Colours of Rank

One at a time, tiny pebbles of concern come before Aurelia. Will they turn into an avalanche? And these are just personnel issues. What happens when a foreign country weighs in on this new, temporary ruler?

Fortunately, for her and for Texas, in this segment, Aurie’s friend is there for her.

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!

That done, Aurelia trotted toward one of the office buildings.  She called me friend but was treating me like her kid.  The fact that she’s probably right just makes it worse.  I’ll think about that later.

“Hello, Chief Engineer Brodén,” she called, walking into a conference room.  “Let’s talk about contingencies.”

Two hours later had their three vehicles flying southeast down a recently repaired highway.  With the parabolic antenna atop their Hummer pointed south and making constant corrections for their travel, Hartmann was able to conduct business her way:  fast.

“Yes, Viscount Dysart.  If you need clarification, ask my cousin Ryland, at the Naval Academy.  Of course.  Not at all.  Thank you for your time.”

Across from her, on the thinly padded bench, Colour watched and listened to one side of a conversation.  Her young friend’s eyes were dilated, almost completely black but for the circle of gold fire around the darkness.

“Dysart?” she asked.

“His father was the President of the Gulf Shore States,” Aurelia replied, reaching for water.  “Almost got into a shooting war with Fussy.  They both realized they were being stupid and stepped back – all that without someone like you! – and agreed to play nice.  Once he died, the empress had already set everything up for his son to succeed him as an aristocrat in the imperium.”

“I still don’t know all the titles,” Colour admitted.  “Viscount?”

“Empress, duke, marquis, viscount, count, baron,” the princess ticked off her fingers.  “Dukes, like my dad, are only from the family.  Since young Dysart’s father had been a politician with real power, making him a marquis, like Kennedy in Georgia Province, would have been asking for trouble.”

“Your dad is a duke… but you said he’s a medical doctor.  And flies planes, too, I guess,” Colour continued to learn.  “So why…”

“To be perfectly honest, the empress is making all this up as she goes,” the Regent admitted.  “We talk a lot about loyalty, duty, and future generations, but this is very new ground for all of us.  Hey, what’s that odd smile for!”

“It’s nice to see you humble now and again,” Jansen admitted.  “Everyone is trying their best, aren’t we?”

“Yep!” Aurelia took a deep breath and let her eyes go again.  “My dearest sister, how are you, Livia?  Missing your husband much?  Eeek!  You didn’t have to get into detail about how horny you are!  No… no, I don’t know why you aren’t pregnant yet.  No.  Sure.” Colour just shook her head at all this.  “If you want, come see my dad in Knoxville.  He specializes in demis, after all.  No, I know for a fact Cousin Ed’s sperm is fine.  What!  I did not!  I read his medical records!”

Colour could not but laugh.  But her laugh died when the princess bared her teeth.

“What, exactly, do you mean, Livia:  they won’t let you leave Texas?” Even the air in the Hummer was now cold.

“Then I’ll just…!” For a second, her eyes were normal, looking at her point of normal.  Gone again.  “I’ll look into things, Liv.  It will all be okay.  I promise.  Bye, now.”

“Thank you, friend,” Aurelia sighed, leaning back, head down and eyes closed.


“I was about to attack Texas just now,” the regent admitted.  “Detaining my family?  I have my mother’s precedence when it comes to crap like that.  And don’t even get me started on my relatives further back.”

“Did she, or they, give a reason?” Colour asked.

“Not yet.  And I cannot even tear through their Walls in the Void to find out.  Lily’s friends, tribe Tohsaka helped to build them.  Impossible for even the likes of me.”

She lay down on the bench.

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