The Return of The Silverin, Chapter 11-12

Filia talks to Geminara’s mother. Jorge and his friends find a boom

Chapter 11.

Elysahone.

It had taken some effort, but Geminara had managed to get in contact with her grandmother, set a date to meet and make the arrangements. Finally she was here, in Elysahone at the portals. Filia emerged with Nistra and another young elf lady. Geminara smiled and said, “My grandmother isn’t here yet. Who is this?’

“My daughter, Villia. She is here to meet with Keerla and make some arrangements for my father and her husband.”

“My grandmother should be here shortly.” Geminara looked over Filia’s shoulder and her grandmother had just emerged from the portal. “There she is.”

Geminara’s grandmother spotted her and walked over. “I have come, granddaughter. What is this about? You didn’t say very much when we met.”
“Grandmother, this is Filia Fallingwater, Villia and Nistra, Durlan’s True. Filia, this is my grandmother, Viessa Richflight.”

“Welcome, milady,” Filia said. “My daughter has to be off on another errand shortly, but I know a good place for a chat nearby.”

“What is this about, other than my rather disreputable grandson finding a True?”

Filia laughed. “Your grandson is still with disreputable types, even though he has been doing good things of late.”

“Then you must tell me the stories. Let us go and chat.”

“I need to get to Keerla’s mother,” Villia said. “I will join you later.”

Villia walked off into the crowd and Filia led the others to the café. The ladies sat down and Filia said, “I don’t know how much you know about the things going on, so this is going to be difficult. The main thing is that the family is in negotiation with the Empress and I am looking for the scattered family for my mother.”

“Gathering the family would be risky. Some, like my son, were seduced into the dark.”
“The witch is dead.”
“She was not the only one subsumed by the dark.”

“That is why I wished to speak with you. We know far more about the dark and its people than we did. The estate has been returned to the Umevan and the Blight and other things have been defeated.”
“The Scourge has returned. The devises were supposed to have been destroyed.”
“The dark created new devises. The old ones were rediscovered and dismantled, but some of the new ones still remain.”

“So, tell us what my disreputable grandson has been up to? My son has gone to the collar and I will not purchase his key until his debt is more or less paid.”

“Durlan was taken by the dark, who underestimated him badly, aided some folk when the dark Scourged the five cities and then planned to leave the folk at Lain Othrond to their fate. He and some others prevented the city from being struck in an attempt to stop the Scourge devises or other things being used. He and the rest of the family are in the Republic at present hunting for Scourge devises.”

“If he is doing that, he is redeemed more than a bit. Why the Republic?”
“Because there are some mad folk using Scourge devises in acts of terror to create chaos and disruption.”

“Where do you live? This is not the place, but we have much to talk about.”
“I live on the Umevan estate. I will let the folk there know that you are welcome to visit. The Silverin ladies meet in the bake ship near the fae embassy in the Lower city in two days if you wish to come.”

“If I do not, would you go, Geminara? You live in the capital.”

“I will, grandmother.”
“Your profession will not be held against you,” Filia said. “Lady Jessen heads the meetings since it is her place of business in any case.”

“What about the Folly and the tax?”
“The Empress has not been able to find the imposed tax. She has had people looking. The strange thing is that we all know about it, yet the palace does not.”

“You have discussed the tax with the Empress?”

“My son, Tad became attached to Princess Immianthe. As far as we all have been able to discover, it wasn’t anything that my son did.”

“Tell us all, Filia,” Viessa said. “There must be a tale there.”

“There is, indeed. It starts with Lord Umevan, who having been handed the estate by his mother, decided to introduce Tad to the world.”

“That is Jorge, is it not?” Geminara asked.

“It is. So the Lord took Tad out and started to go places with him.”

Filia spun the tale of Tad and Immianthe as the others started to laugh and laugh. When she finished, Viessa said, “Silverin fail the test of the Fae. Tad passed the test. Do you have any idea why?”

“My husband has fae ancestors from the local grove. Villia carries more of the Silverin traits and Tad had met Immianthe before they were tested. She, her brother and cousins were all tested with Tad. In any case, Tad passed the test.”

“Then why did he stay in Lain Othrond?” Geminara asked.

“I think that there were several things involved. First of all the training he had received emphasized care and success, with planning to succeed. Tad respected his training and took that to heart. Second, he was right in the very heart of the dark and learning valuable things about them. Third, he knew that the Lord was planning something to get him out and probably did not want to mess that up. Finally, he was concerned about the Animals, the other high potential children that were mistreated. From what Tad has said, he was more concerned about making his escape effective than just simply escaping.”

“He must be rather unusual.”
“He is that.”

Viessa turned to Nistra and said, “You must feel a bit left out.”

Nistra smiled. “I am learning these things as well.”

“How did you meet my grandson?”

“I was tasked to Dance with him. I had seen him before and talked with him, but the Dance was when we realized that we were true. The Dance did not end as expected. He put me to sleep and I woke up in a dragon aerie far from home.”

“Where in the Empire was this?”
“It wasn’t in the Empire. I grew up in Bubil Kil.”

“Where is that?”

“In the Orcenlands, near Clan Ironhead’s clanhouse.”


“What was my grandson doing there?”
“Supposedly he was a reporter who traveled. I’m not sure what he was really doing. It involved something the Master had acquired and had brought to Bubil Kil.”

Viessa turned to Filia and said, “Do you know more of this?”
“Somewhat. I have almost everything at the estate and I can show you what I have. As to who Durlan was working for, that was given to me in confidence, as was who else was involved. Since the opposition is the Darkmage’s family, I will keep that confidence.”

“He is searching for Scourge devises in the Republic? Do you know why he is there?”

“That is some of what I am keeping in confidence, for the Umevan and others. I will let Durlan explain all that he can when he comes.”
“I will come to the estate when I can. This has been a profitable discussion. I will also come to meet the other ladies. There is much that is very serious. Nistra, I want to meet your parents if they live.”

“They do, and that is understandable.”

Viessa stood up and left. Geminara turned to Filia and said, “You have her. That was remarkable.”

“She is concerned about the dark and wants to know more. She is also probably concerned about the things that Durlan and the others are doing.”

“You are letting Durlan explain?”
“I do not know exactly what his arrangements are and what he is doing. It is better that he explain than I get something wrong.”

“Durlan may not want to explain.”

“I think that Nistra can needle it out.”

Nistra laughed. “I want to. Durlan hides a lot. I can see that already.”

Eryding

Bladloc went into his grandfather’s office and said, “This is frustrating.”
“What is it?”
“I wrote the challenge paper, working from both the Great Captain’s and the Admiral’s logs, directly from the daily entries. I didn’t use the navy stuff that Umevan had, because there was that classification flap, but the logs were rather unambiguous. I sent the paper into Professor Tennial and he sent this.”
Bladloc handed the letter to Greldug. Greldug looked at it and said, “He’s still looking for raids that never happened?”
“Yes. If the logs don’t have them, the logs are wrong. The problem is that the Ravathyra were sometimes sitting in the Hidden City on those dates, or stuck in weather off shore. In any case, there is no possibility that they were where the professor says they were.”

“What are you going to do?”
“Send a letter back to Professor Tennial saying that if he cannot agree with primary sources, I can’t help him. I will carbon copy and send it to the department chairman.”

“I will give you a letter to include with that. This is a distraction that you do not need at present. Send another copy to the Academic board.”

“I will do that.” 

The Hideaway.

Mórsairon charged into Blackfire’s office and bellowed, “The coin is gone!”

Blackfire looked at him and said, “What coin?”

“The coin from the five cities! It’s gone! The vault is empty!”
“How do you know?”

“I sent some people to pull some coin to see if the radiation levels had dropped enough that we could use it and not be detected and the vault was empty.”

Herdir heard the screams and grinned. His uncles had been careless, apparently. They certainly hadn’t asked him what had happened to the coin that Paeris had taken from the bank on Exchange Street. The fact that the other side had recovered it did not surprise Herdir at all. After all, they had done the same to him. From the noise that Herdir had heard, the coin had been useless to the Project in any case.


Neuw Athlin

Archbishop Goodenouth looked at Bishop D’laret and said, “He won’t speak with you?”
“Not at all. He hasn’t spoken with anyone on my team. That has made things extremely difficult.”

“What approach are you taking for the defense?”
“There really is only one we can take, if we do not judge Dúhael as a madman. Lain Othrond was in a state of war with Vestia and Apua. The problem with that is that we have no evidence that Lain Othrond had a serious dispute with its neighbors or had sent any ultimatums.”

“What about the raid by the orcs?”

“That was done by House Umevan without the assent or knowledge of either Vestia or Apua and the House had a legitimate grievance, the boy. If Lain Othrond had gone to war against House Umevan, they might have a case, but they started things with the Scourging of the five cities.”

“Do what you can. At least the prosecution is inexperienced.”

“That is true, but he has competent people behind him and the evidence.”

Darkstrike pulled the scanner out of his satchel and verified that the microportal was still in the jail. He was taking a risk being here, but the master had ordered Darkstrike and his team to discreetly discover what the arrangements for the prisoner were. From all reports, Dúhael was kept at the Justiciars’ cell block. The microportal said that he was not. At least the pendant he wore was in a hidden cell here in the new capital. The trial was starting in a five day and Darkstrike would have a better read on things as Dúhael was moved to the court and back every day.

Hadrius watched the darkmage look at the scanner and put it away. Ever since the school had been discovered, abandoned, in Altensee, a team from the secret Brotherhood, the mage academy and the Justiciars had been looking for any trace of the darkmages. The resident darkmage had been under surveillance for most of the time he had been in and out of the city. So far he hadn’t picked up on the the fact that he was known.

Orrian had picked up on the microportal almost immediately, but the decision had been made to let Dúhael keep his pendant and leave the microportal active, so that it would attract anyone looking for Dúhael and the pendant. Hadruis waved to Eddie and pointed. Eddie grinned and started to follow the darkmage. Octavius appeared with a crystal and said, “Got him. Now we have a picture to distribute.”

“Eddie will tag him, but having a picture means that we don’t have to rely on that. What we really want is who picks up his drop, but we haven’t found that yet.”

“Do you think that there are dark fae involved too?”
“At this point I think that there must have been.  That may be who is picking up the drop. These folk were tolerated in Altensee and they must have had protection.”

“Good point.”

Chapter 12.

 Ironton

Jorge looked at the mana flux scanner and wondered if it was malfunctioning. He had brought out all his portal tools and was in a studio with Denal Folder, a photography student that Tolly had recommended to get pictures of all the tools for his class and what was looking to be the inevitable book on portals. Denal looked at the devise and asked, “Should it be doing that?”
“No, it shouldn’t. The city was Scourged a long time ago, during the Mage Wars. We shouldn’t be seeing anything with this unless they have something in the lab here.”

Denal grinned. “We could always check that out. I bring the camera, you bring the scanner and we may get something for Strange Science.”

“Isn’t that rather mercenary?”

“I’m from a poor family putting myself through college and need money for cameras. That’s why I’m doing this for you.”

“Let’s go, then.”

Following the trace, they ended up at a wooden post set up in the square by the student’s building. The post had been made to look like a tree and had Steward’s placards all over it. Jorge ran the scanner over the tree and it showed that something was leaking mana inside. Jorge turned to Denal and said, “There is a mana battery here. It’s leaking. Let’s see what we can do.”

“To help the Stewards?”
“To make sure that the leak drains the battery. I’m not sure why this is here. It might be to generate a big glamor or somebody might be planning a battery overload and spontaneous discharge.”

“What would that do?”
“It could be as big as a Primary explosion. Old devises have that risk. Devises made after the Mage Wars don’t because the Beinans created safeties for the batteries they fabricated.” Jorge poked around and found the hidden door. Denal went back to his dorm and returned with a small toolbox as Jorge hid in the darkness. A Steward walked through the plaza, tacked another poster on the tree and left. Denal returned with the tools and his roommates. “When I asked to borrow the tools, they asked why. This is Reggie, Gar and Fillip.”

“Hi. I can use you. I’m Jorge. This might be dangerous, but it could be dangerous even before I poke in and a lot of people might get hurt. Let’s get started. I didn’t think that there were any Stewards on campus.”
“I think that their club here has ten members,” Gar said. “They spy on people that offend them, but don’t have any weight to throw around, so they do things like this tree.”

“Hand me a screwdriver. We want to pop this panel off very carefully.”

They popped the panel off and there was the devise. Jorge looked at it and said, “Somebody made a mistake. There is a drain on this battery and they didn’t think to pull it. In any case, I’m going to disconnect it.”

“We could take the battery.”
Jorge grinned. “This was supposed to go boom, pretty much killing everyone going to college here. Now it won’t. I’m going to make a call and there will be somebody looking if the Stewards try to figure out why it didn’t go boom.” Jorge used the screwdriver and removed some parts. “Now we are safe from this boom. Let’s get the panel back.”

Denal took some more pictures, the grinning students replaced the panel and left. Later that night, a message arrived at campus security, they called the dean and had the students evacuate. Nothing happened and the students returned to the dorms a twentieth later. The next morning some Stewards came and removed the tree.    

The Cleanser watched the truck with the tree arrive. The driver stopped the truck, the doors were closed and the Cleanser popped the panel. He hadn’t gotten very far when the doors were smashed open and they were surrounded by large marines. A man walked up holding a badge and said, “FSA! I have a warrant to search this location. You are all under arrest for the crime of attempted mass murder. You have the right to remain silent.”

Izzie was taking pictures as Jorge walked up to him. Izzie grinned and said, “Thanks for the tip.”

“Just as long as we weren’t here.”
“You have the permission.”

“Yes we do, but us not being visible works better. There are enough cops and FSA types to make it believable.”

“Why give the FSA the credit? You made the bust.”

“Some friends said that the local FSA boss is on the right side of things and giving him a boost would help.”

“The Steward wasn’t here.”
“If we’re lucky, we got him as well. In any case, this will hurt them.”

Luggergate

The Steward was returning from the janitor’s job that he used as a cover when he saw that his flop had police vehicles in front of it. Turning around, he left the scene and taking the tram, headed to the garage where he had prepared his evacuation. He could find out how he had been found later and how badly the organization had been struck. For now, the path was clear. Escape and keep moving. He didn’t set the Scourge devise in the garage, but if the FSA found it, there was a good chance that it would go off.

Bill and Durlan watched the Steward leave. Durlan turned to Bill and said, “Why didn’t you bust him?”
“If we did that, without the remaining Primaries, the Primaries would still be out there. We want those as well as the Steward, preferably together.”

“So the Primaries are the big thing?”

“Yes. In any case, since I am no longer a Federal Officer, me busting somebody without authorization would have issues and neither I nor you are supposed to be here. This is just a tip, called into the cops.”

“You called it in after I made sure to get that microportal that Jorge planted traced.”

“Yes, but there were issues with that, since Jorge didn’t have a warrant or authorization to do that.”

“If the FSA clowns had been doing their jobs, we wouldn’t have to play these games.”

“Most of the FSA agents do their jobs. The problems come from the top and the fact that people like the Stewards have friends. The fact that they launched the Primaries has cost them a lot of those. Let’s leave this to the cops.”

Beltain

George followed his huge grin into Jarfaet’s office and Jarfaet said, “Whatever you have must be really good.”

“The Stewards were caught red handed in Ironton placing a bomb on the college campus.”

“How did that happen?”
“Young Mr. Umevan was taking pictures of portal tools for the class he is giving down in Desert Howl and one of the tools picked up a mana trace. Umevan and some friends followed the trace, found a rigged mana battery in a fake tree that the Stewards had set up and disarmed the devise. When it didn’t go boom, the Stewards collected it and they were arrested in their local headquarters, which also happened to be the chop shop that people had been looking for in Ironton for a very long time. In a related incident, the Steward’s flop was found in Luggergate, based on a tip the cops received. They didn’t get the Steward, but they did find a small portal and other evidence related to the Project.”

“What about the Primaries?”
“They are still out there, someplace. On the other hand, we have the Steward with direct evidence of his planning to commit mass murder. We can now act in the open and under blanket warrants. I’ve already talked to Judge Greenwillow and the warrants are being processed.”

“That’s all wonderful news. Who handled the arrest in Ironton?”

“The local FSA office, with the assistance of the special section and the local police.”

“Major Tollings raided the place then.”

“Yes. The FSA office had some ringers from headquarters that were chasing spies, supposedly and the head sent them on other tasks when the major showed up. So the major had cover and FSA guy gets the credit.”

“That seems to make you happy.”
“The FSA man in Ironton has been trying to do a good job, while Sunbeam has been on his case for a very long time about things like looking into the Stewards.”

“What about the press? If the major is visible and exposed, things could get messy up here on the Plateau when the news gets out.”
“The major arranged for somebody to be there. He and his people will be out of the pictures.”

“Excellent! What about Mr. Umevan?”

“Officially he wasn’t involved at all. He disabled the devise and called in the major, but none of that happened during the arrest.”

“Anything else I should know about?”

“Lord Quidi bought a villa in Ishendell. A request has been sent asking for proof of a connection to the Republic. I imagine that I will be hearing from Horalt all too soon.”

“You don’t sound too unhappy about that.”
“The judicial committee has been pushing for me to enforce the law and I have been telling them that all the present owners were not in violation. On the other hand, a big messy court case where all the details about why they want to suddenly enforce the law is going splash on them.”
“You are talking with Horalt.”
“Well, there may have been some chats and a luncheon or two.”

Derry looked at the stack of papers and sighed. The Imperials were fighting the law and not selling. Even worse, all of them had family connections in the Republic. He picked up the paper, put them in the folder that he had prepared and stood up to go to the Society meeting. As he started to walk out, Billings came in and said, “I am glad that I caught you, sir. I have some interesting things for you.”
“What is it?”

“I did some digging and encountered something when I was looking at some books that my son had purchased. He is a big fan of those “Jorge the Pirate” stories about that marine who is a reformed pirate and fights dark forces all over the world. It’s trash, of course, but Ferd likes the stories about the various characters including the young boys that fight monsters and such. In any case, in the latest books, there was a note that the book was licensed and approved by JTB Ltd. Suspecting that JTB was Jorge the Pirate, I did some investigating and it turns out that Jorge the Pirate is Major Jorge Tollings and the corporation is managed by his cousin.”

“So?”

“Major Tollings was on the grill last year, if you recall. There was no investigation of inappropriate income at the time, but there probably should have been. Also Major Tollings was Great Captain Zylvyre’s last raidcaptain. He was the one that obtained the paper from Mr. Umevan that led to the difficulties last year.”

Derry smiled. “So you seem to think that he is crooked?”
“I would not presume to say. I do think that there are things that are irregular, to say the least. Here is what I have found.” Billings handed a stack of paper to Derry. “I hope that this of use to you.”

“I will speak to father about this. I have to get to my meeting.”

 When Derry walked into the meeting, Harald looked at him and said, “The Attorney General and the Governor are stalling on the evictions.”

“I know. So far they have only filed against one House, House Quidi. The Imperials are challenging the law anyway. I did find out something fishy. Billings says that that mysterious company that owns the villa I wanted is owned by Major Jorge Tollings.”

“They are cleaning money through it. At least they are using the company to allow the major to live beyond his salary and not violate the laws against extra income. The Tollings are bunch of pirates anyway.”

“That was how Billings discovered who the company was. His son reads those trashy books.”

“Do you have the details?”

“Right here. Billings just gave them to me, so I haven’t had a chance to go over them. Billings seems to think that there is something crooked going on.”

“You can pass it to that reporter your dad is using with Umevan.”
“He may be in there too. The major testifying before congress was why Umevan’s paper showed up in the Record.”

Eldar looked at Sal and Lucian and said, “History Studies didn’t publish my letter. Imperial Studies did.”

“Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.  We have another imbroglio. Bill asked his teaching assistant for a challenge paper on the Umevan paper and the teaching assistant was performing tasks for his grandfather in Eryding. He had access to the logs from the great captains and the admiral and used them for the challenge paper. Bill refused to release the paper for publication.”

“Why not?”

“Because the raids that Bill maintains happened were not included. So he is holding the paper. The scholar sent a letter to Bill’s boss and us, complaining that Bill is holding multiple papers that the assistant has submitted.”

“What is Bill saying?”
“He is holding the papers pending review. The last paper has the issues I mentioned.”

The scholar was working from the primary sources?”
 “Yes, apparently. I am tempted to send some scholars to aid him. I imagine that he is making amazing discoveries.”

“That may be a good idea. In any case, Bill should not be holding up the papers.”

“I know, and if this becomes public, the committee will get still more egg on its face.”

“Have you pointed that out to Bill?”
“Yes we have,” Lucian said. “He’s still digging in his heels about his sources. What he doesn’t understand is that if the student takes the papers to Imperial Studies, the other journals will look like they are no longer relevant. The first Umevan paper came out this moon and there were amazing things discovered by Mr. Umevan.”

“Would you sign my letter if I send it to the press?”
“I will,” Sal said. “If it seems as if there are more than one old professor, people will take it seriously.
“I have no qualms,” Lucian said. “Frankly I’m rather disgusted with the behavior of people who should know better.”

 Ironton

 Jorge drove up to the Beinan plant and showing his ID, went inside and found Jorge with a man looking at shelves of books. Jorge turned and said, “You found me, major.”
“Shael told me where you had gone. What is this?”
“I’m not going to say quite yet. This is Deral Forsythe, by the way. Deral, this is Major Tollings, otherwise known as Jorge the Pirate.”

“This smells like piracy to me, or at least something that Alinis would come up with,” Jorge said.

“There is some of that here. This isn’t me, this is Bill Wavechaser.”

“Who won’t talk about this.”

“For the time being, that is what is happening.”

“I wanted to tell you that your tip did very well.”
“I know. You didn’t get the Steward, but you got his bomb maker and the Stewards were caught red handed here.”

“Yes they were.”

“Why don’t we go to my office,” Deral said. “Just what are you both talking about?”

As they walked to the office, Jorge said, “You probably saw the story in the papers about the Stewards getting busted in the chop shop with a mana battery converted to a bomb. What the papers didn’t have in them was that the devise wasn’t being worked on at the chop shop, it had already been deployed on the university campus. Fortunately I was with a photographer, taking pictures of portal tools and the mana flux scanner was showing a mana flux where there should not have been one. I traced it to a fake tree that the Stewards had put up with the devise inside. I disarmed the devise and called the major, who took things from there.”

“Why not call the FSA?”
“Because, as a result of some encounters with them recently, I was fairly sure that they would not take me seriously and that the fact that the devise had been discovered would leak to the Stewards. So I called the major.”

“The FSA conducted the raid. That was in the papers.”
“I’m not going to say very much, but I was sure that I could trust the local FSA head,” the major said. “I had no problem making him look good and putting the chop shop out of business was a bonus.”

“Why were you looking for me, major,” Jorge asked with a grin.

“Because you, or your grandfather also owns a villa in Ishendell. Your adversary of last year wants mine, at least for the break week.”

“The Societies, right?”
“Yes. Between one family and another, as well as the damaged places from the siege, the best villas all have new owners who are less likely to feel the need to rent them, especially to college students with bad habits.”

“They trash the places,” Deral said.

“Yes. They abused the staffs as well. In any case, my house manager and business manager decided that renting my home was out of the question.”

“House Beinan bought a villa as well. I didn’t make the reunion, but that was in the company newsletter. How did you end up playing tour guide, Jorge?”

Jorge grinned. “I was volunteered by my mother. She and Lady Beinan are old friends and it was, “Jorge you were there during the siege. Rebecca is working hard to put the reunion together and you can be on the beach for a few days before you fly down to college.” Shael backed mother up. So there I was, stuck.”

“That happens. I understand that the dinner was a blast.”

“Yes it was. The ladies all hauled out their capers and they were all fun.”

“I imagine so. How many were you involved in?”
“I’m not going to risk the ire of the ladies by saying anything about them. Not very many, really.”

“Major, should I ask the FSA for the final report when it is available? We were hit by the chop shop along with everyone else here.”
“It will come from them, since a Scourge devise was not involved. Jorge, you can talk to Special Agent Flamespitter if you need the FSA.”
“Ok. I hope that I don’t. Gentlemen, I have to return to campus and class.”

 “I’ll go with you,” Jorge said.

As they walked out, the major said, “You did well the other day.”

“I know. The big problem now is the spy kids.”

“The spy kids?”
“There is a program for people that want to become Federal Officers on the campus. Special Agent Clowder came, gave a chat and hinted that information about spies and illegal activity could bring benefits when the time came. My name was mentioned.”

“What are you doing about it?”
“Nothing. There isn’t much I can do. The spy kids are students just like I am. They are also pretty bad at what they are supposed to be doing. If they get some real practice with me, the Republic will be better off.”

Jorge laughed. “Not everyone can come up to your level.”

“The FSA would be better off recruiting from the dragonkin. Here’s my car, so I will see you again, soon.”
“Tell your grandmother about the villas.”
“She probably already knows. I will tell her anyway.”

Jorge got into his car and drove off and Jorge went to his car. As he got into the car, Nightblade, who was sitting the driver’s seat said, “Did you get a hint of what he is up to?”
“The Beinans are getting a library from Bill Wavechaser. I imagine that there are reasons to keep things discreet. Other than that, Jorge is dealing with what he calls the “spy kids.” He’s apparently annoyed about their lack of technique.”

“Did you tell him about the villa?”
“Yes, but I think that I will need to go up to the Empire and talk to some people. I didn’t tell Jorge about what they are looking at me for.”
“There’s no point in bothering him about it. At least they haven’t called you up on the grill again.”
“Not yet. They will be confused when they do. I didn’t want all the things that people have given me, but they insisted.”

“People like what you did and what we are doing. If some people don’t, that’s on them, not us.”

Special Agent Clowder looked at the report sent from his sources at the university. So far, Umevan hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary very much. That was not going to make the Director happy. Even worse, Clowder was force to work on the Umevan case on his own time and without resources from the rest of the office. After the chop shop had been discovered and the devise prevented from going off, Flamespitter was in very good water with the Attorney General. That was bad news for Clowder and Sunbeam.  Special Agent Stonecracker came in and said, “Anything new?”

“Not a thing. Umevan just goes to class, his dorm and back. At least that is what he’s doing on campus. We don’t have a good handle on what he does off campus because we can’t tail him.”

“You’re on your own for the next few five days.”
“Why?”

“I’m being put on another case full time.”

“What case?”
“There’s a pattern killer out there that has been striking in town and Flamespitter assigned me to the case.”

“Why you?”

“Because the Umevan case isn’t going anywhere and we don’t have to both be tied to it.”

“I can call the Director.”

“Don’t bother. At least this other case is going someplace.”  

“Umevan is a spy.”

“Rich, even if he was, there wouldn’t be anything that we could do about it. We can’t even arrest him and the only thing we could do is get him out of the country.”

“He messed up the Senator’s party, Jeral.”

“So, he poked the termite mound? We can’t prove that, and the Gilder’s were certainly asking for it. We go through the motions to keep the Senator happy.”

“He made us look like idiots.”

“Rich, my sister lives in Freiberg. I read the report on the Five Cities and some other reports from naval ordnance. If the door on that shed had been rigged like Jorge thought it could be, we could have killed the city. We were acting like idiots.”

“The Director isn’t going to be happy.”
“The Director isn’t going to be happy unless we deliver Umevan on a platter. Since that doesn’t look like it’s happening and I have the feeling that if we did manage it, we would make a lot of people unhappy, I’m getting out.”

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