Walking through the Palace of STATE, S. looks around. The large chambers are so small compared to the white infinity. Strange to surmise that her body shell had been here the past months, while her mind was attending to other matters. Wherever she goes, she is surrounded by groups of humans: armed Guards, followers and fluttering servants opening doors, offering chairs and refreshments. When she meets Irene, there is even a larger crowd, as many ‘advisors’ had given up on Her Grace and are accosting Her Excellency whenever they can. As soon as the crowd of followers glance an opportunity to, they shower questions and requests.
Of course, nobody really dares talk too much when both the acting and the official Heads of STATE are present, but the presence of all these supplicants and advisors and Guards and servants and their clutter of thoughts adds a weird tension, breathing down on Irene and, now she is more conscious of it, on STATE. S. frowns. These humans are still so dependent on them, on STATE. All this hassle and fussing is outdated. It is time to start organizing the elections that Irene has begged STATE for, for so long. It takes but a flick and Alexander pressing paper against STATE, and preparation is set in motion. The New Constitution stipulates everything already, the Borough voting stations, the identity check process, the counting mechanisms, the voting booths locations and opening times and personnel... It is all easy for STATE to oversee. But STATE does not stipulate a date. That is not up to STATE to decide. There is something else, something more: the elections are no STATE concern, something has to happen first, the end STATE has to achieve, even if she cannot voice’
Soon. Almost. STATE has to wait until Martin is ready.
> She, the most Holy, has again proven Her Grace and Magnaminity
> she was proven to be a survivor is all
> I was there and I tell you: she died, and then she rose again!
> Yes she rose because you guys were fool enough to revive her by your weird humming! Better yiu’d left her alone to die, the filth!
> she killed, what? hundreds of people that day, you know! she is and has always been a killer, and it is high time that we kill her
> She is the Most Pure the Carrier and Being of Light, the
> capital man, shut up because it makes me wanna kill ya
> hey, hey this is a peaceful occ, either go and fight somewhere else or keep quiet – no killing
> Im not gonna shut up here or anywhere, we are under some mindcontrol of this little chit and we just leave her to go on and on, well she gotta go and gotta go real and complete or I wanna make her
> Hail STATE! She returned to us, and now she will give us the elections, hail the Bearer of state, all we have to do is follow her, and trust her,
Johan Delaware looks up at the gorgeous breasts of his wife Sarah and smiles. She had come as she had never come before, her face disintegrating into moaning, her whole body sweating and shuddering, her insides pulsing until he no longer withheld his release. ‘Ah...’
“Oh, you are just, you are...” Sarah sighs. ‘I know who you are, Johan, I know what I will make you...’ And as he strokes her back she smells him, his clean and strong smell so unlike that of any other man she had bedded with. ‘He is young, he is clever, he is strong,’ she thinks. Drowsily, he kisses her lips and neck and cups her breast while lying down and falling asleep again. ‘So different... He is the one, but it will be up to me to make them all see...’ She smiles knowingly. ‘Let me think... what can I do now? Must be subtle, Martin must think he’s the man’
Humming, Cook is measuring out the flour while the yeast is foaming in the tepid milk, when the door leading to the stairs opens softly. ‘Who is there?’ Expecting a Guard to walk in, she turns with some surprise as he does not announce himself with some impatient request. ‘Oh...’ Fumbling with her fingers, dry with white powder, she curtseys as best as she can. ‘The Bearer! What is wrong upstairs that the Bearer has to come down herself!?’
‘Nothing.’ The voice is thinner than she remembered it, but the piercing quality inside her head she remembers vividly. “Your Grace...”
‘STATE needs just to watch you work.’ Moving without any superfluous energy, the Bearer walks towards Lizzie’s chair near the eStove and sits down.
‘I will have to mix the dough now, or it will not have time enough to’ Caught, the Cook glances at Her Grace’s still face.
‘Do as you would if STATE were not here!’
The Cook at first has to force herself to, but gradually her busy schedule overtakes her ingrained respect, and at times, she even manages to forget Her Grace is there.
“COOK! I do not smell bread yet, what HAVE you been up to?” Mr. Blas speaks harshly even before he has taken all steps down into the kitchen. When he looks into the warm room, his face tightens, his eyes glint at the opportunity to tell that woman off. “And DID I not tell you NOT to let anyone” But when he points and recognizes the silent shape next to the eStove he falls abruptly silent. “Er... well... Of course... As Your Grace wishes...” Only just can he manage to control his thoughts, of ‘how unfit, how unworth’ and bows deeply, moving backwards out of the kitchen to inform the Captain before he might worry about Her Grace’s whereabouts.
The morning air is clear when Martin and his bodyguards enter a small coffee house at the edge of the city. The guards are alert, the place is deserted and a high risk. Martin knows they are right, but after checking and double-checking the source code of the invite he had waved away their fears. “Mc Kinsey is too important to go into kidnapping at his age,” he had said with a deliberate laugh in his voice, “it will be safe, I assure you!” But now he looks around he is not so sure. ‘Where am I?’
The door opens with a jingle and they all jump, but sure enough, it is Mc Kinsey, alone and unarmed. The tension released, Martin smiles warmly and shakes hands.
“Come, come,” Mc Kinsey says with his characteristic ironical tone: “we are not taking coffee here, dear Martin, as I am sure you will have guessed,” and with a wide arm gesture he takes them outside. In the pale light a huge limo has materialized, and it takes Martin a blink to realize that Mc Kinsey must have arrived with this, and moreover, that this is the President’s limo, the red one... He stops moving and his bodyguards finger their weapons, but Mc Kinsey opens one door and then turns to invite them in. “Whatever is the matter, Martin?” he says, his face open. Martin reflects for a moment, but does not move.
“Come, Martin, I am sure you recognize the limo, but the President is dead! STATE herself was driven in this car, don’t you know? If you want to walk in their footsteps, you cannot be afraid to sit in their car! Hahahah,” and he keeps the door open. Inside, two unknown men look at him impatiently. His guards whisper, “Sir, please, no,” but Martin cannot seem a coward in front of Mc Kinsey, not again. He gets into the limo, followed by his men and Mc Kinsey. “Good, good, Martin, it’s only a short drive,” he says.
As the huge limo winds up narrow mountain roads, Martin sits wondering if this was wise, then reminding himself that Mc Kinsey has a lot to lose, then worrying again, over and over. His men do not look relaxed either, but there is nothing any of them can do.
The top of the mountain is covered with a thick tangle of trees and shrubs and in the middle of what will be a true forest in summertime they reach a sanatorium. ‘The mental hospital? What does Mc Kinsey have in mind!?’ Martin thinks, breathing away his fear of this place, the place he had fought to leave. ‘Luckily they’ve erased my files...’ But to his surprise they do not enter the main entrance; the limo drives around the building, past a heavily protected gate and then up until the very top of the mountain, where the trees refuse to grow and the mountain rock lays bare. There, a small house of yellow rock and stone red tiles is built, a house both stern and simple.
Alistair Mc Kinsey observes Martin carefully, to make sure he does not do anything rash. ‘If he ruins it now, we are stuck forever,’ he thinks, but then reminds himself to stop thinking. Jason sometimes can’ “Well, Martin, the rest of the way you will have to come alone with me. You have good guards who will surely want to follow us, but what you are about the see and say are things they cannot partake of. In the core, there is always the secret, you know,” and he smiles.
The bodyguards see the glint of a visor from one of the windows and they get his message: “Eh, would we be allowed to stay in the car, then, Sir?” one of them asks. Mc Kinsey nods and they both sit back in the leather, taking out their mobiPhone but finding that they have no signal here. ‘Boring... Hope he won’t take long...’
Martin just walks with Mc Kinsey, wondering what is next. The house turns out to be bigger than he had guessed, and he is taken through a large hall, where he is frisked thoroughly, then brought to what can only be described as a waiting room, which is not empty to his surprise and irritation: a woman sits there demurely. He sits down and glances at his wrist watch. ‘9:12 already! How long is all this going to take?’ The door opens and a servant comes in with a tray with coffee. As Martin takes his, he cannot but see the woman’s face. ‘What a beauty!’ he thinks, ‘large hazel eyes, the long lashes, the curve of two perfect breasts... “Uhm, would you like some sugar?” he asks, and she looks at him. Her eyes widen: “But... Sir, you... Forgive me but, eh, you must be Mr. Rislers..?”
It is good to be recognized so instantly, but he is not sure who she is so he says carefully: “Yes,” and when she blushes and looks away he adds: “is something the matter?”
“Uh, no, Sir, Mr. Rislers, Sir, it’s just... Well, to be frank, I am just such a big fan of yours!”
‘Ah are you?’ Martin sits a bit straighter and sips of his coffee a bit too quick. “Well, well, that is something a politician always likes to hear,” he says.
“P... Please allow me to introduce myself,” she says, “my name is Raquel Belmonte,” and she holds out a perfectly manicured hand to shake. He cannot help but glance beyond her hand to her breasts moving ever so slightly behind the realSilk of her blouse.
Later, he can but vaguely remember what had happened: called in before the woman, he had seen The One, as everyone called him there; Jason, that former freedom fighter, who had clearly amassed quite a large and well-armed following. They had all behaved as if he were the Bearer, with a lot of fussing and bowing, but they had treated Martin well enough. After a tedious stretch in which Jason had uttered all kinds of nonsense Martin had consented to Mc Kinsey’s proposal of collaboration. With his current popularity rate and Blake’s aloofness, Martin had little choice. Still, he has doubts whether joining forces with Jason was wise, Jason clearly had been infected with that STATE thing because he had been talking in tongues. ‘Some things he said were true though, too true... and he did describe an experience of white only too similar to the one I had when STATE punished me in front of the Minsters... Maybe he did imbibe knowledge from STATE, and anyway, he does have a awesome press machine for reaching many, many people... Though I will not avow our collaboration, Mc Kinsey’s plan is sound - uh, no thinking’
He fondly turns over the card he had received from that gorgeous Raquel and almost reaches for his crotch when he realizes he need not spoil his pleasure. It was clear he could just call her over. ‘If I’ve read her right, I can do with her as I like,” he smiles and without further ado he takes his mobiPhone and calls her. Sure enough, she is available; and he reserves a nice secluded restaurant table for them both.