Drat That Woman, Anyway!
"Ragnar!" Eric's furious voice reverberates through the entire complex. "Get into the tech center ASAP!" With Tore's report still ringing in his ears, he need not fear tipping their hand prematurely by exposing Despina to too much technology for the time period, so he's using the wall speakers, which are built in so smoothly that a direct wrap on the covering is the only way to ascertain their exact location without a "finder".
Leaning his pitchfork against the cart, Ragnar strides purposefully toward his rendezvous, building up an anger of his own. As he reaches the door, he nearly collides with the Queen.
"Kristina, you, too? It must REALLY be serious to drag you out of hiding during your 'visitor's hours' below."
A wry smirk crosses her homely countenance. "We perceive you've not heard the nature of the mishap, yet, then. This ought to be interesting." Regally, she sweeps through the door he is automatically holding.
"By Wotan's beard and whiskers, wouldn't one think one who spent the night with our lady could have at least given us an INKLING of her intent to flee before the fact?"
"Flee? To America? Maybe we did too good a job on that article about her 'late, lamented husband's body' being located. She's probably after those two children. She was pretty weepy last night. I thought it was the effect of the drugs."
"Tor's thunder, Ragnar! I know I just thrust the whole seduction on you rather suddenly, but that's no call to risk losing valuable genetic material, even if it is in a state of disrepair at present! You SAID you'd picked her! She can be salvaged as a breeder, with time and proper treatments. I thought I made that clear.
"I expected you to properly romance her! Rebelling at this type of duty just isn't like you."
Ragnar's face is florid. "When was I supposed to romance her? As I chased fleeing red tresses up various mountainsides or through city streets? At the concert dance, when I had to smile and keep handing her off to her cadre of high schoolers, who were enchanted with her in 'Cinderella' mode? In bed last night when she was so drugged she nearly couldn't function ? Take a care, Eric! By Frøya's fricasseed..."
The Queen interrupts his tirade. "No heir eminent from her? I had not heard of this set-back."
Eric, calmed by his outbreak, inserts smoothly, "We evaluated her last night. She's been mutilated -- not one single internal reproductive organ remains. We have to remove the tissue closing the opening off, then rebuild the organs completely from a single cell we must adapt from tissue in the cap, then re-insert it and cause it to regenerate. Pretty straightforward procedure, but time-consuming, with a very high risk of discovery as her body goes back into its former cycling. Virgin births are present in her religion, but only once did a 'barren' woman well past the age for childbearing reproduce."
"She doesn't LOOK past the age."
"Tore says she's 27, so she still has a few good years."
"One of which will be lost to us by the need to rebuild everything. We need her original genetics to broaden the gene pool too badly to substitute a fully formed set of organs from our banks."
"Do we know what happened?"
"No . I thought it was more important to focus on the husband. His bloodline is stellar. Those two children are essential."
"Reviving the sire would be wise, too."
"Where is she now?"
"In downtown Oslo. Tore was MOST unhelpful, having her dropped off far from any place where she's likely to bump into people who speak her language."
"Don't underestimate her. She's resourceful and has friends in the main time line."
"Well, We demand her back! We require her RIGHT HERE, WILLING and ABLE to reproduce. Ragnar, this is your TOP PRIORITY. We demand that you do whatever you have to do to accomplish this post haste."
With a mocking bow, Ragnar intones, "Yes, your Highness. At once, your Highness. I will return her to virtual prison, separated from all she holds near and dear, and keep her happy at the same time, while withholding the nature of the urgency of her job with us... No problem."
She glares at him. "We seem to detect the development of a bit of an attitude. We have acquired her passport, ticket and luggage. That should aid you by providing the necessary time you will require to achieve success."
"Please, my Lady, release them promptly if requested to. I don't need any more 'help' that makes my job nigh on to impossible. This is one special lady, and I intend to win her. Without drugs."
"Eric, when Tore gets back, we shall require a full report on her internal condition be delivered to us forthwith . We also desire an update on the progress Egil has made in the search for the Indian. We shall handle the paparazzi and begin extradition to Norway of the two minor children, who need the solace only a mother can give at a time like this. We are convinced that TART Despina let take them from her was just being spiteful."
Her ship of state steams out, leaving a majestic wake.
Last updated 11/10/04.