“So for now, this grid site will have downloadable copies, of reports, hopefully in a timely fashion.” She looked out over the two stuffed rooms. Braced herself. “Any questions, at this point.”
She pointed at an eager young woman. “Is Endi a Baby God?”
Figures. Women are still crazy about him. “Yes, the God of Spies.”
A frowning young man. “How many of these . . . things are there?”
Things? Oh, young man, are you going to get some rude shocks when you get out into the Multiverse!
“Dozens. There are a pot load of Archetypes. Fortunately they are fairly specialized. We’ll be getting into the Gods, old and new, last thing on the syllabus.”
She dismissed the class and ducked out the “secret passage” which wasn’t a secret, but did get her, via stairs down, a hallway, and stairs up, out of the building without having to wade though the mass of students.
A short walk to her office, and through to the house . . . where sweet silence reigned, the kitchen was painted, had acquired cabinets, and a large box that claimed to contain a sink.
“The cabinets aren’t actually attached to the walls yet.” Xen trotted down the stairs. “Just in case there are problems with the wiring, which is scheduled for tomorrow.”
She looked around and raised her brows at him.
“And for a kid who isn’t talking yet, he sure managed to make clear which bedroom was his. Third floor front, where he is currently napping, and yes, magic baby barriers are on all the stairs.” He grinned. “And for a woman who was supposed to be teaching a single class, you sure seem busy.”
“One! You wouldn’t believe how packed the Comet Fall Magic class was!”
A quick flashing grin. “I took a look. Under an illusion. I can’t wait to read those reports, and see how close you lot came to understanding us.”
She cocked her head and eyed him. “Why don’t you footnote the reports as you go? And organize them by subject.”
A quick grin. “Do you need me to write quizzes at the end of each chapter, for your textbook, Professor?”
She giggled. “Why, that would be quite useful.”
“So, how about dinner before the Current Events Seminar tonight.” He grinned. “Urfa invited me to talk about the things normal Disco agents do.”
“Yeah. I was hard put to find anything normal except paperwork. But I did find some useful video that should do.”
Rael eyed him. He dimpled.
A howl echoed down the stairs. And she hustled up to flights to find an irate baby patting thin air at the top of the stairs.
Exzy lit up at the sight of her. “Mummum! Dow!”
“How much time does your dad spend with you in a fast room, eh? Crawling and almost talking!” Rael scooped him up and walked downstairs. “Are you keeping track of his actual age at all?”
“Yep. We’re closing in on a year. Small for his age, a little behind on the crawling, but starting to talk about on time.” Xen reached out and touched the boy. “I’m sort of aiming for three years old on his official first birthday. Then he should be about right in four years to go to school, with kids roughly his same size and physical maturity.”
“Two extra years might be a little excessive, when puberty hits, or . . .”
“He’s got your Oner X and my Mage Y. He won’t need the hormone suppression . . . I think.” He was frowning suddenly, eyes unfocused.
“Xen . . .”
“I’ll check. I dreamed about how to keep my magic safe if I was attacked again. When I was recovering, last Summer. I don’t know if I actually did anything, or just worried about it.”
“Before . . . what do you dream about doing?”
“Putting a copy of all my power genes on a normal chromosome.”
Rael looked at the baby in her arms. “So . . . Exzy might have the Witch, Mage, and Wizard power genes tucked away somewhere. Along with a second copy of the Mage gene in the usual place and my One power gene.”
“Or not. Could be perfectly ordinary. So, I have bubbled, roast beef or porkchops . . .”
Rael suppressed a whimper, and let herself be distracted by dinner and baby cuteness.
Xen’s talk . . . was perfectly straightforward.
If only he had not had a video of everything he was talking about . . . going wrong. It was a magnificent blooper vid.
“Refereeing disputes between polities . . .” In the Disco forum, one of the parties to some dispute leaping over the podium to strangle Lon Hackathorn.
“Frequent diplomat duties . . .” Sommer Albrecht getting her butt pinched and decking the Ambassador from Purple
“And teamwork among agents from all over to properly document . . .” Peter Rhodan stacking the latest handwritten repot on the library table as two uniformed Disco agents from worlds with issues wrestled through the doorway and hit the table, paper flying everywhere.
“Exploring new worlds . . .” Q opening a gate and stepping through, running back out with a pissed-off skunk in hot pursuit . . .
“Rescue missions . . .” Inso pulling a baby out of earthquake debris and getting peed on.
Rael laughed until her ribs hurt.
And then laughed more.
Criminal investigations, with the Disco agent winding up in the handcuff. Chris Hanger standing in front of a tank . . . that didn’t stop. Jumping to grab the barrel of the main gun and swinging aboard to kneel down and shake his finger at the tiny driver’s slot. A horse drawn wagon with a huge telescope taking up the entire bed, as Xen talked about cutting edge tech . . .
“Trying to understand dimensional phenomena . . .” Kicking legs—shapely female variety—sticking out of a bubble.
“Actually . . . the job tends to be boring. We keep a minimal staff so we can respond to emergencies immediately while we yell for help. But in between. Boring.” The staff pouring out of the building and running . . .
Xen had been strolling, circling the building core the whole time, and finally stopped, and thanked Chancellor Urfa for inviting him.