"I . . . really ought not experiment on the neighbors." He looked down at the beautiful woman . . . feeling her intelligence being eaten . . . again.
Her mother was all big eyed and desperate. Mitty looked fierce.
"Oh damn. One of these days I'm going to be in so much trouble. Why don't you all sit down and I'll be right back."
Axel grabbed a glass and headed upstairs.
Twenty days will dissolve the chip, they said. So . . . shit, we'll start with one week. His gut clenched. And what if I get her killed, for circumventing the law. What if this stuff kills her?
He poured half a glass of the wine and headed back down. They were sitting stiffly at the dining room table
"Listen, I've applied for a permit to research some odd stuff that might address Dina's problem. But right now, we have no idea what it might do, in terms of side effects, or long term effects." He set the glass down and shook his head as she reached for it. "Wait a minute."
Down to grab a bottle of red wine.
Back up to where the trio were all focused on the glass
A funnel to pour a few drops into the wine bottle, and feel the spells flooding the whole. He screwed the lid back on. "The stuff I'm going to research has one rather obvious and amusing side effect. There's probably a risk of it being used to umm . . . garner affection." He pushed to glass over to Dina.
The first swallow had her eyes widening, she finished it with another, then stumbled around the table to launch herself at Axel. He hugged her, then set her firmly on her feet.
"So I suspect you police types won't thank me if this ever gets out to the street." He disengaged Dina again. "I'm hoping that just one dose a day for a few days," he held up seven fingers, "will take care of the problem permanently. Which is one of the things I'll be researching."
He handed the bottle to Mitty, and the daughter to her mother.
"I'll keep you up to date, as the research progresses."
He got them out the door before he started grabbing Dina back. I think I got a micro dose through a kiss. Or dosing those damned cows. Am I insane loosing that stuff on an unsuspecting populous?
I need to analyze all those spells, and then utilize them in combinations . . . hopefully without the aphrodisiac. The anti-parasite spells seem likely as identifiers, and the healing spells after, but what is actually deconstucting the zivvy?
Right now, though, I suppose I ought to head for the big house and see what's going on there.
Offices and Homes
"This is such a weird feeling." Nastasya leaned back from the computer. "I mean, legally we're still not free."
Dimitri nodded. "But Lord Axel is just . . . turning us loose with an awful lot of spending authority."
Barf nodded. "AIV Enterprises. Established . . . yesterday. With ochen money in the bank that we can spend."
"W-wisely, else th-that'll be the l-last time we get any more." Pauli grinned. "S-so n-no sports cars."
"Yeah, and wow! Has turning fifty changed what that man lets show. I'm not sure Lord Axel actually wants a house full of servants, so maybe we ought to look at things like this." She turned the screen to show them what she'd been looking at. "This is about two miles away, and down a tier from his house. These houses are being used as businesses, but the owner still lives in the upstairs parts."
"Are you thinking about actually buying another house?" Dimitri frowned at the street scene. "And those are right near some new commercial buildings."
"I know, but I don't think Axel actually has a walk-in business in mind. I guess I'd better ask him. See this house? They painted it up nice, but it needs modernization. For the same square footage . . . we could lease this place--reception, three offices, lavatory, and a big workshop or warehouse space. Non-residential, and the lease is comparable to the mortgage on the cliff house."
Barf grinned. "We should look them over in person, so as to give a proper report to Lord Axel."
Nastasya grinned. "Road Trip!"
"A-autocab p-pulling up." Pauli leaned to look downward. "It's L-lord Axel. L-let's go see wh-what he says wh-when he sees his office."
Property of the Estate
His office was full of towels.
Stuffed. Bursting out.
"Howlingly funny." Axel poked at the doorway. "Surely they aren't all Dear Uncle's personal towels?"
Stifled snickers from the Rangers.
An apprehensive Anya nodded, twitched. "He didn't like . . . old things. Any little dangling thread and they got tossed in a room . . . We washed them and folded them and put them back. I guess we know why he kept them now." Her hands twitched with a need to straighten it all out.
"Well, as you have time . . . Miss Anya? Are you all right?"
"Yes, master, I just need to clean it all." Twitch.
"Need . . . Anya look at me." Axel lowered his own shields a bit and "looked" mentally at the old woman. A light command to not clean the large dining hall until . . . ah, Vlad must have had trouble keeping the scene undisturbed . . . Axel disposed of that one and blinked at the strength of the compulsion under it. Clean, clean, clean, everything must be clean right now. He worked his way into that one softened the controlling parts, faded them out completely and removed the whole.
Anya swayed, and he grabbed her elbow and steered her over to Nikoli's office and sat her down in a chair.
"How do you feel?"
"Very odd, sir."
"I dare say. Anya, I want you to go down to the kitchen and have a snack, maybe some tea. You'll feel better then, but don't work too hard. You've got a staff you can send around to do things."
"But, but . . . your office!"
"Hmm, tell you what. Find some boxes or bags, whatever works, and put the towels in them. If they need to be washed, have the laundry maids wash them before they bag them up. Put them in here, or at the end of the hall here. There's no rush, I won't have a place for them for three of four days. So clearing my office is low priority. Now go have a snack. I don't think you've been eating right." Axel looked around at trotting steps.
Isay, a twenty-year-old door holder, a little out of breath. "The scary people in his Lordship's office want you to come look at something."
Lord Sevastyan Kovalchuk was looking at a map, little points of light popping up. "We've found a real estate holding company. These are properties Vladimir Vinogradov owned wholly or partially."
Lord Martin Pavlovsky grinned. "That'll keep the field boys busy all day, checking for what Inquisidor Gorbachev said you would brief them on. They are gathering, with drivers and escorts, out there."
"Can you prioritize the wholly owned? And keep sending updates to the field boys and give them a way to signal all clear, as it looks like most of them will be going to the southwest side of the Capital Building?"
Both the lords looked dubious.
Axel glanced over his shoulder. "Pauli? See if you can snag this map and send it out with updates. I'll go talk to the field agents. Nastasya, you'll stay here and call things into whichever group needs it. Barf and Dimitri, stick around and be helpful."
What else? "The searchers will need warrants. Can you bundle them so each group covers an area, so they aren't running randomly all over town?"
He trotted for the front. A bunch of eager office boys, by their looks. But they all looked fit, and were probably carrying. No doubt strong Mentalists--for their ages.
Hell, they're just like me thirty years ago.
Their escorts were soldier Cyborgs. A dozen each, Mentalists and Cyborgs. Six vehicles. Armored, but not too obviously military to the uneducated eye.
They eyed Axel with lifted brows and noses.
Can't be sure, but I really don't think I was ever that arrogant.
"What we are looking for is Portal Beacons. The one we found here late yesterday was thirty inches long, six inches wide, three tall. They can't make them any smaller than that--so far as I know. But if the places you are searching are furnished, it's going to take time. You will have warrants, and I hope a map." He looked back as Nastasya dashed up.
"First two groups." She held out maps with areas outlined, a sheaf of warrants attached to each. "They're printing the rest. Four more groups."
One of them finely spoke. "Was it a working beacon?"
"Yes. Yes it opened. Yes, gunfire happened. Remember that you will speak of this to no one. So get your noses out of the air and get to work."
He glanced at the outlined area, four spots to search, and started pointing. "You and you with you two," pointing first to the field boys, then to the Cyborgs. "Take this and go. You are group one. Identify yourself as such if you call me. Drive by all the spots in your area. Pick the red dot that looks most like a place to stage an attack through and go take a look." He grabbed a pen and wrote his number at the top of the map. "Group two is you two and you two cyborgs. My number is at the top. Same as I told them. Drive by all, then start your checking with the most suspicious. Get going."
Nastasya dashed back with four bundles. Axel wrote his number on the top of each map, and as the groups self-selected, handed them out. Blinked at the last map--a single point well out on the west side.
In a warehouse district where they could get a fair number of troops through before anyone yelled for the police, and the police took them seriously enough to kick it up to the military. As opposed to the other areas that are more populated.
Axel looked at the two men left.
How bloody young are they?
"You guys have much experience?"
An eye-roll from one of the remaining Cyborgs.
"Behind a desk," the second one sighed.
"Right. I'll come too." Axel shook his head at Nastasya's eager expression. "You stay with Kovalchuk and keep me updated."
The Cyborgs were Ninety-two and Ten-ten. The young men grudgingly admitted to Sergey and Edik.
No surname admitted to. They're probably thinking they be good enough to want their real identities secret and hoping for cool Special Forces nicknames.
They rolled off the speedway into a warehouse district. Some trucks coming and going, getting loaded, but the activity was slacking off, the big doors above loading docks coming down. Good location, they could grab a defensible area before the alarm gets past the local police.
Axel pulled out his phone to check for any updates . . . no connection. Not. Good.