Tag Archives: Deborah

Fiction Friday: Give It to the Engineer

First entry          Previous entry

Ma’evoto strode through the clean room doors. He hadn’t felt so off balance since he started training as fighter, but the only sign of his discomfort was the off-beat rhythm his thumb tapped against the tips of his fingers.

Waiting for him was a woman who might have been the ultimate geek. Short cropped kinky hair paired with a long skirt of… indifferent style, and a sleeveless vest that gave full access to the sub-cutaneous circutry that crawled up her deep brown arms like tattoos. She had the far-off look of someone watching a retinal display. Probably display contacts. He knew she was a woman because her file said so—if it hadn’t he’d never have guessed. She didn’t wear a single triangle or star. Given geek culture that might be intentional or might be an oversight when she picked out her clothes.

The only thing that didn’t fit was the rabbit ears poking up out of her hair.

“Ms Malka.” He offered his hand

It took a moment, but her eyes slowly refocused. “Oh. Sorry.” She took his hand in both of hers. “Mr. Frederickson.”

“It’s Littlesun. Ma’evoto Littlesun” He tried to smile but it felt like more of a grimace. “I’m reclaiming my old name.”

“Oh. Sorry. Mr. Littlesun.” Her eyes darted around the room, and finally settled on something behind his left shoulder. “Um… I’m a bit confused. About why I’m here, I mean. And why this is here. I mean, top level clean room in government headquarters. That’s… like out of a thriller novel. And I’m kinda bottom tier over at ISA so really shouldn’t you be meeting with one of the…” she trailed off. Probably had been about to use a nickname the political appointees at the space administration wouldn’t like. Ma’evoto grinned.

“Please, don’t stop on my account. I have some less than flattering names for your superiors myself.”

Her mouth snapped shut. Opened. Closed. “Ah… well I don’t mean to suggest they are bad people you understand.” She was babbling now. “Not the best engineers maybe, but they know their jobs and they really are… I mean you don’t need to… that is…”

“Relax, Ms Malka. I’m not going after your colleagues. Some of them will moving to new jobs soon, but I’m not looking to make any more examples. One should be enough, don’t you think?”

“Ah. Yes.” She swallowed.

“Good.” He started the room’s standalone comp and inserted a filechip. “As for why there’s a top tier clean room in government headquarters—mainly to be sure there is one place in the damn building where people can’t be spied on.

“Take a look at this.”

A hologram sprang to life, a spherical space station with one large door and a number of smaller ports. Specs and calculations surrounded the main image.

Malka leaned in. “Nickle iron? An asteroid base? But what about… Oh, I see. Interesting.

“I didn’t take you for a fan Mr. Littlesun. But this looks like something out of Troy Rising. And if you are going to be that ambitious, why not the Death Star?”

“Because we have a chance—barely—of finishing this in two years. And both the old NASA engineers who dreamed this up and the author who wrote Troy Rising understood the importance of little things like having blast doors across your exhaust ports.”

By the time he finished speaking, Malka’s eyes were glazed again. “Two years. The engineering challenges alone…”

“You don’t need to worry about anything else. Funding, bureaucrats, politics—forget about it. Handle the engineering. I’ll see that everything else is taken care of. That’s not a license to spend money. But first priority is making it work, second priority is making it safe. Money is third.”

“It’s doable. Maybe. With the right team.” She hesitated. Refocused. “How will the team be chosen?”

Ma’evoto leaned against the wall and crossed his arms. The movement hid his sigh of relief. She was onboard. “Anyone at ISA that you want is yours. If there are outside people you need, put a list together and I’ll see what can be done. They’ll need to get security clearance same as everyone else at ISA. Don’t waste my time suggesting people you know won’t pass.”

There was a knock at the door. Right on time. He opened the door to let Deborah in. “One last thing. This is Deborah Wirth. She’s been in charge of my magical security, but she’ll be transferring to work on the battlestation as soon as your team is up and running. She’ll have her own team for integrating mystic defenses and other mumbo jumbo into the station.”

This time Malka’s mouth flopped open. “But… but… no one has ever made magic and technology work together.”

“That,” he smiled, “is an engineering problem.”

Deborah muttered something—he couldn’t hear what. A moment later, Malka’s bunny-ears started twitching.

Fiction Fridays: That’s Some Retirement Plan…

First Entry          Previous Entry

Trevor watched the crowds hundreds of feet below. Folks on the fringes were trickling away, but most weren’t going anywhere.

Give it a couple hours of (hopefully) nothing happening, and anyone not completely dedicated to whatever had brought them here would start to move along. His supporters, at least, had mostly set their signs and amplifiers to automatic and were plugging into the ‘net, to get some real work done. Wu came up to stand beside him.

“General Winehurst wants to speak with you.”

Trevor sighed. “Might as well get it over with. Send him in.”

Wu bowed and left. Trevor turned away from the window to survey what would become his official office. Three cream-colored walls, bare of decoration, and one wall of windows rose 15 ft a ceiling that had been painted with a mural of the world and its peoples. Or at least, it’s human peoples. The floor…

Winehurst burst in before he had finished the survey.

“We did it! I told you my men were the ones for the job.” Winehursts milk-pale face glowed with excitement and the disgusting gender-erasing phrase slipped naturally between his lips.

Trevor smiled and took the general’s hand in both of his. “You did, and they did. Your people have done us all proud.

“So when do we start cleaning up?”

“Why, now, actually.” He tightened his grip, making the general wince. “I am delighted to accept your resignation general, dated immediately. You assassination and leg-breaking teams were invaluable in creating this new world, and I know you want to rest from your labors.”

Winehurst tried to pull away, but he had trained with weapons 30 years ago. Trevor trained in hand-to-hand twice weekly with Wu. He couldn’t beat a real fighter—he hadn’t kept in real training for over ten years himself. But the general wasn’t escaping him by main strength.

“What! No. Damnit we talked about this. You promised me a chance to rebuild the military make it a real fighting force again! Let go, damn it!”

Trevor timed his release so the general lost his balance, stumbling backward and nearly tripping over Wu and Deborah. Deborah wore the distant look Trevor was used to seeing when she called on her God. Wu was focused on Winehurst.

“I have every intention of keeping my promise, general. But I’m afraid you and I have very different ideas of what a “real” fighting force will look like. My idea does not look like the murders, bullies, and abusers you’ve gathered around you to abuse and extort civilian populations. It looks like a military force. With discipline and a purpose.

“So I suggest you take your retirement bonus and go. You won’t get a better offer.”

Winehurst strode towards Trevor, getting in his face and trying to loom over him. “I’m the only military office you’ve got. Without me, you can’t hold the troops. And without the troops, your brown ass will be dead before the week is out. You may be the one with the big chair, but you don’t scare me.”

“I see. Well, I admit I was warned that even if you took retirement you’d be likely to try to… meddle. Better to have everything out in the open, then.”

“Darn right I would. Now let’s talk salary.”

“Of course.” Trevor stepped back, giving way to the general. A hand behind the general’s elbow turned him toward one of the conference tables. Then the grip shifted, and the elbow lock forced Winehurst to keep moving until he walked with into—and through—the glowing 30-story window that should have held up to a shoulder-fired SAM. And had before Deborah’s cast her spell.

Winehurst screamed all the way down, of course. Trevor sighed. “Goodbye general. I told you you wouldn’t get a better offer.”

One of the security gryphons winged down to hover before the window. “Sir?”

“I’m fine. However, we need to up our weapon search procedures.” Trevor shook his head. “I don’t know what he thought he was doing, attacking me with Wu and Deborah right here. And please order a cleanup crew for the sidewalk.”

Deborah came to stand beside him and looked down at the splattered remains of the general.

“Thank you, Deborah. That was quick thinking.” Trevor shook his head. But was it necessary?

Gevurah,” she said. “It was justice.”

“Was it?” Trevor heard himself ask.

Wu put a hand on his shoulder, “Honored friend, not all the deaths on our hands will be just ones. But your servant has seen his work first hand. Even if he had accepted your offer, he would have continued doing harm to many. This death was indeed just.

“And having it known that you can defend yourself against attack at need? Your honored servant will sleep much better at night knowing that your enemies will know you are no easy target.”

With the window gone, the noise of the crowds, now punctuated by screams and shouts, came to him clearly. He looked down at them and waved, doing his best to show them that he was alive and unharmed. Camdrones zoomed towards him. “Wu, deal with those please.” He turned his back on the broken window and sat at the desk he had done so much to claim.

“I have work to do.”

Next Entry

Fiction Friday: Gu– Dragon!

First entry

The hundred-person security team hit the steel doors and spread through the first floor of the 50 story building. It looked like it had been choreographed because it had. Hundreds of hours drilling in a virtual mock-up. Behind and above them came the dragons and gryphons who secured the airspace before and delivered additional security personnel on the World Government Building roof in a well-coordinated relay.

As he stepped out of his armored and shielded air car, Trevor wondered again why no had come up with a more original name for it.

Wu, in late 20th Century grunge, flanked him, scanning the gathering crowds. Dissatisfaction with the former world government was high, but it only took one person willing to become a martyr. Behind him, hidden by her sheer tininess, he heard Deborah’s quiet chanting as she evoked the NAMES of her God to bring peace and safety. A half dozen strides and the security team called the first floor clear as he stepped through the door.

Gunshot!

Trevor dropped to the ground. Forty feet of golden dragon suddenly surrounded him. Just outside the coils, words of fire hung in the air, trapping the bullet. Deborah said something and the words faded, taking the bullet with them.

“Hold here,” Wu hissed. Trevor wasn’t going to argue. Going further into the building for cover meant walking into a possible ambush. Going back to the street would be foolish.

He, Wu, and Deborah held position while security scrambled. Within minutes, the shooter was found and quarantined. More time passed, long enough that crowd came out of their shock and started getting loud. Security called an all-clear.

Wu shimmered, his golden scales fading and reforming into the human-seeming Trevor was familiar with. Wearing the ancient garments Wu called “hanfu.” Why always hanfu when he transformed? And what happened to the grunge gear?

Pushing aside the inanities, Trevor examined the groups of people gathered around him.

Outside the building were citizens and magical beings, most local, a few from other parts of the world. Protesters, mostly ‘human’ citizens, on one side. Supporters, mostly magical beings, on the other. Both groups increasingly agitated.

Inside the building, he saw humans and perhaps a few in human-seeming. Uncertainty, fear, resentment, and a surprising amount of relief.

His own people were split, Some remained outside to help with crowd control. Some followed him prepared to spread out and start the worked they’d spent a decade preparing for. And the security teams were everywhere—or trying to be.

Hovering camdrones waited just outside the legal privacy limit. It was as good a moment as any. He waved the drones forward and signaled Deborah. She stepped back, blending in with the surrounding government bureaucrats and staff.

“Not how I wanted to start my first day on the job, but first days tend to be shit anyway.

“All of you,” he took in the bureaucrats, “are probably wondering what to expect. There are going to be a lot of changes, and you aren’t going to like some of them. But I hope some of them you will like. For now, keep doing your jobs and focus on making sure food and energy keep moving to the people who need them. You’ll have plenty of time to gawk at me later. Promise.”

He refocused on the cams. ”To my supporters outside: thank you and go home. We have a lot of work to do, so don’t wear yourself out here. The real fight hasn’t begun yet.

“To the protesters, I’m not going to silence you. I’m not going to arrest you. I’m not going to attack you. As long as you stick to making noise in the street, you can knock yourselves out.” He paused. Then deliberately pulled his hair back into the style still sometimes called a “warrior’s braid”—as if warriors only had one hairstyle. When he finished, he relaxed into a loose fighting stance, letting the lines of his pants emphasize his readiness for action.

“Any of you thinking that rebellion or armed resistance might be a good idea—back down now. Or you’ll join your friend with the gun.”

As he finished speaking security called in to report the upper levels clear.

“For real this time?”

“Ah… yes, sir. For real this time.”

“Good.”

He signed forward and he, Wu, and the rest of the team that had gathered behind them moved for the lifts.

It was going to be a long day.

Next Entry