matapam (pamuphoff) wrote,

_Professor_ part 46

“Excellent! Come any time, Mom’s got the keys.” She clicked off . . . “What’s so funny?”

Xen’s dimples deepened. “Save the baby from your parenting? Is this a sign that they’ve started accepting me? Or are they just pretending I don’t exist?”

“Umm, they probably don’t realize that you’re doing most of the parenting. And then there’s Ryol getting injured in one of my classes . . . Dad was a bit . . . rude about it.”

“Umm, personally, I had a few wishful thoughts about returning to Versalle for another round with Isakson and . . . getting a bit slack on pulling punches.”

Rael giggled. “I won a lot of money betting on you, the first and only time you two faced off.” She sobered. “He grew up in a war, and there wasn’t time to coddle the trainees. All the exercises I’m giving eighteen to twenty-year-olds are the sort of things his old trainees got as soon as they’d touched power. Ra’d was out in the field, in the war zone, getting trained with the Warriors when he was thirteen.”

Xen nodded. “So all Isakson knows about is training in desperate straits. Perhaps I’ll speak nicely to him.”

“Ah . . . I think you’d better leave that to me.”

Xen grinned wryly. “To avoid a diplomatic incident?”


Chapter Thirty-one

Got them!

Thursday 2 Safar 1417 yp

Ice tapped at Real’s office door and stuck his head in. Received a wave of invitation. “Oh good. I was hoping I’d catch you in between the morning run and the first practice.”

She raised her brows at him. “You look a bit . . . something.”

“Yeah.” He looked over his shoulder, and then slid the double doors shut. “Isakson called Ajki and told him to send me and Dog to Versalle for training. And that’s after he decided that two Purp spies on the Home World were more than sufficient to retroactively justify your possibly illegal gathering of personal medical information, AKA DNA of people with no access to secret level data, nor protected persons.”

“Hmm. Protected persons. Actually Ryol and Arno, being the Presidential Director’s step children . . . Huh. I haven’t recognized any guards, but I have seen people lingering about, watching the practicum and so forth.”

Ice paused. “So does that mean they’re guards, and not bad guys?”

“Hard to say. The only ones I’ve confronted so far are you and Dog.”

Ice nodded. “Right. Well, the reasons I came back, Akji, having checked the legal situation, sent all your DNA results off to the archives for identification. Due to weather events, fires, and tech changes, not all birth DNA results for people that old are available. But they were all identifiable from the modern ID retesting, in 1532. Including the Purps—Adse and Eshy.”

Rael felt her grin spreading. “Excellent! So . . . should we just grab them?”

“Ajki’s got squads organizing to grab both of them and everything in their homes and offices.”

“Awesome. Do I get to help?”

“Only inasmuch as one of the squads may want to hit Eshy’s office via your office.” Ice squirmed. “Ajki said he was quite firm on that. You. Stay. Out.”

Rael nodded reluctantly, then grinned. “Unless it goes tits up. Then I’ll come help.” She paused . . . “Umm, on the DNA checks, what about Ejti and Erdu . . . where’s my list . . .”

Ice held out a chip. “Here’s all of it. Ajki asks that you call him before doing anything . . . er.”

Rael giggled at his sudden editing. “Stupid or insane?”

“Actually it was ‘tell that insane woman to call me before she does anything stupid.’ But that’s just Ajki being pissed because of how long this has been going on. And, umm, right after his meeting with Ox and Izzo.”

“One! Good thing they all know and like each other.”

“Oh, and XR Director Ugpw.”

“Poor Pug. Although XR is running smoothly. I think perhaps it needed an experienced bureaucrat, but an ongoing infiltration is outside his experience.”

Ice nodded. “Well . . . Now that they’re on the ground here, they’re our meat. Once we’ve got them, we’ll know how they got messages out. Catch the people in positions with access to information the Earth would be interested in.”

Rael picked up the chip . . . checked the time. “Well, I’ll just save this for light lunchtime reading. I need to head to the practice field.”

“Any timetable on the raid?”

“Late afternoon. Ajki wants to grab them in the open, away from both office and home.”

“Right. Good grief. I hope my Mom and the nanny I just hired . . . don’t find it too alarming . . . maybe I should tell them to wait a day.” Rael open the door to the house and stepped through. “Xen? Umm . . . damn.”

He looked around grinning. “Something you don’t want to tell me?”

“Yeah. Umm . . . give me Exzy and go away for the day, please?”

He laughed and handed over the handles. Disappeared.


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