The Return of The Silverin, Chapter 57-58

Miriam and Iris have a chat. Strange goings on in Luggergate.

Chapter 57.

The Sanctum

Miriam appeared out of Jump and said, “I got your message, Iris. Just what is the issue?”
“I was testing some dragonkin boys from the Republic. Most of them passed, with moderate potential. The last one, Swifty Cutflame, went dragon.”

Miriam smiled. “That is a big thing, more than you know. The dragonkin have always felt cut off from their true selves.”

“Why were they there in the Republic anyway?”
“They lost their aerie long ago. I know some of the history, but dragonkin tend to be reticent about talking to outsiders about that. Does the boy have a bond?”
“That is another strange thing. He rescued a girl that came from someplace called the Plateau and they have formed a strong bond very quickly.”

“Is the girl’s name, Susan?”
“Yes, how did you know?”
“Tomali went to see if the family would contract for our services in retrieving the girl and the family said that the FSA was handling the matter.”

“Apparently not very well, since she is here.”

“There are politics involved. Let me consult with my Loremaster. I wish that I could consult with Altensee, but that is no longer possible.”

“I know. We have lost so much.”

“Tell me more about this interesting pair. I will have to have a chat with the families about certain things. Where is the boy now?”

“The Yllanan estate. He and Susan are going through the Program together.”

“That will cement the bond.”

 Chapter 58.

Luggergate

Kladia Millings took her constitional with Nibbles, her dog, every morning. As she waddled along after Nibbles she noticed that the door on her husband’s old business had opened a bit. The local boys had poked in there, as they had poked into some of Kladia’s other properties. That nice young man from the Stewards had rented the garage years ago and had paid the rent on time, even if the Stewards apparently only used the place for storage. The hasp on the door had been knocked off along with the building getting minor damage. Her son Jerom was supposed to fix it and hadn’t managed it. Jerom had taken Service with the army and was on reserve, playing soldier and other useless things, so the door had remained broken because Jerom had not fixed it while he had been on leave.

Kladia had called the police when the damage occurred, but the police had sent a detective, who took some pictures and said that he would look into it. It had been two five days and the truck driver had still not been discovered. That was intolerable. Now she was sure that the local boys were breaking in. Fuming, she let Nibbles lead her home. The police were going to get another call.
Hal looked at where they had emerged from the port, turned to Nebula and said, “Magpie messed up.”
“We are at the right place. There is the building right over there.”

“The problem is that we were supposed to meet up with Rob at the ship, not here. I better make a call.”

After finding a phone, dealing with the operator and accounts, Hal called the ordnance office and finally got the ship. When he did, Rob said, “Stay there. Tim and a middie are just leaving. Load your stuff aboard and come back with them.”
“Why, we are already here.”
“There are reasons and I can’t go over them now.” Rob hung up, Hal turned to Nebula and said, “Tim is coming for us. Rob doesn’t want us in the city.”

“He probably knows about that lady.” Nebula was looking at the lady walking toward the garage.

Two twentieths later, Tim and another young man appeared with a small truck, Nebula and Hal put the portal tools inside and got in. “What’s going on, Tim? Who is this?”

“This is Roger. We have to make some stops and then we all head back.”
They drove past the garage and Hal said as they passed the garage, “The lady must have called the guard about something.”

“What lady?”
“That lady we just passed, in front of that building.”

The garage?”
“It has a busted door and the lady was upset when we ported in. She’s been waiting there since we called.”

“Here’s our first stop, Roger said. “Why don’t you two come in with us?”

“Why?”

Roger grinned. “You have uniforms. If we have to, we can use some double talk.”

Nebula grinned. “I think that their portals need work, since they obviously haven’t worked for a very long time.”
That proved to be uneccesary as when they mentioned that they were here to pick up something from Geral Hammersmith, the lady at the desk called him and he came right out with an envelope. He looked at the four rather askance and said, “I haven’t seen uniforms like that before. What does the Imperial Portal Service do?”
“End up getting ported to the wrong place,” Hal said. “We were supposed to be prepping a portal, but we were sent to where the portal was going to end up and not where it presently is.”

Geral laughed. “Does that happen often in the Portal Service?”
“Not like this.”

“Thank you Mr. Hammersmith,” Roger said. “We need to go to our next stop.”

As they were leaving, Busses drove up and an official looking type got out of the car that had arrived with the busses and walked into the school. Tim said, “I think that we got there just in time.”

Hal looked and said, “What do you think is happening?”
“Rob’s brother is running an evacuation, and the schools have most of the kids concentrated already, so the busses show up and the kids are out of town.”

George looked at Tim and the others, at the binder and said, “What is this?”
“My boss wants you to have this if you need it. This is the technical information for a Scourge Primary and how it fits into a can.”

“How did he get this, reverse engineering?”
“I really shouldn’t say, and if the clown were not already dead, I would shoot him, but the Captain’s brother in law took a consulting contract from some people. That is what he designed and arranged to have manufactured for them.”

“Did the captain know?”
“No, he did not. He didn’t discover that until a devise appeared right in front of him, was sent to go boom and we found nine more of them. The captain’s brother in law killed himself after he was discovered and arrested.”

“Tell your boss, thank you.”
“If you get a call concerning a lady and a building, stall,” Hal said.

“Why?”
“The lady was poking around and if she starts to make a stink it could be very bad.”

“Where is the building?”
“You will know and it works better if I don’t tell you.”
“That is being mysterious.”
“Not really if you know certain personalities and how they act. I figure that it will take two or three twentieths for you to get involved.”

The four left and George frowned. Then he sat down to wait.

Detective D’ Magil cursed his ancesters for moving from Vestia to the Republic as he spent the later part of the morning with Mrs. Millings. He had dutifully shown up and took her statement and then he asked if anything had been taken or damaged. Mrs. Millings had tried to call the garage’s tenant and was not able to reach him. Finally, after a lot of waiting, the detective managed to convince the lady to let him open the door and take a look. With Mrs. Millings looking over his shoulder, he went inside and the garage and the storeroom were undisturbed. The kids hadn’t even taken the paint. D’Magil took some pictures and closing the door, managed to get himself loose and back to his desk. When he sat down, the lieutenant was passing pamphlets around. He looked at it and said, “Navy? What is going on, Lieutenant?”
“The chief wanted these passed around. If you see one of the things, call it in.”

D’ magil looked at the pamphlet and said, “Lieutenant, I think that I have.”

“Are you sure?”
“I’ll know when I get the pictures from the darkroom.”

It was getting toward the end of the detective’s shift when the pictures came back. The detective took one look at at them and went into the lieutenant’s office. “We have trouble. Look.”

“They look almost the same. That is almost certainly a Scourge devise. But what are those additions?”

“That’s the trouble, I think. I’m going to call the navy.”

“Call the FSA. This is their jurisdiction.”
“The pamphlet says that these things require Scourge trained people to handle them.”
“The FSA can handle that. Call them and see what they say.”

The detective made the call, said that there was a high probability that they had a Scourge devise and when the call wasn’t returned before his shift ended, went home.
Billingston

Rob breathed a sigh of relief when the boys returned with Hal and Nebula. He waited up at the top of the gangway as they reached the top and said, “I’m sorry  that you two were pulled, but we can’t just go in and take over on this one, I’m afraid.”
“Why not, captain?” Hal asked.

“The local FSA chief is an idiot who carries grudges and we butted heads a long time ago over an evacuation, perimeter control and booms. He was demoted and ended up here, where apparently he managed to get himself promoted again. In any case, he is not likely to let me take things over, let alone Tim or one of the other of my people and it would take a Presidential order to change that. I’m not going to ask for one unless we have the devise and I’m being blocked.”

“What was all the traffic going out?” Roger asked. “They were evacuating the school right after we picked up the pictures.”

“My brother and the police chief set it up. They are pulling as many people as they can. That’s another reason to wait. I would like the city evacuated, but I don’t think that we will have time for that. Hand me the pictures.”

Tim did and Rob looked at them. Handing the pictures back, he said, “I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to do this, but I may need to extract a prisoner.”

“Why?” Roger asked.

“Because I may need to use illegal means to get him to tell me what I need to know. This Scourge devise has had antitampering devices attached and before going in, I want to know what I am messing with. So I need to use the plane at my disposal, go to Chatsrey Central Jail and talk with a prisoner. If he doesn’t talk, I will have to use an option that I wish that I didn’t have to use. In any case this was just speculation if you have to testify.”

Rob went down the gangway and into the growing darkness.

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