To Bless Those Deserving
When Steve told me to go to bed, I curtly replied, "And just how much sleep have you had?"
"You gave me a few hours. I'm giving you more hours."
"This is not a small problem, Steve. When it comes, it will come quick and strong."
"You don't think I know that, Jelnaya? You think I like having to protect a girl, a woman if you will, when the only reason I am doing so is because of my job. This situation is close to scaring me out of my mind. Still, Jelnaya, I trust you, but I feel that when this battle comes it will be more than a simple affair. I thus want you, my only hope of seeing this through to the end with a resolution that will have me and Doris still alive, to get some sleep."
I could not tell how much of what Steve said was true. He would use words to get his way. I knew that at times he was not worried about the truth, but about what facts were available to enable the opposition to see the truth. I thus pulled out an old argument of my own to see just how deep Steve’s convictions were.
"You know my Grandfather Terish. He is highly paranoid, and I have learned as you get really powerful in the omniverse you really cannot trust in the peace of the moment."
"Yes, Jelnaya, I know your grandfather. I attend every lecture he will give at Bellesdun. If there is one thing about him that has impressed me, it is his intensity. I could feel every fiber in his body was ever ready to pounce. The feeling inspired me at the time, and it was the dedication that I put into my studies that ruined my first marriage. Strangely, Jelnaya, it is that same devotion that is enabling me to get back with my first wife. She now sees my success. She knows the devotion, the drive, is still there, but recognizes that it is a virtue in my character and not a vice. The same with you, Jelnaya. Your devotion to Fergush is a virtue, not a vice. Still, your skills are physical while mine are mental. Right now I fear the physical, so I want you ready. I also trust you that when it this fight comes into my area of combat, you will be sending me to bed."
I had to admit that Steve had a way with words. "Okay, I'll go to sleep. However, wake me up at false dawn. I suspect that group will also be up then, I want to be ready when they make their move upon us."
"I got the impression that they are not just going to fight us. You might need me, Jelnaya, so I will wake you in time to get myself an hour or two more of sleep."
Not being able to argue with what Steve said, I went to prepare myself for sleep. I liked him, and felt the nurse was doing the right thing in taking the man back. My many periods of talking with Steve never showed him as dishonest or cruel. He understood the tactics of debates, and worked to gain the wisdom that would enable him to win in a court of law. This was the first time we had actually worked together, and both of our lives had changed since those early conversations. I still found Steve to be someone to seek for a different perspective, and actually felt safe knowing that he had proven himself as being able to present a point of view I could not argue with.
It helped my opinion of Steve when he spoke of sentries and snipers upon waking me back up. When I mentioned that I would have taken out the snipers, he spoke of a Kallotech weapon that he had set up. He asked if I knew how to program the machine, and I told him that I had my own weapons. Steve simply replied to hit the power switch should I feel the need to step in front of the arc clearly indicated by lines in the dirt.
Seeing the machine, I recognized that I did know the weapon. I actually used it as a sparring opponent. At first I had loaded it with rubber rounds, but ended up helping father sell some by actually going in front of the weapons with live rounds. The people clearly saw the swift, smooth operation, although father spoke of them enjoying the dance I did. He and I both knew that it was no practiced choreography, but I simply smiled having to admit that the men had seen my female body in action. Thinking back on how my last fight ended, I looked at the machine thinking it best if another danced in front of it.
For the record, I was a virgin. No purity intended, but I just did not consider that part of my body needing practice. The man who finally gained me as a mate would get the blessing of children that could not be from anyone else. He however would also gain a wife that could kill him multiple times before his soul left his body, so had better be sharing certain skills with no one else as well. I considered my virginity not as a virtue, but as a bonus to whoever actually managed to warm my cold, cold heart.
Since I knew the machine, I did play with it while Steve gained some rest. I thought it cute that he had managed to locate each opponent without them noticing. The weapon was actually pointing at a tree. It did not appear to be threatening anyone. The cameras however had identified each threat, and Steve had marked each target as an enemy. They could now move, but the cameras would update their positions and even recognize them should they leave and return. The machine was a very serious opponent, and I felt sorry for those out in the darkness that thought themselves safe.
I tested my skills against the machine by sitting with it to my back and working to locate other opponents. It was as I did this that I realized just how sneaky Steve could be. He had marked in the dirt the firing arc of the weapon. It actually had a slightly wider arc, but it was recommended to limit the movement of the weapon to prevent friendlies from coming under fire. I had my own skills for noticing opponents, and put them to use. As I spotted details in my surroundings, I also noticed other things. Steve had not marked in the dirt, but had set things about the camp. He had left a fork on a rock. A towel had been left hanging on a branch. While nothing really out-of-place could be seen, I clearly recognized things not in their usual locations and the opponents trying not be seen along the line-of-sight.
Smiling at not feeling that things were desperate, I went to work checking my weapons. Since I really had not been using them, sharpening was not required. Any tool however needed some care to ward off rust or other forms of degradation. Some got oiled. A couple of daggers had their grips redone. A few arrows were scraped to better improve their balance. As the light of the sun began to be seen in the sky, I had the feeling that I was more than ready for combat.
I was noticing the opponents slink away as Doris asked, "No breakfast?"
"I didn't cook," I replied. "You can."
"I don't have any skill in working with a fire or cooking over one."
"The fire is already going. The only difference in cooking over it is that you watch the food and not the timer."
Doris actually moved to look over our supplies while saying, "You have me there. I will just put things together and leave it for the stove to do the magic."
I laughed, then whispered a question. "You want me to send for our slaves?"
She softly answered, "I don't like slavery."
"It does not matter if you like it or not. If you need someone to work for you, you need someone to work for you. The only difference in a slave and another type of worker is that the slave is in your relationship with them. The slave is your property, so you have to take responsibility for things about them. That is why I do not want slaves. I am not going to take responsibility for them."
"Why would you send for them then?"
A very good question, so I gladly answered, "Because they are from Ubremander, so I might learn things about him. Also, they would fix us breakfast."
"They could well be spies for him."
I jerked my head indicating for her to beware of the land around us as I replied, "Probably not, as he already has enough spies."
"Well, I really do not like slavery, so I'll do what I can to cook."
I gave her some pointers, then strung my bow. Readying an arrow, I made a show of targeting one man who was still watching over the camp. When he moved back, I set up some blankets giving some privacy over a part of the nearby source of water. I then began doing what I could to start my day in a proper fashion. As I finished what I felt necessary, I moved to pick up my bow detecting movement.
It did not surprise me to see the slaves from yesterday moving toward our camp. I yelled to Doris to allow the ladies to cook. She advanced to me. I was glad to see her moving to me not to look at what there was to see, but to stare at me in the eyes.
"I still do not like it."
I told her, "Tell them to make enough food for themselves as well."
She turned to look at the women. Neither was old, although I could tell that what appeared to be years behind them was actually signs of them suffering. They did not look famished, but I still felt confident about some things as Doris asked a question.
"You think they have not been fed?"
"I wanted them to learn things about Ubremander."
"Oh." She turned to the slaves and ordered, "Make enough for each of you to have a serving as well." Seeing both ladies kneel and thank her caused Doris to look back to me. "I don't think that I am going to like this Ubremander."
I only chuckled before asking, "What would you say about me killing him?"
"Has it come to that?"
I put down my bow and returned to doing what I felt necessary as I said, "Not yet, but I am also coming to the opinion that I will not like him."
Doris looked back to camp as she said, "I have a slave now, don't I?"
"That is not a problem. You let that lady do what she will. Once we get you back home we can easily deal with her. She should not be considered at fault, so let her do her work. Keep your focus on Ubremander."
She did not look pleased with my words, and her reply came out as a grumble. "Okay, but I should do something with her now."
"How about talking to her? The reason I said I would want them is to learn about Ubremander, so start the process by learning their names and other things about them."
"Oh, yeah, okay."
Doris did start questioning the ladies. I guess the sound of strange voices had Steve wake up. After learning some basic facts, he began an interrogation of the ladies that started a mass of notes being written in a journal. I finished my tasks in preparing myself for the day thinking that I would have any questions about the ladies already answered by the time I finished eating breakfast.
Our ladies continue to find nothing to like about Ubremander.