?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
15 October 2019 @ 09:19 am
_Professor_ part 42 take 2 with additions  

Chapter Twenty-eight

Return of the Native, er, God, er, whatever . . .

Wednesday, 1 Safar 1417 yp

Sometime in the early hours she blinked awake . . . nothing wrong, just a deep smooth layer of safety, of magic . . .

She grinned and rolled out of bed. Met Xen halfway down the stairs.

She broke off a long kiss to look him over. “Got all your body parts, I see. Q?”

“Slight scorching, nothing a haircut can’t fix.”

“You smell smoky.”

“We were burning them down, not them attacking us. Mostly.”

Rael gave up an attempt to frown, and let the grin back out. “Come take a shower. I’ll scrub your back.”

***

And later, in bed. “So tell me about these Cyborgs?”

“Not that it was all of the Cyborgs. Just a minor branch isolated now, so the locals can deal with them.”

“How many worlds do you think they have?” Rael rubbed her cheek on his arm. And refused to slide into sleep. Business. Information.

“I’m going to guess thousands, but a guess is all it is. I need to trace them all the way back to their starting point and/or their capital. It’s not going to be fast.” Xen yawned and snuggled her closer.

“Didn’t get much sleep?”

“It wasn’t very safe. Either Q or I stayed awake. They use people in their gate machinery, so they do have dimensional abilities. We were afraid that they could see the captured bubbles and home in on us.”

“Oh. I see.”

“And I might have to turn in my D-cop badge. Given the choice between saving the Cyborgs from Eldon, or saving Eldon from the Cyborgs, I saved Eldon.”

“Hmm, sounds interesting, tell me all about it.”

“Oh they started scouting out the Earth Book where Eldon’s settled down, and he wasn’t about to let that happen. I yanked him out of the fix he was in, and left the Dissolution Bomb he’d set ticking away. It was the small version of what he set off on Helios. It took out about eight cubic kilometers then fizzled out.”

“Yikes! Yu said it isolated them? So Eldon dissolved their gate apparatus?” And those dimensionally capable people you said were ‘in’. . . I could have nightmares wondering what you mean by ‘in.’

“But we’ve got what we need to infiltrate now, or at least pass in public, and track them down. God only know what we’ll do with them, then.”

Rael frowned. “Pass in public . . . Xen how do you pass as a Oner? Genetic engineering like when you infiltrated, right?”

“Yes. I change the mage gene to a One gene.” His finger drew a little circle on her shoulder. “Just a small patch, enough to feel, but not give out thoughts, or get them. I’m pretty sure I’m opaque to the One hive mind, and maybe even your collective subconscious.”

Rael stiffened.

A small patch.

Six centimeters by three?

Oh. One.

Someone wanted a chunk of skin. For a skin graft. For the feel of the One, but small enough it didn’t reveal thoughts.

And here I’d been thinking that there was no reason an attacker would do something so odd, so it had to be self-inflicted.

But they’d have to have anti-rejection drugs. Are there anti-rejection spells?

And why leave such a mess, and evidence . . . of a sort.

Why kill Dr. Yppo?

***

“. . . an’ I ate all the worms.”

Rael giggled as she walked in from the morning run. “Noodles! Honest!”

“Ahno was the big brother bird and I flapped my wings.” Exzy demonstrated. “And I ate the worms!”

Xen laughed. “Sounds like you’ve been having fun. Hmm,” He picked up a piece of bacon. “What do you think? Squashed bug? Yummy.”

“Woad kill.” Exzy crunched and nodded. “Good woad kill.”

Xen grinned over at Rael. “Eggs with your . . . bacon?”

“Yes, please.” She popped bread in the toaster. “Wednesday. My easy day, so I won’t beg you to come help with the scary boys.”

“Team trainees?”

“Nope. Warrior trainees. They failed to level the campus last week, but did manage to break windows with a power explosion.”

“Umm . . .”

“So they spent the weekend on Embassy, at the practice beach. But there won’t be any Triad or Compass practice here.”

He just grinned. “Sorry I missed the fireworks.”

“Oh, and since they got called Warrior trainees in public, the Society page Newsies are flocking. Especially the girls. And the Team Trainees, who weren’t included in Isakson’s roundup, are getting publicly lumped in with them.”

Xen grinned. “I think I’ll try to be invisible on campus, unless you need otherwise.”

“An excellent idea.”

“Can I be visible!” Exzy bounced excitedly. “Nobody see me!”

Rael giggled. “Fortunately you have to be a whole lot older before you can be invisible. Because you’re getting hard enough to keep track of, as it is.”

“Now let’s get you cleaned up and running before I have to go teach.” Rael caught a questioning eyebrow lift from Xen. “Magic practice. Three classes of beginners, then lunch, then my two lectures. Tomorrow I’ll be swamped, and the strongest students--minus Ryol who scorched her brain keeping the damage to a minimum last week—in the afternoon.”

“Do you need help?”

Rael shook her head. “Ajki sent a couple of goo . . . analysts. To help and learn.”

“Goons.” Exzy grinned. “Ice an’ Dog.”

Xen eyed the boy. “That’s very good pronunciation. You’re growing up fast. What do you think? Shall we go watch you Mom teaching college kids magic?”

***

Despite knowing they were there, she couldn’t spot even a distortion in the air.

After the kids had left, there they were sitting cross-legged, side-by-side. With identical grins. And a picnic basket. Fortunately with lots of bubbled food, as “the Warrior Trainees” zeroed in on them.

Xen’s kids all rolled their eyes.

“One in the morning, all of a sudden instead of the all pervasive One, we had god level magic syrup all over everything.” Arno eyed Xen. “You look surprised. Haven’t you felt the other gods . . . just being there?”

Xen frowned. “Usually, only when they’ve been summoned, and the collective subconscious is focused on them. I wonder if it’s an effect of the larger population, here? Or . . . The God of Just Deserts has a mile wide field of karmic justice . . . ”

Rael pondered that. “I didn’t feel it until you were close. So not all the way from Gate City. We can test that after my lectures.”

Xen nodded. “I wonder what it does? Make everyone spy on everyone else? Make real spies extra good at whatever they’re doing?”

“Maybe it’s a Master of the Multiverse effect.” Arno’s eyes defocused. “Huh. I can see further than I could before. Of course, that could be age, too.”

 
 
 
(Anonymous) on October 15th, 2019 04:20 pm (UTC)
Here Q was out of touch with Xen dealing with cyborgs. But earlier she was at the hospital checking Ryol's scorch damage
matapampamuphoff on October 15th, 2019 04:24 pm (UTC)
Yes. I've had Q popping in and out, Xen still gone.
matapampamuphoff on October 15th, 2019 04:29 pm (UTC)

Chapter Twenty-four
Embassy
Saturday 20 Muharram 1417 yp


“I don’t suppose that wretched man bothers checking in?” Rael grinned and handed Exzy to Jiol, before she turned back to Lon.
“Of course not. Q has popped back and forth a couple of times. Says he hasn’t gotten into a single fight yet. Dr. Heath swears she’s cured me of ulcers for the rest of my life, but I have my doubts.”
(Anonymous) on October 16th, 2019 06:16 am (UTC)
Karmic field
Michael's field is a mile radius when he's happy. Ten miles when he's depressed. When he's angry ???

Bryan
matapampamuphoff on October 16th, 2019 12:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Karmic field
Yes. It really slows a story to stop dead and give details that don't matter every time something comes up.
(Anonymous) on October 16th, 2019 07:12 pm (UTC)
"God level magic syrup" lol. Good thing my kids weren't in the room!

So Xen's effect blocks the One? Except it's not a stuck compass anymore, so it would be lighter, and the Directorate School does train potential spies . . . does the One know? Has anyone other than Arno, with his own engineered patch of skin, noticed? If not, why would Oners not notice their connection being blocked?

Holly
matapampamuphoff on October 16th, 2019 09:24 pm (UTC)
It's not blocked. It's a different sensation, that most of them didn't notice. It's more of a "someone strong and benevolent is near" as opposed to the One, where what they feel at a distance is their connection to everyone nearby through the collective subconscious. "I'm among my friends."
matapampamuphoff on October 17th, 2019 03:19 pm (UTC)
I've clarified that, thank you for noticing, because it did sound like it was one or the other, which would get Xen declared persona non grata really quick.

Edited at 2019-10-17 03:20 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on October 16th, 2019 10:38 pm (UTC)
Typo
Ahno was the big brother bird
(Anonymous) on October 18th, 2019 06:29 am (UTC)
Re: Typo
I interpreted this as child diction, because I read "Arno" as "R-No" rather than "Ah-No".
(Anonymous) on October 17th, 2019 04:11 am (UTC)
What's happing with Jay? He is a good character. In Blackpoint Clan he is interested in going across, maybe joining the Directorate if they'd have him. With Ajki as a step dad, it should be easy for him to get in.
matapampamuphoff on October 17th, 2019 03:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I didn't want to add him, Or What, and Yrno right away. Too many characters gets confusing, and I wanted to expand the number of non-dimensionals in their gang, not to mention bringing in potential boy and girl friends.

The three of them will be transferring in as juniors, fall of 1417.
(Anonymous) on October 17th, 2019 04:27 pm (UTC)
Is Arno on hormone suppression and hence uninterested in girls?

--TheOtherSean
matapampamuphoff on October 17th, 2019 07:50 pm (UTC)
Yep.