The Legacies of Lyrei, Chapter 55-56

Norman and Tom have a chat. The Project has portal issues.

Chapter 55.

The Arsenal.

Norman came into the map room, found Tom and said, “How are things going?”

“That’s hard to say. The major is at the inner edge of the dead zones and doesn’t think that the enemy has spotted him yet, 1st Marines has a regiment landed and is cutting their way inland with cooperation from the locals and the boys are up on the volcano.”

“I thought that the boys had been retired.”

“They came back. Tim and his brother came to me and argued that sitting in camp would not be the best use of their capabilities with most of the marines forward anyway. So I arranged for them to insert and they went straight in. They are inside the enemy’s probable shield perimeter and collecting intelligence. They sent some pictures out by balloon last night.”

“I haven’t been ordered to start things up, but I may have to have you talk to your brother and get Gertald back.”

“You don’t have somebody to handle his job?”

“I do, but Gertald has a certain touch and I may need that.”

“A criminal touch?”

“There may have been things that were outside regulations. On the other hand, he’s very good at keeping things outside the JAG’s office.”

“I’ll see what I can do, but I’m not making any promises. I imagine that Richard is going to need that touch right now. There hasn’t been anything from the Empire for last day and the wires in the capital seem to be out.”

“Any signs of suppressors?”

“Not yet. Radio still works, so the enemy hasn’t turned one on as yet.”

“The papers have a big splash about that little program that you started with Rom.”

“I know. Of course, some people are going to get in a lot of trouble because they dropped that on the papers. Bob is already working on it.”

“The Senate is putting the President and you on the grill.”

“Me first, soon. Jarfaet next. He’s going to do what he can to keep a lid on this, but it’s going to be ugly.”

“They could force you to resign.”

“They can do that, in the middle of what we are seeing now, after Luggergate. That would be rather foolish, but they have been that right along.”

“You have something on them.”

“I do not, at least not yet. On the other hand, there was a fire recently to ensure that some things were destroyed.”

“That fire that the archives had in Westerville.”

“Yes.”

“Are you saying that some of the things there survived?”

“That would be telling. Since that would get some people who are not citizens in trouble and me in trouble with Sarya, I’m not going to say any more.”

“Army had some things in those files. Is there a discreet conduit that I can use?”

“Visiting your Logistics officer’s wife and complaining may help you.”

Norman grinned. “Swifty is in the adjuncts again, isn’t he? You got to him before I could. Isn’t he at sea?”

“We try to switch the adjuncts around from year to year. Swifty had sea duty last year on Diligent and so he has land duty this time in various departments. Peble has him now.”

“Going through some old files.”

“I don’t know what Elista has Swifty doing, but the files would be something that he would know what to do with.”

Norman grinned. “I’m sure of that.”

Chapter 56.

The Base

Ornthalus was preparing the next steps with Aerafiel when the chief technician came in and said, “We have the portals back. How do you want to operate?”

“Start operations immediately,” Aerafiel said. “We should not have had to order that.”

Ornthalus looked at the technician and said, “You must have a reason for asking.”

“Milords, there is a very good chance that when we start up again, we will be shut down again very quickly. We purged all the old code from the portals and should have a clean code base, but we don’t know how they are uploading code and they must have the portal control panels, as they knew that the portals were operating. If we just start operating the portals again, they will just shut us down again.”

“How long do we have before things are shut down?”

“Two twentieths, three at best. That was how long we had the last time.”

“So we need to time things for maximum effect and then plan for a shut down time until you can restore things again. Arafiel, why don’t we put things together? We need to provide as great a distraction as we can or we will be facing difficulties. Let us discuss this with Blackfire.”

Blackfire was watching the Inanimates being prepared as Arafiel and Ornthalus joined him. “I have instructed the portal operators to send these to Chatsrey. That should at least keep some people tied down until we can get the suppressors emplaced. How did the rest go yesterday?”

“We have the estate and Semmont.”

“The Mana Service is destroyed then?”

“Yes it was. We didn’t get the Residence, the army or the Portal Service, but we did get the telegraph office and the Mana Service.”

“Then we can prepare for the next stage.”

“Yes.”

Neuw Athlin

Mardi ran over and grabbed Tim as he stepped onto the platform. “I am so glad to see you. You got here quickly. Did you find anything?”

“I did. We can go over it later. I had to leave earlier than I planned, so I may have to go back.”

Mardi looked at Toral and said, “Who is this, Tim?”

Toral bowed and said, “I am Toral D’Argent, milady. Tim has told me how remarkable you were. He was reticent to tell me of your beauty.”

“Milord D’Argent, you are a charming one. Were you recruited to keep the lieutenant out of trouble?”

“That may be part of it. I have had some experience with keeping the princes and princesses out of trouble at home.”

“Holly and Tolly, probably. Vindy hasn’t spent much time in Astia and I imagine that you are glad that he and Sarya are at the Conclave right now.”

“You have guessed correctly or you have been discussing things with the queen.”

“More than a bit of both. Rosie has Conclave duty for her House, so Jilly and I have been taking menace duty when we can. That was until we had some nasty visitors in Semmont. We can discuss them at the castle.”

Cécile was waiting with Joram when Mardi returned with the lieutenant and a D’Argent from Astua. “Lieutenant, you have returned with Lord D’Argent here. Has Mardi told you of our problem?”

“The Project has seized Semmont.”

“Yes. We think that they must have had an important reason for doing so.”

“I received some more messages at the same time. The Project struck at several places in the Lower City and destroyed the Mana Service. I understand that the ancient Mana Service had a facility in Semmont.”

“They did. The folk that were in Semmont said that the soldiers that the Project sent occupied that facility and didn’t really pay any attention to anything else as the people retreated.”

“Unfortunately the portals are out. Can you Jump, Mardi?”

“I can, and Ferret has been in and out since we evacuated.”

“Ok, you Jump ahead to Ishendell with some things that need to be sent on to the admiral. I will take the train after we poke into Semmont and see if we can see what they are up to.”

“You be careful, Tim!”

“I will be. I haven’t taken you to meet mother yet.”

Chatsrey

George looked at the emergence scanner and frowned. So far, the incursions had been fairly light. There had also been a large gap between the first incursion and the incursions today. The noise in the command center rose as the various incursions were dealt with. So far, things were fairly smooth. Mayor Heavytoe came in and said, “These are almost becoming routine.”

“I know. That’s bothering me.”

“You think that things are going to get worse?”

“That’s what I am afraid of.”

“Why the gap?”

“I’m not sure, but I think we can thank the people in Ishendell for that. The other side can keep the portals running until the Portal Service can get into the portals and shut them down. Then things start over again.”

The mayor laughed. “That must mess them up more than a bit.”

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