matapam (pamuphoff) wrote,
matapam
pamuphoff

_The Destroyer_ part 16


The hotel was built around an open courtyard with a pool and fountain, spray blowing in the breeze.

I wonder if skin contact is enough? But then these guys are going to try to get me to a bunch of Worlds. So I'll wait before I experiment, here.

He strolled over to the pool and guessed it at fifty centimeters deep. He leaned and peered. Coins in the bottom? A careful pull spell netted him a handful of copper disks.

Anatoly looked over. "I've heard the Natives throw them in, and make a wish."

Ice laughed. "Ninety percent 'I wish the Drei would all go back where they came from and leave us alone' I'll bet."

"Nah, that how many want us to just drop dead." Anatoly walked away laughing. "Poor creatures. It won't work."

Ice dropped the coins in his pocket, and strolled home to find the room empty.

He closed his eyes, and for the first time, felt the tiny electronic tickle of bugs. He stepped to the nearest, plucked it off the bed frame. There was another in the light over the table, one in the bathroom.

He threw them out the window. Looked carefully. Nothing. The people on the other side of the walls . . . one asleep, the other drunk. He stepped over to the window and closed the curtains.

Picked up the metal rod in the corner and opened it.

Lada jerked back, hand still raised from closing the bag. She tumbled awkwardly out. "Oh! That was you at the door? Sorry. I sort of panicked when Bob started rubbing his head. And, and . . ."

Ice gave her a hand up, then grabbed Bob as he attempted a more graceful exit and almost managed it. "What time is it, Bob?"

"Nineteen-oh-two . . . wait the clock's updating . . ." He shot a spooked look at the rods as Ice shut them.

"So they came as soon as they got word I'd arrived at the Paradise." Ice grinned at their expressions. Yeah, the bags boggled me, when I actually experienced them, and I knew all about them. "I detected and removed three listening devices, before I even looked for the bag."

Bob rubbed his head. "Someone was trying to grab control. Without the wires, they couldn't do it."

"That's not good. I won't be around all the time . . ." He fished out his fistful of coins and spread them out on the table. "It's been years since I studied glyphs, and even then I was only doing it so the people watching me wouldn't realize what I was really doing."

"Oooo! Were you undercover, in another disguise?"

"No. That time the bad guys were undercover in disguise, and I was trying to figure out which one was the Bad Guy. Turned out to be a no-show Drei infiltrator and a puppet co-worker of mine. Ummm, nine months before your first invasion, which we squashed."

Ice leaned back, closed his eyes and considered the bare essence of a control spell, compared it to the spells he'd felt when people attacked Bob. Not much difference, and the backbone was the double loop . . . so the counter spell he'd used . . . was a big sprawling mess, flailing around in hopes of stopping something . . . which could be trimmed back to the useful parts . . . just a few extensions to cover the most obvious ways to sneak a control around a block . . .

He opened his eyes and grabbed a coin, wiped it clean of pond sludge and green patina. Impressed the background to leave two raised-rim circles, with a thick barrier between them. Closed his eyes and shoved the anti-control spell into the metal.

:: Can you hear me? ::

"Unfortunately."

Ice held out the coin. Bob's glow disappeared.

"Now can you hear me? ::

Nothing.

Ice threw the Drei variant of the control spell. "Did you feel that?"

"I didn't feel anything." Bob looked from coin to Ice.

"I'm going to try a few more things. Tell me as soon as you feels something."

Nothing mental got though. Physical and energy spells still hurt.

"Oh . . . kay. Put that in a pocket . . . right, I see your glow now, but it's really dim. I'm going to try the control spell again . . . It's sliding off."

"I sort of felt something." Bob squirmed.

"So you feel normal to me with it in your pocket, but are still protected. And if you felt someone getting through, you could reach in your pocket and block them. Excellent. Now I'll make one for Lada, and then we'll see about energy and physical shields."

Unfortunately he didn't have enough coins for everything, but that did leave him enough time and energy to turn his pile of lumber into a plywood floored, room with snazzy--or weird, depending on who you asked--lattice walled and roofed room. With bronze behind the lattice, of course.

"So next time you can wait more comfortably . . . and in fact we'll furnish it and we'll have portable hide-away where . . . Lada, where did you sleep last night?"

"On the floor in that corner, and Bob was in the other corner, and you were passed out drunk on the bed."

"Oh. Well, we'll have a portable hide-away where Lada can sleep without hearing Bob and me snoring. You'll have to leave the handles propped open so the time dilation effect doesn't take over.

"We'll go shopping tomorrow. Furniture and clothes. non-perishables and so forth." Ice looked around, walked to the front door, and the tiny closet. "Perfect. A weak sticky spell on the bottom bar hang the top bar on these clothes hooks and . . . what?"

Bob spread his hands. "A minute ago we were opening the bars sideways. So when you open them up and down, why isn't the room on its side?"

"The bars are attached to a multidimensional phenomenon that always orients its gravity to the last time it was open to a gravity field, and always is in the same orientations to a new--or the same---gravity field when it is opened again." Ice shrugged. "I can't make them, I just use them. And I certainly don't understand them."

They both looked dubiously at the fifteen centimeter wide opening. Then Lada turned and walked back to the bed, snatched the cover and a pillow and marched back to the closet. "Good night gentlemen!"

Ice walked back to the table, and rummaged in his clothes and weapons bag. sweats and t-shirts. Handed one of each to the Cyborg. "Bob, try these and we'll find a laundry somewhere, tomorrow for our fancy duds."

Bob looked down at himself. "Here I am the Super Spy's minion, and I'm wondering about laundry. This doesn't happen in the movies."



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