o, it had come down to this.
    "I can't say I'm surprised," I made sure to point out.  "I figured, some day, I'd have to finish things with you.  Although I wasn't expecting it in this way..."
    "Is it a problem?" she asked me.
    "Oh, heavens no.  I'm glad to have the opportunity to work with you again.  I believe this is a fair bargain between us, yes?  All past errors and wrongs erased in favor of mutual benefit," I said, smiling wide.  I always smile.  It's a cheerful way to approach your work.  "It is to my liking.  Your will be done... my mistress."
    She nodded once in approval, and vanished away.
    I suppose you're wondering why I revealed that little secret to you.  I'll explain in a roundabout way, but don't think I'll go making a habit of explanations.  (Too early to consider doing that...)  So, let's start at the beginning, my initial reason.
    I've been a rather large fan of certain literary works.  They're quite well done, even if my part in them is usually grossly misinterpreted -- understandable, understandable.  Still, they're exceptional works, and done by an exceptional author.  So, I figure, if Myth can write such wondrous tales of heroes and heroines, why can't I?  And thus, this work.
    Of course, I'm by no means a hero.  After all, until recently, I was a Mazoku... a stock cardboard cutout of evil, a big nasty monster who delights in torment and death.  And yes, I suppose I could be called a sadist, or a prankster, or an "enigmatic bastard" as Lina enjoys phrasing it... but I like to think there is a method to my madness.  Thus, this rather brief volume.  It's not nearly as good as Myth's work, but perhaps in some small way, it will vindicate my actions in the years to come.  And it was SUCH fun to write.
    If you're familiar with what will doubtlessly be Myth's master work, "Lina Inverse and the End of Everything," then you'll have a very clear idea as to my name and my role in things.  If not, here is a hint; my name starts with an X, and Lina had assigned me to the role of 'Communications Relay Post' in the war effort.  It's actually the most ideal position, considering my true intentions... here, I practically direct the entire war through the manipulation of information.  Lina will be far too busy on her inane little quest to worry about managing battles.
    Besides, if I didn't do a little command nudging here and there, the winged would likely squabble and bicker over who would lead in Lina's absence.  Quite like children, they are.
    And that's the situation, in summa.  Except, of course, for the very important details I deliberately left out.
    Isn't this going to be fun, boys and girls?
    It's quite an involved story.  Where do I begin?
    I suppose I could start at the beginning, but that would make it easier for you.  Instead, I'll start near the end.
    Temporally, let's take things back to when Lina had just departed.  Off she went, on another little poorly explained quest to save the world... I suppose most people would want to complain to L-sama about that sort of thing.  She makes this nasty habit of just dropping the pieces into place, usually on top of your head, without letting you see the big picture.  Nobody said she was a very organized deity, considering she IS a naturally occurring embodiment of Chaos, after all..
    I'm digressing, aren't I?  Pardon, pardon.
    Lina had just left, leaving me and the kids behind.  The winged may have presented... something vaguely resembling a unified front when Lina was there to order them around, but shortly after her departure, the situation got crazy once more.  I opted, as usual, to sit back and enjoy the show.
    "It's not possible," Paradox was arguing.  "You want to put a white magic bubble-shield and a black magic mesh in close proximity?  They'll cancel each other out.  It won't work.  Why aren't you just using white magic?  That's defensive."
    "White magic is what the Dragons use," Reason said cooly.  I had to admire her; although she would probably be a bummer at a party, she had a unique ability to handle any situation aimed at her.  "If a stray attack from a Dragon falls on the shield, it may phaze through the similar magic and strike.  We need a net to capture and cancel white magic.  But at the same time, we need a white magic shield to deflect the likely powerful black magic attacks from Mazoku--"
    "A cute idea, but it's not going to happen."
    "It's reasonable to think--"
    "Will you SHUT UP about being reasonable!?" Paradox groaned.  "You don't see me using my name as a catch phrase.  I'm not that tacky."
    Now I felt like interrupting.  Paradox was sort of the runt of the litter, and it was universally acceptable to pick on him; and pick I did, like a blister.  He deserved it for my last stay at his home, too.
    "I suppose it's too difficult for anybody to manage," I baited.  "I mean, you'd need to be a master at appealing the laws of reality.  But I suppose nobody has enough power to break the working machine of the universe and allow this to work..."
    "Nobody?  HA!  I could do it with one hand tied-- BOTH hands tied behind my back," Paradox said, sinking his teeth into the hook.
    "Oh?" I asked.  "That makes it possible, then.  QED."
    "Wh-- yeah, but... look, it's not possible for HER, and--"
    "Then you'll assist me," Reason said.  "It's the only reasonable way to make such a spell work, yes?"
    "Sure, but-- HEY!  I am NOT going to help--"
    I cleared my throat.
    "Given the lack of Linas in the immediate vicinity, I am acting captain of the peanut gallery," I noted.  "Paradox, you're going to work with her on this device before you leave to guard your designated territories.  Please make haste."
    "Be a good boy and play well with others, now," I smiled.  I believe the point was hereby closed, so I enjoyed another gulp of the refreshing lemonade Amelia had made for this quickie planning session.
    I had the lemonade mostly to myself.  Reason didn't like sugar, and Paradox only drank wine; not that he could hold it.  Drama, Love, Loathing, Luck... they had all departed immediately after Lina, headed for parts known.  Dayvid was busy drafting up some idea on a sketchpad, oblivious to the world around him.  It was just me and Amelia in a mano-a-mano contest for the refreshing beverages...
    Fortunately, she was still outside talking to the city guard at my suggestion, meaning more for me.
    "I don't wanna sit around here," Paradox grumbled.  "I have plans of my own, you know.  You think it's going to be easy shielding four different cities in null-reality envelopes?  It's a complex Talent working."
    "All the more reason to hurry with Reason, yes?" I said.  "Both of you, run along.  Chop chop.  Got a war to fight, and I'm expecting we'll see action shortly."
    Reason didn't question or bicker like her little brother did.  She simply gave a nod, nudged Dayvid out of his engineer's trance, and the three of them went off to the lab.
    Ah, I love a war.  Especially when I get to run the show.  Everybody off doing things in my grand master plan, cogs in the wheel, ticking along nicely.  Quite organized.  But of course, humans themselves are not very organized -- I suppose you heard me rant a long, long time ago about humans and chaos, yes?  Probably had it beaten into your head quite severely by this point.  (Hmm... severe beating.)  It's true, I'm afraid; we're not a very stable lot, and prone to mishaps and unforeseen quirks.  Mind you, I consider that the saving grace of the species, considering how unimaginative the Mazoku are... we climb out of the ruts we're stuck in.
    And every now and then, the chaos plays to our advantage, as I was about to find out.  (Ooh, a cliffhanger.  Well, a cliffhanger for one sentence, at least... mmm.  I really must get some tips from Myth as to how to write these things properly.  Anyway...)
    There's a rather bad pun ahead, in that it's not even groaning funny.  Those with poor hearts may want to skip ahead.
    Should I summarize?  No.  Well, yes.  But I'll allow Amelia to summarize, as she explained to me.
    "I was out here waving goodbye to Lina-san and Gourry-san, and telling the troops how we'd need their cooperation in defense of the city like you suggested," Amelia said.  "And one of them pointed up at the castle, and went, 'What's that?' and I looked up and there was this black thing stuck to the wall of the castle!  It must have hit the stones at really really high speed and gotten stuck or jammed in them... anyway, I had someone with a very big ladder go and scrape it off, and..."
    She gestured over to the unconscious black sorceress.
    "Naga," I acknowledged.  "She really does know how to make an entrance, doesn't she?  Although doesn't she usually just blow up the wall and walk through and pose?"
    "Maybe she forgot to blow it up first," Amelia suggested.
    I prodded the amply bosomed woman with my staff.  No, my STAFF.  Honestly.
    I hadn't actually seen Naga very much.  Our last encounter was back during that whole Mirror Lores fiasco, and I was assigned to travel around with Our Fair Lady of the Sugar High there... but trust me, you don't need very much of Naga to properly form an impression.  I could immediately tell something was amiss, in the way she didn't move and didn't laugh and didn't act like an impossible heroine from a bad fantasy novel.  She had her usual (and rather fetching) Battle BikiniTM on, and was clutching what looked like the broken remains of a stick.
    "Is she dead?" I asked, with secret hope.
    "She's just resting," Amelia said.  "I figured I'd let her sleep a bit..."
    "I wouldn't exactly call that restful," I said.  "If you wouldn't mind making with the happy holy fun fun magic?... I'd heal her myself, but I'm rather out of practice."
    And so Amelia healed up Naga, and after the usual round of 'Where am I?' type hooplah, we got down to the reason she was hear.  Most literally.
    "I was having no luck finding the artifact I sought in the nation of Ky, so I used the gift Lina gave me," she explained, holding up what was left of the stick.  "A divining rod.  But when I tested it and asked for water, it took me to a restaurant.  So I asked for gold and it took me to some dwarve's cave, and when I went for broke and asked for the idol of Frat Hesti Orcalus, I went flying over the ocean!!  I almost lost my grip a few times!  And then I came in over Sailoon very fast and that's the last thing I remember."
    Amelia-chan's reaction was typical of her.
    "Woooow!  You had an adventure, oneesan!" she cheered.  "That's so exciting!"
    "Doesn't explain what I'm doing back HERE," Naga grumbled.  "The idol is in Ky."
    "Actually, it explains things perfectly," I said, working through the logic.  (Cover your ears, cautious peoples!  Let not the following passage be heard!)  "You see... your divining rod is hard of hearing.  You wanted water, you got a waiter.  You asked for gold, and it took you to... let me guess. What was the name of this dwarf?"
    "Glod, why?"
    "And finally, you asked for Frat Hesti Orcalus," I said.  "And it ZOOMED and zoomed, making a beeline for.... a flat chested sorceress.  Who was inside the castle at the time, so splat you went.  Ta-da.  Want some lemonade?"
    Always bring a refereshing beverage with you.  You never know when you'll need it.
    Naturally, Naga picked up on one key thing.  "Lina?" she asked.  "Lina is here?  Excellent!  Perhaps we can return to Ky and continue my quest!  I knew I would have difficulty without my lucky sidekick."
    "Oh, Lina-san left," Amelia said.  "She had to go on a really important quest or something."
    "What?!" Naga gasped, aghast, and extremely exasperated.  (Mmm... that didn't work, did it?)  "She can't go on a bold journey without I, her most powerful rival and ally!  Is she mad?!"
    "Perhaps a little perturbed and holding internal feelings of worry and fear, but no, not mad," I cheerfully indicated.
    Naga turned sharply towards... some direction.  "I will leave immediately to accompany her!"
    "What?  But you just got here, oneechan!" Amelia said, eyes wobbling.  "You should help me defend Sailoon in the spirit of love and justice!  When--"
    "Sailoon isn't my concern anymore, Amelia-chan," Naga said.  "You know that."
    "Mou, you're always so selfish!  You wouldn't stay last time you were here, either!"
    A faint light in the sky drew my eye.
    "Ah... ladies?" I said, attempting to get their attention.
    "Besides, everybody knows father liked YOU best," Naga scoffed.  "His little white magic toting justice fiend.  Just as good that I left!  I wasn't welcome."
    "Oneeeechaaaan!" Amelia whined.  "You were always welcome!  We just want you to help the family out like a true Sailoon princess!  For that is the might and glory of our noble lineage..."
    The light started flashing.  "Hel-looo?" I said.  "People?"
    "Just because--"
    I gave up, and pulled a megaphone out of the dreamstuff I kept in my pocket for just such an emergency.  "*BEGGING YOUR PARDON!!!!*" I shouted into it, shattering glass in the building behind them and generally knocking people flat.  Mmm.  Perhaps that was too loud.  I willed the megaphone away, and pointed up.  "I just thought you'd like to know, we're about to be attacked."
    Naga was first to her feet.  "Attacked?  What--"
    Kaboom!  Now, I'm a learned master in the field of purposeful combustion, and I can say up front that this was a nice one.  Big and nasty, with flaring black and red fires -- that would be a stray Mazoku shot, if not a downright intentional one.  And naturally it had to hit a nearby boarding house.  Odds are a few people died in there.  I had to smile.
    The girls weren't quite so happy.
    "We're being attacked!!!" Amelia shrieked.  "Uh.. battlestations!  Plans!  Do things!  Help!!"
    "Funny, we hadn't gotten around to preparing yet," I said.  "I suppose this means we're all going to die?"
    A Dragon swooped low over the city, majestic wings spread, as two Mazoku followed on its tail.  Judging from their auras, the Dragon didn't stand much chance... but only one of the Mazoku was attacking it.  The other set fires down a nearby street, concentrating entirely on collateral human property damage.  Mm.  Interesting.
    The fire stopped short when it hit a white bubble, encasing the entire city block.  I traced the spell back to Amelia, and a small talisman with the signet of the house de Wil Tesla Sailoon on it.  A magical amplifier!  And she didn't tell me about it.  Don't these nice people trust me?
    "Sis, help me!" Amelia begged.  "I'm not strong enough to cover the whole city myself!"
    Naga floundered about, as the ground beneath shook from the battles above.  "Me?  What can I do?!"
    "Use your white magic!"
    "I haven't used white magic in years!  How do you expect me to--"
    A building not two doors down from us melted into green custard.  Well, there was a new trick.  Still, Lina probably wouldn't appreciate all this mess, so I decided to do a little manipulating.
    "I suppose this means a lot of blood will be spilled today," I commented offhand, loud enough for Naga to hear.
    "B-Blood?" she asked, voice with a tell-tale wobble.  I had heard she wasn't very good with blood, after that little incident with her mother; it's a lovely lever to push, isn't it?
    "Oh, definitely.  I know Mazoku," I said.  "Once they finish the Dragon, it'll be open season to have fun down here.  Why, it reminds me of the time--"
    Naga took hold of the talisman with Amelia right away.  I knew that would work.  It's so easy to make people do what you want when you hold their keys... but enough bragging.
    I had to admit, the end results were impressive.
    The elder sister must have been, what, four times stronger than Amelia!  Who'd have known?  The shield grew larger and more solid, the white bubble brushing past my skin like icy light as it pushed outwards.  The Mazoku above were bumped aside by the energy, as Amelia and Naga tapped into the natural magical circle installed around Sailoon City for just such purposes... what fun!  That these two silly little girls should have so much power when combined with their family artifacts.  No wonder Sailoon hasn't fallen in any Mazoku War!
    "Well done, well done," I said, clapping in appreciation.
    "Shaddup, Mazoku," Naga scowled, sweat beading on her forehead as she concentrated.
    Now, honestly, you see what treatment I have to put up with?
    Not many of you have been in battles before.  If you have, usually they're of the swords and sorcery form... valiant knights and heroes hacking off each other's limbs or burning each other to crispy, crunchy crackers.  Cute, but not quite the same as a full-tilt Mazoku-on-Dragon holocaustic war.
    The actual battle over Sailoon took roughly three hours, which isn't all that bad, but it meant Naga and Amelia had to stay where they were in the middle of the street and pour heaping gobs of white energy into that shield for one hundred and eighty minutes.  Can you picture that?  Standing stock still while your fellow citizens run around screaming and trying to protect their valued relatives and material objects?  Having them run up to you, the only recognizable person in charge (royalty is commanding) and asking what's going on, and being unable to answer more than a few words without losing the shield?
    And that's not to mention what's going on outside.  Persistent fellows, they are.  The Dragons called in reinforcements, therefore, the Mazoku called in reinforcements as well, always attributing a share of their resources towards pulverizing the city.  Initially half their forces tried to break Amelia and Naga's spell... I did a little boosting of my own, I'll admit, to keep the strays that snuck by in check.  And I certainly had to snag any white magic from the Dragons which accidentally phazed through.  Fortunately, the Mazoku weren't stupid, just slow... they caught on that attacking the city was a lost cause and concentrated on the Dragons.  Still, wouldn't be safe to lower the guard one notch, and the three of us kept things rolling until the very last magical warrior was out of sight.
    Perhaps that's a rather summarized and jaded way to see things.  Allow me to compensate by describing the aftermath.
    Sailoon was not a pretty sight.  Some property damage, granted, but that wasn't the real toll.  Perhaps Zelas-Metallum had orchestrated this fight?  She knows the value of terrified prey, and the people of Sailoon certainly chalked up some major stress points.  The guard had to be deployed to prevent rioting, and there was a mass exodus as those who didn't want to stick around chose not to -- silly, silly people!  Didn't they realize outside was more dangerous than inside?
    As for the girls... hooo.  Need I say?  Perhaps you could feel equivalent status by not sleeping for three or four days and running a hard intravenous line of coffee into your neck.  To say they were strung out is to be an insult to string.
    Actually, this was a good thing for me.
    It meant nobody was left in charge of the city.  Not in any real sense.  Follow the logic : the king himself was, as usual, on the verge of dying of old age... and his relatives were usually too busy plotting to make that verge a nice, lemming-oriented cliff.  Prince Phil could handle the pesky and useless city guard, and the unofficial leader of the actual troops that mattered was now completely exhausted.  Thus, it was my turn.
    (I hope I can impress Lina with my tactical skills one day, if she ever reads this memoir.)
    I swooped in like an angel and took control once our little party had limped its way back to the castle.
    "You two look like Hell," I stated politely.  "Believe me, I know this for a fact."
    "mrr.." Amelia mumbled.  Naga was a little less drained, given her power ranking, but didn't respond.
    "I think you need to go to bed now, and not wake up until lunchtime tomorrow," I suggested.  "I'll handle things.  Yes?"
    "Sure," Amelia replied, without thinking.  (Best kind of reply.)
    I summoned the nearest maids with a mental flick -- okay, okay, perhaps my time with the Mazoku has left me with a few staple evil gags -- and spoke to their minds.
    "*Ensure that the princesses have comfortable beds and don't leave them until midday tomorrow,*" I ordered.  The maids nodded in sync.  I felt a bit tempted to ask one of them to stay behind and help me celebrate my victory... oh, dear.  That really DOES sound like a staple evil gag, doesn't it?  And here I am, a human being.  I suppose I should feel shamed.  In a way, I do, but not for reasons you may suspect -- I simply didn't think it was appropriate to relax when I needed to take care of business.
    Next stop : Dayvid's lab.  After all, the Mazoku would be back soon.  As interesting as it would be for them to crush Amelia's little spells, it's not what Lina wants to happen, and to prevent it, we'll need my son's genius.
    Allow me to pause one moment and clarify my relationship with my son.  Yes, I know... breaks the flow of the narrative, doesn't it?  I apologize.  Those uninterested may skip on to the next section, which has lots of cool science stuff and magical tinkerings.
    Now, you can call me a sadist, or an irresponsible jerk.  Why, feel free to call me an evil beast!  I'd just laugh at you, but you can go ahead.  But one thing I'd prefer not to be called is a bad father.
    It was an interesting experiment to begin with... I had a few decades free from my job as a Mazoku agent, so why not mix and mingle with the humans?  Get in touch with my roots, so to speak.  I got rather interested in musical entertainments, as I'm rather good with a violin myself... not as hip as those guitars the kids play, but classically stylish.  It was at a concerto that I met her.
    No, her name wasn't Luna.  Let me crush that rumor here and now.
    Her name was in fact Lyra.
    Maybe it's just the letter L.  I like girls with names that start in L.
    But I digress!
    I met her at a concerto, as mentioned, but the real orchestra was playing just for us.  Cheesy?  Perhaps to you, but this was back when I was first rediscovering my human side.  Emotional reactions, while not gone in the sense of some silly chimera, were certainly suppressed while I did my work... I enjoyed the slaughter of Dragons, but simple pleasures like a good sundae or a warm hand in mine were quite new to me.  So, when I met this simply... oh, I can't describe it!  She was so warm and friendly, with smiles that rival my own, and intellectual beyond any of the cheap and uninteresting Mazoku I knew!  I would even go out on a limb and say she was more fun to be around than Zelas-Metallum.
    But love her?  Difficult question.  How was I to know?  After all, I lived for my work up to that point and never really bothered to consider it.  Most female Mazoku would stab you in the back rather than kiss you if it would get them something.  Still, I'm not a whiny sort of person.  I married Lyra without dwelling too much on love.  We got along in some unusual, indescribable way, and that seemed to be enough.
    Soon afterwards, Dayvid was born.  I was a little hesitant, not quite sure how my Mazoku nature would affect things, but Dayvid proved to be an astoundingly bright lad.  Here, I thought, would make an interesting heir to the vast amount of arcane knowledge I had obtained!  But when I tried to teach him magic, or encourage him in various activities, he rebelled.  I made the large mistake of trying to forcibly guide him towards sorcery, and he naturally jumped at the chance to be a scientist.
    I guess I was a bad father.  But I didn't try to be, heavens no, much the opposite.  Still, the doormat to Hell is scuffled by the feet of good intentions, and things didn't work out.  To make matters worse, I had to cut my vacation short, as only a few years after Dayvid's birth, Zelas-Metallum called me away to start tailing Lina Inverse.
    And so, I put that phase of my life behind me and did what I was told to do.  Sometimes I wonder if I should return to Lyra's side, now that I'm human...
    But with the world ending, I'm afraid my time's run out in that regard.  I can only do what I do naturally, and hope for the best, as I did with Dayvid.  I'm proud of my boy.  Maybe he didn't become what I initially wanted, but his eventual genesis into what he is goes beyond my wildest hopes.  Perhaps he realizes this.  But likely, he doesn't.
     Strange thoughts on this queer day in history, but every one of them meant sincerely.  You see, I didn't just assign Dayvid to this particular role in the war to make him feel good, or out of nepotism.  I wanted to prove a theory.
    Magic had dominated this world for far too long.  A paradigm shift was coming, assuming we all survived, and science was on the rise... but science could dominate as well.  What humanity needs is balance, the same implicit balance found in the Lord's constructions.  Dayvid, by means known, unknown, intended and unintended achieved that balance... with a few nudges from me.  Perhaps that is where humanity is heading, a mixture of technology and thaumatology...
    The trick would be to see if this theory could apply to our situation.  Would Dayvid pull a plot device out of his hat that would save us all?
    As the girls sluggishly wandered off to bed, I decided to check on his progress.
    Dayvid's lab was always messy, in the same way that the sky is always blue.  Today, however, it was ESPECIALLY messy, with blueprints strewn about, rough sketches with huge X's through them tossed hither, tither and yond, and the obligatory amount of Apparatus turned on / in heavy rotation / glowing with pulsing light.  Quite a sight indeed!
    And in the center of it all, three figures locked in heated debate.
    "It's not going to work," Paradox said -- what else would he say?  "The focal point will burn out and need replacing every few days.  And given the rarity of sorcerers that strong, you'll only have a functional bubble for a short time.  Then we're toast."
    "I think it's reasonable to assume that the balance will keep as long as we find someone strong enough," Reason reasoned.  I really had to appreciate that about her, even if it worried me.  "The system is self-regulating.  As long as the flow is constant, the acceleration trauma is minimal."
    "Oh?  And where do you expect to find volunteers?"
    Yawn, yawn.  The usual footdragging.  I noticed, however, that Dayvid was being rather quiet.  Being the wanna-be good parent, I chose to take an interest in his hobbies directly.
    "Hello, nice people," I greeted, and stepped right over to Dayvid.  "How goes Project Omega?"
    Dayvid snapped out of his thoughtful daze.  "Project wha?"
    "The thingy.  The doohickey, the whatsit, the black box," I said.  "The thing you're designing...?  What does it do?"
    "Oh... um... hang on," he requested, fetching the nearest pencil sketches, and gesturing to arcane technical things on them.  "We're trying to make a device that can maintain a white magic shield, with a black magic net intertwined.  And, um, it needs to work without Naga and Amelia putting out that kind of energy to do it, so we can keep it up all day long."
    "Bah," Paradox scoffed.  "You can do it with magic alone.  Science has too many binding laws that can go snap! when you don't want them to."
    "We lack the manpower to keep a 24/7 shield with magic alone," Reason reminded.
    "Details, details!" Paradox shouted.  "It's the safest--"
    "You think it'll work, Dayvid?" I said, completely ignoring the raving winged.
    "Welll..." Dayvid said.  "Reason thinks so, and Paradox doesn't, so--"
    I shook my head.  The boy was bright, but could be dense as sheet rock sometimes.  "Let me re-emphasize.  Do YOU think it'll work?"
    "...yes and no," Dayvid decided.  "Yeah, in theory.  But the problem is in the logistics.  We need one extremely powerful white sorcerer connected to the machine at least twelve hours a day to focus and deploy the energy.  Machines themselves can't cast or tap magical power yet.  Therefore, we also need people to supply it with energy, by, um, feeding it."
    "Nobody in their right mind would do that," Paradox said angrily.  "I know people.  'Say, mister, would you like to hook your soul up to a funny machine that suck all the vitality out of you until you fall unconscious?'  Name ONE person who would agree to that.  No, better -- name THIRTY!  Because that's how many people you'd need a day to drain power from."
    "If you build it, they will come," Reason said ominously.
    "Shhhhhh!" I said, shushing the group.  "Allow me to think without so much noise.  Mm.  So, one focal person, thirty volunteers.  Can do.  Dayvid, begin construction immediately."
    "What?  But, dad, we can't--"
    "I've already solved one of your problems," I said, smiling nice and wide, my trademarked #4 'I Know Something You Do Not' grin.  "I got in contact with her the moment I saw the war coming, suspecting just such a problem.  She should be arriving tomorrow morning."
    "She...?  Who're you talking about, pop?"
    All together now, people!
    "Ah," I said, wiggling a no-no finger.  "That is a secret.  Now.  Reason, Paradox, aid my son in making this thing.  I expect a working model tomorrow morning.  Go all night if you must."
    "What do you think we are, sweatshop workers?" Paradox asked, reeling in horror.  "I don't work on command.  I am Paradox!  Lord of Space and Time!  If you think--"
    "Oh, do shut up, silly little man," I yawned.  "It's late, and I have one more task to complete before the night is through."
    No more talking required, I turned and exited.  No need to make a larger production of it than I already had.
Click to continue...
Story copyright 1998 Stefan Gagne, characters copyright H. Kanzaka / R. Araizumi.
A Spoof Chase Production.