Federation-Apocalypse Session 71b: No Accounting for Marty

   Marty paused for a moment… Something had reminded him of Limey… Oooh, Limey; THAT was what he’d been feeling guilty about! He’d been keeping the little laptop immobile a lot more since he’d gotten shot, and the poor kid must be getting pretty bored. Besides… He’d forgotten to get him put on the payroll with the accounting department!

   Did he dare attempt it? Terry Jenkins was pretty formidable, and she had a habit of only allowing payment-by-challenge to keep costs down. Would even his smartclothes and genetic upgrades be enough to save him from her wrath? She had the resources of two departments to work with now!

   Come to think of it, that kind of stress wouldn’t help with her temper either. He could see it now; “You want her to spend money? On a device that hasn’t even been through an interview!?! AND is still in training???!!! HAVE AT YOU!!!!!!!!”

   On the other hand, he could see Limey in that situation trotting out his favorite spell again – Polymorph! Porcupine most likely. That wouldn’t stop her, but at least it would limit her options to working from underfoot while he tried to forge the records – and she would too. Former raid champions were not known for their patience or restraint. That was why she had remained a freelancer for so long.

   He might be able to get by her – but did he dare try to fill out the paperwork himself? He wasn’t an initiate, he didn’t know the occult skill of accounting… THE HORROR… Still, how could he let the little guy down?

   He would have to make the attempt.

   Battling Business World Accounting is the occult skill of affecting people’s abilities and natures through their financial status – although a variant form for bureaucrats that works on people’s personnel records exists. In either case, the records fight back- and practitioners of either variant must take the “Insane” disadvantage (or take it again if they already have it). Most accountants are simply neurotic. Jenkins, however, has a tendency to go in for insane overkill on the violence typical of Battling Business World. She inflicts a broken nose for bumping into her in the hall and disembowelment for changing her specifications (before the specifications incident, she’d gotten along with Gelman quite well). Battling Business World is violent, but – unlike Jenkins – most people are good natured about it.

   “The numbers dance in your peripheral vision… they call you… they want to make you just like them… Jooiiinnnn usssss… Addddd usssss uppppp…. Let ussss mullltipllly youuuuu…”

   Hmph. If he was going to try to do some accounting, he really ought to try visiting heaven, hell, and faerie first (if only to get more of those super-speed bestowing Pixie Stix). They kept getting involved anyway, and next to messing with accounting, they should be comfortingly safe and reasonable. Kevin had links to all those realms anyway…

   Besides, he’d kind of always wanted a tour of the afterlives. People from Battling Business World normally never got to see any of them! Once in awhile somebody hit you so hard that they knocked you out of your body – but you never got past the entrance foyers before you got reeled back into your body for another go-round.

   He could hardly wait to see what kind of Identity those places might issue to HIM. Kevin probably already had one – the kid seemed to have Identities almost everywhere, he took form from the dimension he was occupying as easily as a blob of warm wax – but who knew what kind of angel He’d make?

   Back in the New Imperium, the Thralls Kevin had assigned to the Singularites dutifully relayed the request that the group try and track down and recover the kids from Ealor.

   Kevin’s reaction wasn’t all that respectful… What the hell?! How crazy were these people? It wasn’t like the powers the kids had gotten were anything major! And they’d reacted by trying to keep the kids locked up in quarantine? Of course they’d run away! They’d been keeping them so safe-and-protected that they’d been smothering! Stupid parents and Child Protective Services!

   OK, they might have to take the job – it was one of the kinds of jobs that Amarant Solutions was trying to dominate the market for – but it was still stupid and should NEVER HAVE BEEN NECESSARY. They’d have to drag along some of the Child Protective Services bunch – and maybe some of the parents – to show them what the Manifold was like!

   Marty kind of thought that they all needed a good strangling after running away like that. OK, moderated to let them survive it in view of the local natural laws, but still… Wait, had they used that witchcraft ritual to make pacts with Kevin first? If they had, then strangling them would just send them to Kadia! No problem! Well… that still wouldn’t go over well the bunch on Ealor now would it? They were so over-protective about their kids.

   Jamie was mildly amused – but thought that that sort of thing could wait. A small group of kids who had run away and were possibly in danger were a very low priority compared to tens of thousands of kids who were DEFINITELY in danger through no fault of their own. If half of them were dead by the time that anyone got around to rescuing them, well, the survivors would have learned an important lesson. Children who’d been warned, were old enough to know better, were currently being kept safe, and who still ran away into dangerous situations, were the proper victims of evolution anyway. Being brought back on a leash would be quite appropriate.

   A’ikana sighed. She could sympathize with the parents – and Child Protective Services had only been trying to do their job in the face of something quite unprecedented. Still, sixty-odd lost kids weren’t a particularly high priority in the face of a multidimensional war. Of course, since some of them apparently were would-be followers of his, the situation might well catch Kevin’s attention – it fit his profile pretty well – which might or might not be a good thing. It depended on whether his contributions elsewhere would exceed his inevitable trouble-making, and there was really no way to know that.

   Oh well. They had a siege to break at the moment, undead to destroy, and a multiple set of apocalypses to stop. There really wasn’t time for trivial side issues right at the moment.

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