Tuesday, September 30, 2014

82 - Uninkly Bastards

Everyone but the Marines froze when code spilled so abruptly into the real world, as the terraforming and support programs began showing everyone the conflict.

The Marines were out, on the ground, all around where Perrin’s throne and the CEO of Eastern stood, but their restraints shot out with perfect precision and snapped into a shell around Perrin where he sat, avoiding her completely.  She stepped back as the restraints hit a shield and blue-white sparks flowed around the curvature as the two energy fields fought for control.

Down on the planet Kyrus the Emperor had leaped to his feet when this all began, his arms upraised and the Great Hive flowed down around him, lifting him up, using all the ideas that Hara had been tinkering with and the warbird made of bees glittered and flickered like the FireDrake missiles.  On the saddle, Kyrus reached across in front of him and yanked as if drawing back a curtain and he and the Great Hive rode through into code, right under the hut on chicken legs. “Fak it, Inamour!  Ilax lunged through the hole, mandering up a winged horse for himself.  “Love... don’t try this alone!”

The Emperor glanced at his husband and smiled.  “I’m never alone.” He turned his attention to the struggle happening on the moon.  In code it appeared to be directly connected to Glass Mountain by chains made out of light. “Ancestress...”

“Yes.  Hive Lord... my generations great grandson...”  Cross-legged on the porch of the hut, Diryish sat. Petra swooped down in her mortar to hover beside Kyrus. “He’s fighting back.  Here are the repaired codes that you don’t have, or have busted copies of.”  A glittering of insects and silver dust billowed out of her hand.

“Empress... why give them to me?  You said...”

“I’m keeping him busy.  You see, my boy, we’re dead.  This life in code is a sham really.  Thriti’s recordings and Gregors and the half a dozen Emperors of Lainz and a whole carasarkina of strong Asses of Lainz are in here to help... but the way it works... You and your husband...” She grinned at a thought she had about that but didn’t comment, just continued her hurried instruction.  “You’re the live ones.  You and whoever is living are the Warmasters here.” Her head turned.  “He’s breaking loose from the soft restraints.  He’s been working on the offensive programs for a while and they don’t know what he’s got. Command, us Radiance!” She said that loud enough to echo everywhere in code, then quietly only for him and Ilax.  “Get your ass moving, boy.”

The CEO stepped a bit further away from the Marines attempting to arrest Prime and touched one of her earrings, and softly, quietly, vanished.  *Mom!* Terry cried.

*She is just cloaked. A wise move, seeing that Prime is escalating.*

“Dammit, Rasheduzzaman!  Order your dang marines to stop! Rash? Rashe? Oh, hell.” The flowing sparks burst up and out, vanishing.  “You can hear me, Rasheduzzaman!  If you are siding with my Heir and my enemies you realize I can’t allow you to leave?  Rash. Talk to me.  I don’t want to break your Spine in transit!”

A voice came from nothingness, directionless.  “You’re threatening to kill me and my entourage, and all legal and military personel with us?  Captain, you have my authorization to defend us.”

Alissa whined, almost under her breath.  “They can smash the moon, and the planet, all of it, doesn’t he see that?”

“They’re both threatening to kill us all.” Uninkly bastards who don’t care about anything but themselves.  Lovely.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Author's Note

Something has come up and I will not be able to post today.  My apologies.

Friday, September 26, 2014

81 - With Steel Teeth

Darcy blinked at the miniature dragon on his hand.  “Yeh mean that there ‘r bunches of people o’er here?  That Prime’s been tryin’ t’ kill ‘em off, not just a thousand years ago but just afore he sent us here?  ‘s he completely fooked?... um... unbalanced?”

“We think he is... ah... The Emperor has just made connection with the Galactic Legal offices, through the machine that the CEO brought with him... ah... her now... Prime should be being arrested shortly.”

“What... do that mean fer usn?”

“Right now... nothing.  I believe that the Emperor and the Surdeniliarch and the Nadu and the Hippifrei, the coalition in other words, will be willing to hire your wage to continue growing your valuable crops...ah.  It appears that Prime’s Heir, Perrin the Fourth, is one of the complaintants.  You might get a new Prime, if this one is hauled away to a galactic prison.”

“This ‘s... weird.”

There was a sudden quiver, all through the fabric of the world, and everywhere there was code, everywhere there was part of the Great Hive, all the of the Hippifrei bone herds, the biomats of Terran plant overlay, everything stopped.  A voice quivering with rage echoed off every built or controlled surface, from every re-arranged genetic marker, from the bacteria seething in the sand on the wind.


“Perrin Thurmontaler, the Third.” Another voice rose up, from the same code.  Flickering images appeared in the waving green of the asperagus fronds, and flashed for seconds against building walls.  Images against the sudden cloud cover, spreading shade over both Xanadu and Hinnemon, of a gigantic hut hopping on a chicken foot, a golden box opening and a heart rising out of it. A cup with an old woman floating in the air and the heart flying up to sink into her chest.  A cup, flying with a young woman, with blond and black and grey hair whipping around her as she rowed across the sky with a pestle.  “You will be stopped.  You tried to eat my children, with your steel teeth, old man.  I shall be your Baba Yaga, instead of you being mine.”

Thursday, September 25, 2014

80 - Barrister and Solicitor 8

The woman in the white suit stood still for a moment, flung her hands into the air, her hair moving out of the way so as not to interfere with her motions, and twirled slowly in place.  She laughed, right out loud, long enough to have Perrin sputtering.  “Why Perrin, my old friend.  Don’t you like the new body?  I thought I mentioned it the last message I sent you.”

“Rash? Rashi?  You old blighter! You said you were going to do some body modifications but not... this.”  Perrin’s voice was higher than normal, in shock, and his joviality was forced.

“It’s all the rage with the new tech coming out... all rising out of your darling little plants, my friend.”  The CEO sauntered toward the door where Perrin’s throne now stood.  “Biomechanical life supports were fashionable years ago, old fellow.”

“Old fellow, indeed!  You’re older than I, Rash.  The new body... looks good.  But why?”
“What, why female?  Because I can.  You should come off planet to get all that old slop replaced.  You could be an elf for a few centuries...”

*Courier transit* Agador whispered. *Legal representation is present in the system.  I have connection.*

*Good. Are they willing to hear our case, are they willing to help us?*

*Good afternoon, Young Sir.* The mental voice that came through Agador was smooth, powerful and entirely inhuman. *I am Independant Barrister and Solicitor Machine 8, offering legal advice and representation to the Eastern Arm Transportation Company. How may I be of service?*

Mom’s data packet was proffered and accepted in less than a heartbeat.

*My dear Alissa.* Machine 8 said. *Since you are the direct heir of a significant portion of the planet present, I shall address you, after I commend this person.  Young man,* it said to Terry. *You are to be commended in your work, bringing this to judicial attention.*

*Miss, I observe the bombardment mentioned in your deposition.  Can you repeat that no one is currently being injured or killed in this action, through your Senior Owner’s direct action?*

She looked over at Terry.  "You answer it." *I can say that, Machine 8,* he said, obediently. *Is that the correct form of address for an independent machine?*

*Yes, it is.  Corroboration of the Medical vehicle’s assessment of ‘politesse’ from Terence Charles Arthur Cameron.  Miss Alissa, I shall be serving charge papers to the Commander of the Company Marines and having him arrest Prime.*


*Commander Kamen.*

The marine commander twitched as a coded message dropped out of nowhere into his inbox.  “Dammit,” he snarled.  “Security my foot.”

*I am Perrin Thurmontaler, the fourth, and I wish to lay charges of attempted murder against myself and my daughter.*

He looked at the papers he had just been handed by the legal machine.  “Get in line,” he said.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

79 - It's Like a Circus

“There are no intruders, that we can find, Prime, though there is an anomaly we cannot explain.” Terry’s pounding heart nearly stopped.

“The CEO’s ships have all unlocked from the spine,” one of the Immoderates reported.  “Arrival in forty two minutes.”

“Put a firewall around that anomaly.  I have to prepare for Rasheduzzaman’s arrival!” Prime’s security bubble didn’t pop open but unlocked from the floor and rolled toward the main doors.  “And get rid of that monstrosity.”

In the darkness inside Mom, Alissa shrieked and flung herself out of her chair as near as Terry could tell. “NO! NO! THAT’S MINE!”

Terry tried to shush her and Mom as well, but she pounded on the inside of Mom with her fists. “Alissa, Alissa, wait. They don’t have time to take it apart, they’re only going to hoist it up and take it outside! Alissa!”

It took a moment before she stopped, and they heard someone start up some of the pachyderm hoists.  It took four of them, working in concert but they managed to grapple Alissa’s creation, lift it, and trundle it slowly outside.  “There’s a place.  Set it there and it’ll be out of the way.  Prime can tell the CEO that it’s an art piece specifically made for his arrival, if he even asks.” The hoists scuttled back into the garage and quickly locked down.

“That’s MINE.” Alissa said, just as Mom brought up images of four ships sweeping in from the transfer point, in formation.

The shuttles, painted with the Eastern Transport logo, in green and yellow, were plinker hybrids with the interstellar engine belly bulge as well as the peculiarly bent bow that allowed them to lock into the interstellar spine without the assistance of a tug. It gave them the look of cranes as they hovered for a long moment, then settled softly in front of the garage force screen.

The CEO’s yacht was also green and yellow, the same class of ship, probably purchased from military shipyards further down the galaxy. It was a bright and cheerful coating that didn’t hide its lethal origins in the slightest.  It hovered and settled inside.

A series of uplights sprang to life as it parked and the CEO’s entourage came tumbling out of the hatch.  Terry blinked.  “It’s like a circus,” he said.  There were a dozen pieces of luggage hovering before or walking behind, some with human and aliens on them, all in green livery. Terry blinked again. The aliens were feathered, with vestigial wings, and cat people and dog people and every piece of luggage was a different shape or style. It was so distracting he almost missed the CEO.  A suit that was blinding white, white hair arranged in an anti-gravity semi-circle, speaking to the grey assistant attending on her.  Her – skin was ink black – Terry saw, as he gaped at the woman  who stepped down from the ship under – her -- own power.

“The CEO of the company he bought the planet from... is a woman.” Alissa whistled.  “Prime’s gonna blow a whole bank of resistors when he sees her.”

“And perhaps a blood vessel or two,” Terry agreed.

*stealth-search data connect request legal department, hiring.* Agador whispered. 

Perrin's amplified voice boomed out into the garage.  "Damn, woman, you look like a black and white dandelion.  Stop shilly-shallying around and bring your boss in to meet me." 

"Oh. Dear." Mom said quietly.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

78 - Stop Telling Me That!

“### ## #### ### #...ter agreement.  We the undersign# ####!%$& $%^# and Nadi########## ...”

Ilax teased the fragment of sentence out of the oozing pile of charred and soaked data he’d pulled from the broken hut on chicken feet, paused to draw a deep breath and rub his temples.  His head and whole body ached with the effort of even that little.  Prime had been virulently enraged by any planetary charter that was not under his personal control and had done his best to make it all unreadable.

Terence had even said that what they had found in their broken code was wildly different from the Charter, under blast-proof glass and on display to everyone ... as it was required to be, apparently.  It was Prime’s sop to legality because one line identical in both this ruined and partial copy and in the public one, was the line “This agreement shall be maintained in an open and freely accessible place for any citizen’s perusal, at any time, to maintain as a legal document. Should anyone attempt to hide or restrict access to this Charter, it shall be deemed to be no longer in force, as a legal description of the ownership and stewardship of the Planet ‘Chishiki’, fourth planet from the star “Kepler 2,488f”, renamed ‘Zaharat’ Second Diaspora 455.”

The Xanadu man, Terence, had laughed when Mom had explained that there was an audio version available.  “You mean one of the hundreds of red buttons around the crystal case has to be pushed so someone with the inability to read the Charter can hear it?  Nobody teaches the Illiterates that.”

“But it is still present,” Mom said. “So he abides by the letter of the law he, himself, signed.”

“He’s interfering with the open and freely accessible part, just by demanding that an entire sub-class of people can’t read!”

“Indeed,” His Radiance had said.

Ilax took a moment to look over at his husband and smiled.  “Inam, bending the edge of the screen with your bare hands will not help Terence or Mom should they be discovered.” The emperor looked away from his screen, his neck crackling as he looked up at the ceiling and stretched.

“I’m not bending or crushing the screen.  Maybe a little.  I’m just intent.  That CEO must have legal representation with him.”

“We can hope.  That would bring a lot of attention onto our problem.” He couldn’t bring himself to understand the sheer amount of attention that was, on a Galactic level.  Ilax told himself to stop thinking small.  “Terence has said that if our little war here is seen as newsworthy then it wouldn’t just be the legals involved but other planetary populations.”

“It makes my head hurt enough thinking that the Lainz empire is watching my every action through the Lin system that the old man started, don’t make me try and even imagine whole planetary populations watching.”

“You were just a warrior dying in the snow a few years ago.”

“Stop it.  Just stop reminding me how ill-prepared I am for all this!”  But Kyrus’s smile was in his voice as he gazed across at his husband.

“All right.  I’ll just get back to this, and you can keep an eye on our...” The big screen across the room lit up with the younger Kyrus’s code, the picture swinging wildly and they could hear the boy whooping and hollering.

“Ky?  What in Light and Dark are you...”

“Da! Da, this un... Oh fakkin’ sweet!  This warbird...”  His words were thin and hard to hear as if the breath were being pulled out of him.  “This Old Man... whooooo hahahahahahaha... oh my sweet dracu... draculin’ fakkin’.... This Old Man can FLY!”