"And while we all want to see what Ice is up to," Major Onca eyed the crowd listening in, "let's wait until this fancy lunch with politicians is done, and then Guards who are off duty, may participate in or observe this exercise in moving large masses."
Note to self: pickup a bunch of boost on the way. Or maybe call a caterer. Which might not be a good idea without a working toilet on the grounds.
"So, in the mean time, anyone needing classes, it's a nice warm winter day. Let's go outside for some basics so I can see where the lessons need to start."
He spread the twenty new men out in an arc and stood in the center to coach them through rising and lowering mental shield, taking names and rating them. Then gathering power and using a trickle to power the shields.
"Now physical shields. Only if you've been trained in them, don't experiment today, please . . . We'll save that for smaller groups."
Seven wobbly, four solid. Nine with enough sense to not try. But that's not completely congruent with their basic strength. A couple of the least well trained have some scary potential.
"Good relax. You four." Ice pointed out the strong shielders. "Do you all have the same schedules? You all need, umm, medium or advanced lessons. Then I'll split the rest of you into two groups for twice a week lessons after the daily run."
"We'll swap them around for you." Scar looked thoughtfully over his shoulder at the spectators. "Might just send you a few more, in a few weeks."
Ice spotted E-one and E-two looking wishful, and glanced at his watch. "I've got time to run a class in power collection and mental shields, for anyone who was never taught power collection."
Scar sighed and made an inviting wave. An even larger group trotted down and spread out. "We should never have let Urfa steal Rael."
One! I'm not turning into the new Rael, am I?
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
So long as I don't have to giggle and bounce.
Then up to the office to catch up on the latest from the Drei Web mapping project.
Six hundred and twenty-eight worlds, seventy-two hub worlds.
And what the hell we can do about them is anyone's guess.
At lunch he wandered out to the Barns and tracked down their vet.
“What diseases do Comet Fall Horses get? And what are the requirement for importing them?”
“Damn few, from what little we know about it. And the Smart Horses on Embassy apparently don't get sick, even when horses from elsewhere—Arbolia, usually—bring something in.” Doc Jule—Ujli--straightened and eyed Ice. “And if you've persuaded a Smart Horse to come home with you, I'm going to start believing your reputation . . . have you?”
“Four, actually. But I've left them in a bubbled barn until I figured out how many laws I've broken.”
The guards, just tacking up to report for guard duty, all looked around.
Doc Jule pinched the bridge of his nose. “How about a very fast explaination, so these guys can get out of here?”
“While being escorted around Comet Fall by Captain Wolfson, I mentioned wanting to introduce horses to Tall Trees, as harness horses, and did Comet Fall have any ordinary horses? He said sure and whipped me off to a horse auction and recommended two teams of non-talking horses. I bought them, and it turned out Wolfson was so scary they were afraid to talk to him.”
Ice shrugged. “I took them back to Embassy and turned them loose. The other horses picked on them for being working horses, and they wanted to come with me.”
“Something tells me there's a dimensional bubble in there somewhere.”
“Yes, so technically I haven't imported them, yet.”
A double ring had all the guards mounting up and heading out. Doc Jule shook his head. “As it happens, we are an authorized quarantine facility. Why don't you go get that bubble and we'll see about getting some Smart Horse here legally.”
The pintos were impressed with the big airy stalls.
Doc Jules got his mouth shut and explained to them about horse diseases and vaccinations and blood tests.
:: We need those vacca things! :: Triple snorted. :: We have fun with Ice and his friends, but we don't want to get sick! ::
Lightning had been staring at the bigger barns, then looked back at Doc Jules. :: I can't talk to any of those horses. But we'd better get the vaccas, just in case. ::
Dusty nodded. “They're different than we are, but . . . ::
Ice heaved a breath of relief, and left them vaccinated, tested and munching hay.
More fun than reading endless reports . . . except this one is a bit odd . . .
It was three in the afternoon before they were ready to head out for the house. With a huge following, in as much as Izzo and Ox had heard rumors and wanted to watch.
Ice got enough of a head start to stop for the ute, in the metro parking lot, and changed into work clothes. To the bemusement of the advance team who'd taken him that far.
They scouted out the property, eyeing the house dubiously.
Foo shook his head. "I can see what you're trying to do, but . . . Even without the angle, that's just a concrete skeleton."
"Ah, but it's a well proportioned skeleton." Ice grinned. "What? You think a compass that's close to half warriors can't lift and move that baby?"
"Ice . . . I think they could only do that in the vids. And even if those execrable thing were historically accurate . . . they weren't worried about structural integrity, just dropping them on the bad guys."
Ice sniffed. "Well, I suppose that if I were sensible I'd ask Isakson about it, but I think that tactic was mostly used in the battle for Kolkata. Which was what, three weeks after the fall of Rangpur?"