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09 October 2018 @ 11:49 am
_One Love_ Part 3  
Chapter Four

3 Emre 1410

Paris, One World

Ebsa stared at his list, the graph.

It was election year. The War Party and the Isolationists were hogging all the news time. Even the small political parties, the Pacifists, the Nativists, the Strong Federalists, and the Multitude Supreme parties were getting more news time than the Modernists.

And mostly the mentions of Orde were dismissive. “The One are tired, ready for someone new, someone with a vision.”

All the polls had him running a weak third. No big deal this early in the year, with all the attention on the primaries.

But . . . President Orde has been in office for over fourteen years. Reelected twice. Is everyone bored with him? Ready for something new, despite all the changes Orde has ushered in? Permanent gates, corridors. Diplomacy among all the dimension traveling worlds.

Of course . . . Comet Fall's successful genetic attack was a serious setback, but everyone knows it was retaliation for our attack on them, one raid too many, after all the trouble we've caused them. And we're back at peace, and anyone who wants their genes back can get them back.

The Conclave was a bit of a disappointment. They just confirmed the current standards, while saying no direct victims of the attack would be reclassified. And they're still arguing.

And it wasn’t like the Helios were his fault. But a lot of people are still upset about their slave raids. About not being able to get all the captured students back.

Ebsa scowled at his list.

Orde needs to get his name mentioned, he needs to hold attention more often. But not a government scandal. Not a personal scandal. He got up and paced the floor.

Of course it will it be a scandal. But not the president's dishonorable behavior type of scandal.

So should it be quietly done and over with? Or should it be a year-long social extravaganza? AKA torture.

Torture. Definitely.

But we have to keep it to a few months!

So . . . will this help a faltering campaign, or destroy it?

"Only one way to find out." He paced over to the new suit, laid out on the bed. "Montevideo does the latest Paris fashions, and makes them look better. I think." He finished dressing. Dithered. Slipped the ring into the inside pocket.

"All I need is courage. And brashness. And the gall to make sure this gets a lot of publicity. And the grit to see it through." He carried coat and tie out to his car, and placed them carefully within reach. Dry swallowed. "Courage."

He parked in the "known, trusted" area. Combed his hair, tied the tie just right. At least it was a garden party; any men in tuxes would be guards. Ebsa got out and put on the suit coat. Checked the ring.

The shuttle swung by and picked him up. Black Horse Trooper driving, of course. He stopped for two other party goers and dropped them all at the main entrance.

Because even the casual party attendees expect to go up these famous steps.

He was early, purposefully, and sought out Koil.

The Newsie eyed him. "Ebsa, what are you up to this time?'

He tried his best innocent look, and got cynicism in return.

"I'm going to arrange something I'd like to have a recording of. And yes, I do realize that if it's newsworthy, everyone will see it. So . . . see that little niche over at the far end of the dance floor? Scope out how to record unobtrusively, and be there at . . . " He pulled out his dance card to check . . . because of nerves. "Three dances from the end. Scheduled for twenty-two fifteen. Something might happen over there, during the dance."

Koil peeked at it. "I just love these casual parties where you have to reserve a dance a week ahead of time. How many dances did you manage with Paer? Only four? And practically nothing else. Tsk! Poor woman is being besieged by, umm . . . "

"Everyone." With money, position, or power. Or all three.

"Dirty old men."

"Ambitious men. See you then."

It was a good party. Izzo and Xiat were there, Rael of course. Both women danced with him, and a few others he'd met. And Paer. Their fourth dance was the third from the end and he steered her steps to the far end of the dance floor and off the floor halfway through.

Paer sighed in relief. "My feet are starting to hurt."

He handed her down to the bench. Dry swallowed.


"Paer . . . will you marry me?"

Chapter Five

4 Emre 1410
Paris, One World

Koil's paper led with it. A full page picture of Paer on the bench and Ebsa on one knee, dark sepia overlain in huge italics in white "Paer . . . will you marry me?"

And below the fold. "Yes."

Other papers had pictures of them approaching the President. His beaming laugh and hug. And from comm interviews, Ebsa's mother's death threats, "If he doesn't call me before your paper is out on the streets! That Boy! No consideration for his old mother. I was beginning to think poor Paer was going to have to ask him! Yes of course I've met her, sweet girl, and so smart! Goodness, that boy of mine had better make her the happiest woman in the world . . ."

Of course some of the vid channels ran the whole half hour diatribe without cutting it, right down to the ending: "I'm so happy I could cry!" Which she was obviously already doing.

Ebsa heard a replay on the radio while stirring pudding in her kitchen, Paer perched on a stool beside him, discreet guards grinning or serious, depending on their opinions of Ebsa, prowling about. Eyeing the impressive array of very sharp implements with dismay.

Rael, as the local expert, had briefed them all, and was around somewhere. Probably being glared at by the former co-workers of her brother-in-law the former Chief of Police.

Ebsa waited until his mother had nothing breakable or liquid in her hands. The cleaver . . . well, minimal damage possible if she dropped it. "And of course President Orde wants to meet you."

His mother froze.

"He'll be down in two days."

"Ebsa!" She looked around in horror. "He's coming here?"

"He knows you have a business to run. I told him you don't open until eleven, so he's going to come by in the morning."

"Here? The President?"

"The newsies will take pictures, then the two of you can sit down with some coffee and pastries and chat for a bit. He's a very nice man."

"Here? The President?"

Ebsa got up and took the cleaver from her slack fingers and steered her over to a stool. "Everything will be fine Mom. Orde is very happy about this. He knows we held off so long because of what effect it might have had on his last election. He said he was glad we'd waited to be sure of each other, and that if anything the attention would help his election."

Paer snickered. "I said we ought to be really sensible and elope."

That got his mother sitting up and paying attention.

"Oh! No, no, no! A young woman like you should have a beautiful wedding! A spectacular wedding!" She glowered at Ebsa. "So don't you get any funny ideas, young man!"

The President agreed. They put their heads together over coffee and pastries and started planning the whole wedding.

In the back ground Paer leaned close to his ear. "If they start planning the honeymoon, the elopement is on."

Two parental glares.

"Humph. Obviously you should honeymoon on Embassy."

An emphatic nod from the president.

"Oh, One. We have created a monster." Ebsa looked out the window. The guards were keeping the Newsies back a hundred meters. "If any of them have voice pickups . . . "

Most of them did. Of course.

Grinning newsies pointed mikes at them whenever they stuck their heads outside.

"Paer! Embassy for the Honeymoon?"

Paer threw her hands in the air. "Really, I had no idea my father would get so . . . enthusiastic about a ceremony! And, and, I'm only twenty-eight, so there's no rush for children."

Ebsa sighed. "Of course our parents seem to have a different opinion about that. But there's no need for the Joy Juice, we're both healthy. All we need is the specific spell that turns off the rejection process. So, no von Neumann's, no aphrodisiacs, and no twin or triplet producing fertility aids and so forth."

"Paer, are you worried about your children, marrying a mere Clostuone?"

Ebsa sighed, loudly. "Shall we be crude, chuck our manners altogether? I'm a two oh one. I have all twelve insertions. A few holes. And I never did have any of the rape genes, so for me, nothing changed."

Paer squeezed his arm, and raised her chin. "And I am now a two ten. And I don't want those genes back, either. I'm a much stronger magician, and medgician than I was before. Possibly just age and practice, but I'd rather give up the numbers than the strength." She hesitated. "I might, before starting a family. Maybe."

A second's stunned silence from the Newsies, then a blast of questions from all directions.

:: This is going to go on for . . . months. ::

She squeezed his arm again. :: Yes. So we've got the worst out of the way. :: She turned her smile on the newsies. "When? Well, we haven't set a date, and the Wedding Organizers," She nodded back at the restaurant, "will no doubt have their own ideas about it. One help us."

Ebsa cleared his throat. "Surely we can organize a wedding in a few months. Perhaps the middle of Nicholas, so the primaries will be over, but before the frenzy of the end of the campaigns gets going and captures all of your father's attention."

More questions. Ebsa parsed out a general consensus.

"No, I suspect we'll be too busy to do much campaigning . . . speaking of which I suspect our bosses are going to have . . . some comments about timing and remembering that we're working stiffs and so forth."

Alone, Paer eyed him suspiciously. "Mind you, I like that fact that you're politically aware, but may I know why mid-Nicholas?"

Ebsa felt his face heat and controlled an impulse to squirm. "I've been getting a strong feeling that you want children soon."

Her glower softened into wistfulness.

"Well, the wedding will get your dad plenty of news time to start off the hard core campaigning. And perhaps just a week or so before the election, I mean, four months . . . We might just have something to announce."

Her eyes widened, and her mouth opened in a silent "oh!" And curved up into a big grin. "You politician! That's the perfect fit of politics and personal wishes, isn't it? I think a wedding in mid-Nicholas would be excellent."

"Now let's see if we can sell it to the parents."

Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on October 9th, 2018 10:07 pm (UTC)
== She hesitated. "I might, before starting a family. Maybe."==

Is Paer saying she might revert to 216 before getting pregnant?
matapampamuphoff on October 9th, 2018 10:47 pm (UTC)
Yes. Because the extreme snottiness of the High Oners is still solidly in place. And no matter what she does, the kids'll hear about it all their lives. Oops! Should not have said that!
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on October 10th, 2018 03:21 pm (UTC)
Careful readers of Scramble know it's they.
(Anonymous) on October 12th, 2018 04:13 pm (UTC)
Showerthought time (& note, I was never good at biology let alone genetics):

AIUI Mitochondrial DNA is what controls not only *which* genes express, but _how_ they do it.

Maybe Paer (& Ebsa) could get engineered up the full 216 so they kids will be guaranteed full sets, but with a hereditary lockout on the "rape genes" so it takes a spell (or other gene-/bio-mod) to make them active, so they get the (sociopolitical) benefits, by showing they respect the Prophets for all of what they were (sort of), while not actually inflicting the problems on their kids
(Anonymous) on October 10th, 2018 12:50 am (UTC)
Shaping up to be a good story. Lots of fun.
(Anonymous) on October 10th, 2018 03:30 am (UTC)
Note you've got a 2 day time jump that's silently occurring in the conversation with Ebsa's mother.

Goes from Orde is coming in 2 days to the President agreeing with her that Eloping is out.
matapampamuphoff on October 10th, 2018 03:56 am (UTC)
Yeah, needs a harder scene break. My doc skips a couple of lines.

Livejournal and Google docs are both bad about things like that.
(Anonymous) on October 10th, 2018 07:09 am (UTC)
Well, finally. Thought we were going to have to get tough with you.
matapampamuphoff on October 10th, 2018 03:55 pm (UTC)
0:) Me? Drag out a romance?

But now I'm going to have to find another one, and I'm so short of single women. Well, at least I still have Xen and Rael.And Q _eventually_.

Poor woman, _Marooned_ is 7 stories down the list and the cute ending in my head that I haven't written yet involves her being oblivious of Karl's attempt to ask her out on a date.

And BTW, Thank you Karl for jumping in with an attraction to Q. I love it when characters volunteer. It's a sign that the subconscious has a fiendish plot cooking.