Book 17. Part Two. 5

A new day brings new surprises. Aurie literally drills down into Eloise’s head to get better intel on where the two missing persons are. Hopefully Kalí was listening.

Otherwise, I do wrap up one hanging thread from the end of “Regent,” formalization of Aurie’s and Jimmy’s relationship.

Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer! 

There was a light tap at the door to his room.  Bob stood and opened it.

“Apologies, Prince,” said a legionary.  Great.  Everyone is going to know who I am.  “Regent summons you.”

“Fine.  About – ” he began.

“The Canadian Lieutenant is also awake and shall attend.”

“Okay.  Thank you.”

Shit, shower, scrub teeth.  To try to mitigate damage to his tenuous legionary career, he eschewed his uniform and put on nicer than normal civilian clothes.  His only concession to his status was keeping his marching boots on.  Standing outside of the VIP Guest Quarters, he was about to lose patience with Eloise when she finally appeared.

“No uniform today, Bob?” she asked, covering a yawn.

“Just wide enough to fit me in,” he laughed as she dissolved into a coughing fit.  “Playing another role, El.  We have so many.”

He held up his right arm and she took it.  They made for the building they were in yesterday evening.

“Any idea what’s going on?” she asked.

“Nope.  I’m merely human.”

“Bob…!”

“And, like yesterday, please try to keep it down.  I spoke up because they know I resent them as just human.  But we are all also family.” He paused their walk to look at her.  “You are not.  But you are my friend.  Aurie knows that and invited you, too.  Don’t bugger this up.”

“I’ll be good, Bob,” she sighed.

Back to the same small hangar, the Regent was already there, staring at nothing with dilated eyes ringed gold fire.  Rather than most of the family, Bob noted only big sister Liz, Aurie’s mother, Henge, and Johnston, his step-father.

Until first Ildi and then Julian was born, he was always so nice to me.  I didn’t even twig to the fact he wasn’t my bio dad until I was four.  Clever for a human, but I never knew what Mom saw in him to marry him.  He considered the woman next to him.  I guess some things just happen.

“What’s with her eyes, Bob?” Eloise asked, once again disobeying him.  “And why does that older woman seem to have a halo?”

“Later.  Hush.”

Aurelia blinked.

“There is nothing new to report from Mars.  I will have everyone return home this day,” she announced.  “First, though, I wanted one more go with the principals of yesterday’s meeting.”

She took several steps toward Bob and Eloise before reaching out and placing both of her palms on the Canadian’s face.

“You came up with the ‘slipped’ hypothesis.  Past or future?” Aurelia asked.

“I… how should I know?” Eloise stammered, forcing her hands to stay at her side.

“Because it is your idea, that’s why.  Think.  See.” She ordered, applying more pressure.

“Hurts…” Eloise began.

“Aurie,” Bob said, “do you have to – ”

“Quiet.”

He saw El was starting to cry when his cousin finally dropped her hands.

“Future.” The Regent raised her palms up and closed her eyes.  “Kalí.  They are forward, not back.  I pray the Lord lets you hear me.”

Arms back down, they watched the young woman almost shuffle over to her mother, resting her head on her shoulder.  I know they are talking and don’t want us to hear.  Aurie’s head came back up.

“Any other ideas, Liz?” she asked as if nothing had happened.

“Not at this time.  May we have full access to your data?  Especially from Nichole and Kira?” the Empress’ firstborn asked.

“Of course.” The Regent turned to Johnston.  “We are doing our best and you understand that.  Please keep Julian calm.  I suggest y’all pray several times each day.”

“As if we don’t now, Princess?” the oldest man there said with an edge to his voice.  It’s his wife who’s missing and he’s powerless to help.

“Anyone else?  Meeting over.  Go home.  Robbie and Patel, remain.”

As the others left, Henge with a smile to Bob, he and Eloise walked to the central table.  Thinking it appropriate, he saluted.

“How may I serve you, Regent?” He asked.

“I thirst.”

“Right.” He looked around, seeing a pitcher of water and stacked cups on a narrow table along the wall.  “Try not to hurt our guest while I get us some water.”

“Confused by all this, Miss Patel?” Aurelia began.  Bob was fairly sure she was faking her smile.

“Well, yes,” their guest admitted.  “It’s been a rather odd few days.”

“I’m surprised a horny virgin like you didn’t do both the sergeant and the centurion, here!” she laughed.

“Aurie, please,” Bob scolded her as he came to the map table with three glasses of water.  “Did you and that Burns guy get hitched?”

“I agreed to his proposal just after you extracted him from Canada and right before Reina told me about the Empress and your brother.” She shrugged.  “We had a priest meet us in Huntsville at the MAGLEV station before we came up here.  Typical bad luck for me that my period started.  And don’t be lewd.”

“Try to stop me.” He pointed at the map.  “So where, exactly, was their last recorded position?”

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