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25 April 2019 @ 12:04 pm
_Guardsman_ part 51  

Chapter

Cleanup

“Arno, are you busy tomorrow?”

Arno blinked at his com, stepped to the side of the walk to stop, not that there were many people around this late. “Hi, Aunt Rael. Saturday? I have to run in the morning, then I’m free for the rest of the weekend." He could feel his grin widening. “So I’d be delighted to help in any skullduggery.”

“Gah. Haven’t heard that term for decades. What are you studying in that snobby trade school?”

“Science, mostly. And karate. Man, I should have taken more karate. Oh well.”

“So . . . why don’t I pick you up at, umm, eight your time?”

“Sure. Meet you at the main entrance, then.”

Arno stared at his comm for a long moment. I wonder what a Presidential Agent needs me for? Something dimensional, no doubt. But what?

“Move it punk!”

He glanced over; two of the Team Trainees who thought they owned the campus. He sidestepped onto the grass and went back to staring at the comm.

“Beta.” The teamers walked on.

I wonder if she’ll tell me what’s going on? And . . . I suppose that if I’m going to get an interesting job, I ought to get on the Team Track.

He pocketed the comm and resumed progress toward the cafeteria. And of course the Teamers had met up with several others, and then stopped to chat up a girl . . . Oh great, Ryol. Figures she’d not realize she should be cautious around that lot.

As one of them stepped closer, he shot out a tiny little shield, flat against the ground, under his foot. It slid, he wind milled his arms for balance hitting the guys on either side as he staggered and caught his balance. But which time, Ryol had stepped back, laughing as she walked away. Arno circled the group—who were all kidding the clumsy one—and joined her.

She was still snickering. “Thanks, Arno. That was slick. And they didn’t even notice it. What do you think? Shall I shave my head?”

Arno snickered. “What would Mother say? Or . . . Milo?”

“Right. That settles it.” She waved at the gang. “I’m going to shave my head.”

Gior and Voyr horrified, and Pussy laughed. “Is Milo really that bad?”

Ryol snorted. “No! It’s the Team Trainees. They’ve started going out of their was to . . . encounter me.”

“Eeps!”

Arno nodded. “Five of them. Not that they’d do much in broad daylight, but . . .”

Gior snorted. “Before you do anything drastic, let me show you how to do it up with fancy hairpins. Sharp fancy hairpins.”

The girls all put their heads together, and started talking about stylish weaponry, and they collected food and grabbed a table. Sunny and Arno swapped glances and sat far enough apart to avoid hearing about which parts of male anatomy ought be targeted with various . . . bits of jewelry.

Milo walked up with his tray . . . caught a snatch of the girls conversation and joined the guys. “What triggered that?”

“Teamers.” Sunny rolled his eyes. “Pack of perverts. I thought the School was trying to drop that sort.”

Milo grunted. “They claim they’ve gotten rid of the rapist behavior, but they’re still aggressive, large, and muscular, so that’s how they try to impress women.”

Arno nodded. But I still didn’t like the way they were shifting to surround Ryol.

“So, anything going on this weekend?” Sunny looked hopeful. “Any new vids out?”

Arno sighed. “Maybe Sunday. Tomorrow . . .”

“You study.” Milo shook his head. “Have you ever considered having fun?”

“Science is fun.” Arno kept his face straight. And doing something with Aunt Rael even more so.

***

At eight the next morning, a ute pulled up to him and he hopped in.

Rael grinned at him. “So, Arno. I need a gate closed. And no questions asked.”

“No questions? Oh darn. Are you going to maroon an evil villain? Oops, sorry, that was a question.”

She laughed and pulled out. “How about an even dozen?”

“Really? I shouldn’t ask what they’ve done, should I?”

“Well, things got . . . really busy yesterday. I have an evil organizer who was planning an unfortunate explosion in a bomb factory, I have his trigger man, I have the eight bomb makers, and then I also have a sniper and spotter.”

“All in one day?” Arno blinked, thought . . . that explosion in Italy?

“Yep. What I do to keep the election peaceful. So these people are going to get dumped on an unused Evac World, and the gate closed. After the election we can fetch them, if we want to. The organizer . . . not at all sure I want him at large. Ever. But the eventual disposition is above my pay grade.”

“Huh. That school bus . . .”

“Probably the same bombers, probably the same . . . candidate. If he manages to win the election . . . it’s going to get interesting.”

Arno swallowed. “And you’ll be working for him!”

“No I won’t. My resignation with hit Urfa’s desk within minutes of the election results. And possibly if it’s anyone but Izzo.”

Arno eyed her.

She giggled. “I know, I know! Izzo’s as bad as Ox when it comes to trusting, or not trusting me. But I could transfer to External Relations, or take an indefinite leave of absence, or . . . something. I trust Izzo.”

She turned off and stopped in line to take the Gate City Corridor. Then across town to the SGA. She was waved through, nothing but a curious glace toward Arno.

They probably think we’re headed for Disco.

They turned early, though and drove through the “Hub Nine” gate. Rael swept a quick look around as they drove down a well kept gravel road.

“There are four Worlds being colonized and/or mined off this hub, and ten that are not in use. We need gate twenty-two.”

 
 
 
(Anonymous) on April 25th, 2019 07:15 pm (UTC)
Milo is hanging out with the Wolf Pack? Has he realized? His dad's going to die. Or disown him. Possibly both. Excellent recovery from realizing Arno isn't competition, though. Directorate School, Next Generation, promises to be a fun bunch.

I really, really want to see Milo's "Oh My One, that's my friends!" moment when he figures out just who he's hanging out with. Or the moment when he admits he's known all along, whichever applies. Ryol's "Oh My One, you knew!" would be just as fun.

Holly
matapampamuphoff on April 25th, 2019 08:06 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah, when Ryol finally has to go to the nuclear option, it turns out he figured it out some time ago.
matapampamuphoff on April 25th, 2019 08:40 pm (UTC)
Which, once she thinks about it, was the real reson that, when he knew his father was plotting something indefensible, he told Ryol.

Not because her step father might know who to pass that onto, but because he knew who her biomother was.
(Anonymous) on April 26th, 2019 12:51 am (UTC)
Smart and moral, flexible relationship with authority, kid's gonna pass the step-brother and brother-in-law test. Sorry, Ryol, your family's going to want to keep Milo around even if you never like him.

Holly
(Anonymous) on April 26th, 2019 06:12 am (UTC)
Considering Raod was a "Game" wife 5 times, & the inherent issues Rael faces with marrying Xen, I suspect her family are mostly going to want her to make her own mind up about who & why she marries, with the pressure falling more on "marry for love" than "marry because we like this guy".

Which in no way precludes the family, or extended family in the sense of "the Wolf Kids", "adopting" Milo if they like him enough.
(Anonymous) on April 26th, 2019 03:28 pm (UTC)
That's exactly what I'm thinking. Ra'd and Ebsa will like him and take him under their wings whether or not Ryol ever wants a relationship.

And I'm sure Arno is sending regular reports , er, letters, back to them. He's been very close with that side of the family for a while. Climbing sewer systems together and all. Given their directorate school experiences, they'll be keeping an eye on the twins.

Holly
(Anonymous) on April 25th, 2019 10:01 pm (UTC)
Ryol Fallou
Wanna see Ryol go nuclear! Wanna see the fallout! Do bodies get embedded in walls from the strength of the blast? Is there nausea and vomitting? Whose hair falls out? Hopefully not Ryol's iconic red mane.
(Anonymous) on April 26th, 2019 03:45 am (UTC)
Why toss this mess through a gate? Wouldn't tossing it in a bag, and dropping that bag on the new president's desk to deal with (or losing it somewhere), work well enough?

--TheOtherSean
matapampamuphoff on April 26th, 2019 04:20 am (UTC)
The problem is not knowing who's going to be elected. And whether Peeve should be handed back to the Prime Councilor. And then there are the bomb experts, and the sniper assassin.

Sticking them someplace where they will eventually be found is a reasonable way to both keep them out of circulation right now and not have irrefutable evidence of kidnapping and torture in one's purse.

After Izzo is elected, he'll probably ask her about the sniper . .. unless something comes up and it slips both their minds.