The Five Doomed Cities, Chapter 47-48

Imminanthe isn’t happy. Gather has fish for dinner.

Chapter 47.

The Umevan Estate.

Immianthe emerged from the portal and went to the castle to look for Tad, Jorge or Shael. Since Tad wasn’t in the eye room and Jorge didn’t seem to be around, Immianthe went looking for Shael. She found her putting something together for the school and said, “What happened to Tad? I can’t find him?”
“Jorge had an emergency in the Republic and had Tad go down to Ishendell so that he could fly to the Republic with Jorge.”
“What was the emergency?”
“One of the Scourge Primaries that Jorge sent through the portal was suppressed, so they need to send it to the Deadlands.”

Immianthe pouted and said, “Tad should have sent a message.”

“Things were rather rushed and I don’t think that Tad understood that he was flying down to the Republic.”

“Why not?
“He was wearing his collar when he left. He does that for Ishendell, because most people know who he is. I doubt that he would for the Republic after what happened. Also Filia wasn’t sure and just packed for light travel.”

“Jorge is in trouble.”
“He was rushed, your grandmother’s project was closing at the same time, and he was involved in that. Then he was porting the Primaries, including the one at issue here. It was supposed to go off in a cave of some sort and didn’t.”

“Ok, I understand. I was just surprised that Tad didn’t show up like he was supposed to at the ruins this morning.”

“Do you want to leave a message?”
“I think that I will wait.”

“Ok then. Do you want to have a chat? I can do that as soon as I finish this. Filia is down with Jorge’s mother today.”

“She is with grandmother, scheming something up, probably. We must have just missed each other this morning.”

Shael laughed. “That was probably what happened.”
“Ok, I am off, since I have work at the ruins.”

Immianthe left the smiling Shael and headed to the portal.

Chatsrey.

After a trouble free flight, Jorge and Tad emerged from the airport terminal. Chief Meadows was waiting with a car and as the small amount of luggage was packed, along with a trunk of portal tools and equipment, Urthock said, “I see you brought along a helper, Jorge. Who is this young man?”
“This is Tad. After we send the boom where we need to, I thought that I would take him to my grandfather’s and show him around. He’ll probably down here for things from time to time and I wanted to introduce him around to the family. He already knows your boss.”
“The captain or higher up?”
“Rob and the admiral.”

“How did that happen?”
“The admiral was on a cruiser and they transferred me over from Albatross,” Tad said.

“They transferred you using the breaches buoy, didn’t they?”
“I think that they call it that. Commander Littlechild liked it, but he’s a dragon, so getting wet wouldn’t be problem for him.”

Urthock laughed. “I feel your anxiety. I’ve had to use it more times than I can count and while some crazies like it, the thing gives me the shakes every time.”

“So what happened with the boom?”
“We are fairly sure that it is a Scourge suppressor active in what we call the Tomb. The Tomb is an ancient underground space out in the middle of nowhere. When it was found, the place was empty, we thought. Since nobody wanted it, the ordnance branches used it was secure place to test booms. Rod was going to use it because it was a cave like the cave underneath Lain Othrond. He wants to know what happens if he has to blow the cave under the free town.”

“I think that the same thing would happen,” Tad said. “There is a Scourge suppressor active.”
“You never mentioned that, Tad,” Jorge said.

“I didn’t know what one looked like when I was there and it was in a room with a vault door that I wasn’t allowed into.”

“With the shield generator that they didn’t manage to get going and some other things,” Jorge growled. “I will have to make sure to show you picture of things so that you can tell us if they have them.”

“There were places where I wasn’t allowed to go.”

“That isn’t a surprise,” Urthock said. “These people seem to be better at security than the Darkmage was.”

Terrel looked at his brother and said, “You can’t have the boy.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You were looking at young Tad there. First of all, collar notwithstanding, Jorge has emancipated him. Second, he’s definitely a part of the larger Umevan family and I don’t think that the old lady wants to mess with them over a boy.”

“I was just here to pick you up.”
“Like I would believe that.”
“You probably don’t know what Bill has gotten up to.”
“That sounds ominous.”

Collector’s sister ship came down for a visit and Bill hauled something rather large out of that vault of his right in front of them.”

“Was it deliberate?”

“I haven’t spoken with Bill, so I’m not sure what he knew when he went out to collect that thing.”

“He knew that the ship was out there and where it was probably going to end up.”

“How do you know?”
“I got in a bit of trouble with Adiun over the fact that I okayed Bill doing some work for the navy. The navy has a RDR station in Ishendell for obvious reasons and the ship showed up.”

“So he managed to get his hands on that old landing craft, putter out to the island, and retrieve whatever it was, timing things so that all that would happen where the ship could see the thing.”
“Did they?”
“The ship sailed right past the boys. Here is where it gets fun. Paeris Zylvyre was on the landing craft.”

Terrel laughed. “That will make my daughter happy.”

Barry blinked. “Why?”
“She is all gushy over the Great Captain’s tragic romance and the rest of it. Bill and Rod will be in trouble if they don’t bring him home at least once. So the ship sailed right past the landing craft while it had whatever it is aboard. What happened then?”

“The navy has those torpedo boats that they sent down there and they showed up. The ship skedaddled.”

“They probably had what they wanted.”
“With some more. They flew one of those unpiloted aircraft right into the middle of one of the Office of Inamimate’s tests. Some people were rather annoyed and sent a rather sharp message using those new planes that Republic Air is building.”

Terrel laughed. “I sent Bill down to keep him out of trouble. Apparently he didn’t manage to.”

“Actually, he was kept on the island when the landing craft went back. He Jumped home. Rod was running the landing craft. Terry, your kids are getting to be as bad as mine.”

“They do have their moments, don’t they?”

Adiun shouldn’t have been surprised that his father picked him up. The entire Scourge suppressor project had been expensive. While the Empress was covering any losses, and so far, the various recipients had been willing to bear the costs, the lost business and delay penalties had probably caused quite a bit of turmoil in the business. As the car pulled away, Aydiun said to his son, “You and Folmon did very well with this.”

“You aren’t going to complain about the costs, father?”
“The fussies probably will. On the other hand, you not only got the job done, you brought a facility long dead back to life, our people and others developed new skills and you developed good relationships with even EiMagic. That isn’t a small thing.”

“We also produced over a hundred Scourge suppressors in the end. That was far more than we expected.”

“That may be the most important thing that you accomplished. The fact that you did that could save millions of lives.”

“They are going to try something.”
“I know. Tell more about some of the things you encountered and my rather precocious grandchildren and their antics.”

“The capers keep getting bigger. I think that all of the ladies want Imperial weddings and big budgets.”

“Now you are scaring me.”

Chapter 48.

Gatherer

Ayre looked at the dragon as it swooped overhead and laughed. “At least we know where they are coming from.”

“We didn’t encounter airships the last time,” Fishcutter said. “Sending the dragons to keep an eye on us is clever.”

“The interesting thing is that there are no aeries in the Republic, so where did these characters come from?”

“Another thing we have to ask about when we get back.”

“That it is.”

“We could try to evade the airship.”

“We’re coming up on the Peninsula. Actually, our best protection is that we haven’t sent the report through the portal.”
“What do you mean?”
“The Republic wants our bosses to know that the thing we saw was removed from the vault. We also know that the small portal is compromised. If we don’t send a report, it is likely that we will not be molested.” Ayre looked out at the empty sea and added, “I suspect that our enemies want our bosses rattled more than a little bit.

Ishendell.

Eliad’s father stomped into Eliad’s cabin and said, “I know that you are unhappy about this, but you can’t chase the ship too closely.”

“The captain hasn’t sent a report through the portal, has he?”
“They knew that the portals were compromised. So he hasn’t sent the report.”

“I don’t like dancing to Mrs. Steelmaker’s tune.”

“This was more some crazy boys down there in Desert Howl hauling something out in front of these people.”
“Ok, no close pursuit. I think that the captain over there will make things interesting in any case.”

“That’s the spirit. Of course don’t let him pirate Ratcatcher or you will be buying the family a new boat.”

Eliad laughed as his father left.

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