The Colour of Politics

A few days ago had my laptop not working. Not quite a “Blue Screen of Death,” but more a Blue Screen of Imminent Doom. I was able to boot to a flash drive and verify my data was intact, but that was all. Not wanting to make matters worse, I passed it on to an IT guy I know. He was able to reload Windows past the \BCD error but pointed out that at seven years old, I’d best start planning a new machine.

All data is now re-backed up on a remote HDD and I’ve ordered another laptop. I do not want to reload everything on this one just to do it all again on my new one in a week, so these updates will fall away for the next ten days or so. I’m still writing – can’t stop, or I’ll die, but I’m using Word 0.1: pen and paper; I’ll have to retype everything! First World Problems! It’s also so much slower… I’m making more notes than dialog as I cannot scribble fast enough: Reina’s demands about Mars, the Empress’ change of plans with Edward, Aurie now on her own, and – as I suspected – the Minor Powers, Canada, Mexico, Texas, smell blood in the water. All when we now know that Aurelia has a dangerous, violent streak. Not sure what Colour’s “come from behind home run” might be, but I’m counting on her.

As you can see from the story text, below, this is from WordPad. So, the formatting is completely different. I’ll do better when I get my new machine. And give her a name. What? Of course I name my machines… don’t you?

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!

Neither spoke again until on the train. Colour saw it was only four cars long and the lead was streamlined like a bullet. A detachment of eight legionaries joined them and they were all pressed deep into their seats a moment later.
“Cruising speed of about two hundred and fifty miles per hour,” the princess answered her unasked question. “So, allowing for positive and negative acceleration, it’s forty-five minutes from stepping on to stepping off where we’re going.”
“Chattanooga, you said?” Colour tried to recall the maps. “That’s south of here?”
“Southwest. A little over one hundred miles. I’m meeting Viscount Kennedy there, up from his lands between Atlanta and Macon. His dad was made first a baron of Chattanooga then promoted,” Aurelia explained. “He retired due to illness and passed the title to his son. Loyal kid, but only thirty-one. I don’t want him getting any dumb ideas… why are you laughing?”
“That a twenty-five-year-old just called a man in his thirties a kid,” Colour smiled.
“You know what I mean,” Aurie huffed. “Anyway, he’ll meet me at the station – important to show who is going to who – and after a few words, we’ll be off to Huntsville. That’s about the same time as this jaunt. You can just relax on the train here as I really won’t be long.”
“Don’t need me for your show?” she teased.
“If I wanted to really use you, Friend, I’d have you in a Canadian uniform. That would scare the hell out of everyone on this continent.” The Regent rested her head over for a moment. “And I am sorry for the times I did. It’s my nature.”
Without seatbelts, the deceleration was not quite as dramatic, but Jansen still gripped her chair’s armrests.
“I know,” she said once they halted. “You go do politics.”
Aurelia stood but paused to point at the armrest.
“There’s a screen in there if you want to watch. Might make you older about how things work here. See ya’!”
By the time she was back from the toilet and had turned it on, the speech seemed mostly over.
“Aurelia doing most of the talking, of course,” she whispered. The screen divided into two images. The left was the Regent on the platform. The right… was also her but against a gray background.
“That’s a little rude, best friend!” she laughed, talking into a microphone about “…loyalty to the imperium…” at the same time.
“Neat trick,” Colour admitted.
“The Machines are much, much better at it, and it takes me a ton of concentration, but what I’m saying is pretty routine,” she admitted. “See the viscount next to me? Kinda cute, isn’t he?”
“Ditching Jimmy already, Princess?” she asked with a tone.
“My God but you have no sense of humor,” Aurelia shook her head on the right. “Here, listen to my conclusion. I made it rhyme so people will remember it better!”
“…from the ruins we’ve risen slowly, to the future turned we stand! Flourish in our blessings and glory! Flourish forever our Motherland!” Colour heard cheering through the train’s open door while her friend smiled and smiled while waving one of their salutes.
“I’m going to guess that first ‘our’ was your kind of people?” she asked cynically.
“Caught that did you?” Colour saw when her friend tried to appear sheepish or contrite she looked like a little kid. “Yeah. And of course, motherland is a reference to the empress.”
“I’m sure everyone read that loud and clear.” Jansen saw the left-hand image turn and move out of the picture and looked up to see the real thing stepping back on the train.
“On to Huntsville,” Colour asked, stowing the tablet.
“Yeppers. It’ll all be low-key this evening. Dinner, then we’ll stay on the base,” she replied, patting the older woman’s head as she slid past her to sit down. “Cousin Ed is coming up tonight and they’ll be lots of folderol in the morning.”
“Dumb political stuff,” she clarified. “But you’ll be behind my left at every moment. Can I talk you into wearing a Maple Leaf flag pin?”
“Aurie!” she snapped.
“Just a thought! See you in an hour.” Her eyes closed and she was asleep.
The terrain flew by but Jansen forced herself to pay attention. There were hills to their right and they seemed to be following the Tennessee River to the left. She noted many farms, most will fully modern equipment. A display over the forward door indicated they just breezed through Scottsboro and were turning west into the hills. No, they quickly fell away to a valley illuminated by the setting sun. Over another hill, they began their abrupt deceleration into Huntsville.
Aurelia opened her eyes and stretched. The train stopped.
“Get your satchel, Colour,” she said, already making for the door. Out onto the platform then into the station, the General and Regent returned the salutes and waves of legionaries and subjects, alike. Three cars waited for them outside.
“We’re in the middle,” Aurelia said, nodding to where a man held a door open. “Security fore and aft. Did you want any food or just straight to bed?”
“I’ve learned from marching with you to load up when I can,” Colour answered, “and Callie’s sandwiches were very good. I’ll be fine until breakfast. I bet, after all, you’ve got some regenting to do before you finally turn in.”
“How well you know me,” she smiled back before telling the driver they were headed for the legionary base.

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