Axel nodded. "Yes. I want all original glass in the Grand Hall. You all know the building's construction, right? Both sides are basically built of a twelve by twelve by twelve three dimensional grid of steel I beams, with panels inset where desired."
Waved them all toward the back, leading the way. "So the back wall is a five-by-four set of panels. nineteen window panels, and the bottom center, a door with flanking windows and transom.
"So to have original glass, we will be taking out the five bottom panels. The window panels we'll replace with four from the third floor back wall. The door panel we'll replace with the identical panel from the end of the west wing. We'll put in temporary window and door panels while these are being repaired, and the glass replaced. when we get them back, we'll swap them for the temporary windows and doors."
The head of the society glowered at him. "Rumor has it that the Trust's Insurance is insufficient."
"Umm, it has a very high deductable--one million rubles--the endowment could cover that easily, but the Family will be covering most of that. The Trust's investments bring in enough to cover expenses, and not much more. I am trying to not eat into the principal as that can develop in a nasty downward spiral."
Half of the dozen men was eyeing him dubiously, the rest were looking around in dismay.
A grey haired man shook his head. "This incredible paneling! There must be hundreds of bullet holes!"
"Imported hardwoods. Beautiful, aren't they?" Axel walked over to an especially badly splintered area. Lowering his shields, drawing in power. Applying mental force to first pull the bullets that were imbedded in the paneling free, then feeling the fibers of the wood and teasing them gently back into place, with a bit of hands-on pressure. He stepped back, eyed the grain of the wood and worked the fibers again, lining them up carefully.
"My maternal grandfather, Dr. Ingolf von Richter, researched material sciences extensively. Repairing all the paneling will take sometime, as the process is energy intensive." He eyed the wide-eyed boggling group. "I don't suppose any of you have any experience in . . . no? Well. It will probably take the better part of a year to get everything. But it will be done."
A younger-looking man snorted. "You should just pay someone! Not dirty your hands. But then you are . . ."
Something in Axel posture must have warned him, at any rate he stopped himself.
"This is intensive Mentalist work. There are no working class people who are capable of this. Very few High Mentalists can. Be glad that I can, and will."
Young-seeming--probably regenned and over the century mark--stiffened in offence. Slapped out a pain spell, as if he were a servant or a cyborg.
Axel caught it and pulled the power from it. "So, what else may I show you gentlemen?"
"I understand that Vladimir's office was extensively damaged."
"Oh, yes." Axel waved to the side and the men headed that direction.
He hung back and let them view the disaster for themselves. Carnage from the secretary's antechamber, into the larger office, and on to the once concealed door, now a bullet riddled mess leading to a staircase . . .
Lord Vasily walked back, looking stunned. "I don't understand what happened."
"The Governor will be making an Address to the Council in," glance at watch, "two hours. I recommend watching it. I will not release any information in advance."
Young-seeming pushed through the others. "There was a battle here! I demand to know what happened!"
"I'm sorry, we haven't been introduced."
The man drew himself up. "I am Old Mentalist Lord Yuri Petrov. Councilman. Twelvth Plot District."
"Councilman, a pleasure, I'm sure. Governor Berezin prefers to be the first to talk about this. Demand answers of him."
"I can have you up before the Council!"
"If you think I can add to what you learn in two hours, I will speak the Council."
The man glared . . . but turned and stalked out to stare up at the second floor balcony. "Lord Andre, Lord Nikoli? Do you have anything to say?"
His cousins shook their heads and walked away.
At least their wigs look all right from this distance.
Petrov reddened, fists clenched. But the two large young men, standing side by side a quarter of the way up the stairs, may have kept him from trying to follow and confront them.
"They have received a series of shocks, and, well, listen to the Governor. You'll understand." Axel looked around at the group. "Tomorrow you will have enough information to . . . ask for detatils as they affect the House and the Trust."
He glanced at the stairs and nodded approval to Dimitri and Barf.
The baffled and now very uneasy group bumbleded their way out, stopping three times inside, and once outside to speculate about what gang of robbers could possibly . . . or had there been a dangerous rogue Cyborg, or, or . . .
None of them dared say treason. Or perhaps it truly didn't occur to them.
Nastasya stepped out of the inner hallway, a small tray in hand. Axel pointed at the small dining room (barely room for a dozen diners) and walked across to sit where he had sight of the front doors and could watch for Petrov, in case he wanted to argue further.
Nastasya circled the table to avoid blocking his view and set the tray down in front of him.
"I wasn't sure if you'd had lunch, and the Mentalist work, you probably need . . . well . . . I don't actually know."
"If in doubt, apple juice is always a good choice . . . hmm, beer? Good enough, but I'd better be stone cold sober before the Address to the Council." Axel thought that over. "Or very drunk."
The Governor's Address
Senior Detective Vlad Gargarin stepped over his sister and flopped down in a big armchair. She's reading. Talking. Acting like a teenager, instead of a five year old.
"I'm going to turn on the TV for the Governor's speech. You might want to haul all your books to your room."
"Dad said he's probably going to talk about the invasion. I want to hear all about it."
Dad laughed as he trotted down the stairs. "You can't fool us, you just want to hear all about what Red and Brown did."
He turned on the TV, set it to record so he could go through it bit by bit later, and analyze the hell out of it.
On screen they were still at the hand shaking and thank you for letting me address the Council on this serious matter that I wanted to bring you up to date on.
The head of the Council sat back down and the Governor took a deep breath. "Some time, probably over two years ago, your fellow Councilor Vladimir Eduard Vinogradov decided that he should be the Governor of Siberia Max, and that since his fellows were disinclined to even nominate him, let alone elect him . . . that he would take it by force."