Chapter IV
by General (Uncle Claude) Xxaxx
& General (E.J. Gold) Nunan PFC 1st Class Ret.

“Professor Woo,” Ja Mere himself opened the door. As, Woo stepped in quickly and made herself at home at his liquor cabinet, Ja Mere added in his slick, oily, thoroughly professional politician’s modulated tones, “to what or whom do I owe this unexpected honor?”

“Cut to chase, Ja Mere,” Woo snarled, using the vilest 22nd Century street jargon she knew, just because she knew it snapped his garter, and he knew that she knew that he knew it. It probably bugged him about as much as his habit of playing with his nose-ring bugged her.

It wasn’t just the nose-ring; if that’s all it had been, Woo wouldn’t have put the emotional screws to him. They were friends, and he’d—quite rightly—have been mortally offended had Woo not thrown at least one verbal punch. Some very nasty lawsuits and even a duel with nano-tweezers resulted from failure to obey that first great law of intimacy, an insult is the sincerest form of flattery.

“Ja Mere, you remember the Goober who’s assigned to watchdog me?”

“Sure,” he said, and he smiled that same goddamn inscrutable, impenetrable occidental smile that always left Woo wondering if he has any idea what she was talking about; “you gotta mean that gray character you keep under wraps down in your private, sekrit laboratory,” he added, removing all doubt about whether or not he knew what Woo meant.

Woo reminded herself, “I don’t want to get into that old argument again.” And, unthinkingly said over her shoulder “Yes, is correct, Ja Mere”

Even as she said it she knew she’d made that mistake again. His face screw up in pre-lecture format. “Damn Westerners.” Woo thought, “You have to watch your step every minute. Never know what’s going to tick them off next. Touchy as ammonium tri-iodide, if you ask me.” But nobody was asking. She was talking to herself as usual.

Trying to abort the inevitable lecture, “That is correct, Ja Mere,” she corrected herself to Ja Mere before finishing her thoughts to herself. “Correctness. I guess that’s the root of the whole damn sickness in this society, maybe any society. Oops, judging by the look on his face, no backtracking this time. Yep, here it comes the usual lecture about connectives and prepositions and participles.”

“Yes, Ja Mere,” Woo tried again after he’d settled down; “that is the Bubbler to whom I’m referring. He has detected what could be a significant slowing in Earth’s rotation.”

Ja Mere was well-aware of Woo’s time-distortion xpearimints with Little Roy, and that’s precisely why he wanted Little Roy so badly. In several independent tests of Little Roy’s natural internal clock and time sense, Woo found him able to easily and readily detect a temporal deviation down to one-thousandth of a second in a twenty-four hour period, which is why Ja Mere would have had us consider Little Roy’s time-sense to be an aberrative side-effect of bubble hermone/hismone malfunction, well within normal statistical limits.

Ja Mere’s obsessive drive to stop all research into bubble annihilation made him the ally Woo needed, and he was probably the only member of the Grand Cownsil Woo could trust—not implicitly, but through a little manipulation by Woo and his weakness—to push wholeheartedly to dedicate the assets necessary to test Little Roy’s observation.

History/Modern Definition Grand Cownsil: Often referred to simply as The Cownsil or Cownsil. Administrative body charged with overseeing the distribute of funds and personnel related to xpearimintation.

“If Little Roy is correct,” Woo started, sitting on the divan with both feet on the floor, resisting the natural impulse to tuck one or both legs up on the cushions, “the Grand Cownsil will be forced to set aside all bubble research so they can direct all resources and attention to the question of the Earth’s rotational deterioration.”

“Well, that will get him by by the long-hairs.” Woo thought to herself smugly, “Even without further discourse I know Ja Mere will do everything within his power to make certain the Grand Cownsil gives me the tests and equipment I need.”

“Listen, Ja Mere, when this is all sorted out, maybe we should do some further biophysical mechanism testing of Little Roy’s savantism.”

Woo didn’t mind giving him a little carrot to look forward to. Fiction was her stock in trade. A small smile played across her face as she recalled the minor duplicity this required compared to living in male drag for twenty-five years? “You know, Ja Mere, I’m beginning to think that you just might have a point there about those bubbles.”

“See you day after tomorrow in the Cownsil chambers,” Ja Mere promised, and Woo rose to leave. The both laughed and said goodbye as he bowed and she extended her hand.


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