Lord Klim Nitya Mikhailov growled faintly. Sixteen members of the Families of True Men. Twenty-six servants, to keep them in style. Forty kids of the fifteen female servants. Eight Cyborgs.
Ninety people crammed into one end of one wing of the sprawling hotel.
Six hours--when they ought to have been asleep--to pack everything. To evacuate this miserable hotel for the unknown.
At least Forty-nine found another box truck that could fit through a dimensional gate. If Olga had had to abandon her grandmother's table and chairs, all hell would have broken loose. And, clever Cyborg that he is, Forty-nine picked up crates of wine and vodka. Tools and tarps.
He glanced ruefully behind him. The mattress from here. The small desk, the little table and two more chairs. All the bedding and towels.
We may grab a few more things from this pathetic excuse of a hotel as we walk out and head for the Science Center and the gate.
A forest on the other side, according to Benedikt. With a primitive road down to the modern city in the valley. Most of us can camp in the forest while the advance party scouts out that city.
Four good cars, two trucks . . . We've got four vans for the servants. they'll have to pack themselves in like sardines, good thing a lot of the kids are small.
His wife walked out, her jewelry box in her arms. Her maid and his manservant pulled suitcases and a trunk out of the bedroom.
Lord Klim picked up his briefcase, his heavy coat, and led them out the door. Down two flights of stairs and out the back door of this wing. His cavalcade was lined up along the street, the Cyborgs watching it carefully. Most of the Servants were stuffing their belongings under the seats of the long vans.
Eighty-seven Four was in charge of security, of course. His best Cyborg. The most versatile, however, was Forty-nine. The old Cyborg had been a Bride Present from Olga's family, and however clever, the scar of rebellion were all over his brain map. And however controlled, he was solidly loyal to Olga and her mother, now a dependent of his household. And already ensconced in the back seat of Benedict' car.
My strong son, my tested and proven Mentalist firstborn. He'll stop right by the gate and make sure the Germans don't take the gate beacon away.
I don't know about my younger son. There's a feel of power about him, so with another four years, I suspect I'll present him for the challenge.
Assuming we've taken over, have contacted the Three Hundred and are getting the zivvy.
He may be late, getting challenged. But that's far enough off to not worry over.
The servants loaded the last luggage, and started squeezing themselves into the vans.
Forty-nine gestured a pair of tired teenagers into the truck he was driving.
Much through he hated it, Klim waved his manservant and secretary, and the children's tutor into his town car.
Thirteen closed the doors and slid into the front passenger seat. Eighty-seven Four a long look down the street, then took the wheel. "Everyone is in."
"Right. Let's go."
He was near the front of the line, only a few military type vehicles manned by Berezin's Cyborgs ahead of him.
He stomped on a flash of jealousy. The Berezin Family has nineteen Mentalists, half of them old enough to be dangerous. Which is why he's the undisputed leader.
He and his closest allies, Lord Vitaly Vasiliev and Lord Evgeny Dryagin, altogether are nearly a quarter of the people who are going. And well over half the Cyborgs.
He grinned briefly. Bet they had fun finding enough vehicles.
At fifteen minutes till eight, he sent Thirteen down the lines of cars to tell them to finish any leg-stretching, load back up and start their cars.
For the vehicles, they opened the back doors of the gate room, and turned the gate guides to face them.
Thirteen trotted back, grinning. Took his seat. "The Germans may not approve of two thousand Russians pissing on their roads."
Eighty-seven Four sent the younger Cyborg a quelling glare. Then put the car in gear and followed the vehicle in front of him into the building, up the ramp and through the snapping electric circle of the gate.
A nasty twist, a thump and they were driving down a graveled road in the dark. The head lights showed rough uncut meadow grass. Behind him, Benedikt's car peeled off to the side, to watch the gate, Forty-nine's truck followed, then Volya's Town car closed up the gap then slowed to follow him into the forest. Four kilometers on, they approached the small river where the road turned to the right. West, and downstream. Volya blinked his headlight farewell, and turned up the very rough path to the campground Benedikt had recommended. Uphill of everyone else, with the river on one side.
Smart thinking, that boy. I'm glad he was a part of Matveev's scouting party. I'll follow the lead vehicles and see what sort of people live here, what their tech level is . . .
He frowned and rolled his window down and peered upward. None of the reported planes in sight. Can't see the city lights from here.
The air was fresh, a bit chilly. It's summer. It's supposed to be warm. And most advanced civs have pollution control. This far form the city, of course the air's fresh and clean. He rolled the window back up and kept watch. The road deteriorated to a mowed path. Twenty miles on, it ended.
He left the car then, and walked forward. Tall, untouched prairie grass, rippling in the early dawn breeze. He waded through the grass, away from the caravan. Put up a mental shield behind him, dropped his shield and reached outward as far as he could.
"Nothing. No one. No people at all. We've been tricked." He turned away from the Cyborgs reaching for their radios and reached back for Benedikt. Felt his fury.
:: Khar grabbed the beacon and dived back though! He . . . what the hell? Khar's here. Buck naked and unconscious! But . . . I saw him dive back through the gate . . . ::
Klim ground his teeth. :: A German Agent! With that ugly tattoo, imitating Khar would be easy. We've been betrayed. ::
And we're trapped on a primitive world with nothing except what little we brought with us.