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22 February 2019 @ 06:32 pm
Stupid brain  
Is not cooperating. Guardsman is not progressing. So you get this:

Twins at Uni

30 Ramadan 1414yp

“The problem with getting reference letters is that the most important people I know are relatives.” Arno scowled at the screen of his comp.

Across the table, his annoying twin sister nodded. “Aunt Rael would be awesome, and Dad too. A subdirector! But not the biodad. I wrote a letter to One Ytry asking for a letter of recommendation, but I haven’t got one back. So who are you going to ask?”

“You actually asked a priest? One of the priests we dosed with Joy Juice?” Arno blinked. “I don’t suppose they would blackball us . . . would they?”

“One Ytry had a sense of humor. Unvu or any of the women priests? Brrrr! No way.” Ryol smirked. “Anyway, I asked the President for one. And I think I’ll ask Lucky Dave.”

“Wow. You do have nerve.” Arno looked back at his list. “Maybe I’ll ask Ebsa. He’s a distant enough step-relative.” Ra’d’s the one I ought to ask . . .

Clicking heels on the floor. “Ready to go?” Their mother looked them over and nodded her approval. The limo is two minutes out, so if you need to . . .”

Arno shut his comp and headed for the lav.

A garden party at Government House to view the fireworks on the Eid. All the families of the top people invited. Hmm, how many of Aunt . . . Mom’s have I been around enough to ask for a letter of recommendation?

Chapter One


15 Shaban 1415yp

“So, how did you bag a recommendation from the two worst troublemakers the Directorate School has ever had?”

Arno raised his eyebrows. “Really? Well, Ebsa’s a distant relative, well, step relative. I met Ra’d on Embassy a few years ago.” He shrugged.

“And the usual recommendations from your high school. Top Science and Math grad, and you come to us with almost two semesters of college credit. Well, we’ll see about that when we put you in our classes.” The counselor eyed the screen in front of him. “And the last one is from a Black Horse Guard. Well, your stepfather is an IR subdirector. I suppose you’ve met some interesting people. So, you are requesting Team Track, despite not getting much in the way of martial arts training. At least you scored high in the incoming ranking. All right. Your class list is approved and I’m sending it to your comp. Good Luck!”

Arno stood, thanked him and walked out. Found a bench and opened his comp.

Calculus, History of the Multiverse, Bio 2, Chem 2, Introduction to Magic, Martial Arts section B, Firearms Practicum, to be tested . . .” he glanced at the time, “In an hour.”

“What’s in an hour?” Ryol plunked down beside him.

“Firearms test. Do you have one scheduled?”

She opened her comp. “Oh drat, Martial Arts section C. That’s the one for women. Dammit! Oh, yeah, Firearms test in an hour.”

Arno checked the campus map . . . “On the far side of the campus. We might as well head that way now.”

“Wearing this?” Ryol looked horrified. “This is my nice suit. I’m not getting it all stinky, and I’m definitely not going to kneel on the ground in it!”

Arno looked down at himself, and nodded. “Yeah, I kind of dressed up for the counselor too.” He looked down at his comp. “And a current events seminar tonight, and every Wednesday, in the main forum . . . over there. Well, see you at the range.”

They headed for the dorms, he was in dorm Three, where his group would remain for the next couple of years. Right now they were all freshmen. Ryol was in six, the women’s dorm.

A quick change into jeans and t-shirt, grab his gear and he headed back out. He bet everyone but the instructors, who were laying out a wide variety of weapons on eight tables. He eyed the system. Beginners to the right, experts to the left.

One of the instructors eyed him. “So, think you know this?”

Arno nodded at the far left. “Everything but the heavy military. My Dad’s a cop. I’ve been shooting regularly for years.”

“Have you hunted? Excellent. You’ll be table two.”

Funny. Everything I’ve learned out of school may be the stuff I use the most.

The rest of the group wandered in, Ryol hanging out with a bunch of girls.

They got sorted . . . One! Four people who’d never shot a gun?

Ryol joined him at table two and got skeptical looks until they started shooting.

They were quickly moved up to the first table and with a little instruction started destroying targets with this magnificent Brisbane Armory 20mm.

“Damn! And you’ve never shot one before?”

Icfe “call me Ice” was a team track senior.

The other two students there missed the targets. The girl with the unfortunate name of Puus landed on her butt, blinking away tears and refusing to admit her shoulder’d been injured.

“Let’s try something that will ruin fewer targets.”

Which was a fifteen mm sniper rifle. Lovely smooth action. Arno, Ryol, and Osnu—Sunny—a cheerful plump freshman. Puus fired a single shot then reluctantly admitted that her shoulder couldn’t take it.

Ice nodded. “Go to the clinic as soon as we’re done here. You four will all be in the ‘once a week’ group. But by all means, you three go ahead and show off your shooting now.”

Ryol won the three way contest by two points over Arno and three over Sunny. Puus sighed.

Arno looked over at her while Ice pulled in a couple more students from the next table.

“I’m almost afraid to ask if you have a nickname.”

“Heh. It was cute until the boys all hit puberty, then the pussy jokes started.”

Arno nodded. “And probably haven’t quit. How about Cat? Or Plus?”

“It won’t stick Pussy is too funny.”

“Uh, yeah. Thank the One my Mother wasn’t feeling cute after giving birth to twins.”

“Twins?” She shot a glance at Ryol.

“Yep. Her Royal Highness Pain-in-the-neck.”

Ryol’s attention was on the new shooters, but her hand slipped behind her back. Middle finger prominent.

Puus snickered. “So is a twin better or worse that a big sister or little sister?”

“Worse. She can play both angles against me with the parents. Or try. They’re pretty clued in, as parents go.”

“Mine are pretty good too, just a bit naïve. Apart from the name, they’re cool. Not, umm, Game Players. Well, not in terms of revolving marriages.”

“Mine neither—now. My Mother did local Game Wife roulette, which is really gross to think about, but once she met Dad, well, that was it. True love or something like that.” He shrugged.

I really don’t want to spread the rest of the details. I’ll enjoy being an average student for as long as I can. Until someone recognizes Ryol from that news broadcast two years ago. Or the sandcastle fight three years ago. But we’ve both grown. And Ryol’s got her hair pulled back . . .

“Not that Dad isn’t climbing the government ladder, but Mother’s his first and only.”

Then the shooting stopped and everyone cleaned all the guns.

The Current Event Seminar was right after dinner.

An old geezer walked out on the stage and leaned on his cane. “In coming students, welcome to your first seminar. Pay attention. Sometimes—like tonight—we’ll just have snippets of things we think will be important over the next days or months. Other times we’ll have speakers in to tell us about what isn’t getting into the papers.”

“I’m Professor Ivy. For my sins, I teach the History of the Multiverse, a required class for all incoming students. I’ll see you Friday morning.”

He clicked the controls in his hand. “First up tonight, an election update. The polls differ according to who’s paying for them, but they all pretty much have a three man neck to neck to neck race. All of you! I want an analysis of the positions of the War Party, the Isolationists, and the Modern Federalists. Then I want a specific analysis of the their candidates’ positions. You incomers can turn your reports into me Friday. I’m sure the rest of you will have a class somewhere, that will want to see yours.”

He stepped away and they got four separate polls with newsies commentary.

Then a shot of the Disco forum and an argument over ownership of a world in the Maze that they were both colonizing.

I never came close to finishing my map of the Maze. Probably never will, now.

And there’s a shot of Master Xen, looking exasperated. Both worlds probably ignored the shortwave radio broadcasts claiming the world. The Smugglers or the Combat Gang probably opened gates to both their worlds, and they both figured, finders keepers. And didn’t contact Disco about it.

A news clip on the first school age (barely) Homestead !Zolt kids whose parents had been genetically engineer to have the One Power gene and insertions starting kindergarten.

Wow! I hadn’t realized that so many !Zolts had gotten the power gene, let alone all of the insertions. No wonder there are riots, and bills about not allowing the Multitude to get them. Pretty soon, everyone will be a Oner, and no one will be especially special.

Arno suppressed a snicker. All things considered, that’s a good thing. He rubbed a little patch on his arm. I have the One power gene now, just a tiny bit, so I fit in here. And it was such a weird feeling . . . just a bit of expanded awareness. I wonder of !Zolts who come to the One World like it?

Master Xen put it on some cells in the upper layer. He said it would wear off after a couple of years, if I didn’t like it. Or if I liked it, he could make the changes on the deeper layers, where the cells divide, so it would be permanent.

cnmckenney on February 23rd, 2019 12:55 am (UTC)
Distinct possibilities. They will be having very different problems from the ones, Ebsa and R'ad had.
matapampamuphoff on February 23rd, 2019 01:28 am (UTC)
Re: Interesting
Yeah, but I really wish the brain would cooperate and write something I could publish quickly. A few weeks without anything new and the sales are sinking.

I really need to start marketing and break out of the small bubble of readers I'm known by.
(Anonymous) on February 23rd, 2019 03:21 am (UTC)
Re: Interesting
You do have a sizable collection of books for sale at this point, if you can somehow entice more people to give them a try.

Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on February 23rd, 2019 03:43 am (UTC)
Re: Interesting
You should be able to push out an Eldon novella quite quickly.
(Anonymous) on February 23rd, 2019 01:28 pm (UTC)
RE: Re: Interesting
Read a marketing book.

Another Eldon story sounds good. He's done Christmas. What could be do as an Easter bunny with special chocolate liqueur eggs?
(Anonymous) on February 23rd, 2019 04:55 am (UTC)
Is Rael still the teacher for Martial Arts C? :P
matapampamuphoff on February 23rd, 2019 02:05 pm (UTC)
Actually that will be after _Marooned_. She'll start teaching in the Spring semester 1417 yp.
(Anonymous) on February 23rd, 2019 09:44 pm (UTC)
Jr Bubble masters
Shouldn't these guys carry their closets in a bubble on their arm at this point? It sure didn't take Wolfgang long to carry everything with him. Chronologically they must be older than he was during book 1.
(Anonymous) on February 23rd, 2019 10:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Jr Bubble masters
I think based upon time elapsed since "Children of a Foreign God" that both Ryol and Arno could both do so. But I suspect that they are not doing so in order to fit in. From what Pam's posted so far, Arno very much wants to not call attention to who he is and the fact that he's Xen's son. Arriving without luggage, and carrying things around in a bubble instead of a backpack, would be the complete antithesis of that.

(Anonymous) on February 24th, 2019 02:36 am (UTC)
the two worst troublemakers the Directorate School has ever had

Shouldn't the facts that they were also 2 of the first of "New" Warriors revealed, or that Ra'd was the son of a Prophets & trainee under the original Warriors, have reflected positively on the School, & had even their detractors pretending they were proud of them (& trying to take some of the credit for how well they turned out)?
matapampamuphoff on February 24th, 2019 03:51 am (UTC)
"Two worst problem students ever. No wonder Warriors were so bloody scary!"
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on February 25th, 2019 01:36 am (UTC)
Consider Arno writing a thank-you note to Ebsa and Ra'd and reporting on the Brisbane Armory 20mm results.

Mind you, given the ammo cost and the danger of misses I am a bit surprised unless their budget is underspent.
(Anonymous) on February 25th, 2019 06:06 pm (UTC)
I believe the party is Strong Federalist unless they and the moderists have merged? Also I thought this is election Izzo runs.

matapampamuphoff on February 25th, 2019 06:57 pm (UTC)
Yes. This is Izzo's strategy, merging the small Modernist Party with the Strong Federalists, which was the majority party until the Granite Peak debacle.

Which will be in Guardsman if my brain will cooperate.
(Anonymous) on February 26th, 2019 12:13 am (UTC)
Maybe it would help if you wrote some scenes from another POV? I think it might be Lucky Dave's outsider feeling that is drying you up. You can always change the POV later if it doesn't go where you want, but just play with it and it might get you over the hump. Choose someone fun that you've used before. Maybe Izzo? Or give him Scar for a buddy? Could be fun to watch a scene of him in magic class with Rael.
matapampamuphoff on February 26th, 2019 02:56 am (UTC)
I'm thinking about adding Izzo as a POV character.
(Anonymous) on February 26th, 2019 03:32 am (UTC)
He needs someone to bounce off.
(Anonymous) on February 26th, 2019 01:58 am (UTC)
Lucky Dave's libido is very intermitent
Lucky Dave seemed to be focused on every female with in sight...now it seems he has ratcheted it back a couple notches. Did Lucky Dave get lucky and we haven't heard about it? Maybe he needs to meet some more Fallen witches?
matapampamuphoff on February 26th, 2019 02:53 am (UTC)
Re: Lucky Dave's libido is very intermitent
I think Lucky Dave is going to be smitten with Qamar. I need to have him still noticing, and comparing them to Qamar and finding them lacking.

And all his insecurities about not being properly magical (even though he's always gotten a bit more out of the priest gene than usual. Probably slow growing and late onset of puberty, due to his high percent of Prophet's genes, both in and out of the insertion packets) and not a Warrior, couldn't possibly be good enough for a prophet's daughter . . .

Don't worry, he'll get over his insecurities. Finally. Qamar's probably going to have to club him and drag him off to her cave, though.