The Trials of Slaves, Chapter 35-36

Haladavar is attempting to find out why the ladies are meeting. Jorge talks to Izzie

Chapter 35.

The Petris estate.

Isarrel looked up as Haladavar came in and said, “There are some interesting ladies meeting in the Lower City.”
“What do you mean?”
“Some slaves, entertainers from houses, the Residence cook’s wife, Lady Zylsalor, Lymseia Reymyar and some ladies that I did not know were meeting with Keerla Grewenys and her mother. Princess Immianthe and her toy seem to be there as well.”

“Where do they meet?”
“At a bake shop, near the Fae embassy.”

“Who seems to be managing the meetings?”
“Lymseia Reymyar appears to be, but it is hard to tell. The bake shop seems to be her family’s in some fashion.”

“Could it be coincidence?”

“According to my source, they have met twice in the last two five days.”

“Why did your source make note of this?”

“My source is an old associate of the Dowager Empress whose task was to recruit the Silverin when he could discover them.”

“For Shaerra?”

“Yes. Of course the Dowager Empress was never able to maintain a firm grip on the Silverin she found for very long. They found ways to escape, the cook’s wife being rewarded to the Residence cook, for instance.”

“Was there any evidence that Itireae is involved?”

“That is hard to say. The princess has been attending, but it may be some game with her toy. My resources in the palace are diminished and Faylen is very good at maintaining the Empress’s discretion.”

“Find out what you can. If the Silverin are coming out of hiding, things could be in great jeopardy, especially when we do not know where they will all emerge from. I tried to warn Shaerra about the issues with taking the Silverin as close slaves for tasks.”

The Lower City.

Lidia looked at the letter, turned to her husband and said, “Shael sent us a letter. Jorge is fine, but some academic types are creating a row over one of his papers. Mother was her usual self and managed to kidnap Jorge, but Jorge and the “boys” ran into some Primaries that the Steward had hidden and were forced to skip mother’s tea.”

Fylson laughed. “Were the Primaries real or did Jorge bribe the boys?”
“The Primaries were real. Shael flew up ahead to make sure that mother didn’t get the full Jorge right off and Jorge and the boys arrived late and rather exhausted after keeping the Federal Service types from poking into the garage where the Primaries were until Rob showed up.”

“So that ended well.”

“Shael wants you to make some things for my nephews since you made some for yours. She sent a list of the things they want.”

Lidia handed the list to Fylson, he looked at her and said, “Do you want to do this?”
“I do. Whatever my problems with my mother, I should restore relations with my brother and sister. We did give things to your nephews and nieces. It’s only fair that mine get something as well.”

Fylson grinned and kissed his wife. “You make such sense, dear.”

“Yes I do. Now, I need to go to my meeting.”

“How did you get involved?”
“This just a thing at the bake shop. Filia suggested that I go.”

“Since you have given me work to do, I must go as well.”

Lidia made her way to the bake shop and on the way, she passed an elf she recognized from her early days as a slave, Ilrune Waesphine. Ilrune had tried to purchase her from Fylson and had been rather persistent about it until Fylson and Lidia had signed a marriage agreement. Lidia was also certain that Ilrune had been a procurer of talent for the Dowager Empress. When she walked in the bake shop door, Lymseia was talking to Axilya and Alissa. She turned to Lidia, smiled and said, “You have arrived, Milady Umevan.”

“Hardly that.”

“Actually, you are that, and that is very important to our little scheme.”

“Why?”

“Because you can sign writs of emancipation at need.”
“Only for slaves owned by my House. Cook and Mariald would not leave anyway and Filia has made it clear that she did not want to be emancipated rather publically.”

“That was necessary at the time,” Filia said from behind Lidia. “At least it would have been if my mother had not been discussing things with a lady and making arrangements that made me look rather foolish.”

Lidia held up the letter and said, “Your antics were the perfect distraction, Filia. Otherwise, my mother may have had us all to tea.”

“That does not sound that bad?”
“It was a fate that I put myself on the Ravathyra boat to escape. My mother sent one of her invitations to Jorge and when he tried to evade, set her boys on him. She was lucky and the boys and Jorge ran into a convenient Scourge devise Primary stash and missed the tea. Shael flew ahead, smoothed things over and apparently Jorge and my mother are not at odds, so the Republic is safe.”

The various ladies laughed and Lidia said, “Axilya, if you would like to provide some entertainment for the grandchildren, a slimy character is probably looking into us.”

“Who?”

“Ilrune Waesphine. I am sure that he spying for somebody. He was more than likely the Dowager’s Empress talent procurer for certain things. He was certainly persistent in trying to get Fylson to sell me until we signed the marriage agreement.”

“I could arrange for Alen to deal with him,” Aurae said.

“I don’t think that Justicial action is necessary, Aurae,” Lymseia said. “You could set the Justiciar boys on him.”

“I think that he would prefer Alen,” Alissa said. “I see that we are all here, so shall we begin.”

Ilrune cursed the windows on the bakery. He had been tipped off that an old member of the stable of Silverin that he had maintained for the Empress had been coming to the bakery and had planned to see if he could persuade her to perform tasks for him. When he arrived at the bakery, it had been full of women that he was sure were all Silverin. Considering that the Silverin did not collect, especially the women, that was significant. Some of the ladies were of high estate and one of the Imperial princesses had attended. But the windows, with their thick crown glass and interior pane thwarted his attempts to listen and he could hardly stay very long inside and not be suspected. This time, a Silverin that he had not been able to procure had joined the others. Lidia Umevan certainly knew who he was. The last time she had seen him, she had set her son Jorge and his friends on him and that had not been a pleasant five day. The problem was that Haladavar would not be happy with what he was getting. Ilrune stalked off, leaving the meeting to the ladies. He also needed to chase down some rumors about young Lord Beinan and some potentially illegal weapon manufacture for another client.

Chapter 36.

Ironton.

Jorge looked up from his lunch at the dragonkin man who had just sat down across from him. The man pulled out press service credentials and said, “Mr. Umevan, I’m Izzie Dantas from the Press Service. I wanted to have a chat with you about the incident on Route 18 the other day.”

“I’m not sure that I should talk to you about that?”
“I know some friends of yours and I have quite a bit about the incident already. My beat is the Stewards.”

“Just what friends are we talking about?”
“Bill Wavechaser, Cory and Maldin.”

“Ok, so Bill talks to you, at least a bit. What was I doing in the car at the gas station before we arrived.”
“You were in the process of being kidnapped by your grandmother.”

“You have that much. What do you know about the incident?”

“Scourge devise Primaries were discovered by you, you called it in and took command of the site until Rob Bronzerock showed up. The FSA types did not like you very much. The cops and the bomb squad did, mostly because you kept anybody from doing something stupid.”
“You’ve talked to just about everybody then.”

“Yes. I haven’t talked to the boys yet, because I thought that I would talk to you first.”
“Ok, at home, I am the Portal Service’s on call expert on one way ports and special situations. In that capacity I have sent more Scourge Devises to the Deadlands for disposal through portals than anyone has sent through a portal in history. I also have been trained by Naval Ordnance and the radiation lab in the Empire in the handling of Scourge devises. As part of an international agreement between just about everybody at this point, the first Scourge devise trained operative that arrives at a site is in charge until relieved by senior Scourge devise trained people, in this case, Naval Ordnance.

“Once I called in the fact that Primaries were present, there was no way that I was going to leave the site until Rob arrived, no matter what Special Agents clown and idiot wanted. They simply were not qualified to handle the situation.”

“How did you discover the devises?”

“We stopped for gas and the radiation scanner I had for the portal class I was giving started to beep. Taking the scanner out and looking around the shed made the thing make noise. Now the shed could have been filled with ceramic glaze or broken uranium glass or something else that is radioactive, but I wasn’t going to take the chance.”
“The special agents were rather annoyed that you would not let them verify that there were indeed Primaries in the shed before calling the Navy.”

“The last batch of Primaries that had been under the Steward’s control had been in cans of cleaning fluid that were booby trapped. I didn’t want to risk Freiberg by being an idiot and vaporizing myself and the local area because I opened a door and the things went boom. What the special agents didn’t understand was that when you are playing with Scourge devises, you play very carefully because if you don’t, a lot of people die. There were two Scourge devise cans in that shed and if one of the cans had had a Primary installed and been rigged like the one that Harald rigged in Zirgoccol, opening that door could have killed Freiberg.”

“That sounds ridiculous.”

“We evacuated Fayspire and the surrounding area when we discovered Scourge devises for that reason. If Chief Ironcutter hadn’t made sure that the door was not rigged, there would have been an evacuation before Rob touched the things and a portal before we looked at the devises. I wasn’t going to take the chance that things in that shed were bad. I also didn’t have any tools to handle a Primary and you have to handle the things carefully.”

“It sounds as if your approach was to err on the side of caution. Yet, you have a reputation.”
“Playing with the Darkmage, I will take chances that he gets mad at me and hauls me off to Paeris’s secret island base to send empty cans to Chatsrey. That I will do. Playing with live devises without the proper equipment is not something I will do unless it is absolutely necessary. The potential cost is just too high.”

“Why do you think that the Federal Service special agents acted the way they did?”

“I can’t be sure, but I think that it was the fact that they are used to taking over crime scenes, if the movies are anything like the real thing. They come in and commit resources to solve the crime. But a Scourge devise site is different. The goal isn’t to solve the crime, the goal is make sure that the thing, or things, do not go boom. There was a recent case here in Ironton where things were handled correctly and the devise sent to the Deadlands, where it went boom. Nobody died. That is the goal when dealing with these things, not solving a crime. Frankly, the special agents should have been going around, talking to people and finding out why the gas station manager up and left in the middle of things.”

“Why is that significant.”
“I would check him out. He might have interesting connections.”
“How do you know?”

“While the special agents were trying to take over, someone else was watching things, and me. They didn’t intervene, but they were watching and they mentioned the manager.”

“So there was somebody else there that no one else noticed, watching over things in case the Steward showed up.”

“I’m not going to talk about that.”

“I can dig.”
“I hope that you do. You may turn up rocks that the Federal Service hasn’t been able to find. I want the Steward and I really want his last Primaries off the street. They could be found by accident, but next time it might not be me, it might be some kids, who don’t know what they are dealing with.”

“I know of some kids in Chatsrey that found a can, fortunately inert, so your concern is apt. I think that the chief has taken them in hand and they know more about the things than the FSA types do.”

Professor Xilynore walked up to the table and said, “Mr. Umevan, when you finish lunch, come to my office. It is rather important. Who is this?”
Izzie said, “Izzie Dantas, Press Service. I was asking Mr. Umevan some questions about an incident he had been involved in.”

“You are dragonkin. Perfect! Would you be willing to join us? It will be worth your while.”

“What is going on, professor?” Jorge asked.
 “I will explain when you get to my office.”

The professor walked off again and Izzie asked, “Who was he and do you know what is going on?”
“He is my history professor and I think it has to do with a paper of mine that was plagiarized.”
“That is unusual for a first year paper.”
“Most first year students don’t know the Great Captain. I do, thanks to my little island adventure. I used him as a source for my term paper and then loaned the paper to a friend who was testifying before Congress because the information was related. He wasn’t able to get it duplicated and obtained a receipt from the records office. I rebuilt the paper and sent it to Imperial Studies who published it last moon. History Studies published almost the same paper, only I hadn’t written it.”
“The people at Beltain are saying that you plagiarized the paper.”
“Yes, and the academic committee has demanded to see my work, but the draft and the rest were sent home because my estate has a librarian and so I won’t have access to the material for another couple of five days at best.” Jorge looked at the remains of his lunch and said, “I think that I am finished. Let’s go.”

Jorge and Izzie went to Professor Xilynore’s office where the dean, the chancellor, Xilynore and another man were waiting. Xilynore said, “Mr. Umevan, this is Conrad Ironaxe, the chairman of the history department, who is looking forward to you the next term in his History of Technology course, Dean of Students Harald Islan and Chancellor William Irons. The Academic Committee has a response from Beltain. They are demanding that we have our academic accreditation withdrawn for supporting you and that Imperial Studies retract the paper. You would have to request that because Imperial Studies is an independent journal and not affiliated with the college.”

“Are you asking me to retract?”
“We wanted you to know what the stakes are`,” Irons said. “Theoretically, it would be in our best interest to let the thing blow over and retracting the paper would not injure you in the slightest. After all you will not be pursuing a career in academics.”

“Does that mean that those things you said in class don’t mean anything, Professor?”
Xilynore looked Jorge and said, “They do mean something. In a perfect world, Gilders would have withdrawn his paper when yours was released and that would be the end of it. History Studies chose to go on the offensive instead and Beltain University has backed them. So they are using their influence to arrange things in their favor.”

“I think I begin to understand why plagiarism is such a crime. It means that you are lying, right off the bat, and if you are caught, you have to continue to lie. You haven’t said it straight out, but they will have to come after me next, won’t they?”

“Yes,” Conrad said. “We will not think less of you if choose not to fight this fight.”
“What about the next kid?”
“What?”

“I don’t know if you have seen Bill Wavechaser’s application yet, Dean Islan, but next year, he’s going to be in the same class, doing the same sorts of things. He’s already had stuff stolen and his house broken into by the Stewards. They pulled his safe that he kept the things he was working on in. One thing I know about crooks is that they don’t stop stealing as long as they get away with it. On the other hand, these clowns made a mistake, and it is a big one. They didn’t just steal from me, they stole from the Great Captain. Izzie, would you like to have an interview about this with Paeris? I can arrange that.”

Izzie looked at Jorge and said, “An interview with the Great Captain? My boss will pay the fare.”
“He doesn’t have to. I’m flying down for another portal class when the Winterfaire break starts.”

The Chancellor said, “A master prank indeed, Mr. Umevan. We can make noises about how obstreperous you are and how we are having difficulties dealing with the high lord that doesn’t understand. We can make noises about backing down, while we attack from an unseen direction.”

“I’m also contacting the navy and Barrister Harper. They helped me with the paper and they may be attacked as well.”

“Good point,” Conrad said.

“Would they make it physical?”

“Beltain probably will not.” Dean Islan said. “The Gilders I’m not so sure about.”

“I need to get to class, so I will make the calls a bit later.”

Izzie and Jorge left the office and as they walked down the hall, he said, “I liked your point about the next kid.”

“The Stewards blew up a dragonkin neighborhood. They are funded by people like the Gilders, at least they were. I grew up in the Lower City, looked down on by people like the Gilders, so if the Gilders want a fight, I’m game.”

“The professor was right. This was worth my while. I need to file the Route 18 stuff and maybe look into the Gilders. Just research, that is.”

“Find out who is on the committee that funds the FSA. That clown Sunbeam isn’t keeping his job because of his competency. I know Justiciar Dawkins and most of the other Justiciars and none of them are that bad.”

“You know that most people here would not believe you.”

“I’ve seen some of the movies. You may notice that in those movies, the Justiciar always solves the case in the end.”

“You make a good point. We will talk again.”

The Arsenal, Cleadsgate.

Admiral Harper looked at the daily brief and one item was a bit mysterious. He went to Peble’s office and said, “Peble, why does an academic row appear in the daily brief?”

Peble grinned. “I thought that would catch your eye. The thing involves the material that my office sent to Mr. Umevan for his term paper, the attempt to reclassify the material and an apparent attempt by a Scholar student to plagiarize Mr. Umevan’s paper.”

“How does that concern us, other than we provided material to Jorge?”
“The scholar’s student’s last name is Gilders.”
“Oh. You were right Peble, to bring this to my attention. What are the details?”
“The two papers appeared in different journals last moon, Jorge’s in Imperial Studies and Gilders’ in History Studies four five days later. History Studies demanded a retraction of the paper from Imperial Studies on the grounds that Jorge must have plagiarized the paper from Gilders. Gilders and History Studies are refusing to release Gilders work on the grounds that the material was classified and returned to the archives, so Gilders does not have it at hand.”

“Jorge sent to you and my brother’s office for the relevant material and then went to Desert Howl and talked with Paeris about the paper. That’s what started the reclassification in the first place. Jorge handed his paper to Major Tollings so that Major Tollings could use it in his testimony. At that point, the only place that paper had appeared was at the testimony. If the staff at Beltain had had any similar material, they would have handed the material to the major as part of his preparation. So, until Major Tollings entered the paper into the record, that material, organized in that fashion did not exist outside of Jorge’s work.
“The problem is that Gilders is going to demand that the material be classified as an exchange for not cutting some things, you can bet on it. Right now, the Senator is looking to cover his son and he’s going to start pulling strings. Does Jorge still have the material from us?”
“I haven’t spoken with him about it.”

“We are going to have to be discreet, but if he doesn’t, make sure that we hand it to him under the table. I will call my brother.”

“We could be in trouble if we are caught handing classified material to Jorge, a foreign national.”

“It wasn’t classified when we handed it to him.”

“I know, but you can bet that there will be pressure on the Secretary to do so.”

Tom returned to his office and Ivan was waiting outside. “Come into my office, Mr. Secretary. What can I do for you?”
 Ivan followed Tom into his office and said, “Have you heard about the row with Gilders yet?”
“Unless it is something new, you are talking about Jorge Umevan and his paper.”
“Yes.”
“I was just discussing that with Peble.”

“The senator wants to insure that certain material remains classified.”

“The materials were released in open testimony before Congress. You were there when it happened.”

“Gilders has been talking with Seachaser. Seachaser wants to go after Tollings for violating the Classified Matters Act.”

“The Congressman is on thin ice, because he conducted the hearing as an open one and used matters that had been classified, to whit the name of Cadet Wavechaser. Major Tollings used material that had been previously declassified by Peble’s office. The request to reclassify was going to be rejected because Mr. Umevan filed a protest and the protest was accepted.”

“Did your brother have anything to do with that?”
“I have no idea. I was not involved as it was a staff issue. In any case, the classification system was not intended to be used to save some officers from embarrassment.”

“Gilders is sharpening an axe.”
“What is he putting on the block?”

“Skychaser and RDR.”

“We can work around that if we have to. What is he offering?”
“New planes for Albatross and a carrier conversion for the last Fearless hull.”

“Nice to haves, but not something I need to have.”

Peble came in and said, “I hate to interrupt, Mr. Secretary, but I think this is relevant to what you are probably discussing.”
“What is it, Peble?” Tom asked. “Sit down. We were discussing some classification issues.”

“Jorge sent a message to me, and your brother’s office, letting us know that Gilders is probably going to come after us. He also requested the material for his paper as he had mailed his draft and the material home.”

“That’s not good,” Ivan said.

“Why not, Mr. Secretary?”

“That could be seen as sending material declassified by your office and handed to a foreign entity to be sent overseas.”

“Gilders is going on the warpath to protect his son, isn’t he?”

“He’s started to escalate in any case. I would be careful.”
Peble frowned. “Mr. Secretary, I am going to have to have a classified brief made up for you concerning Jorge and the transfer of classified and other material back and forth. Jorge has been instrumental in providing vital information to Captain Bronzerock and Major Tollings concerning the Scourge and other matters of significance. We declassified the Paeris material so that he could use it, not because he wasn’t cleared see it himself, because he already has that clearance as a foreign friendly. He is a part of the small team responsible for dealing with Scourge devises and his rating for the handling of classified material is higher than yours because of that simply because he is cleared for Scourge related material. If we make a stink about classification over the material in the term paper, we risk losing vital resources that Jorge has at his disposal and his cooperation. Playing games like this with Jorge could be very expensive.”

Ivan looked at Tom and said, “How did we get into this pickle?”
“Could you let the senator know that there are bigger things at stake than the plagiarism of a term paper. Let him know that Jorge, friendly and cooperative is something that the nation needs right now. Right now we are in the middle of a war that requires unusual resources and people and Jorge is one of those. Where has young Mr. Gilders taken Service?”
“I believe he took his Service as a clerk for congress. I’m not sure if he has completed it.”

Tom looked at Ivan, “While Jorge, who could have driven past and ignored it, sat next to yet more Scourge devises that were potentially booby trapped so that they could be dealt with safely, putting his life at risk and facing down Federal Service special agents to make sure that the people of Freiberg were safe. No one here in the Republic asked him to do that. He just assumed that it was his duty to do so. We have a situation where a young man from a foreign country, who is not a Citizen and does not want to be, performs, in a single afterten, a greater Service than one of our elites on the Plateau would even think of bothering himself with. Tell Gilders that he can come down and talk to me, but as of now, all the material in that term paper is not classified and will not be. If he and Seachaser want to call me up on the grill, they better prepare to be burned.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s