And it was complete.
The only thing he suggested was that they have their Office of the Inquistion examine the Medallion. "They get testy when anyone but them does anything with one of these."
Otherwise he, personally, and everything he'd brought with him was thoroughly examined. When he finally got his clothes back he put on an ordinary suit that was closer to german standard than Russian, and happily packed the damned formal suit and boots away. Fortunately the canvas tote was expandable.
And then started talking to their securty people.
"My job here is pretty well done. I was tasked with keeping everyone alive long enough to talk to people, and get the warning out about Budapest Reborn's interest in your world, and the possibility of ringers close to your President."
Axel frowned. "Actually . . . I don't know how well information is being disseminated these days. Have you gotten the word about the Plague being a deliberate poison being introduced to the water supply of large cities?" They stiffened. "It is not person-to-person contageous. If it hits here . . . Has it? Didn't think so. If it shows up, evacuate the cities affected, tell them to not bring along any water--or other beverages from home. Trace and destroy any beverage shipments that come from any affected area. And treat the water system with salt water brine."
He talked his way through the entire interaction with Budapest Reborn, starting with the finding of the first beacon. They had trouble keeping straight faces over the incindent of the sick cattle. And then he circled back to the start with them piercing together, mostly from the financial examination, how the whole attack had been underway for years before there had been any action. And that finding, recruiting, and training the ringers had that long a history, and the substitutions only made quite late in the game.
He left them quite appalled, and they let him have a computer with serious limitations. The limitations did not include realestate sites, and he recommended three possible buildings that appeared to be usefully located for embassies.
Four days later he escorted a German delegation the other direction and turned them over to the Governor.
/// then a continuation of where I left off ///
Oh. My. This is my first real date.
And he's so handsome.
She hustled around, helping with the slow clean up in the disaster area of His Lorship's office. I wonder what really happened to Mr. Solovsky? I'm beginning to realize that Lord Axel is a very good liar.
She checked the time, and dumped the latest collection of glass splinters and headed upstairs. A shower, blow dry the hair . . . She looked at the makeup in dismay.
"I don't actually know much about makeup."
Aliona laughed, putting curler in her golden blonde hair. "You don't need much, that beautiful complexion! Look, I'll be right back."
And she was, with a huge tool kit. "For you, stroke a tiny bit of pink over your cheekbones and up and back into your hair line. A touch of blue on your eyelids. A touch of pink on your lips. Period. No. More."
Then she helped get her hair braided and pinned up in a bun.
Whistled at the sleek blue spagetti strapped sheath. "Don't scare him away . . . Good God! Nastasya! Are you dating a Lord?"
"He's not . . . I mean, he is, but he's working classs, not like, you know . . ."
Aliona snickered. "The Vinogradovs?"
"Axel's not like that."
"Yeah, boy, did I ever get turned down flat when I tried to get cozy."
Nastasya nodded. "He says he'd never let Lord Vladimir have a child of his to punish him through."
"Oh! That's . . . a horrible thought . . . I never thought. . ." a sudden wicked grin. "Maybe I should try again."
Nastasya rolled her eyes. Slid into the dress, and the black flats that were the only "dressy" shoes she owned, and headed out to where she could watch for Vlad without being seen by anyone she didn't want to meet.
Spotted the red sedan and ducked back and down the servant's stairs, a quick peek, no one in the grand hall, so she nipped out to meet him. Lucious in a suit.
He stopped dead and stared. "You look fantastic . . . and cold."
She snorted. "And ruin the effect all bundled up?"
He just grinned and opened the car door for her.
Wow . . . I mean, a real date! He really did ask me out on a real date!
Got a Bad Feeling . . .
"I just really hate assuming they are benevolent. I mean, what percent of True Men would you lay yourself open to?"
The breather at the halfwway point of the morning run had turned into a debriefing, as the Cyborgs and the two trainee Mentalists quizzed him on Stuttgart.
Murph snorted. "I know. Even you lot who work up here . . . even the mentalists we work with, who are cleared for teams, you still get idiots like Whiz who tries Control on his own Team Members."
And got both of them killed.
"Exactly. And we're trusting these people we don't know to just set up a system to warn everyone about aggressive worlds. If they think we look yummy . . . we're in trouble.
"So I've been thinking about contingency plans. We need to protect some people, just in case. If we could get the Quads out of sight . . . and put a coffin in the right place, blinking the right lights . . ."
Murph nodded. "They'd assume certain things."
"And anyone with a kill switch needs to try hard to not stand out." Axel bit his lip. "I'll talk to the Boss about burying the controls deep."
Ape winced. "That's something I hadn't worried about for years. Damn, Igor, get the dye out of your hair and your brain starts coming up with the scariest damn things . . ."
"And speaking about the Boss, we'll keep an eye on him. They wouldn't dare touch the Inquisitor, would they?" Murph glanced toward the big building behind them. "And then there's you."
"About half the civilians I care about are in the process of disappearing themselves. And yes, I am watching my my back." Axel glanced at his watch and pried himself off the ground. "But right now I need to talk to this bloody Historical Society nuisance. I'd say he makes politicians look like pussies, but he is a politician, so he's doubly . . . irritating." He trotted back into the chilly wind and picked up speed. Tried to not show he was feeling a bit winded.
"Poor Igor the Greybearded Lab Assisstant!"
"I have got to get back into the routine. It's been . . . I don't remember how long it's been since I got in a run before breakfast."
A tsk from Zilla. "Memory, it's the second thing to go."
Petrov was incandescent with rage over being kept waiting. Bitched about the lack of progress on the repairs.
"Lord Yuri, if we were doing this conventionally, we'd have barely gotten in the bids. We've got the front fixed. My next priority is to remove the third floor panels and get them into place. Then the doors.
"Depending on my energy levels after that work, I'll continue to work on the paneling a little bit everyday. While this is under way, I need to recruit people to look at a lot of the furniture in storage. We may move some of the most damaged pieces, and replace them with others."
"This this irreplaceable piece of history, and you treat it so cavalierly! A battle ground! How could you!"
"Not my choice. Take it up with Budapest Reborn, or go down to the mortuary and kick Vladimir Vinogradov's cold carcass."
He practically inflated, huffing in dignantly. He turned and stalked out without another word.
Axel growled himself and fixed a few more holes. I have higher priorities, right now. Once I've got some precautions in place, I'll save my energy for levitating heavy panels of antique glass down from the third floor without dropping them.