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08 April 2019 @ 11:52 am
_Guardsman_ part 36  
You've seen the first half of this, and there will no doubt be more infill, eventually.

Chapter Fifteen

Summer and School

Arno gave the table a quick wipe. “And we’ve both completed the classes we’d started at the hideous school, and started the next round. I figure one more year and we can graduate. Head for college in the fall of 1415.”

Ryol started laying out silverware. “And we talked to Ebsa about the Directorate School, and we both run every morning, and Arno’s lifting weights. I . . . probably ought to, too.”

Xiat nodded. “Yep. Starting out physically fit is a good idea.”

“And karate. We probably ought to take lessons.” Arno shrugged. “But this grid school, the senior year, we can take some college level classes and get both high school and college credit. So it’s a really good deal. But we’ll be busy.”

Madam Raod bustled out with plates. “Sit down and put your feet up, Izzo. Ox called. He’s stuck in traffic, but he said he’d be here in about fifteen minutes. Are you just in town for the day?”

“And can you talk about it?” Arno, of course, perpetually curious.

“Oh, just a larger than usual bit of name calling in the Disco forum.” Izzo grinned. “Pretty much as mature as your former school problems. The Whirlpool One is accusing us of not allowing them to talk to the colonies. They want to preach the advantages of switching to being their colonies instead of ours to all the colonies, and get a referendum on the 1415 ballot. So the citizens of the various colonies can vote for which One World they want to be a colony of.”

Ryol shook her pretty head. “Why would they want them? They’re eleven years behind us, with fifty years of being isolated and only two years of realizing how huge and diverse the multiverse is. They haven’t have time to adjust their thinking. About hardly anything.”

Arno eyed Izzo. “What did you recommend?”

“That they have full access.” Izzo grinned. “I figure the more they talk, the less enthusiasm the colonies will have for switching. Especially after the way they stuck their noses in the air and wouldn’t talk to the !Zolts the time I escorted them through. To meet the governor. They snubbed the trio of Matriarchs who wanted to speak to them.”

Ryol giggled, horribly reminiscent of her biomother. “Oh, that doesn’t work on Homestead! I’ll bet they’ll lose in a landslide.”

Izzo grinned. “Yes. And they ought to have known better. We were better than that from the start. But perhaps they forgot over half a century. And they really disapproved of the colonies having their own gates to Embassy. And between each other.”

Ryol looked thoughtful. “We’ve been loosening up, haven’t we? Control, I mean. And they’ve stayed with a strong central government and weak regional, like we used to have.”

Izzo nodded. “Like we developed after losing Granite Peak. We expected to be invaded at any moment. But we loosened our grip, even before Endi, Xen, rather, shook us up again.”

The clatter of the garage door announced Ox’s arrival.

So they listened to intelligent conversation, and actually contributed when they started talking about Disco and Embassy.

Ryol, of course, pouted when they got sent off, but Arno just popped down to his room and transcribed the whole conversation. Quotes from the Director of Exterior, and the IR Subdirector of Investigations. Political report gold.

Then read a chapter in the History of the Multiverse text and take the test. Then Creative Writing. This week, a mystery genre short story. It wasn’t going well . . .

It’s too obvious who did it, so now I have to figure out how someone else could have done it. Give me math or science any day!

Chapter Sixteen


Lucky Dave drove around to the front door of the “Gothic Horror,” The Director of External Relations’ residence. Repeated exposure hadn’t improved it a bit.

Izzo and Xiat walked out, herding their kids, before he reached the front door.

Izzo grinned. “Dave! They stuck you with us?”

“Yep.” Dave shook hands with all four of them. The kids, Xiaz and Ixto, six-year-old twins, looked a bit subdued. Leaving the only home they’ve ever known.

Dave eyed them, and then Izzo. “So, you’ve resigned. A lot of that going around. I was surprised by both Councilman Ycrw and Councilman Insa resigning.” The usual prenotification of candidacy. Hence the Presidential Guards being parceled out already.

Xiat nodded. “I expected Crow, but Insa the Insane?”

Dave nodded. “There were reports of a serious confrontation between the two last week. From what little we’ve manage to pick up, there may have been some confusion between the two of them as to who was the boss and who was the flunky, not the puppet master.”

Izzo grinned. “Oh, I’d have paid to hear that. And I just heard that Councilman Ovli Withione Peking and Councilman Diego Jesus Blanco Ramos of Brazil have resigned.”

“Isolationists and Multitude Supreme. One each. So far.” Dave opened the back door and the kids climbed in. Raised around chauffeurs and butlers. Well, Izzo and Xiat are too sensible to have raised brats. I hope.

“Yes. And no moves from the War Party leaders, yet.” Xiat joined the kids, and Izzo ducked in after them.

Dave closed the door and whisked around to take the wheel. “No Wizzy?”

Izzo grinned. “What? I’ve resigned. No need for a Princess, she’s been recalled to Makkah.”

“I see.” Probably being assessed to see if they want to keep her with Izzo, or send someone more mature? Of course, what chance does Izzo really have. The Modernists are such a small party.

Dave drove sedately out, ignoring the kids looking out the back window and waving to the staff that had collected outside the front door.

In Paris he parked in the no parking zone and escorted them all up to their apartment. Ran a quick search, didn’t get any itchy feelings.

There hasn’t been enough time for anyone to set up anything, even to bugging their apartment . . . I wonder if they still use that term? I’ll have to ask.

“Right. Welcome to Paris, and please call for a ride or escort.”

Xiat shook her head ruefully. “I used to be the bodyguard. Even after all these years, it feels so wrong.”

Izzo grinned. “I’ll nag at her, remind her of the trouble some people have given her in the past.”

Dave hesitated.

Xiat snorted. “I graduated from Princess school and joined the Presidential Directorate . . . fifty-two years ago? One! Well, forty years of presidential security doesn’t wear off very quickly . . . and possibly not at all.”

Dave scrambled to remember all the dates and presidents . . .

“During President Uzmo’s third term, both of President Apjy’s terms, all three of the first Orde’s three terms.”

“Huh, so you knew four presidents.”

Xiat shrugged. “Not well. Not like I got to know this Orde. In fact I know Urfa much better than I knew the other directors. Urfa was always . . . more a part of the security apparatus, than a politician with security as just one of his responsibilities. Worked better too.”

Izzo chuckled. “We’ll both behave, but all I have tomorrow is a meeting at ten. So . . . why don’t you plan on picking me up at nine?”

Dave drove back to Versalle not particularly liking the situation, but not itchy.

Eight days. Then all the candidates will start announcing. I wonder how many people who don’t have government jobs will announce?

When Dave picked up Izzo at nine, the man was bright-eyed and grinning. He spotted Dave’s raised eyebrows and the grin widened. “Today will make it or break it. So. Hotel Argenteuil. I have a party to crash.”

Dave started the car, and put the hotel into the navigation system. Looked over the pictures it ran through. Big covered fancy entrance, valet parking . . . “Izzo, I know you’re one of the New Warriors, but even the Prophets had bodyguards. Will you wait to crash the party until I’ve parked and can accompany you?”

Izzo leaned and poked at the screen. “Actually, there’s an entrance back here that I’d prefer to use. We’ll park back there and walk in.”

Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on April 9th, 2019 12:35 am (UTC)
Hey, don't we get the scene when it dawns upon Izzo who Orde want to succeed him?
matapampamuphoff on April 9th, 2019 03:34 am (UTC)
Eventually. This story's being worse than most in insisting on "write _this_ scene right now."
(Anonymous) on April 9th, 2019 01:46 am (UTC)
Yes please.

And can the three clarevoyant old princesses show up for comic relief, ala Shakespeare's three witches, and remind Izzo that he has found true love and that they knew he was going to be the next President of the Empire?
matapampamuphoff on April 9th, 2019 03:36 am (UTC)
Oh, Lucky Dave is going to just love dealing with _them_.
(Anonymous) on April 9th, 2019 12:34 pm (UTC)
Izzo seems like the sort of person who would've maintained contact with them, purely out of friendship & honorable behavior, so I hope they insert themselves, effectively, into the campaign management team.

Then it might also be interesting if it gets out that they essentially asked "Endi Dewulfe" to intervene in the assassination while visiting Izzo.
(Anonymous) on April 9th, 2019 12:38 pm (UTC)
Ooh... occurred to me a few seconds too late:

Lucky Dave should have to try & interpret all their cryptic comments about how he wins over Qamar (& maybe some fan-girling, which won't make any sense to him since his "I'm not a Warrior" complex means that he apparently hasn't realized that not being a Warrior makes his achievements & fame as Nicholas' bodyguard more notable not less).
matapampamuphoff on April 10th, 2019 01:13 pm (UTC)
I'll have to have them call Izzo.

Before that meetimg with the president. To congratulate him, chortle over their accurate prediction . . . then realize he hasn't a clue what they're talking about . . . and shut up without the word "president" ever getting mentioned.

They apologize profusely for "interfering with the precog" and hang up.
(Anonymous) on April 10th, 2019 02:58 pm (UTC)
Could there be political fodder in the fact that ~20 years Precogs focusing on Izzo's romantic life managed to not only hit near 100% on all their predictions relating to Izzo, including the need for Xen/Endi to risk his life for The One Empire?

And maybe some smarta** newsie should dig up a recording of Izzo early in his Paris career admitting he only joined the Modernists because "their politics made sense" or "Orde & Urfa seem to actually care about the Empire" or something else that could be spun to show a lack of ambition while accidentally revealing honor or morality?
(Anonymous) on April 10th, 2019 02:59 pm (UTC)
gah... "~20 years ago"...
matapampamuphoff on April 10th, 2019 03:20 pm (UTC)
No. "Three crazy old ladies predicted that I'd be the next president" is not a good draw for voters. Especially after their live broadcast interview.
matapampamuphoff on April 10th, 2019 04:00 pm (UTC)
Although I really ought to include "opposition" media interviewing them.

After the lighthearted and utterly ridiculous interview, Q-and-A (Wqqa) decided to end it on a personal note--because everyone knows personal precogs were the worst. "Ladies, thank you for you insight into Presidential aspirant Izzo. Do you have any precogs for me?" He grinned.

The ladies sobered. "Oh, I'm so sorry, but you're going to break your leg."

The purple haired harridan wiped a tear. "And your beautiful car!"

The third one shrugged. "At least you won't get fired for missing a few days work."

"And that's Q-and-A's interview of the day from Taupo, New Zealand." The perky newsie glanced to the side with a frown, and took a notepad someone was sliding toward her, trying to stay out of the vid cam's field. A quick read and the young woman's brows rose. "This just in . . . Wqqa, the star of Q-and-A will miss the late show, as he's been in a traffic accident and . . . the medics say his leg is broken?"
(Anonymous) on April 14th, 2019 05:37 pm (UTC)
You have Insa resigning just hours befor he announces at the party. A rough spot to be smoothed.

matapampamuphoff on April 14th, 2019 07:57 pm (UTC)
More of a "good relationship suddenly going to pot" that needs a scene. I'll have to look for a away to stick it in.