This is right after a chunk of the One comes to Tall Trees.
22 Emre 2021 yp
“Damn, these political bloggers are getting a bit nasty.”
Dog backed up a couple of steps and looked in Figgy’s cubicle. “What now?”
“This ‘Aces on the Inside’ post is a brutal deconstruction of the new Gate Bill.”
“Oh? Never heard of that one, is it new? I doubt it’s the only blog that’s anti that ridiculous gate bill.” Dog tried to shrug nonchalantly. I wish to hell Izzo’d won the election. Or Rumakova. The rumors are flying that Minister Axti disagreed with the validation of the election.
Dammit. Ice told me it wouldn’t be challenged, and he was right. And right about why. A bad president is better than the people losing their trust that the government follows the law and respects the results of their voting.
He walked on, ignoring the newbie in Ice’s old cubicle. Not his fault we lost our best senior analyst. Poor kid, straight out of the School and thrown into a group whose responsibilities are mainly watching the upper echelons of the Imperial Government.
If only President Afgu had kept Ox . . . Ahxe . . . as Director of Interior Relations. And why the hell didn’t he go for all War Party faithfuls, not the other ex-puppets he’d named before.
Presidential Director Ehfa, who’s a One Firster? And putting Uqqy at XR? The thought of that nasty piece of shit dealing with Disco makes me want to hide under my bed. And now we’ve got Encw—Ink—as Director of Interior. I sort of wish Ugpw hadn’t retired. We could have dealt with a man who’d been Izzo’s appointment to XR.
But Ink’s reputation is totally mediocre. Maybe he’ll listen to us. It’s not like we need a dynamo for a leader.
He flopped down at his desk and fired up his computer.
Paused to listen to the collection of footsteps in the hallway between these damned cubicles. A rumble of male voices. He gave into curiosity, got up and stuck his head out the doorway.
Ibla, escorting the newly appointed Director around.
Almost two weeks, and he finally comes down.
Dog eased back and brought up a random spreadsheet on his comp. Shifted it so it was almost visible from the hall. Got out his mini-comp and pulled up his notes on some research.
Heard the footsteps nearing and frowned from notes to spreadsheet, nodded in satisfaction, and looked up. Jumped up as if surprised. "Sir! Er, how may I help you?"
Director Ink stepped closer and glanced at his comp. "What are you doing?"
"Double checking the numbers I put into a statistical analysis, before I finalize the report."
Ink nodded, and glanced at his own minicomp. "Arfy 'Dog' Withione. Analyst, good reviews. Only black mark is dating a Native. And I see you have a reluctance to take vacations. That's bad for staying fresh and alert. And hubris, thinking the office can't do without you. Or insecurity because you think they'll notice they don't actually need you." The plump man looked Dog up and down. "Take your vacation. All of it. And stop dating that Native." He stepped back and walked on.
Dog got his mouth shut and sat back down.
Did that pudgy nonentity just tell me to stop dating Zizi?
He caught the man's voice again. "And who are you, young lady?"
"Analyst Vaul Withione. Sir."
Oops, the most gorgeous woman in the building caught out of her cubicle.
"Oh yes. I see you are involved with this Icka Upcomer."
"Involved!" Indignant tones very clear. Ha! I'll bet Ice lectured her on how to deal with an enemy superior.
Vaul's clear, upper class tones carried well. "Ice was a decent mentor, knew the ropes, the forms, but really! He was kind of bossy and a real snob. Compensating for being a Native, you know."
Damn near word-for-word what he told me to say.
And he is bossy as hell . . . and his advice is going to save a bunch of asses in the group, today.
Dog turned his mini comp off. Closed the spreadsheet on the big comp . . . and . . . what the hell.
What did Figgy say? Aces on the Inside? It damn well better not be written by a government employee.
He searched for it . . . read the sarcastic shredding of a bill that was almost guaranteed to piss off all the colonies and strangled their economies.
But the word choices, the cadence . . . Oh. My. One. That’s Ice. I can bloody hear his voice, with his nastiest Parisian drawl.
He failed to stop a grin, and read it over again. Then got a cup of coffee and strolled back to get to work in a much improved mood. He'd finalize that economic analysis and then . . . leave.
Dunno why I was stupid enough to think Ice would mope about. I wonder what else he’s up to?
And as for dating a Native? Yeah. I do believe it's time to stop dating.
"And . . . since I've been ordered to use all my accumulated vacation . . . all six weeks of it . . ." Dog reached for courage. "This would be the perfect time for me to petition . . ." Oh, fuck the stupid . . . He sank to one knee. "Zizi, will you allow me to petition your Elders for your hand in marriage?"
Her eyes widened. "Dog, you don't have to . . . I don't hardly even go there . . ." She stopped and took a deep breath. "Yes. And you better impress the hell out of them!"
Dog bit his lip. "Ice taught me to use a bow, but . . . Do I really have to hunt with it?"
She nodded. "We should go find Ice, and you can get some more lessons in, while I talk to Rumakova."