]
(Anonymous) on October 4th, 2018 10:32 am (UTC)

I find myself curious, Paer is obviously at least as stuck on Ebsa as he is on her, is there some reason *she* can't propose?
matapampamuphoff on October 4th, 2018 01:19 pm (UTC)
Re:
Politics. Foolish Humans think the president's daughter marrying a Closey Upcomer Bastard will horrify the One. Paer does not want to torpedo her Dad's election, the last one was a squeaker.

Edited at 2018-10-04 01:20 pm (UTC)