Vet appt for new puppy, Yuki, this morning. All seems well but he’s a little tired and cranky from a couple of shots. Then I had to repair one of our toilets; normally not a big deal but my left hand is not very functional right now (switd?) due to a ganglion cyst, so I nearly threw my back out contorting myself.
I now think I can turn this into a novel. That means one thing which implies another: a 50,000-word count minimum (currently just over 12k) and I cannot just jettison the reason I started this; that is, Colour. There is precedent in my other works where a demi basically tells a human, “follow me,” and expects it to be done. And here it is again. I have a suspicion this mature lady is about to have her world turned upside down.
Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!
“You certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons,” he muttered as they stepped outside. It had clouded up and looked like a light rain was coming.
“It is one of the things my kind do best,” she laughed.
“Your kind?” Marx asked. “You mean imperials?”
“Nope.” Seeing Colour sitting on a bench about twenty yards away, she waved and shouted. “Friend!”
Colour closed her paperback, looked up, and waved back with a smile.
“Ask her. Now, about airspace restrictions?” the general prompted.
“About fifteen miles south-southwest of here is the Portland Airport,” Marx began. “As that city is also a small deepwater harbor, we’ve been able to import aviation fuel, but that’s mostly for any search and rescue missions out to sea. The radar gets tested every six months but we don’t keep it on; too much electricity for no reason.”
“Is there also a shipbuilding and repair facility in that city, too?” She appreciated how forthcoming he was.
“No, General. That’s in Portsmouth, about another forty miles south,” he explained. “It was just used a little for some of the cutters we inherited after the Breakup but is pretty well deserted now.”
“Be aware, and tell your other councilmen, the imperium will assist with the costs and manpower to make it operational again,” Hartmann said, halting to stare at him. “We have several guided missile destroyers as well as smaller ships. With the assistance of Texas, we are now building cruisers and they will need an operational base to our north.”
“But… Ma’am,” he coughed, now flustered, “you have those secret flying machines. An ocean-going navy – ”
“We cannot be everywhere at once, especially when it comes to piracy,” she interrupted him. “With that of Europe which faces the sea now dark, the Atlantic is thick with them. If your fishing boats have remained safe all this time I imagine it is because of oversight from your northern friends. No, you don’t have to respond to that.”
“After all,” Aurelia turned away and took Colour’s hands, “we must train good crew here for our navy on Mars.”
“What!” Marx exclaimed. “There is no water there!”
“That you for your short briefing, Councilman Marx,” the general said, dropping her friend’s hand to turn back to him. “You’d best hie yourself back to the meeting with what you’ve just learned, right? I shall return to my legionary fort just south of your border. We shall break camp in two days.”
“To go where?” Cautiously.
“You tell me!” Dangerously. She turned again. “Please come with me, Citizen Jansen.”
Colour came to her friend’s side after watching the councilman rush back into the building.
“So, you’re leaving us?” she asked.
“Yep. Don’t wanna cause a diplomatic incident by looking threatening. About already did that in there,” Aurelia said, pointing her right thumb over her shoulder. “It’s nearly eleven and we have a hundred miles to ride and I’ve no permission to spend the night again, so this is going to be a long day. Get your horse.”
“Because you are coming with me, of course,” Aurelia said.
“You have no day-to-day job nor animals to care for, besides your horse. Have something more interesting planned, Colour?” She kept the corners of her mouth forced down.
“My house… I need clothes… food…” the older woman tried.
“You routinely leave it unlocked.” Aurelia was having none of it. “We’ve spare uniforms for a few days as well as our own rations. We are a professional army, not vagabonds. Can you manage a hundred miles today?”
“Of course,” Colour replied, knowing she had lost.
“Mount up!” General Hartmann shouted to those around her. “Move out in sixty seconds!”
When her new friend turned to run to her horse, Aurelia finally let herself smile.