Lucky Dave eyed the other dozen people in Urfa’s conference room. Rael, Idlo, Inre, and Ydro he’d met often enough. The other eight, well, he knew their names.
Urfa walked in late, and this time, Puur in tow, as usual. “Right. As the Presidential Director, I’m recusing myself from this project. Rael? It’s all yours. Call me if you need advice or whatever, otherwise, it’s all yours. Good luck ladies and gentlemen, hopefully we can keep everything peaceful.”
And off he went, having not even sat down.
“Well,” Rael shifted to the head of the table. “Apart from the usual rivalry between the parties, this season will be enlivened by the two One Firsters being at each other throats. Since Midnight, we’ve have six more people declaring, One each from the War Party, and the Isolationists. Two more Multitude Supreme, and two independents.”
She leaned back. “Now, most of the security and protection will be in the hands of the Black Horse Guard, but it is also our job. We’ll be monitoring chatter, looking into threats both verbal and on Grid.
“And we do not play favorites. While we’re on this job, we don’t favor any of them, we don’t act against, or fail to notify anyone. Got it? If you have a problem with that, keep in mind that our friends and colleagues in the Black Horse will be throwing themselves between the candidate you hate, and anyone trying to harm him. If you still don’t give a damn, you can go back to your regular job and I’ll pull in some new people.
“In fact, with the new candidates, I’ll be pulling in more people as well.”
“One challenge we’ve got are the two female candidates.
“The Black Horse Guard, being so overwhelmingly male, every woman Guard is going to be out there with the families. And they’re going to be stretched to cover them all. So, Mick and Save? You will be doing some closer coordination with Guur, who apparently wants to be called Beautiful Flower, and the new Isolationsist Candidate Toag Withione Brisbane in venues where it’s difficult for the guys to check the lavs and so forth. Most large venues, there are a few more private lavs, so that hopefully won’t be an issue and you can concentrate on analyzing all the hate mail . . . stop frowning. In six months you be begging to go back to lav checks, and changing rooms and escape from the mail.”
The two women’s frowns turned thoughtful.
“After the Primaries, we’ll have half the people to cover, and half as many targets for the troublemakers to spread their joy among. So we’ll be concentrating both guards and analysts on the nine or so remaining. The independents may stop campaigning at some point, when they run out of money. So their guards can be reduced as well.
“So, with that in mind, we’re setting up in Versalle, second floor west.
“Now, let’s a take a look at these candidates. In theory the four former councilmen will be familiar with security and coordinating with bodyguards, except that Ramos always refused an escort ‘because the people loved him’ so we may have a problem there.”
They sorted the them out, personality types, wives—neither of the women candidates were married—children, Princesses.
“The eight who do not have assigned princesses already, are getting them post-haste. Like as not temporarily. But we can hope their presence works as a reminder to their principals to stick to verbal means of attacking their rivals.” Rael looked around the table. “Any comments? Any worries?”
Idlo nodded. “The Multitude Supreme could get . . . interesting. They’re all favors of Socialists, but Ramos is from Mexico and fairly dark. Elias Mann is from the Caribbean and appears to have a lot of African heritage. Burchett is a White from South Africa. A traditional hotbed of racism, but I don’t know about him personally. They may well join forces and push universal socialism, or . . . not.”
Rael winced. “Right. Ydro? Do an in depth search on Burchett, looking for any history he has, one way or another. Has anyone been to Vista Colony?”
Idlo raised a finger again. “Nowhere near Falconhurst, whole different culture. Ketzel will be a European horseriding hunter clan, and the Anglofied clan name means it’s a new one, established well after the Oner takeover. Even odds he’s a Halfer.”
“How about Badlands?”
Two of the new guys waved. “A little farming, a lot of mining. Even counting the mine workers, it’s the smallest colony. Everyone’s dirt poor, unless they’re government or upper ranked company officials.”
The second guy chimed in, “I think Oscu is one of the farmers. I suspect he’s running just to raise awareness of how little the government cares about the colonies.”
“Find out which group he belongs to, see if he’s made an speeches, or written anything.” Rael looked at her notes. “”Beautiful Flower has been in local Hawaiian politics for decades, and a couple of years added the whole Pacific rim to her attempts to influence people. She wasn’t holding any government positions the last two years. Does anyone have any personal experience with her?”
The princess she’d called Save, lifter her hand. “I know Toad. Nice enough, but tedious about politics. So if you need a volunteer for Beautiful Flower, I’ll take her.”
Rael frowned at her comp. “I have Toag with a G.”
“Yeah, but, well, sometimes the nicknames are worse than the original.”
“I see. So Mick, Toag is all yours.” She grimaced. “Ycrw and Insa are going to be challenging. Any volunteers?”
Lucky Dave shrugged. “I’ve been watching the Insane one yelling at crowds more than a year. I’ll take him.”
Rael nodded. “Good luck, and yell for help if needed. I’ve asked for more people mainly so I could double-team those two.”
Idlo raised his hand. “I’ll take the Crow. I’m snobby enough that he won’t write me off as too low class to listen to.”
Lucky Dave blinked. That’s a degree of self-knowledge I hadn’t expected.
Izzo looked up as Wizzy—Princess Gewz—walked in. His assigned princess had returned from Makkah just in time to whip his quickly ballooning staff into shape. “Rael wants you.”
“Rael? Put her on the speaker.”
They were alone in the back office of Campaign Central, the third floor of a smallish ten story office building. At five in the morning, his staff was sensibly not here yet.
“Izzo, I’ve got a late arriving Ex Priest, oldest we’ve seen yet.”
Izzo raised his eyebrows at Rael’s tone. Boggled? Amused? Both?
“Name of Izpo Withione Al Cairo, son of Izgo, older brother Izmo, younger Igzi.”
Izzo was nodding. “Yep, that’s my uncle.” He looked over at Wizzy. “Do I have anything this afternoon?”
“Informal staff meeting for lunch. Driving to Rome to meet the Regional Councilors?”
“Right. Rael, I’ll be there in half an hour. Wiz? If I’m not back for lunch, start without me. Make a list of things I need to decide on, prioritize it.”