Working title will be the MC’s name. No guarantees when I finally add it to a collection. This at least gives me a Category and Tag.
I’ve mentioned in my published works that China is in a bad way right now. Their neo-colonial experiment in Africa was bleeding them and when the US and EU disintegrated, there went their customer base. They are in the modern version of the Era of Warring States, regional powers of all-against-all. That has allowed both the Russians and Japanese to continued their build up of power on earth and above it with little to no interference. Thus, my thought is, rather than an air assault legionary battle group dropping into Hefei, it might instead by one of the imperial family with a boat-load of money. “Nice fusion reactor you have there; shame if something happened to it.”
“It’s sometimes easier to bribe armies rather than fight them.” Sidney Reilly to Boris Savinkov.
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“Dorina,” Gary said, dropping to one knee with his hands up. Her white, ethereal ones pretended to touch his. “Again, I owe you everything.”
“We are friends. That is enough.” Her voice was in their minds. This close to an equipotential flux point, she could work miracles. About ten to look at, appearing in a frilly dress, boots laced to her knees, and her hair in elaborate curls, Tamera had met her in tribe Tohsaka’s construct twice and seen her in person and in color and had experience with her crushing intellect. She, essentially, knows everything.
“No, Tam, I just know what I know.” She made to move her hand to Lem’s left cheek. “I’m happy to see you again! And sorry you are a little sick! I need you to be reeeeeealy still when I touch you, okay? And I promise this won’t hurt at all!”
The door behind them opened. Someone with short, white hair pushed past Keynes.
“You’re gonna be just fine, little boy!” Skylar, his mother, said, holding him as tears poured from her red eyes. “As soon as we know what’s wrong, well, your daddy and grandpa will have you as right as rain!”
“Sky?” Dorina put into her head, “can you stand just there? Yes, hold Lem’s shoulders. The rest of you? Try to be still.”
She moved her hands over the boy’s chest for a few seconds before letting them sink into him.
“That tickles!” he had to laugh.
“Shush,” Dorina scolded him, smiling. That went on for no more than a minute before she removed her hands from him and seemed to sniff them. “Hmmm.”
With no more warning than that, she leaned over and had her entire head into his chest. His mother, Skylar, held him steady. With an “urk!” Gary Hartmann clutched at his stomach, looking to Keynes.
“She… realtime data… to me… hurts…” he managed. Tamara was shocked to see a little blood from his eyes, down each side of his nose.
“Well now!” Dorina shouted to their minds, pulling her head up. She pointed at the boy. “He’s broke. But can be fixed. And that means human politics.”
“What do you…?” Sky began as the door opened yet again.
“You need me, Dorina?” the Empress asked in, for her, a humble tone.
“Yeppers! This kid’s broke but I can fix ‘im! Thing is, like his grandmother, I need a fusion reaction. Can I bother you to invade Anhui Province, China? That’s the last reactor on this planet. And, like, in a month or less?”