I’ve been writing.
For a while this winter the words weren’t coming, so when the flood hit, by gosh, I just sat down and went for it. 31K so far. Not up to NaNoWriMo levels of verbage, but it beats the alternative.
So, have a sample:
Viktor had collected a dozen eye witness accounts of the attack after the Director’s call had ignited an emergency response that was still on going. He’d made it back after five hours on Vostok, and managed a two hour nap, a shower, shave and change into a suit, and was not the last person to make it to the big conference room.
He nodded politely to Joint Director Goethe and Director of Security Sorokin, who were reading reports on the reactive table top. Then he sat down beside Alexeyev and opened his computer to download the raw interviews and the start of his timeline.
Tachibana and Mauser came in together, a couple of Security people, then The Director with . . . Roland. Whose eyes were dark brown.
Jaeger nodded to Goethe and waved a hand at . . . “My agent, Lord Rurik Molotov, who raised the alarm yesterday.”
“Rurik” nodded to the Directors and scooted over to sit and open a computer. Started taping away at the key board.
Sorokin frowned. “Get a good night sleep did you?”
A rough, growly voice. “Napped a bit on the bus getting home. Caught a few hours after I made it.” Two taps and the wall display lit. All in English. “This is what they sent through to Stalin. Doubt it got read before the shooting started.”
He went back to typing as the others eyed what amounted to a demand to surrender. A Russian translation popped up beside it . . . then one in German. “God only knows how badly I hashed the Japanese translation.”
Goethe snapped around. “Are you implying that you translated these? For them?”
“Yes. Once they realized I spoke English, they asked me to while waiting at the beacon site to see if Stalin was going to open a portal.”
“You . . .”
“Chatted them up? Got information from them? Yep.” He put up the Japanese translation. Then started typing.
“You actually . . .”
He looked up and gave Goethe a firm stare. Growled. “I was undercover as a loader for a private freight company, looking for smuggling. I arrived on Vostok literally five minutes before Portal one shredded. Now if you will give me a few minutes, I will give you a detailed description of the entire encounter.”
Half the men in the room glared at him. He ignored them.
Jaeger strolled over to the coffee bar and poured himself a cup. Walked back to the table. Sat down, tapped the table top and started reading.
Viktor got back to his time table, trying to place the incidents the witnesses had variously reported into the time frame.
Then he picked up the reports from the Stalin side.
Rurik sent his. “First half. Underlined times, I looked at my watch. The rest are estimates.” Everyone leaped on that post. Rurik kept tapping away.
Viktor edged it into his time line, pleased to have a solid time for the flash when the enemy shredded the first portal, that one from the far side, before they swarmed the furthest south Portal Facility, shooting the Guards, and taking the Portal maker.
Rurik posted his and tapped the table and brought up the other reports.
And then a map of the Vostok area.
Director Sorokin looked up. “You offered them cookies? I don’t suppose they were poisoned?”
Rurik shook his head. “Chocolate and butterscotch chip.”
Goethe growled. “You were practically collaborating with them.”
“And has anyone else been able to get you this much information?” Jaeger looked up. “Stalin must have a lot more information than they’re giving out.”
Scowls. “Ice the Destroyer, for God’s sake! Of all the stupid superstitions.”
A snort from Rurik. “And a reaction that will make it come true, if Stalin keeps attacking them.”
Sorokin shook his head. “Actually, if Stalin can confirm this, we’ve got them! Only forty colonies? We can annihilate them.”
“They had power.” Rurik shook his head. “They didn’t feel like Mentalists, but they were all mentally shielded. Fighting them will be difficult if we use Cyborg soldiers.”
He looked from Goethe to Jaeger. “We need details of how they fought. If they have offensive Impressions.”
Jaeger huffed. “If we can get the truth out of them. We’re seeing the worst of our culture on display. The lack of trust, the fear of being seen to be weak. They’ll see us all destroyed before they’ll admit how badly they were defeated.”
Goethe eyed him. “Still pissed?”
“Only at myself, for not leaving more safeguards. For . . . assuming someone would see that an attack on my family while I was away, was an attack on one of the Directors, and needed to be monitored, and possibly stopped. For not realizing that my peers would step back and watch to see if I was weak and vulnerable.”
“Hagen . . .”
“It’s the biggest weakness of our society. That you cannot trust your friends, unless you’ve got your eye on them. That you cannot turn your back on them.” The Director of Intel stared coldly at the Joint Director. “So you’d better not turn your back on any of the people on Stalin. And good luck getting the truth out of any of them.”
He turned his shoulder to him and tapped at the table to put the map on the wall. “Rurik? You’re sure the soldiers came from the north?”
“Yes. I was leaning on the front of the truck facing south. The foot soldiers came from behind the line of vehicles, walking between them, while their vehicles swung out to the east and around the end of the line, before turning to get closer to the beacon location.”
“So either they had two portals, one to the south and one to the north, or they had fine enough control moved the portal location to right where they wanted it.”
Victor nodded. “Or both. They had precisely the equipment they needed at the right site. Kidnapping the portalmaker on one hand, and ready to shred a portal on the other side, to the north.”
Alexeyev hissed, “So they had good Intel.”
Rurik nodded. “Spies, or something technological? Some handlers do say their Portalmakers can see the area around where they’re going.”
Viktor eyed his timeline. “You say that when you arrived, the soldiers had the streets around Portal One cordoned off and troops were crossing behind you?”
“Yes, and no sound of gunfire. The fighting, at that point, must have all been on the far side.”
Goethe nodded. “They closed our portal, then organized their attack, and were back in just over two hours with two portals.”
They kicked it around while the reports were finalized and distributed to all of them.
But in the end, they needed Stalin to give them more information.
Jaeger eyed Goethe. “Take people who will watch your back. Double the number you think you need. Be. Careful. You are threatening their egos and their reputations. You are asking them for information that will show their vulnerabilities, their weaknesses. Their defeat. They won’t be honest. We need them to be honest enough to be helpful.”
“And hope like hell they’ll talk to a German?”
They both looked at Sorokin.
Who snorted. “I suppose it is sensible to send the Director of Security on a matter of security.”
Goethe hissed a little. “Right. Off you go. And, as Jaeger says, take people.”
Jaeger turned to eye his agents. “Take Alexeyev . . . and Viktor. He looks sweet and innocent and he’s good with computers.”
The meeting broke up on that note and Viktor noted all the thoughtful looks aimed at Rurik.
Jaeger hustled him out, and Viktor just happened to stand where he blocked the door for a moment . . . half turned back, “Alexeyev? While you were on Stalin, did you happened to notice if . . .”
A snarl from the Security agent. “Get out of the way!”
“Why? So you can make a public fuss around one of our top undercover agents and get him even more noticed than coming here today has?” He heard the elevator doors close down the hallway and stepped aside. “Bad idea.”
So, is anyone else having a good time writing?