Back home. Aurie has a surprise and Bob chastises his older brother regarding his wife. We get only a tiny look at what’s been going on for six months. More tomorrow, when Aurie starts talking, I’m sure.
Tomorrow will mark the end of Part Two. I’m making progress on Part Three but may wait to get ahead a bit more, in case I hit a block.
Enjoy my content? Buy me a beer!
With armed legionaries suddenly closing in on them from all about, Edward opened his arms and began shouting, “Weapons down! This is the Empress! Weapons down!” Bob immediately did the same in the opposite direction, although his odd dress didn’t help reassure the guards.
With at least thirty milling around them, they heard the voice of Regent Aurelia.
“Finally!” she yelled, pushing between the men to her family. She fell to one knee before Faustina. “I have kept the peace but there is much for you.”
Faustina pulled her up, immediately noting her belly.
“Oh! What’s his name?” she asked her Regent.
“Arthur. And yes, he’s like us.”
“Right.” The empress raised her voice to carry. “Thanks, everyone, for holding the fort in my unexpected delay. I have much to tell all the imperium about our work on Mars! In fact, anyone hearing my voice now will be at the top of list as colonists, if that’s what you want! Deus vult!”
“Deus vult!” the men called back as Faustina took Aurelia’s arm and guided her to one of the office buildings. Bob and Edward fell in behind them.
“What the…?” Bob looked around for their transport.
“She’s gone, brother,” Edward said. “Kalí doesn’t like to stick around. I hope she’s back home and resting after all this.”
“Yeah,” Bob agreed, lightly punching his older brother’s shoulder. “The Lord asks so much of her. Can you believe Aurie’s pregnant? It really has been six months.”
Bob slapped his head.
“Liv! Have you contacted your wife, Ed?” he demanded.
“Urm,” was his noncommittal beginning. “It’s not quite midnight and I’m guessing she’s asleep. I could have her phone, well, the entire house, play an emergency tone, but I don’t want to wake – ”
Bob stopped his older brother and took his shoulders.
“Are you stupid? You were once.”
“Fine.” Edward gave in. “Alarms ringing. Hey, let’s catch up to Mother and Aurie.”
Just at the door to the office building, Edward froze and held up a hand. Bob watched as he seemed to be whispering something. A laugh followed quickly by, “What did they do?”
“They wouldn’t let you leave? Even after weeks?” he demanded. “Oh. Aurie convinced Alex to turn off power to Houston while your mom sent a flotilla from Mobile toward Galveston… yeah, I bet that got their attention. No, hopefully I’m home tomorrow. The Regent is knocked up and you and I have a lot to… not now, Liv! Love you, too, Bye.”
Edward took a deep breath.
“All good?” Bob asked, his hand on his brother.
“It is now. Aurie or I will tell you the full story later. Hey, let’s get inside before we get in trouble.”
Down several hallways, they came into a conference room already fouled by Faustina’s cigar smoke. Aurelia was setting out water and coffee.
“If you had just reminded me about cigars, Robert,” she said with a real smile, “I would not have put a fight about coming back.”
“I’ll do better next time, Mom.” He loved to pull her chain by being familiar. “Status?”
“Step one was letting all the main players know I have returned,” the Empress began. “I’m still playing catch-up in the back of my mind about all that’s happened. And Aurelia, my former Regent? I am very proud of you for taking immediate and direct action over Livia.”
I really need to find out what happened there, Bob thought.
“As busy as I am, before you two boys wandered in, late,” she chided them, blowing smoke, “Aurie is letting all other family know the situation. But…”
She turned to look at her niece.
“Lem, your nephew, has been a little sickly lately. Query your brother about that soonest, please.” Another huge pull followed by a drink of water. The entire glass, in fact.
“And now your bad news, Robert,” she said, setting it down with a thunk. “That Canadian officer you like? Who, I hear was a part of the rescue team? Is under arrest, in Trudeau. She left a month ago, ordered to return to the main Army HQ in Ottawa. A faction incepted her plane.”
The Empress tapped off some ashes.
“She is due to be shot for treason in three days. I will not allow you to marry her, but want some help shaking her loose?” Faustina asked with a feral grin. “Before that, talk to Aurie and come up to speed.”
The Empress paused in the doorway and spoke without turning.
“I’m sorry I got mad at you, Robert.”
“I love you, too, Mom.”