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22 November 2018 @ 05:38 am
Random Scenes from NaNoWriMo 12  

Chapter Home

"So, this position with Interior Relations is right up my alley. I’ve got year and a half to go on the External contract, which is right about when Subdirector Isku plans to retire. I talked with Izzo, and neither of us think we’ll need an extension, so long as everything stays smooth. I work Interior Director Ajki and his people regularly. Good people, the kind of job I like and am good at. So a position there is irresistible."

Arno remembered to chew, swallowed. Subdirector! Dad’s going to be a subdirector! "So are we going to move to Paris? I mean, I know you’ve been commuting to Gate City but . . ." He stopped, because both the parents were nodding.

Ryol was silent, big-eyed and thinking.

"From Paris, the time zone jumps are just brutal, even for weekend commutes. We'll keep this house, of course. Because there’s no telling where we might be, longer term. And with the corridors we can come home regularly, so you'll see your friends, lots." Mom was eyeing them worriedly.

Ryol gulped. "But we'll go to school there?"

Erk! Good or bad? I mean, no problem with the work . . . but all new fellow students? Arno took a deep breath. I can do this. No big deal. I'll still see my friends . . . I haven't told them about . . . my biofather. I haven't told anyone. The longer I wait the shorter time I'll have to be harassed in school about it. Good. And Ryol swore she'd kill me if I let it out, so she . . . will probably not tell her girlfriends.

“We’ll stay here for the rest of this school year and all of next year. Then over that summer, we’ll move to Paris. Or, at least that’s the plan, for now.”

"So we’ll do the first year of high school here?" Arno relaxed a bit. We’ll be with friends. So even if it leaks, it won’t be horrible. Or if it is, we’ll be moving away, anyway. This will work.

"Yes." Mom's shoulders relaxed. "In fact, while you two were busy last week, I've been looking at houses in Paris. I know the area where I’ll be wanting to buy, and there’s an excellent college prep school close by. Rael’s house is in the area—and she suggested we live there for a while and really get to know the area before we buy. So we'll move there, first. Sort of, since Rael’s going to leave her furniture there." Her mouth turned down, unhappily. “Of course she offered that before . . . well, when the possibility was first floated. Maybe she’s not too mad at me.”

Arno winced. “She was fine, while we were on Embassy.” At least where it showed. ”Umm, a private prep school? Aren’t they expensive?”

“Yes, but you two need the advanced curricula. They have a very good reputation for their science program.”

Ryol swallowed. "A College Prep School. In Paris! OhMyOne!"

Arno nodded. “We’ve actually met some kids from Paris, on this trip. I don’t know what high schools they’ll go to.”

Ryol perked up. “Of course! I’ll ask them.”

“Well they’re our age, so they may not know yet.”

Their mother shook her head. “We’re actually a bit late, there’s already a waiting list for the 1413-14 school year. All my plans may be in vain.”

Arno considered Aunt Rael’s house. Remodeled by Xen Wolfson. All the cool things, the windows, the bathrooms . . . “Is Aunt Rael going to still live there?”

“She said she’d stay in the barracks. That she rarely stays there more than a day or two a week. So there will be room for us all.” Mom smiled wryly. “Without a cook. And Little Ox will be starting school, so Jess said she’d only come long enough to get Razzie and Ox settled in and off to school.”

Arno nodded, a bit uncertain. The nanny. She helped raise us all. She’s been family since . . . forever. It’s going to be really weird. I seem to be losing old family as fast as I’m gaining new.


“Gior’s going there. She was impressed that we weren’t scared off by the cost.” Ryol eyed Mom.

“We can afford it.”

“Voyr’s not, but while we were talking her mother walked in and said Voyr was going back to Embassy for another week of training. Next week.”

Mom frowned and reached across the back of the couch to snag her comp. “I doubt they . . . never mind . . . The One agrees with Wolfson that the most magically strong should return soon, so they have arranged for you to go . . . Next week.”

Ryol smirked. “So when do they want Arno back?”

Mom blinked. “You’re both going next week.”

Ryol yelped indignantly. “But he hasn’t touched the One!”

Arno pinched his thumb and first finger together and formed a bright spark. Opened his hand and let it fade away. “Master Xen said I blossomed so quietly, no one noticed, including me.” He shrugged like it was nothing much.

“You, you! Why didn’t you say . . .” Ryol stopped as her mother whooped and jumped up to grab her idiot brother to hug him.

Great. Now we get the out-to-dinner and the party with his friends. Well, they’re my friends too.

It’ll be fun. Except for not telling them where we went, or where we’re going. Or why we’re missing a week of school. Pity Oners don’t get very sick very often. Maybe I won’t say anything. I’ll mysteriously disappear.


/// The Rippers have gone away, now it’s just Xen and Q using the rest of the sewer and water system hook ups as teaching moments for the older kids who work there. And for young adults from the One World, Purple, Discordia, Cove Islands, and Arbolia.///

“Voila! One more room added to the Kids’ Lair!” Xen stepped back and waved Lala in.

The new room, between Wavelength’s and Styx’s was exceedingly barren.

Kasi followed Lala in. “What color are you going to paint it?”

“Want to see ours? I did mine in mint green, and everyone says it looks like a hospital.” Styx snorted. “It doesn’t. At. All.”

Lala poked her head in . . . the bed was covered with a picture quilt of a forest, with half a dozen shades of green and brown. “Wow! That’s fantastic!”

Xen looked in and grinned. “Want to shop for a bedspread first? Then we can coordinate the paint with it. And rugs, and however much furniture you want.”

“Can we come too?” Kasi grinned. “Shopping with Dad is fun. He’ll buy anything you want.”

“Oh, surely not anything!” Xen failed to look serious, relaxing as Lala’s glow perked up. Definitely in need of coddling. “Why don’t we start at that fantastic quilt store on Earth 1960?


“So. Were you all suitably impressed by Comet Fall building techniques?” Xen grinned at his fellow agents.

Why the wary looks, guys? I’m just going to put you to work, if I can.

Trace frowned. “But you’re just dumping the sewage into the big tunnels. It’s going to stink.”

“Nope. I’ve got the molecular breakdown spells to put on all the side pipes. By the time it hits the tunnels, it’ll just be highly mineralized, completely sterilized water.

“So, who among you wants to come learn the techniques? Both building and purifying. And, of course, anyone else in your embassies, and the kids and all.”

Warric and Trace exchanged grins. “We’re coming. Arbolia needs those purification spells.”

Cactus sniffed. “And where are you going to put them?”

“Anywhere we can.” Warric shrugged. “Pity we can’t put it on the whole river.”

Trace frowned. “Can we put it on rocks and drop them in the river?”

Xen snickered. “That would probably work in a small way. Much better to purify it closer to the source.”

The Cove Island pair exchanged stares, and the younger one nodded. “I’d like to see it. Try to learn it.”

Poor kid, but you’re doing well at the beginning exercises, and I suspect your Admiral will be wishing he’d been a bit less stiff necked from the start. I don’t think he realizes just how far behind he is already.

Noh Verd shrugged. “I’ll come, and no doubt a bunch of the teenagers will want to learn as well.

Great. Now I’m training Sea Wolves.

Inso and Jiol had been trading looks, and no doubt words. Now they both looked at Xen. “We’ll be there. Just so there are responsible adults around.”

Which, given the number of kids—well teenagers—that followed, was not a bad idea.

But he had to hand it to the Rip Crossers. About every third manhole was not at the top of the arched tunnel, but rather up a vertical ladder to the side.

And most of the bas-relief artwork was innocuous. He spotted Ra’d shaking his head at some of it. And snickering at others.

Opposite the Earth Embassy’s residential tower, Xen stopped at the side pipe. “Now, for you who don’t think plumbing is beneath you, the tower has a two drop pipes to their septic system which in turn connects to a large drain field.

“We’re going to connect to the two drop pipes.” He looked back at the audience. “Now everyone in the tower has been told to not run water for an hour. But of course people will forget, so, umm, you might want to not stand right in front of the pipe.”

The Compass had shoved a two foot diameter pipe up to the wall. Probably overkill even for a tower that size. He hoped. Should have done a bit more research!

He opened his shields to outgoing outer thoughts and actions. And shoved the hole deeper, compacting the sediments all around. Pulled out a block of granite and sent it down the hole to line it all in rock, pushed again, right up against the basement wall of the tower.

“Now, before we connect, I’m going to put the purification spells on this pipe. Those of you with the training, and ability to see magic . . . this is the spell. It finds large molecules and breaks them down into smaller and smaller units, allowing specific combinations to remain. Water, of course. Most organics are composed of varying amounts of Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Nitrogen. This part of the spell right here, prioritizes the formation of Nitrogen gas, N2. This one H2O. Then solid carbon. Not CO2 because we need to oxidize the trace minerals, and because we don’t want the, umm, art connoisseurs to be asphyxiated.”

That got a laugh, but also an uneasy shift.

“We’ve built in ventilation, and we’ll be checking regularly that we’ve got enough air blowing through to maintain a breathable atmosphere in the main tunnels.” Xen rolled up a dozen copies of the spell and shoved them down the pipe, impressing them invisibly into the rock liner.

Then through the basement wall. He could feel the drop pipes, right where the schematics said they’d be, and the maintenance workers skittering nervously away from the pipe growing through their wall. Xen tossed a couple of iron bars down the pipe to turn into support straps. Why they wanted the pipe up by the ceiling rather than on the floor, was a mystery, but he made sure it was going to stay there as he extended it and surrounded the ends of the drop pipes. A stub past the second one, and molded to the standard pipe end with a screwed on cap they’d asked for. And that some brave fellow was holding up while Xen molded the rock around it.

“Right. Now we back up to the drop pipes and just sort of smear them out and angle them a bit so the water coming down them doesn’t smash straight down on the horizontal rock pipe and stand back.”

The water didn’t spray very far, and dropped off quickly.

“And that’s one hook up done. Anyone want to work on the next hook up?”

Zodiac, who was sort of a semi-unofficially-not-really-adopted cousin volunteered.

A batch of his age-mates, eighteen to twentyish, from all over closed in to watch carefully. All four of the Discordian boys, mingling with the older set of the Farmer kids. A couple of the Oner girls looked a bit put out because the new boys were more interested in Kyle and Vero than them.

Sticking to Comet Fall girls, or are they impressed with the girls’ level of expertise?

He caught a snatch of conversation. “. . . you can do dimensional gates?” “Not yet, still working on corridors.”

Then again, their fathers may have suggested that recruiting some gate makers would be a good idea. At least they’re trying to charm the older girls and aren’t homing in on Lala. She’s hanging with Styx and Kasi . . . and the Purple kids, who are younger and three of the five are girls. Good.

“Right. We’re going to push a pipe in here to meet up with the end of the sewer that runs through the Disco housing. All the piping already has purification spells on them, so it’s just a matter of draining them this way instead of the other.”

Zodiac had had training with Nil, with the Rip Crossers (when he could get away from his grandmother long enough) and various sorts of magic from Xen here.

“Think about how you’ve worked wood, compacting and drying it for strength. That’s what you’ll be starting with, here.” Xen talked him though it, and then rock molding, and the final hook up.

“Good job.” Xen thumped him on the shoulder and walked down to the next side pipe. “Disco HQ. Volunteers?”

He called it quits at noon and chased everyone out. He and Q could have done the whole system in a day, but as a teaching experience it was priceless. Three or four connections a day, and I’ll have a dozen trained magical engineers.

But now I suppose I’d best get back to the office and find out if anything is going on.

(Anonymous) on November 23rd, 2018 01:37 am (UTC)
Has anyone on Comet Fall or in The Empire of the One realized that between "one-way pipes" & corridors, hydroelectric power generation now has the ability to break physics all to pieces?

I mean, both offer methods whereby the water outflow from a generator could be redirected back to the inlet, & corridors at least would probably derive the needed energy from "the in-between" for a net increase in energy in the universe (I do realize one-way pipes have to derive their energy from somewhere else, but don't know how amenable those other sources are to abuse).
matapampamuphoff on November 23rd, 2018 02:07 am (UTC)
I have a lot of things sourced from local heat, but corridors and gates would pretty much have to involve the inbetween, and if it's bringing in energy, the end result will be an increase in heat.

So obviously we need to balance the two usages.

On the other hand, a hydro electric plant where the pipes bringing water from the mountains have the highest pressure might be quite useful.
(Anonymous) on November 23rd, 2018 03:52 am (UTC)
Well I suspect Gates have already redefined the "closed system" portion of "Entropy in closed system must always increase", though at least Universes connected by "permanent" gates are probably just forming a larger "system".
mbarkermbarker on November 23rd, 2018 04:16 am (UTC)
Hum... heat, looked at one way, is random motion, right? So an increase in heat is basically an increase in random motion. The inbetween, of course, has bubbles and other shapes seemingly being generated out of nothing... perhaps the escaping heat (aka random motion) of the universes turns into bubbles etc. as it interacts with the inbetween, so the entire system stays balanced? Although... is the inbetween expanding or contracting? I would guess expanding, so perhaps it can easily absorb an increasing amount of random motion?
matapampamuphoff on November 23rd, 2018 05:00 am (UTC)
Think of the inbetween as all that Dark Matter and Dark Energy that can't be seen, only its gravity effects detected.

It's the stuff of which splitting membranes are made, _and_ the result of merging membranes having to lose mass--gradually, in the case of converging close "books" of worlds, and explosively in the case of phenomena like the Helios Miniverse.
matapampamuphoff on November 23rd, 2018 05:03 am (UTC)
A truly closed system is hard to find. But any energy input, will eventually turn wind up as heat.
(Anonymous) on November 23rd, 2018 08:32 pm (UTC)
I'd probably just been listening to MC Hawkings "Entropy" when I made my initial post, 'cos theres a bit in that about how "the Earth isn't a closed system" in relation to evolution vs. creationism.