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26 January 2019 @ 02:46 pm
_Guardsman_ part 15  


Lucky Dave sighed. “The one thing all these movies are showing me is the depth of history of this world I’ve found myself in.”

Foo tsked. “Surely you had history lessons.”

“Heh. More like the myths about the world before the nuclear war. Which was only three hundred years before I was born. The History of the Dark Ages, the Formation of the Islamic Union, the age of conflicts as everyone tried to find high tech goodies in Europe and North America. That was all the history they bothered with. Oh, religious stuff. But that was even more mythical.”

Davos nodded. “We’ve got history books now, including stuff from Earth Prime and Comet Fall. The history books that the Ones Left Behind kept in bubbles are the best. That Earth had a few wars, and a had a few nukes tossed around, too. So some records were lost. Or discarded over fourteen centuries.”

Lucky Dave nodded. “The movies, sorry, vids make it all more visceral. Atleast these won’t give me nightmares. So the Horseboy slots in between, and the enemy spy is how we rediscovered Granite Peak. And I’ve got to say if your External Relations Director is anything like that third mov . . . VID, dammit, he’s got cast iron balls.”

That got laughs.

Oldy grinned. “Remember in Horseboy, the IR analyst would was getting set up to take the blame, and instead killed the main conspirator? Same guy. And in The Survivors? The guy investigating the possible incursion and catching up to them in Makkah in time to fast talk them out of there? Yeah him.”

A giggle close enough behind him to chill his spine. “He’s coming in to talk to Urfa tomorrow. I’ll bring him around so you can see the real thing.”

Lucky Dave glared over his shoulder . . . modified it into an expression of casual curiosity. He hoped. “Umm, so these fast rooms. Are they importing them?”

“Not really. The problem is the danger in leaving a baby in them too long. Even the straightforward singles are dangerous that way. At twenty-to-one if you leave your baby in there and get distracted for fifteen minutes, that five hours during which the kid’s probably been screaming and crying and whatever.”

“Oh. That’s not good.”

“Yeah. Paer’s got one, but she’s also got a nanny and two guards on the premises at all times.” Rael giggled. “She uses it to catch up on her sleep, when the twins get cranky and keep her up at night. Or if something comes up, she can bubble them, and then make up the time by sleeping in there with them for however long it takes to catch up with their calendar age.”

“Is it really necessary to do that?” Lucky Dave considered the families he’d known, the exhausted parents.

“Being the President’s daughter, their kids are under scrutiny, and being ‘delayed’ in development would get crowed all over the Empire.” Rael shrugged. “Ra’d and Nighthawk on the other hand are deliberately letting their kids grow slowly. They’re thinking that Oak being a year older than the twins and Fox a year younger, they’ll have a good play group, and extended courtesy Aunt and Uncle and so forth.”

“So Paer and Nighthawk are friends?”

“Yep. And Ebsa and Ra’d are an unbelievable team in XR.”

“Oh . . . that’s the president’s son-in-law? My head hurts.”

Giggle. “Don’t worry. There’s not too many more movers and shakers to meet. What do you think, Foo? Two, three hundred, max?”

Lucky Dave groaned while his brother laughed.

Yeah. Easy for you to laugh. You’re a Warrior. I’m a badly misplaced soldier with a few magic tricks.

Lucky Dave hauled himself to his feet and headed back to the mansion.

Scar was watching as a cart from the kitchen was unloaded, the cart across the doorway as A maid took things off the bottom shelf and handed them across the cart to another maid.

As he walked up, he could hear Umaya’s cheerful voice from inside ordering someone to put something in the little fridge.

And a sudden sharp, “What are you doing!”

Two fast steps, dive over the cart, knocking the inside maid over. Sommersault to his feet. Grab the flat lid so close to hand. Survey. Umaya wrestling with another white clad maid . . . who shrugged her off easily, pulling a gun. The thrown lid hit her across the cheekbone.

Where’s the commander? What’s the angle to his bed?

Umaya pounced on the maid’s gun hand and clung. Dave punched her throat, twisted her gun hand. The gun fell.

Scar grabbed the gun in midair and threw it at the far end of the room as he shoved them all through the door and into Umaya’s bedroom. A sharp hard crack.

“Fuck! You have exploding fucking guns!” Dave grabbed hair and thumped the maid’s head on the wall a few times. Until she—or he—went limp.

“Yeah.” Scar grunted to his feet and limped back out the door, trailing blood. The inside maid was gorily dead. “Maid in standard dress exiting 2W. Assume armed and dangerous. Explosion was laser power pack.”

Oh, he’s got some sort of radio on.

Dave checked, Umaya, stumbling to her feet and rushing for the commander’s room. Dave hustled after. All clear, opened the fast room.

Nicholas was buttoning his shirt, eyebrows rising as he took in Dave appearance, the gun now in his hand.

“Umaya, stay with him. Close the door.” Fast check, bathroom, wardrobe, under the bed. Dave trotted back out. “Clear back here.”

Scar nodded from the exterior door. “Yeah, they’ve got the third maid.”

“They were too strong for women. Small men, I think.”

“Oh? Now that’s interesting.” Scar sighed. “And we get another security review. Domestic staff has always been a weak point.”

More Black Horse Guards entered, and Dave backed up to the fast room and let them do their thing.

Not that I’m not familiar with people wanting to kill the commander, but I really thought it would be different, here and now.

A familiar voice, Rael had arrived and was talking to the first maid.

She—or he—was barely conscious and Rael was face to face with her. “The Prophet, what are you doing to the Prophet Nicholas, the General of the Armies . . . Oh really? Why would he fight for you?”

A small soft man in an immaculate robe hustled in. Rael eased to the side to give him access to the assassin.

Dave caught Foo’s eye. Kept his voice to a bare breath. “Is that one of those Eunuch Priests?”

Foo nodded. “They’re doing a truth match, to find out . . .”

Rael flinched back and hauled the priest back, slapped him. “Out! Get out!” Behind her the maid slumped to the ground. Dave flinched at the little psychic death shock.

The priest reeled, staggering back. “T-Thank you, Rael. I’m, I’m all right.” He looked up, and then back at Dave. “They weren’t here to kill him, they planned on kidnapping him.”

Rael nodded. “A splinter group that thought having a prophet all their own would help them push their cause.”

(Anonymous) on January 27th, 2019 01:07 am (UTC)
Dave seems to have something of a complex about not being a "Warrior", which could be interesting if his retraining now that he has the "One" gene gets him a Warrior certification.

But even so, as it currently stands he is not only famous from history & mythology as "The" Lucky Dave, he also quite recently has "Saved the Prophet Nicholas" & "Saved the Warrior Davos" on his CV, both of which are probably fairly things to everyone else in the Empire (though admittedly not quite so high-powered as being Nicholas or Davos) even if for Dave they were somewhere between "doing his duty" & "saving his family".

Add in the way everyone at Versailles is taking to him & integrating him as a "protector" rather than "protectee" & I have to wonder if the Black Horse aren't going to agitate to be allowed to recruit him directly, rather than having him go through a more normal Army recruitment process (if nothing else, they might be able to just claim he was never actually discharged, & thus is already in the Army [there must have been relevant regulations & laws during the wars for when someone got stuck in a bag for excessive periods, presumably those would apply to Lucky Dave & the others]).
(Anonymous) on January 27th, 2019 01:11 am (UTC)
"probably fairly things to everyone else" = "probably fairly big things to everyone else" (One of these years I'll develop a habit of proof-reading before I post)
matapampamuphoff on January 27th, 2019 02:43 am (UTC)
Yes. Lucky Dave is a pessimist, and knows his luck is as likely to be bad as good. His main barrier to using his new magical abilities is his disbelieve in himself being magic. Or famous.

And he's very stubborn and determined. It'll take a lot to get him to drop the disbelief.

While the Army would love to have him, they might prefer to use him somewhere other than the Black Horse Guards. So the Presidential Directorate will be trying really hard to recruit him.
(Anonymous) on January 27th, 2019 03:05 am (UTC)
Yeah, I've been assuming the "Ministerial Guards" (or whatever they're called) are Army too (since IIRC the Army answers to the Council), which is why I thought the Black Horse Guards, as a body, might try to short-circuit things.

Of course I was also assuming the Directorate might not be allowed to recruit him without a Directorate School certification?

Of course, now that he has the One gene, maybe he could join the Ecclesiastical Guards & serve as their liaison at Versailles?
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on January 27th, 2019 03:08 am (UTC)
In Scramble the Ministerial Guards are retired army.

Edited at 2019-01-27 03:12 am (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on January 27th, 2019 03:49 am (UTC)
Probably less than half of the three Directorates' staffs are graduates. The XR Director not being a grad is very unusual, but not unique.
(Anonymous) on January 27th, 2019 03:07 am (UTC)
He just beat out Scar who was both a warrior and on duty to stop the kidnapping attempt. I suspect that his warriorness (It is too a word) has just be proven to anyone with eyes to see.
As far as a job goes, I suspect that he will be working for Nicholas with funding supplied by the Presidential Directorate for some years. Nicholas still needs a bodyguard after all and it will be a while before any of the other guards will be trusted in that slot.
Of course you as Author may have other ideas.
matapampamuphoff on January 27th, 2019 03:56 am (UTC)
Lucky Dave has been the captain of Nicholas's body guard detachment for years. He's _very_ good at things he thinks he's good at. Speed, martial arts, shooting, being unnoticed . . .

The Priest gene is very much like the Wizard gene. When left alone the possessor tends to be in the right place at the right time, say the right thing, happened to have brought something critical along . . . happened to have not waited for his brother and gone straight to the mansion this night.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on January 27th, 2019 03:07 am (UTC)
Probably against regulations because Lucky Dave has not graduated from High School!


I did wonder if "directorate regulations" was the reason that El Zee wasn't sent to CF Hospital. It being free so only the director could do it.

Edited at 2019-01-27 03:10 am (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on January 27th, 2019 04:01 am (UTC)
Nah, that was an over dose of Action Team power-tripping and leaving an injury untreated until it healed wrong and treating it later risked making it worse.

The Oner bureaucracy is being very slow to adjust to the idea of other worlds being better at something than the Oners are. That is true of the medical bureaucracy as well.
(Anonymous) on March 1st, 2019 07:48 pm (UTC)
What I want to know is what they do about back pay. They must have a policy dating before unifcation about people stuck in bags since it has been known to happen even before Rangapore and they have a modern example in Izakson's group. Indeed how did they treat it with Izakson and
Ra'd, or were warriors not part of the army?

matapampamuphoff on March 1st, 2019 08:31 pm (UTC)
Neither the army nor the government they worked for exists any more. But as governments changed did the obligations shift as well? Theirs was the winning side . . . I don't know.

The President hosted them, and I suspect--given the government started from roots not well known for open, straightforward dealings--he has a sizable fund he can use for whatever he wants.

I suspect it might have involved a startup chunk and either a pension, or "special operatives" employment.

Now buying a chateau and grounds . . . I wonder if Umaya called Emre and informed him he was either supporting a Prophet, or they could find out in court whether the One owed backpay plus interest to the three of them.