The Intrigues of The Plateau, Chapter 41-42

The Silverin are dispatched to start to deal with the cult. Cain has a chat with Izzie

Chapter 41

The Silverin Estate

Filia looked at the gathered teams and said, “You all are ready. We have provided you with what training and information that we could provide. Remember that your mission is not to hurt the cultists, it is to come back with what you learn about them. When the time comes that we must deal with the cult directly, we will have the forces to crush them utterly. That time is not now. Now we will be stealthy and smart. Above all, remember that the cult are Silverin, family. Misguided and twisted, but still family and our long goal is to bring them back to the House. Thank you and good luck.”

Taerel turned to Richard and the others and said, “We have begun. I hope that we can prevent too much damage.”
“The committee has already infiltrated. Unfortunately I don’t want to use heavy force and get a lot of compelled killed. What concerns me is a snowball and the fact that the harvest starts all too soon.”
“My House will make good on all the losses of the Blight resistant seed.”

“Thank you, and it will be appreciated. I expect that the cult has the Blight someplace and that when the time comes, the new gods will want to use the Blight to punish sinners.”

“At least the Scourge is off the table,” Naertho said.

“How are things going at the estate?”
“That is hard to say. They’ve stopped poking at the fusors or trying to get into the bunker. On the other hand, they haven’t started to blow things up and leave.”

“What if they try that?”
“They waited just a bit too long, there is the portal here and I know some specialists back at home.”

Richard grinned. “Ex army types or maybe not even ex army.”

“Yes. Jorge and the marines have been getting all the attention, deservedly and the other side really should have paid more attention to the Ghost stories. You may have been the first Ghost, but you made a reputation among the sharpshooter schools and ranger types. These fools should have thought about where the company is headquartered and who else is there.”

“The Ironaxes.”

“Yes. They have been neighbors for a very long time, and while my wife and Imizael have been indulging themselves trying to keep the families apart, I haven’t hesitated to take advantage at need. They’ve given me several five days to get set up and that was foolish. If I could hit them in Lain Othrond with orcs, what do they think that I would bring to my home estate?”

“They could find the codes and shut down the fusors.”

“Yes they could. Without Nat and his people, getting them back up again is going to be painful, laborious and take more time than they have. They are hardly the first ones who thought that they could make off with what I provide and make it work.”

 Chapter 42.

Chatsrey

Izzie looked at the two orcs, at Cain and said, “Couldn’t you get adequate persuaders, Mr. Bellot?”

“They got you here to meet with me. I will not bother to introduce myself, since you already know who I am.”

“That could have been done with a call to the Press Service. They do pass my messages to me.”

“I was concerned that they would not.”

“So, you want to sit down with me and have me interview you about all the things that the Senator has done with his friends.”

“Not precisely. The Senator is concerned that some slanderous lies concerning the Senate will be released to the press in an attempt to discredit the Administration.”

“The Administration doesn’t need any help in discrediting itself. It is doing just fine all by itself.”

Cain put the photo of the bulletin board on the table. “Somebody is creating a conspiracy theory.”

“Are you sure that it is a theory? I see that you had somebody break into a place they shouldn’t have. You should be more careful, Mr. Bellot. On the other hand, that bulletin board probably makes the Senator nervous. I know he received one of those crates from the late Senator Halder. He should also worry about just how sloppy his nephew was and if some people in the archives took steps or if there were other copies of the things that burned in that fire in Westerville. That was what kicked this all off, you know. The archives wanted to know if the navy had copies of the things that were destroyed, the chief of staff put an adjunct to poking into the files and then arranged to have some things moved to that garage so that the archives people and the army weren’t forced to go back and forth into the base and could work in Chatsrey. Then some people noticed other things in the Crowburg book and the navy’s copy of the Halder files. What with the evidence from the Cotton Exchange trial and now what is being found at the FSA, all sorts of interesting connections have dropped out.”

“You could get hurt if this reaches the paper. The Senator doesn’t like people spreading rumors and lies.”

Izzie laughed. “Mr. Bellot, threats at this point are foolish. It started off with that Adjunct, but it didn’t exactly end there. You poking my boss about this didn’t help you at all, since you essentially told him that what I was working on was very hot indeed. I wouldn’t bother with another convenient fire at the garage. First of all, the security there now is very tight and, second, everything there has been copied and distributed to various interested parties. As for me, if something happens to me, some people will be rather annoyed and everything that we have drops, all over the papers. Since you are obviously not prepared to give an interview about the Senator’s activities, I will bid you good day, Mr. Bellot. Izzie turned to the orcs and said, “Tell your boss that the next time he has you haul me or anyone else off that Mr. Cutflame, Mr. Flamespitter and a lady will be rather annoyed, especially if you are doing favors for Mr. Bellot and his boss.”

“Princess, I am Kentog Stillingfleet from the Bureau of Exile and Immigration Affairs. I have been tasked to facilitate your visit to the Republic.”

Immianthe grinned “You don’t look like a goblin, Mr. Stillingfleet.”

“I had an exile as a mother. In any case, my office discovered that you were here with several thousand apparent slave children and had been here for some time. So I was sent to see if we could get the paperwork squared away.”

“Are you pressing for emancipations?”

“I wasn’t going to unless the parents are present. I know how Mrs. Fallingwater feels about such things.”

Tad laughed. “That is mother. Of course she was making a point and some people had annoyed her when they treated me that way. The Umevan should have handled all that.”

“They probably tried, but with the new administration and the mass resignations, things were and are a mess. I just have general visitors’ visas and if we can get names on them, that should be fine. I have a stack of passports and some badges that we give tourist children in case they get lost.”

“Good,” Immianthe said. “That has been a concern and some of the minders from the Republic that we had were recruited by Tad’s mother for something.”
“May I ask what that was?”
“Something involving family in the Empire,” Tad said. “That’s all I know right now.”

“Is there anything you need, princess?”

“Are you from the city here?”

“Yes?”

“Then you know the good things for kids here. We’re running out of things and there are only so many trips to Castle Hill that you can take.”

Kentog laughed. “Surely there are others with ideas.”

“There are, including some invaders to the park here, but I’m responsible for this lot and I’m the one that grandmother will get in trouble if the kids here get in trouble.” 

Desert Howl

Bill turned to Haral and said, “Who are those two?”

“What two?”

“Those two college students. They’ve been here through everything, yet I don’t remember seeing them and they don’t seem to be members’ kids. I think that I would remember them if they were. They annoy Borag more than a bit. He apparently knows who they are.”

“Maybe they were his students. Have you asked Borag?”

“I haven’t. He hasn’t been very civil at this meeting and I haven’t wanted to talk to him. You know more than you are saying.”

“I do. It’s time we attracted new blood anyway. They could just be curious college students.”

“If the FSA weren’t attaching themselves like lampreys, looking for things that we were not doing, I would think that there would be more. What stirred them up?”
“The President asked Admiral Harper to see if Scourge devises could be fit to rockets. There were good reasons to want to know if that was possible and very good reasons to keep that discreet. The President’s enemies found some documents and released them to the press in order to force the President to resign. The FSA was charged with finding evidence of the Old Families colluding to make Scourge tipped missiles and the mage hunt was on, including here at Desert Howl. Borag has been cooperating with the FSA.”

“There’s more that you are not saying.”

“Borag has strange friends who play with dangerous things. We can talk about it later. Our other guests have arrived. I need to greet the admiral.

“They shouldn’t be here,” Terrel said, looking at Jorge and Bill.

“It was sort of inevitable, Terrel, you know that.” Rob said. “The suppressor is turned off, they can both Jump and can take care of themselves. I wouldn’t worry too much.”

“I think that somebody in crystal put Bill up to this.”

“Now that is something to be concerned about.”

“He is here,” Caifiel said. “Harald is here.”

“Who would be his carrier, mistress?” Borag asked.

“You would know these folk better than I. Who does not belong?”

“The admiral and his people, or the two students from Ironton.”

“The admiral seems like the better guess. Let us get closer.”

Borag followed the admiral and his people as they toured the Umevan facility and the building where the old experiments had been stored. After a time, the seeming said, “Not here. It must be the others.”

“They are students at Ironton. I had both of them for first physics. They were average students at best, hardly the kinds of people that would be entrusted with the Harald seeming. Perhaps Haral has it.”

“Looking for me, Caifiel?

“Where are you, Harald?

“Not too far away. Apparently you were never activated in Jorge’s office. I see that you have been returned to your friends. I hope that your advice turns out better than the advice of your relatives and friends. I think I will cut off now.”

“Damn you Harald!”

Borag walked over to where Haral and Bill were talking and said, “Should you be letting college students in here, Haral?”

Haral laughed. “Jorge and Bill? Jorge is my cousin and has a much of a right to be here as I do. As for Bill, he is here as Jorge’s guest. They are working together on something for grandfather. I haven’t asked too many questions.”

“These things are dangerous to meddle with.”

“Don’t say that too loud. Jorge might hear you and take that as a challenge. Jorge has handled Scourge devises. I doubt that anything here will excite him that much.”

“Why is the navy here?”

“The navy has been deeply involved in advanced physics of late. You must plan to attend Captain Wavechaser’s presentation at Beinan’s concerning RDR.”

“That material should be classified.”

“Then talk about that with the FSA, who released Captain Wavechaser’s son’s classified RDR paper to the press. I must move on, Borag.”

As Bill and Jorge got into the jalopy, Bill’s father appeared and said, “Was it your idea or Harald’s to bring him?”

Harald appeared and said, “Mine, Terrel. I wanted to see what some people were like first hand and thought that the risk was justified. Of course, I was not the only seeming in attendance. Poor Caifiel was rather put out that she could not figure out who my custodian was. Bill, your physics teacher was more than you said he was and like many of his type, quick to make assumptions and not correct them. He thought that I was not something that would be entrusted to someone like you and was looking in the wrong places.”

“What are you going to do now, Bill?” Terrel asked.

“Go up to Seagate and hand Harald back to Searlia so that she can put him away. The Stewards are looking to follow me back to our place out there. So, Jorge and I are going to be taking a break with our girls on the beach and going to things at the conference while I collect pictures and take notes for Strange Science. Stan sent down and asked me if I could get into things.”

Terrel laughed. “Make sure that you attend my presentation, since you wrote it.”

“Bill, make sure that you take the bot, so that there is a record,” Harald said. “What paper is this?”

“Bill was assigned RDR as a history topic. He wrote the paper and it had to be classified because Bill included technical details. The FSA found the paper and handed it to a reporter from the Chatsrey Times, who had the paper published. So I can use the paper for unclassified presentations on RDR.”

“That could harm the navy and the war. Was that deliberate?”

“There are a lot of strange things happening. Harald, we will have to discuss them at another time. As you sensed, the enemy is looking for you.”

“They are. How did you know that the other seeming was there?”

“I’ve been watching Bill’s old professor since he arrived. I’ve also been getting briefs from Captain Flamecutter. Bill, you and Jorge need to get going.”
Stripped down to a loin cloth, Taran watched the vehicles struggle across the desert in the heat. It was obvious that the Stewards did not have anyone with desert experience in their numbers. They were also looking in the wrong place. The team at Bill’s building had made the habit of diverting their way in to cross a dry lake bed and then go in the wrong direction and seemingly up the wrong road. So the searchers looked up the wrong road and found the old played out mine at the end. So far the Stewards had not figured out that they had been had. Taran and his people had also had to rescue three lost teams of Stewards from the desert. They hadn’t liked the fact that they had to pay for the rescues. Taran turned to his cousin and said, “Garr, we have customers.”

“Coming up the lake road again?”

“Uh yup. They keep looking the wrong way or getting stuck.”

“Wrong time of year for most folk to be out here anyway.”

“That be true.”

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