54K words on F.L. #3 Another rough snippet –

“Congratulations for your credit on the paper,” Vigilant Botrel said, as he sat to breakfast.
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Choi Eun-sook told him.
Vigilant raised an eyebrow. “In the ship’s public net. Ernie lists all his papers for any unusual stars or planets we visit, and of course his theories about their formation or other aspects. It’s fascinating really. He has a talent for describing things without all the dense jargon most papers use.”
Choi still looked at him blankly. Omelet poised on her fork uncertainly while she tried to think.
“He named you as co-author on the latest,” Vigilant clarified.
“He did? About what?” Choi demanded.
“I believe the title was, ‘A major planet altering asteroid impact. Rotation and inclination changes from a retrograde strike.’ See what I mean? You can actually tell what the paper is about without a thesaurus or a brain transplant. It’s just one of maybe twenty or so. He listed Jon Burris as co-author on the one he did about the spatial distribution of Brown Dwarfs,” Vigilant said. He seemed quite serious and not joking.
“Oh, we talked about that on orbital watch,” she admitted, wondering if he’d reprove her for inattention on duty.
“That must be it,” he agreed. “He found your hypothesis that it might have been a military action instead of a natural occurrence insightful. Given we have activity in the system that was inexplicably curtailed there certainly may have been a conflict. He is very eager to know what dating of the mining artifacts shows, to know if the events could have occurred in the same time frame.”
“Uh, yeah.” She didn’t have near enough coffee in her to be following this.
Vigilant smiled and gave attention to his own breakfast.
Didn’t you have to give permission for your name to be on a publication? Choi wondered. Was she going to look like an idiot if the miners gave up on the deposit a few hundred years ago? Wait, they said the reflectors had a lot of micro-meteor erosion didn’t they? At least on the ones they found outbound. That had to take awhile. Maybe she wouldn’t look too bad. Even if she did, who would care for a ships officer? She wasn’t a scientist for God’s sake.
“I guess I better read the thing if it has my name plastered on it,” she told Vigilant.
“Well sure,” he said, looking surprised. “Take a look at the earlier ones too.”

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Short snippet of Family Law #3 – rough unedited

The piece of junk was dark. Ming Lee’s radar showed it about fifty meters away and it was clearly rotating. Every time he saw it rotate on radar he saw a glint of starlight off it too. The star wasn’t that bright. Maybe about like the sun from a bit out past Mars. He wasn’t about to grab onto the junk by hand and get yanked all over. It looked ragged so it might have sharp edges or other hazards.
The line he trailed went in the back of a simple tube mechanism. It was meant to recover dead or disabled people in suits, but it worked fine for junk too. A fine net was folded into wad at the bottom of a slight cone, on top of a double spring. It had a counter weight and friction brake enclosed in the rear of the tube. The cords on the edge of the round net were covered with barbed fabric and after an uncoated band the rear of the net had loops.
When Ming Lee was about ten meters away he didn’t think he could miss, and pulled the trigger. The tube barely moved in his hands, the counterbalancing system almost canceling the reaction out. The fine net didn’t weigh much more than a hundred grams anyway. It spread very cleanly into a disk and then the center pulled ahead slightly and it looked very much like a jellyfish pumping water.
The center touched the junk like the top of a bell and snagged on it. If it hadn’t been rotating it would wrapped smoothly around the target and enclosed it like a sack. It still enclose it but lop-sided with most of the net bunched up on one side. When it was rolled up in a ball it started winding the line around itself until it took up what little slack it had. By then Ming had let go of the launcher tube and the ball of netting climbed up the line like a yo-yo returning up a string. When it hit the tube it threw it off enough it stopped winding line around itself, but it had momentum toward the shuttle.
Allen from engineering was waiting at the open shuttle hold with a net on a pole and a hooked gaff. He chose the gaff and hooked the net with some delicacy. He let the rotation pull him but not enough to lose the firm footing he had on the deck of the hold. But he avoided ripping the net so they could save it and repack it.
“Wow, this is pretty much in one piece,” Allen said. “It’s smacked out of round but I think it started as a sphere, maybe a pressure vessel for maneuvering thrusters or something. It has a flange and stuff still attached trailing wires.”
By then Ming had returned close enough to get another net-gun. Allen tossed it to him with the effortless grace of someone used to no gravity. It sailed across with no rotation at all and just cancelled some of Ming Lee’s motion toward the shuttle.
‘There’s another decent piece I saw beyond this one. Mr. Wong can you nudge the shuttle along behind me, please?” Ming asked on com. “I’m afraid I may run out of line on that one. It was receding a little still when I grabbed this one.”
“Sure right behind you. Lead off,” Wong invited.
“Ming Lee turned around and oriented himself to the star. He gave a little nudge on the thrusters. He had to get about a hundred meters out before he saw it on his suit radar, off center from where he was aimed but he corrected and changed the angle closing on it. He didn’t bother to look back for the shuttle. Wong was a slick pilot. If he’d asked Wong could scoop a piece up by sliding the shuttle over it so it went in the hatch. They hadn’t found anything big enough to require that, but the man was that good.
This was the same piece he’d seen. Long and skinny. It was barely turning by some random miracle. It was bent in the middle and tapered. If it wasn’t massive he could catch it by hand and save the net packing.

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progress…

40K words on “Family Law” #3. Having fun.

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A short snippet of Family Law #3 as always raw/unedited

Alex their shuttle pilot was smooth. Better than Lee remembered Gordon or either of her parents ever being at landing. She wasn’t even sure exactly when they touched down. He had all three pads touching the ground but most of the shuttle’s weight still held against the thrust.
Outside a storm of salt blew away in their exhaust. It calmed down quickly as the loosed surface blew away. The salt a few centimeters down was much more consolidated, and the jet was hot enough to melt the surface of the salt that didn’t blow away easily sealing it.
The noise subsided as he eased the throttle back, putting more weight on the landing jacks. His fingers stayed hooked over the T handle, ready to jerk it back hard if the surface was just a crust and gave way. He watched the cameras showing the flat pads at the end of the struts rather than try to feel a drop by the seat of his pants. When the full weight didn’t make it sink he blipped the throttle twice with his finger tips making the lander bounce against the suspension. It seemed solid.
When they went out Ernie might be insightful but he was also cautious. He had an square steel bar sharpened to a point on the bottom, and the back two thirds turned down round to fit his hand and knurled coarsely to give a good grip. He jammed this in the ground before trusting his weight to it, even though the lander seemed stable. The salt was sufficiently thin that small ridges of rock poked through it here and there. A few dark streaks of fine gravel or sand colored it occasionally too. All of them aligned the direction they were going.
“Walk right behind me until we’ve tested out more than just one spot,” he ordered. The pilot stayed with the shuttle and Lee and Ernie headed for the first lake about five hundred meters away. This one they’d picked to sample because it had a deep green color and might have bacteria. It was only about three kilometers across, but almost a hundred kilometers long. They should be able to see the other side easily. The more so because the other side was an abrupt escarpment. The few places it showed any beach at the bottom were far too narrow to consider landing. This side the salt flat ran right up to the water.
“Did you feel that?” Ernie asked.
“No. I didn’t feel anything,” Lee said. “Or I just thought it was you poking with the bar.”
“Stand still with you feet flat and don’t move shift around,” Ernie said. He turned far enough to be able to watch Lee, and leaned on the bar like a hiking staff.
Lee stood like he asked, and was patient, but nothing was happening. She was tired of it quickly and about to suggest they move on when the ground rumbled a little under her feet. It felt like when a big truck went by on her visit to Earth.
“OK, I felt that.” Lee looked back to make sure it wasn’t the shuttle. The lander was quiet and the engines hadn’t been restarted.
“That was a little earthquake,” Ernie said. “I’m thinking this long lake must be in a rift from a fault line in the crust.” He was back-lit a little and Lee could see his face inside the faceplate. He had a serious look, thinking hard about something so she kept quiet and let him process.
“I have to talk with some of the others, and look up some material on our web faction, but I’m thinking the two planets with interacting magnetic fields and the tidal forces must keep the cores stirred up. That’s why we see all these little volcanoes,” he decided.
“And why not any big ones?” Lee wondered.
“Maybe it’s so active they get leveled out,” Ernie speculated, resuming his walk to the water.

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Finally got an answer –

Well I finally got a clear answer on updating a book (April), on Amazon. Short of it is they have to send it out to old customers. When you update a book it only changes for new purchases.
The changes have to be what they consider as having a significant effect on quality, and they want a list of them with locations.
This is a major undertaking.
I’ll do it but not quickly. Also I have not kept every revision I made so I’m hoping I can find one old enough to show what I want.
Crud.

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I adjusted my foreign prices.

I used to let Amazon do the currency exchange calculation for the US value.
I realized that would run the price up and down every few hours. 3.76 Euro one day 3.81 the next.
I set it at even numbers so people know what to expect from day to day.
Also exchange rates have gotten so far out of whack – the Australian dollar is at 76 cents US.
My buddy Mike Williamson gives his books away to anybody interested enough to communicate with him from India. He had one fellow who is an Engineer who makes less than $500 a month over there. It’s a significant burden to even buy a $5 e-book. It affects all US products.

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A snippet of “Family Law” 3 raw unedited as always

“Wake up, Jon. They’re coming back in,” his com insisted loudly.
Jon muttered something that probably meant, “Yes, I’m getting up.” He sat up, rubbed his face with both hands and sealed his soft boots up. He’d never taken them off and still had a suit liner on. He staggered in the head and relieved himself, considered dressing differently for the now pressurized hold, and decided Caterpillars had no idea about the difference between a suit liner and a ballroom gown.
“Ship – Connect me to the galley deck,” he called loudly enough to reach from the head. “Would you have whoever is free bring me a double espresso to the lock?” Jon asked. “I need the caffeine badly. And a com headset, please.”
When he got to the lock the shuttle commander Fat Ortega was waiting with the requested drink in hand, the radio headset in his other hand, and the inner door of the lock already open.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you, sir,” Jon said, embarrassed.
“I happened to be in the galley and as free as anybody,” Ortega said. “Don’t worry about it.”
“Thank you, sir.” Ortega nodded and didn’t say anything about him just wearing a suit liner.
He cycled out quickly since there wasn’t that much of a pressure difference now. The Caterpillars were about where he’d set up his displays yesterday. Jon took the chair from where he’d left it walked up much closer than before. They shouldn’t have any reason to be shy after yesterday. They had a load on the floaters, but not his stuff. This was going to be interesting.
Jon unfolded the chair and sat down, did a com check to make sure he was in touch with the shuttle, moved the mic to the side a little extra, took the cover off the cup and had a sip.
One of the aliens was watching him rather than the others lifting items off the plates. It was hard to tell what interested him. You could tell which way their eyes were looking, but not as exactly as another human. Maybe that would come with experience. He had one of the devices they suspected was a camera in one tentacle and another instrument of some sort in another. He moved his head around a little, not just his eyes, watching Jon unfold the chair. Jon wondered if they had the concept of furniture at all? Perhaps they could stand for hours on end with so many legs. Jon had the sudden insight that with that many legs you could stand on a few and rest others.
Ah – they did have one of his pieces. The bust on a pedestal. They even figured out how to switch the turntable on and off, because the fellow setting it up did that as Jon watched. They’d kept the camera and monitors however.
The Caterpillar who seemed assigned to watch him came up close, much bolder than yesterday. He seemed to be much twitchier about the tentacles, especially the small ones down lower. Jon assumed he had a mouth in there somewhere. He brought the other, unidentified, instrument up and tipped it right over Jon’s coffee. Well, that was interesting. He appeared to be scanning it.
The tentacle wrapped around the instrument unwound a couple loops, and before Jon could react, the Caterpillar plunged it in his espresso and swished it around a bit.
“Holy… ”
Commander Ortega quickly cut him off and spoke in his ear through the com set.
“Before you say too much: Remember they are eventually going to understand what we say, and very likely go back and review every word we ever uttered,” Ortega warned him.
“Uh, yeah… Holy Mackerel,” Jon finished, wisely.
The alien transferred the instrument to a smaller tentacle and withdrew it into the mass of small tendrils before bringing the big one back to the cup. Just as Jon had moved slow to avoid scaring the alien yesterday the Caterpillar reached slowly with his larger tentacle and curled it around the cup. Jon had to smile at how delicately he did so. The Caterpillar wasn’t assertive. He grasped the cup and didn’t tug at all, but the request was plain. Jon let go of it slowly and withdrew his hand, folding his hands in his lap.
“Are you sure you don’t want one last sip?” Ortega asked in his ear.
“You have an evil sense of humor… sir,” Jon replied.
The alien carried the cup carefully, almost reverently, to the others and after much hooting and new noises they each carefully dipped a tentacle in turn, and one might assume tasted. One of them exited the hold and seemed to be in a bigger hurry than when they came in.
The others had a mechanism of some sort positioned in front of the pedestal with the bust on it. It looked more like a studio microphone than a camera however. They also had a low boomerang shape they brought over and laid about a half meter in front of him.
Jon’s handler had returned and was standing to the side. He waved his tentacles a bit and gave a couple hoots like a ferry boat getting ready to undock. Jon had no idea what he wanted.
The alien stood still looking at him. Jon wondered if he was disgusted at how stupid he was or upset with himself for not being clearer. After a bit he tugged the smaller tentacles in close and held the two big ones out straight in front of him. When that got no reaction he swept them both up vertically like a football referee calling a good goal.
“I’m obviously supposed to know what that means,” Jon said, out loud. “But I’m clueless.”
The alien held the tentacles out straight again and slowly made both ends turn up at right angles. Even not having tentacles it looked uncomfortable. Then he crossed and uncrossed them a couple times.
“Oh, my arms?” Jon asked, holding his arms out and turning his hands up palms out like the alien. That produced a melody of hoots and one of the other Caterpillars came rushing over with one of the floating plates. Really, just super high tech hand carts, Jon thought.
The assistant put the boomerang shape on the cart, made it float a bit higher, and then pushed it back in front of Jon, even a little bit closer. The alien did the uncomfortable tentacle waving thing again.
“Oh, it wasn’t close enough,” Jon figured out. He reached out straight armed and crossed his wrists with his palms out just like the alien and uncrossed them, wondering if it was going to play music or what. The air in front of him filled with an image of the bust from hand to hand. Jon thought the displays their ships used were high definition. He was wrong. This just looked real. Real as a hole in the air with a view of the bust he’d brought along. He pulled his hands back and the image grew closer. As an experiment he closed one eye and then the other. It was in 3D.
“Wow.”
“Wow what?” Ortega asked in his ear. “Do you need pom-poms? You look like a drunk cheerleader waving your arms around.”
“We just got richer than we ever imagined. And some of the Fargoers have pretty vivid imaginations. A few of them have been writing million dollar IOUs for their poker games,” Jon said.
“What are you talking about? I see they brought out some things. Are you trying to trade for them?”
“Yes sir. I certainly shall. Anything they want. Have you ever seen really old grainy movies? The sort that were on actual film before they were digitalized? Grayscale even instead of color?”
“Yes I have. They called them black and white during that era. Don’t ask me why,” Ortega said.
“Well the Caterpillars just showed me a 3D video system that makes our displays look about as sad as those old movies,” Jon told him. He tried withdrawing his hands, but the image followed. He tried taking one back and not the other and it rotated. This was a great display but he couldn’t hold his hands out for hours. The alien made the lifting gesture again.
“Oh… ” Jon unbent his wrists and swept both arms straight up away from the display. It stayed put.
“Damn, this looks so good,” Jon said. Ortega didn’t even reprove him.

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The Undead…

I don’t DO zombies. If you need a fix try my buddy John.

A real military guy who has been on the pointy end and zombies. Obviously I don’t suggest this after a double pepperoni pizza and margaritas at bed time.

http://www.amazon.com/Irregular-Scout-Team-One-Complete-ebook/dp/B00GR4G2KA/ref=la_B00C3NDAXQ_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1427723661&sr=1-1

He assures me this might be more to my reader’s tastes…

http://www.amazon.com/Under-Different-Sun-John-Holmes-ebook/dp/B00TXZLHOQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427733203&sr=8-1&keywords=Under+a+Different+Sun#reader_B00TXZLHOQ

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Snippet of April 7 – rough/unedited

Chapter 2
April’s com signaled a priority message. She only had a dozen people on that list. It was Jeff Singh.
“Lunch in the cafeteria in twenty minutes? And some show and tell?” he offered.
April looked at the time in the corner of her screen, 1124, that would get them in just ahead of the mid-day rush. “Yes, don’t be late or there will be a line,” she told him. She realized she hadn’t had her second cup of coffee and poured it in a thermal mug for Jeff.
Jeff wasn’t late, rather he was a few minutes early when he came in the door, carrying a portfolio, and found April waiting for him. There was a line but it was short and moving along.
“Is the minestrone soup any good?” Jeff wondered.
“I had it last week. It’s from a mix, but it wasn’t bad. I think Ruby doctored it up from just the straight out of the bag mix. I’m going to get breakfast though,” April said, “the pancakes with dried banana chips and pecans in them are good. We’ve got some real butter right now too.”
“I’m ready for shell eggs and heaps of bacon,” Jeff admitted. That was shocking. Jeff was usually so indifferent to food that April worried about him eating enough. But he didn’t look thinner when she examined him carefully. He looked good, actually. He hadn’t noticed the covered cup in her hand. Or if he had he didn’t mention it. April set it on his tray.
“It’s not shell eggs and bacon, but that may help your cravings,” April promised. Jeff just raised his eyebrows.
April led Jeff away from the knot of folks who still sat in front of the coffee pots even though they were empty. She knew when he opened the lid how the odor would carry.
Jeff showed restraint, buttering his baguette and tasting his soup before taking a sip from the mug.
“Ahhh… I know you really do love me,” he said.
“I don’t usually carry it outside my place,” April explained. “I don’t want to incite jealousy. But if you come by to visit I’ll make a half pot.”
“We should be getting some more coffee in six months, eight months for sure. It’s going to be Indonesian through Australia. I already have it on the short list after silver wire, medical supplies and some special graphene bonding adhesives,” Jeff said.
“Then I can be a little freer with mine,” April decided, “I mean, if I’m on the distribution list. I’d planned on making mine last a year if I had to.”
“Of course you are going to get some. It gets split six ways,” Jeff revealed.
April didn’t ask who else was getting it. She could guess a couple of them.
“Freight is pretty safe for us to receive, April said, waving at her meal like it was just arrived on the dock, “but what about people? I’m still concerned we’re going to be terribly isolated by this. We were growing and getting good quality people. Who’s going to want to come here if it’s like jail? People want to be able to go off on vacation or visit grandma without sitting out a quarantine.”
“Jon and Doc Lee have been talking to me about that. There was some tech invented before the epidemic that let you sense an infection just hours after exposure. If they can’t find documentation on it I’m going to have some of Chen’s fellows on Earth hunt it down.” Jeff lost his pleasant countenance. “They’ve done marvelous work for us on Earth even as bad as things got there. Worse comes to worse since we know it can be done we just have to re-invent it if it was lost. We’ll be able to stop infected at the lock once we have that system.”
There was something about Jeff’s cold face April had seen before and worried her. “Jeff, are they hunting for who started it? Nobody has plainly said they want to find him or them and press charges. After all the millions hurt surely somebody is looking.”
“Chen’s men knew who conceived it weeks ago. They’ll make sure the people he used to do the technical work can’t do it again,” Jeff promised.
“But they didn’t arrest him?” April asked.
“The Earth governments aren’t even acknowledging this was an engineered disease. The few who suggested that were denounced publically as nut cases and conspiracy theorists. So they’d hardly be looking to arrest someone as criminally responsible even if we offered them up. If they did want them our evidence couldn’t be presented in court,” Jeff said. “That’s the fault of Earth laws and courts, not the quality of the evidence. It was beyond a doubt as they say.”
“You didn’t just kill him, did you?” April asked, concerned.
“You should know better,” Jeff said. He really looked hurt. “Chen’s men held him long enough to question him electronically. They didn’t get rough with him or harm him before they released him. April… Some things are beyond our ability to adequately reward or punish. Not to get all mystical on you, but I honestly doubt he can escape the karma of such a horrible act. Killing him would have been far too quick and easy on him.”
“Thank you, I’m happy to hear that,” April said.
Jeff recapped the mug and proceeded with his meal, as did April. She found the pancakes plenty sweet without syrup. When he was done Jeff finished the coffee last, sipping it reverently. When he was completely finished he pushed the tray to the side, wiped his hands rather thoroughly and opened the portfolio. He smiled, and looked inordinately proud of himself, presenting her with a blank sheet of paper.
“Thank you,” April said, unsure what she was supposed to do with it. She looked at both sides carefully. It was a bit thin for printer paper and white, but not the brilliant white of coated paper, more crème. But it had a slick feel. It seemed to be standard letter size, or close to it.
“It’s not from Earth,” Jeff explained.
That was a big deal. They didn’t have trees or enough rags to waste them on paper. Paper meant sani-wipes and hard print documents, packaging for food and medical items. Her favorite artist, Lindsey, would be very interested in paper April realized, beside the practical items.
“Oh… So what is it? Synthetic fibers? April guessed.
“Soy protein fiber, and a little turnip pulp filler and tiny amounts of soy adhesive and titanium oxide. We can make a soy based ink too,” Jeff said.
“That means we’ll have tofu soon?” April asked. “I’m not a huge fan but it’s pretty good deep fried with a peanut sauce.”
“And soy milk, protein powder to add to other stuff, and some pretty good fake cream cheese. It’s even a good base for some useful industrial glues and plastics,” Jeff added. “The fibers that make paper can make cloth too.”
“I didn’t know you were trying to raise soybeans,” April said.
“There was a special kind that grow very low,” Jeff said. “They don’t need much vertical space so you can space the trays closely. They’re working out nicely.”
“Good. One more thing we don’t have to lift from Earth,” April said. ” Aaron Holtz thinks we’ll make so much of our own goods we may not grow back to the same lift traffic for a few years.”
“The name doesn’t ring a bell,” Jeff admitted.
“Former fund manager from New Zealand,” he writes a couple times a week for What’s Happening, Wiggen’s site,” April said.
“You’re sure it’s hers?” Jeff asked.
“Unless she’s deliberately fronting it for somebody else,” April assured him.
“When it first came out I thought you might be behind it,” Jeff revealed.
“All my other hobbies and time to manage a general news site for Home too?” April objected.
” A lot of the views expressed sounded like yours, and they have avoided gossip from the start. I know how you feel about the gossip boards. But yes, it grew too big and I knew you didn’t have the time to be reviewing and directing that much material,” Jeff said.
“Don’t you think I’d tell you if I had something like that going on?” April asked. Sometimes Jeff didn’t seem very socialized to April. He wasn’t deeply strange like some very smart people could be, but he just lacked – finesse.
Jeff screwed up his face in concentration. “I guess you would, eventually. But just because we do so much together… You aren’t obligated to tell me everything you’re doing. I have no doubt I have no idea about a lot of what Heather is doing at Central. I don’t expect to be told every little thing. If it’s important she’ll get around to telling me.”
That sort of trust was a huge compliment, but April was too much of a snoop. She did want to know what everybody was doing. For the first time she had doubts that was always a good idea. Even worse, April suddenly realized Jeff might not be strange, but simply a better person. It was a disturbing idea. She still wondered how much of ‘every little thing’ Jeff didn’t tell her encompassed. But now April felt just a little pang of guilt for wondering.
“Do you think we need a way to get our own views out,” April asked Jeff.
“The majority of folks seem to want the same things we do. I’ve certainly been happy with most of the votes in the Assembly. If we sponsored a public news site or even write a regular feature then people will start to see us as having an agenda. I don’t think you know how much influence you have, but it’s partly because you aren’t beating a drum constantly. You need to be aware of this. A casual word might have influence you didn’t anticipate or want. Chen has told me he runs into people doing intelligence work who know he has a relationship with us. He said people ask what your views are on matters, assuming he has the inside track on your opinions. ”
“They do? On what? And why would they care? I’m no official, and have no power,” April said.
Jeff looked amused. “Yet you can call Jon up and tell him you want to see him, right now, and you are sitting in his office with Gunny telling him he may have to quarantine the station in the time it takes you to walk over. Do you really think everybody gets treated that way?”
“Jon and I have a special relationship. We formally agreed to be allies back when I wasn’t 14 yet. When I told him about that first USNA spy he had the sense to see I knew what I was talking about. When somebody agrees they are on your side and will watch your back I expect them to mean it.”
“I’m very aware,” Jeff said. “And God help anybody who forgets it or doesn’t mean it. How many young girls do you think would put conditions on helping the head of security and demand he treat you with respect? Much less ask for a formal relationship. Scratch that – Demand a certain relationship. You might be surprised how many people have picked up on that. You have a reputation as being formidable all out of proportion to your age or any official position. Chen gets asked how you will vote on things coming to the Assembly or what you have said about Heather and things at Central. He even gets asked what you say about me. And I don’t just mean the tacky interest some gossip sites have in exactly how we three regard each other. They want to know if you support specific business projects and plans.”
“I’ve never thought to tell Chen what I think!” April said, surprised. “He’s right out on the pointy end of things, or at least his agents are. I try to use what he tells me for our purposes, but I wouldn’t presume to try to tell the fellow doing the dirty work and seeing so much more than me what it all means. I’m sure he has his own firm opinions.”
“I’m sure he does too. But with Chen and you people are aware who works for who. Chen said he always tells them that the information flows from him to you and not the other way. That you hold your cards closely, and he has no idea what you think most of the time. Indeed he often has no idea why you ask certain questions that seem non sequiturs to him. Sometimes it is unexpected and scares the snot out of him when he finds out the answers to these weird questions.
“Like when you called him from the Fox and Hare and asked about the names of Spanish royalty from the ninth century. He kept muttering about that for days – ‘How the hell could she possibly know that?’ – You connect the dots that are not even close to each other, and as an intelligence officer he admires that. If you haven’t noticed – I take it very seriously when you suggest something. For example, it was you who suggested we needed to have our own bank, remember?” Jeff reminded her.
“Yes, thank you, and Heather agreed,” April said, uncomfortable with praise. “Barak is another one you don’t want to ignore,” she said deflecting attention. “He gets sudden insights that amaze me.”
“I agree. Then he irritates me by saying it was obvious,” Jeff said.
“We’ll try to train him out of that,” April decided. Jeff tried to cover his smile, unsuccessfully.
“Thank you for the coffee,” Jeff said quietly, setting the mug back within her reach. That meant he was ready to go, April knew.
“Stop by and visit when you want more,” she suggested.
Jeff looked at her oddly for some reason April didn’t understand, but said, “I will. Sunday?”
“That would be nice. I’ll expect you,” April said.
I wonder how I’m being trained? Jeff thought as he left. But the idea didn’t worry him.

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Will add subscriptions –

I didn’t think about subscriptions to posts as well as comments. The lady doing my site will add that option soon. For those who want the snippets especially as my other post tend to be short.

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