MILDLY DISAPPOINTED, BUT STILL NOT A FUCK LEFT TO GIVE.
The mild disappointment is due to no one taking the bait yesterday. The day before I caught a moron as intended, so I was perhaps overly optimistic. Now I'm playing with the moron a bit. He makes up things I said then provides arguments against the things he's just made up. They aren't good arguments though, even against the shit he makes up. This amuses me. However he's not very creative I'm afraid. Rather boring in fact. I might fuck him off soon, if he fails to provide the amusement I require. Fear not though, much as I predicted in January, we are heading down the slippery slope to civil war. I'm all for it. All that internet inspired hate has to be vented somehow. Mindless violence and blood on the streets is what we all crave really. Those lies have to be proved correct, by force of arms. Otherwise there'd be no point in lying. The truth hurts people's feelings so it must die. Along with everyone who doesn't agree with me 100%. Turn off that wrong think. There is only ever one side to an argument, and that's the right side. My side. Reality doesn't even get a look in.
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Ugo was an hour or so out. His enormous craft on the final leg of its circuitous journey. Thanks to some smart work by Pip and her crush, it looked as though they'd make it here without their destination being discovered. It would still be handy if they could delay that for longer. Debara was an unknown quantity. Due to the inescapable conclusion, he was clinically insane. While his worst excesses were held in check for now, that control might slip at any time. It had actually been good listening in on Pip and her contacts on board the floating palace. Her spirits had lifted, compared to what they'd been before. The young woman was laughing and joking with Tanveer right now. Were they flirting? They were flirting.
There had been a few tense moments. The five people at the house had begun to do more normal things. Like having a meal together. Meaning they now had conversations. During which, being unable to contact people over the Fafindi net did crop up. It was Taini who put through the call to the help desk. Leading to a half hour of controlled panic. As Tanveer and Pip tried to prevent anything getting out. The two brain boxes eventually came up with a nice solution between them. Thanks to Tanveer's knowledge of the systems and Pip's hacking expertise. They'd induced a physical fault which took out both the link and the server where the real messages had been archived. The self repairing systems would take care of the link. The messages were lost. They'd have to be resent. Which could only be done after the repairs. They had wireless communication, it was what they used to contact the help desk, but the information Daisy was here had been blocked. The handlers, Taini and Ydrie had been blamelessly contacting, weren't going to risk voice contact that would definitely be recorded.
Daluchi and Tanveer might have started out with a certain naivety born of a near crime free society, they were fast learners though. Less than a day had passed as they picked up the tricks of Pip's trade. Jake came to the conclusion he should be concerned. Pip was a very bad influence. His partner was corrupting others. He should have warned Ugo this might be the case. Oh my God. Imagine what Pip could do to this country if she remained here. She'd already affected it with her know how. Those tricks she was passing on would be used more and more. Such a tiny stone making tiny ripples that would end up as a tsunami. If nothing else happened from this moment on her impact would still be felt.
The airborne palace was a few kilometers out. If they looked outside it would be visible as a blur in the sky. So far no one had noticed it at the house. A situation that changed as the leviathan drew overhead. Before commencing descent from 10 kilometers, through the wispy cloud cover. The thrum of the antigrav motors cooling fans was about to interrupt the silence. Before that though the occupants received a broadcast from the palace. Informing them the Grand Patriarch would be landing for a quick tour of inspection. That caused a disturbance. Ugo had also made use of his authority to close down all external communication for 24 hours. No one would be allowed to announce his presence. Not that this mattered. The hovering mansion was being tracked. A few minutes before landing, there was no way to keep its port of call being recognized.
The radio and messaging chatter from Clans T'nanga, Fareeba and Sawabo increased exponentially, as they all began to move their assets to the landing zone. As was their right. To protect their own interests and the interests of all citizens of Fafindi. To pay homage to their Grand Patriarch. For Debara and Clan T'nanga it was mandatory. With Taini and Ydrie being members of that clan, this was considered T'nanga territory. The state visit had to be recognized by a suitably senior representative. Ydrie and Taini wouldn't do. They were far too young. It would be an act of disrespect for persons so junior to welcome the nation's figurehead. Debara was already broadcasting his intent to be there. To show how honored he and his people felt.
The frantic activities of the various potential protagonists were matched by the occupants of the house. Stunned to hear the Grand Patriarch was paying them this visit on his progression through Fafindi. The first in centuries. When they learned he knew of the Matriarch's presence all hell broke loose. How had the information reached him? Daisy was concerned. Scarlet was covering up for Ydrie, knowing he was the most likely source of any leak. Using the unconvincing explanation that it had to be someone else. Nour being the prime candidate. Her little domestic idyll had been ruined. Jake could see the anger in her. With no one to release it on, it would only build. Holy shit, Jake roused himself from his inactivity. They were supposed to be at this ceremony. Dress uniform and polished medals were necessitated. Dragging Pip from her screens his largest problem. She really did want to see how this went down with the others. Who'd now been called forth. All women present would attend. All men would remain inside, except for those permitted by custom.
They headed down to their room. Pip still looking over her shoulder as the two of them left the control room. Then shifting to her firewave. The palace had landed. Steam belching from its vents. A loud horn announcing its touchdown. It reminded Jake of the fog horns he'd heard as a child. More musical but equally as powerful. It sounded 4 times in all. After which the speakers came alive with the melodious announcer listing Ugo's honorific's. Grand Patriarch first, defender of the weak next. Son of Katami, leader of their diaspora. It went on for a full five minutes. Given how old he was, that wasn't bad. Next the MC moved on to The Thrice Blessed, Golden Light of the Dawn, Matriarch of The People and so on. That took longer making mention of earth and the long war with the Diranni.
He could see and hear all of it. Pip had to use her firewave for the edited highlights. Watching as hundreds of bodies disembarked from the palace which had landed between the Ustraski craft and the house. That would be a big help if the worst happened. Although it wasn't on a direct line between the two, the palace was slightly closer to the ship. Jake cursed himself for not thinking of it while at the same time blessing Ugo and his people for doing so. All the men retreated to the rear of the palace. There they set up quarters for themselves. Issuing forth from the front door were Ugo's guards. Carrying their repulsor staffs as they marched out and split up. One small advanced party heading to the house. The others forming a cordon or bringing out the pavilion the welcoming ceremony would take place in. Moving like clockwork.
In the time it would take them to set this up, Jake had to find something to wear. A factor he hadn't considered until this moment. As he looked around their quarters trying to think of things he might dangle from his normal clothes, Pip regarded him sympathetically. Her lips twisting into a smile at his apparent confusion. She, it seemed, had already considered this. As a result she had a nice fancy outfit. Nothing too colorful. Completely tasteful. Her current clothing hit the floor before she put her dress uniform on.
"I never thought I'd ever say this, but I've literally got nothing to wear. Will this be okay do you think? It's brand new."
His friend shook her head.
"Sorry. That's not going to show the Grand Patriarch the respect he's due. You turning up in your work clothes. You're a guest, not a member of staff."
"It's okay. I made you something as well. You'll only be allowed to carry one weapon. So choose carefully. It will be checked before you can enter the marquee."
"I'll take my saber. That seems to be the most suitable. Hopefully this won't descend into a brawl."
"Good choice. I'm not taking one. The rules are unclear about whether I'm allowed to or not. According to Daluchi. Even she doesn't know. This is all from historical tradition. It's also a first so there's no precedent. My reading of it is that it's an evolved form of the welcome The People reserved for Daisy. Without the long poetic bit at the beginning. Meaning they aren't going to sing at her."
The outfit was better than good. It did actually look like a uniform. If he had to guess Pip had based it on a Victorian cavalry regiment costume. Muted neutral colors rather than the striking red of the British army. High collared with purple epaulets and gold trim. No hat though. Did he need a hat? Seemed unlikely. If he had one he wouldn't know whether to take it off or not. Pip was brushing her hair. He looked at himself past her. Smoothing his own down with his hands.
"How do I look?" She asked. "If you say stunning again I will be deeply offended."
"Like shit? Just kidding. You look the business. Will you be putting your hair up?"
She gazed at her reflection.
"What do you think?"
"In this light it looks like a halo. Suits you. Of course if you wear it up that'll be fine as well."
She rolled her eyes.
"Thanks for the advice. Decisive as usual. You look okay to."
"That's what I was going for. Right, shall we get going then? There are two ladies on their way to the ship right now. I think they might be our escort. Either that or they've come to arrest us." Pip's face fell. "Have I said something? That was only a joke you know. I don't think they are coming to arrest us."
She placed her hands on her hips giving him the snake eye through the mirror.
"No you idiot. I've just got ready and now I'm going to have to crawl out of that hatch. I'm going to get dusty and disheveled."
That was a point. His attire would be fine. He could easily brush himself down. He had that rare thing for him, an idea. It might even be called a good one.
"Not necessarily. Now don't look at me like that. If I put my coat down you can lie on it as I pull you through. You're small enough to pass through that narrow opening without touching the sides."
"That's actually quite clever. For you it's pure genius."