Log in

No account? Create an account
26 May 2019 @ 08:41 am
I _need_ to work on _Lost and Found_, so of course this happens:


Pam Uphoff


Urfa eyed the faculty leaders of the School of Directorate Studies. Six department heads and twenty-one section heads. Who would have thought a university could be as viciously competitive as the Paris political scene? And . . . why I let Izzo talk me into being the Chancellor . . .

“The sudden death of Dr. Yppo has left us with a magic section not just lacking actual practicing magic users, but lacking a section head to guide it and especially to teach actual practical usage of magic. The two lecturers in the section are both theorists . . . Yes, Dr. Erdu?”

Figures the Department of Languages would jump in with the first argument.

“The magical training the Teams are getting from the School program is minimal, once they’ve done the School of Magic’s practicum. We really ought to just drop our section, and the Team Graduates can learn from people at XR with actual combat experience.”

Dr. Eshy, head of Social Sciences—history, politics, sociology, and magic—jumped in indignantly. “Magic is the very basis of the One! All students ought to be required to take advance practical magical techniques.”

Dr. Ujko—Information—straightened up and glared at Eshy. “Inflating your department’s budget even further?”

Dr. Ijly—Combat—snorted. “What we need is a man with field experience from the Army. Someone who has actually . . .”

“Been totally unimpressive against, say, Comet Fall.” Professor Zaof ran the Paleontology section.

Ijly glared. “I need someone to train the Teamers.”

“We need lecturers who are experts in Fallen politics, society, law . . .” Professor Ivy waded into the mess. “Not to mention History. And Disco.”

Urfa cleared his throat. Glares and looks dismissive and or dubious turned his direction. But they were, at heart, highly civilized. Better at verbal backstabbing than out of control noise. They all quieted for a moment. “So, it sounds like you’ll all be delighted that I have offered the position of Head of the Magic Section to . . .” Now it was all glares. “Rael Withione.”


A snicker from Professor Ivy.

“A Princess, a Dancer, a Presidential Directorate guard and agent, one of the new Warrior. Very familiar with Disco, an occasional visitor to Comet Fall.

“Princess Rael is on indefinite leave from the Presidential Directorate and will be joining us at the start of next semester, after she . . . completes a project of her own.” Urfa looked up and down both sides of the table. “I hope—probably uselessly—that you will have the common sense to not play one-upmanship games with someone of her reputation.”

He grinned. “Because she will hand you your asses. Now. We’re halfway through the semester. Let’s discuss what’s needed for the Seniors last semester. Ijly? Sensei Ikku? The Teams are going to have access to a Warrior, a Magician with combat experience, and experience training magicians. Keep that in mind as you . . .”

As he’d suspected, they all wanted Rael . . . and all six department heads wanted to be clear that a mere section head was beneath them. The section heads looked like they were plotting something bad.

I warned Rael . . . and she giggled.

Once she’s back in shape, these guys will be in so much trouble.

Chapter One

Xen leaned on the wall outside the delivery room. Trying to simultaneously ignore the screamed insults from within, while listening for a request for him to return.

“ . . . never touch me again in a million years . . .”

He glanced at his almost brother-in-law, also leaning on the wall.

“I understand that’s a standard sign that everything is progressing normally.”

Ox snickered. “I believe I’ve heard such threats before, myself.”

From inside the room much panting, breaking up the impact of wheezed insults.

“Thank you for driving her here.”

Ox grinned. “Well, going into labor with an incipient grandchild is a pretty good way to end a grandmother’s ninety-fourth birthday party.”

“You didn’t need to tell him that!” His almost mother-in-law yelled from inside the room.

“And I figured someone with some sense ought to be in the driver’s seat.”

Xen grinned. “Definitely.”

“Stupid men! I’ve only been in labor for three hours. It’s supposed to take twelve hours! I could have driven myself back here. Dammit, it’s too soon to want to push.” Panting.

“Well, Raod’s labor was quick too. But then the twins were early and small . . .” Madam Kyol sounded worried. “Not that you have the faintest idea . . .”

More wheezing and panting interspersed with insults and obscenities.

“She read all about it. Obsessively.” Xen closed his eyes. “It’s going fast and easy.”

From inside the room, a hissing suggestion to do the impossible. “How can I concentrate with all this weird stuff going on in my head!”

A calm female voice. “Giving birth is a threshold. You’re doing very well, and you can sort it all out over the next few weeks.”

Fast panting.

“There now, time to push.”

“Nurgh . . . You bloody,” pant pant, “get in here!

Xen slid around the doorjamb and offered an hand to be crushed as the love of his life grunted and groaned and finally delivered an indignant baby boy. He looked at the tiny thing, taking his first breaths and using them to complain about the change in accommodation. “Red hair. I’m in trouble.”

His almost-mother-in-law was beaming through tears. “Have you picked a name?”

“Several possible. We’ll have to wait and see exactly which genes he got.” Xen reached out and touched the boy.

Big zing. The baby yowled at this latest indignity.

Madam Kyol forced a smile, that softened into joy as she touched the boy and got a mild grandmother’s zing. “Oh Rael, he’s so beautiful.”

Xen stepped out of the way of Doctor Heath, and the nurse for all the weighing and measuring and checking, and then got his other hand crushed while Rael delivered the placenta.

The Registrar from the Oner Embassy showed up for a quick swab, and to offer the range of possible letters for the official name. “Two hundred and thirteen. Withione.”

“Exzy.” Rael glanced up for his nod. “Al Media Montevideo.”

Chapter Two

“Now, we’re short on office space, here. I’m afraid that with a staff of just three, including yourself, that the Magic Section gets stuffed wherever we can squeeze them in. Unfortunately the Languages Department claimed Dr. Yppu’s office . . . and they were right that we’d borrowed it years ago from what was originally their part of the building.”

Rael eyed Department Head Eshy. He’s enjoying this. Just what I need, new people to establish myself with.

Eshy stopped a nondescript door, not at all like the paneled oak door of his own office. He was smiling as he handed her a key.

She unlocked the door and pulled it open.

About two and a half meters deep, and the same wide. Three battered metal filing cabinets.

She grinned. “Oh. This is going to be fun.”

“We’ll find you a desk, and some chairs, for student conferences.” A smug smirk on his face.

Rael waved an airy hand. “Not to worry. I’ll take care of redecorating.” And removing that smug grin of yours. “I’ll have it all spiffy before the students get back from vacation in two weeks.”

She pulled open a drawer of the middle file cabinet. It screeched and dragged. “Empty? Good. Why don’t you have them removed, and I’ll get busy.”

He looked puzzled, and she giggled and bounced away.


She’d parked as close to the administration building as possible, which had put her a short walk from Building One, or Diego Hall. And apparently called the Soft Building, as it was where the soft sciences were taught. Lecture halls on the lower floors, faculty offices above.

She tossed her jacket back on and bounced across to the visitor’s parking.

Half an hour’s drive to the horrible old house she’d bought. The building commission had sent minions to explain about the permits she’d need to do anything to the house. Fortunately, by the time their inspectors had arrived, Xen had stripped the house. It was clean, inside and out, even the peeling paint gone—inside and out. And the yard was two centimeters of grass or weeds all around, all the trash and dead bushes gone.

The wobbly walls erected by the dozens of kids who’d camped here, gone. The amateur hour extra two bathrooms? Gone.

The waterstains, and mold, gone.

The inspectors had taken samples and grumbled about the non-permitted cleanup.

She’d just looked surprised, and suggested they talk to the former owners . . .

And now there was the yummiest man in the Multiverse, sitting at a work table in the middle of the front parlor. He waved a sheaf of papers at her. “The mold tests all came back negative, so we have permits to paint inside and out, and the electrician and plumbers both left estimates, and those permits are underway.” He hooked an elbow over the back of the rickety chair and flashed a grin at her. “So, how’s the new boss?”

“He enjoyed lording it over me, by presenting me with a storage closet for an office.” Rael batted her eyelashes. “Honey? Will you make me a bubble office?”

(Anonymous) on May 26th, 2019 02:19 pm (UTC)
I like!
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on May 27th, 2019 10:59 pm (UTC)
Would Professor Rael be a better tile or is it too twee?
matapampamuphoff on May 27th, 2019 11:20 pm (UTC)
It could change into nearly anything by the time it's done. Right now, that's just so I can find it easily. Warrior on Campus tempts me.
(Anonymous) on May 26th, 2019 04:25 pm (UTC)
Picky Picky
To quote: "This is going to be so much fun."

Now for the picky. “A Princess, a Dancer, a Presidential Directorate guard and agent, one of the new Warrior." should be “A Princess, a Dancer, a Presidential Directorate guard and agent, one of the new Warriors." as Warrior needs to be plural.
matapampamuphoff on May 26th, 2019 05:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Picky Picky
At this raw, off the fingers stage, typos are just lipstick on the pig. Not worth it, when half of it will change.
(Anonymous) on May 26th, 2019 08:19 pm (UTC)
Hee hee. But of course the magic section head should have a shoebox-size office big enough on the inside to play frisbee golf ...

cnmckenney on May 26th, 2019 09:43 pm (UTC)
That she can take with her when she leaves. If she so chooses.
(Anonymous) on May 26th, 2019 10:39 pm (UTC)
Don't forget the: Dressing room (large, with many shoe racks), Hot tub, Shower, Armory and Range. Not to mention the sealable bubble door to make it a safe room. Also, the private office in a speed bubble so she cannot be overloaded with too much work for the hours in the day.
(Anonymous) on May 26th, 2019 11:18 pm (UTC)
Probably be easier just to have a rear entrance that connects to her kitchen at home (for raiding the fridge when snacks are needed).
ekuah on May 26th, 2019 11:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah, just think about all the time you could save in commuting.
stan_millerstan_miller on May 27th, 2019 05:46 am (UTC)
A nice bubble with an interior done up only slightly less impressively than DISCO HQ?
Maybe just touch up the closet a bit and add a corridor to some nice land and an office building?
ekuah on May 27th, 2019 08:01 am (UTC)
Why not a permanent gate to a another (empty) world?
With a whole training center and a beach for training.
Similar to the Nil's wizard training world.
(Anonymous) on May 26th, 2019 10:00 pm (UTC)
"a mild grandmother’s zing".

If the recognition is a genetic thing, shouldn't it be a touch weaker considering Kyol is Rael's Aunt (Kael's half-sister IIRC).
ekuah on May 26th, 2019 11:08 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I wanted to mention the same.
Rael's biomom is Kael the battleaxe.
Also since the wine of the gods was part of Rael's conception, we can't even be sure how many genes Kael has provided to Rael's genome.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on May 26th, 2019 11:11 pm (UTC)
==“Well, Raod’s labor was quick too. But then the twins were early and small . . .” Madam Kyol sounded worried. ==

Raod has had /three/ pregnancies so this doesn't ring quite right.

Perhaps ++Raod’s first labor++?

Edited at 2019-05-26 11:11 pm (UTC)
ekuah on May 26th, 2019 11:14 pm (UTC)
"Because she will hand you your asses..."
This is soo crude.
I can't believe that Urfa uses such language in an open discussion.

"Because she knows how to make people disappear..." that is more refined and sounds so much more like something Rael would do. ;-)

Edited at 2019-05-26 11:16 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on May 27th, 2019 12:42 am (UTC)
Of couse, once the bubble office is kitted out, they want to claim it back for a bigwig and assign her to a different shoebox. So she giggles, unsticks the bubble and sticks it to her new office, leaving the insulted bigwig gaping in the crappy closet.

But I gave you the office back in the same condition I received it! The furnishings are mine. Giggle.
mbarkermbarker on May 27th, 2019 12:59 am (UTC)
"then got his other hand crushed while Rael delivered the placenta."

THANK YOU! I have noticed that most birth scenes somehow manage to have a baby, but no afterbirth. Glad to see one that includes the messy parts.
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on May 27th, 2019 10:57 pm (UTC)
Track down the scene when Trump's grandchildren are born for similar mentions plus the arrival of twins and triplets for the bad daughters.
(Anonymous) on May 28th, 2019 12:37 am (UTC)
Perhaps some comments about what the university outside the Directorate School provides in magic training.
matapampamuphoff on May 28th, 2019 12:47 am (UTC)
Re: Magic
Oh yes, Rael will get into trouble with them. And then they'll start trying to steal her for the School of Magic.