It was actually a nice neighborhood. And the Paris version of Mexican food was an eye-opening experience. What with half the DMB Project inviting themselves along they filled half the restaurant.
And when Ice suggested the guys get back to work, they all just grinned and stayed. Even the Cyborg.
So is Ice an easy boss, or a push-over who won't achieve anything?
The furniture store was huge.
Ruin edged over to eye some inexpensive chairs . . .
Ice shook his head. "Nope. Once you guys leave, it'll all be coming home with me, so how about a couple of recliners, or overstuffed chairs with foot stools? Couch? Coffee table? Oh . . ." He veered off toward the dining tables and chairs.
"There's the counter! Perhaps just a couple of stools?"
"Oh . . . sure. Now beds . . ."
And after handing off a cash card to the salesman trailing him with a tablet, Ice pulled a little wooden . . . thing out of his pocket. Three cems by six, two thick, with some wavy lines.
A pull at each end and . . . something bronze stretched between them. "Hold this, down here." He handled half of the stick to Fayt and the other to Ruin. Then grabbed the bronze in both hands and lifted it up, stretching the bronze.
Their grinning office-mates cheerfully heaved all the furniture into the bronze. Then Ice let go and took the two halves of the stick from them and stuck them back together. And dropped it in his pocket.
Ruin swallowed. "So . . . that's what a dimensional bubble looks like."
"No, most of them have metal rods for the handles." Ice led the cavalcade back down the hill toward the office.
I didn't mean the handles . . .
"Whisper, did you get time to look over the Ponies' analysis of the legal situation?"
"Yep. It can't be avoided, but since we've started the census before the constitutionally imposed deadline, we're good. Have you heard anything about when the Council will be wanting to hear our conclusions?"
"They got a committee assembled, meeting next week. I'll go brief them and throw around some numbers, and remind them three times that the census will change everything." Those broad shoulders shrugged. "I think they need to settle before the elections next year."
"Yes. Because the district boundaries need to be settled, before people vote. One thing I need for you to dig for is what percentage, more or less, than the 2.4 million people that I suspect will be the standard for the district sizes. I hope to hell that most of the districts on the Home World fall within the slop, umm, within the range of error, so only the Colonies need to get split up. Homestead, of course, will be the toughest job. I haven't a clue what Tall Trees will do, but the tribes back in the Great Forest are the minority, now. Not that anyone's ever gotten a good count in there."
Fayt bounced up and asked. "But you're from a city, aren't you?"
"Nope. I'm a Sycamore right out of the forest. Not, mind you, genetically. But that's a whole other issue. I think I'd better talk to Governor Rumacova, about getting an accurate count. Especially on the other side of the Atlantic Gulf. There's not much contact over there."
"Oh . . . Yeah, the maps show a land bridge between Europe and North America. And the Ocean is way narrower."
"Yep, completely blocked in the north, and a restriction between, well, Not-Portugal and Not-Florida. The Great Forest wraps the gulf. The tribes on the Europe side don't have much to do with Oners. They were never really conquered. A census is going to be interesting."
"What about Vista?" Ruin
"There's Oners everywhere. A definite minority, but widespread. Once the clans realize they'll get more political power with a high census count . . . the main issue may be avoiding inflated numbers."
"Wow! And all the current councilors . . . probably don't want three colonies with suddenly expanded influence . . . they'll have almost a third of the votes? Can that be right?"
"Twenty-seven percent. And if we can get good counts on Vista and Tall Trees, it could be higher."
"Wow . . . that's a pretty big power shift!"
"Yes and no. They all vote for President, already. So they've got half of the law making covered. And the *Zolt already have experienced Councilors. Adding another five hundred will go smoothly. It'll be the Vista and Tall Trees newcomers who will be cluelessly messing up the flow of business." He started grinning. "I expect to enjoy watching it."
The Cyborg shook his head. "I knew you were weird, but enjoying politics?"