So that’s who shows up… this time and so far. The fact that in the last installment President Dysart saw drones in the air means to me that Faustina is at very least in live contact with her legions if not seeing into the Void, as well.
Allow me to preen over the touch that had Fausta’s simulacrum of her god-daughter not have any burn scarring. It’s quite possible as a machine, Fausta is not even aware of her namesake’s permanent damage.
It looks as if the young general is trying very hard to be diplomatic for once. I wonder if she can keep it together?
The two M2 Hummers moved to the left and right for a better field of fire. Most of the President’s entourage stopped under the covered gate while Dysart carried on with three aides and a bodyguard of a dozen. Seeing that, the other walked quickly to meet him, also with a dozen armed men but no others. Twenty yards from the gatehouse, they stopped, about fifteen feet apart. He waited.
The smaller figure (he was correct) took off their helmet and passed it left to one of hers. Dysart saw her black hair just touched her shoulders over two amazing light blue eyes. Her skin was tanned and almost looked Oriental, marred by what looked like a recent bad burn from her left ear down her neck and into her uniform. He didn’t see that in the video; had she been wearing make-up? With a winning smile, she took five more steps and lifted her right arm straight up, palm toward him, fingers slightly apart.
“President Dysart! I am General Hartmann! I am pleased to greet you in peace!” she cried in a clear yet pleasant voice.
Not understanding what he presumed was a salute, he nodded sharply, walked to her, and put out his hand.
“Be welcome in the Gulf Shore States, General Hartmann,” he intoned, loud enough for the record, as she lowered her hand and took his.
“Thank you!” she was just as loud. “The Southern hospitality of the Gulf Shore was proverbial even before the Breakup! While our formal business is elsewhere, I wanted to see if it was still true!”
“I can assure you, General, that it is!” Against all better judgment, Dysart was starting to like this young woman. “We welcome peaceful visitors whose formal business is elsewhere!”
“On behalf of my army and my master, I thank you, President Dysart!” She dropped her hand and her voice while tilting her head a little to the right at the knee-high grass there and the scattered pine trees two dozen yards beyond. He would have sworn her eyes were glittering. “Walk with me, please?”
Without moving his eyes from nearly eight inches above hers, Dysart considered the risk. No, she didn’t seem the type to start a war. He opened his left arm to the south. “Certainly, General.”
“And you are correct, I’m not,” she said, her voice still softer for the two of them alone.
“You’re not… I’m sorry?” he was genuinely puzzled. She was not a general?
“I’m not the type to start a war,” she clarified. “I would see all these lands at peace. And prosperous.”
Not exactly sure how she had read his mind, Dysart strove to discipline his face.
“A noble goal, General,” he replied. “It is just unsettling when many thousands of armed men arrive unexpectedly. That can lead to… misunderstandings.”
“I agree and confess that to be my fault,” she admitted, with a toss of her left hand. “My sense of justice at hearing of the plight of Louisiana had me march my legions south before I fully considered the ramifications of my actions.”
“Your… legions?” he asked, noting her scarring went down to her hand.
“My whole left side but my men would not want me stripping right now. Anyway, you would call them brigades. I’m rather old fashioned,” she replied. They had just reached the tree line. In a politic gesture, he indicated they should first move west, away from his men. His confidence in the M2 machine guns helped that decision.
“For one so young? And just how many of these legions did you march out?” he prompted.
“President Dysart, please!” Her smile was an impish grin when she looked up to him. “Do you ask women their age, as well?”