Maternal Colour

Paperwork, paperwork. Even my little E4 in the US Army says paperwork is what runs the world. Even if you are more human than human.

This popped into my head on the drive home from DayJob yesterday. The extended Hartmann family is well known for their loyalty but this is something much more personal for Aurie. I’d say she is more open to Colour than for all the things she and Jimmy did. Eros is easy; agape is hard work.

See everyone next week!

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!

Back at the command tent an hour later, Foss reported that the others would be in at or before daybreak, with Bloom having the furthest to travel.  Aurelia thanked him and walked around the main map table.  She made notes and wrote orders while dictating more to the four aides still there.  Pausing for water, Colour spoke up.

“Do you ever get confused, doing multiple tasks like this?” she asked.

“Nope.  Trained gifted humans can do it, too.” She looked out at the twilight.  “I’ll be at this for hours; much to prepare.  The men are used to you now, so go get something to eat.  And bring me back some meat and cheese, please.”

“I’ll do that, General,” she replied, standing.  “And I’ll check on our horses.  No way mine can make it alone, so I’m guessing we’ll be bringing spares?”

Aurelia looked up and smiled.

“Yes.  A security troop will accompany us, but there will be more horses than people.” A pause.  “Thank you, Friend.”

The army will move south to a point just west of the Hudson River, around Albany.  I did promise the NorFeds, after all.  They can build a permanent legionary base, letting them and the Canadians we are not going anywhere.  Once that is complete… hmm.  She pulled some maps over and stared while her friend set a plate off of her left.  Hartmann muttered thanks.  This area around Schenectady looks promising but I’ll leave it to my replacement.

She leaned back, taking a cup with her right and a piece of cheese with her left.  At some point, Colour had left again.  And who will my replacement be?  Army commanders are appointed by the empress.  Yet, I am to be her regent for a period of time.  Thus, that decision falls to me.  Paras is good but too young.  Of the other three?  I’ll sleep on that.  Water chased the cheese down as she wrote more orders.

 Realizing her friend was not kidding, Colour finally retired to her cot around twenty-two hundred, Aurelia still working by oil lamp.  It was only a peculiar dream about being watched that had her open her eyes in the dark, wondering the time.

“It’s one thirty,” Aurelia said from the night.

“You can read minds in the dark, too… oh!” Colour sat up to see two golden lights; the demi-human sitting on the edge of her cot.

“Is everything okay?” the human asked.

“Yes.  No.  You calmed me when I saw the ice.  May I impose again?”

“Of course, Aurelia…”

“Don’t get up.” Hartmann moved to Jansen’s right and rested her head onto her chest.  Colour placed her hand on her friend’s hair and rubbed gently.  The young woman sighed.

“Mom would do this when I was little.  Even with you childless, it feels just like her.  Genetic, I guess.” When the hand paused, she went on.  “Did I just accidentally insult you?  I didn’t mean to.”

“I know… you’re different,” Colour said, blinking as she kissed the top of Aurie’s head.  This continued for some time before the general spoke.

“I am to be co-regent in the Empress’ absence.  At least a week; perhaps a month.  The lives of millions will be in my hands,” the princess murmured, her face down.

“Co-regent?” Colour wondered.

“With my cousin, Crown Prince Edward.  He’s like me, but his mother… hurt him after he did something stupid as a boy.  He is not fit to rule.” Another sigh.  “The empress is telegraphing to our subjects and the world who might be her heir.”

“You told me you expected that,” Colour countered.

“I expected to see snow and ice.  Reality often confounds expectations, Friend.”

“You’re scared.”

“Scared, a little.  Apprehensive, sure.” Aurelia sat up so Colour’s hand fell across her shoulders.  “I will think much on this on our ride.  And so I am very glad for your ‘no.’  It seems I not only like you but need you.”

“Will,” Colour tried to recall the name, “Edward be a problem?”

“Problem?” A tiny laugh.  “Naah.  All of us get along pretty well.  Only Faustina holds herself aloof.  She must.”

“Because to be in command is to be alone?” Colour quoted her but was startled to feel the kiss on her lips.

“Which is why I need you.” Hartmann stood and returned to her bed, the lights of her eyes fading.  Colour lay back down.

“In the morning, Friend?  Get up with me and see to our horses.  My talk with my legates will be most secret.  I’m sorry for that,” the princess apologized.

“Duty is as heavy as a mountain.  Go to sleep, Regent.”

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