Progress is mighty slow on this particular magnum opus. Three weeks have passed since chapter 33 went live, and lo, I’ve written…ahem…well…this:
Ella’s Story follows people who live ordinary lives as citizens of a vast interstellar empire. Indeed, a galactic empire. Each chapter will be posted individually here at the Plain & Simple Press blog about once every three weeks, and then links will be collected at a single page devoted to the book. Come on over to the Ella’s Story page to find all the chapters published so far, as well as the cast of characters and a list of place names.
Of course. They had passkeys, only legitimately. “I’ll be right down there, Yia. Get the women in their bunks and don’t let them out. Unless one of the Suits asks you to. Understood?”
She shut Yiadwene off, called Security, and asked them to send a Blacksuit to her quarters.
Before she could end that exchange, a page from Bhotil flashed up on the vidspot.
“What the hell is going on?” he demanded. He pulled on a company uniform shirt over his head, covering a skin-tight gray undershirt, then ran his fingers through his hair to brush it off his face. “Chief Geffad says the women’s quarters were breached?” Ella could see Yiadwene watching in a tile on the vid exchange’s viewer, and Geffad in another.
“Yiadwene says some guy got in and tried to stab Ella. But Ella’s all right. She’s here with me.”
“In your quarters.”
“That’s right, sir.”
Bhotil fell silent for a second. The Blacksuit chief said nothing.
“Boss,” Vighdi said, “would you please come up here so we can talk about this? And Chief Geffad, we need an armed guard here. We’re in the senior staff women’s quarters.”
“I gathered,” he said drily. “A crew is on their way up. They should get there in a couple of minutes.”
Bhotil said, “I’m going down to the slave women’s quarters first, Vighdi. Soon as I finish talking with Yiadwene, I’ll come up in your direction. Keep Ella there with you, if you will. And…well, don’t go wandering around. Keep the door locked.”
“We’ll need to let the other senior staff women know what’s up,” Geffad remarked.
“I’d like to keep at least some sort of a lid on this, until we have a better grip on things,” Bhotil replied. He strapped a work belt around his waist.
“Most of them will be asleep,” Vighdi said. “Tell your people to come in quietly. And don’t send an army up here.”
Geffad made no reply but nodded, seemingly in agreement. Or at least acquiescing.
“If they knew where Ella was, they wouldn’t have sent their spook to her bunk,” Bho observed. “Let’s send just a couple of Blacksuits over to the staff quarters. And station them inside the doors, so they’re not so obvious. Vighdi, can you let them in when they get to your parts?”
“Sure. Tell them to signal me direct – don’t make a lot of noise out there.”
“Are the doors locked now?”
Vighdi touched a control panel near the vidspot. “No.”
“Well, lock them.”
She’d hit the switch before the words left his mouth.
“What’ll we tell the women? They’ll see the guard when they get up for breakfast.”
“It’s a security exercise,” Geffad suggested.
Bho snuffed a kind of chuckle. “If you can think of something better, use it. Just let the rest of us know what it is.” He headed out the door. “I’ll be up at your place shortly.”