91: Rogan

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After another long silence, the guardsman asked him, “So do you and Nam always work together? You said you worked together on Earth.”

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“Aye. We’ve been a team for quite a long time now. What I was a navy man, she teamed up with me from time to time. I worked in Naval Intelligence and it was somewhit the same job as now. We turned partners full-time when I joined the Ministry.”

“But you said you were on Earth on a diplomatic mission?”

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“We were attached to such, aye. We were officially part of the security detail, but our real job was to work out ways to coordinate with the locals on interworld crime. We worked on that for almost ten years, up until about the time the public became fearful of ‘spook’ incursions and we had to pull out.”

“Why would you bother coordinating with us? You seem to be just fine running roughshod over us.”

So the guardsman had realized that many so-called ‘spook’ incidents had been hot pursuits? Well, it was a natural thing to realize.

“We would rather do things in a more civilized fashion, Jack. Earth is important to many Parhans, you see. You’re a huge part of our heritage. It’s not just the Kelsies and Anglics. The Coloniaise came from Iberia and France, the Ezoese from Japan, the Han from China, and we have many cultures from Africa and South Asia too. A great portion of Trin see Earthers as their cousins.”

Jack shook his head. “None of this makes any sense. How could such a large migration happen, all over the Earth, and it isn’t in our history books? People in Britain just picked up and headed off to a different world by the thousands? How would we miss that?”

“You also had migrations happening from one place to another on Earth at the same time. Folks moving from Europe to America, for example. And it wasn’t just happening in Britain, mind you.”

The Earther didn’t look convinced, and Rogan knew it was understandable. But it wasn’t the full story. He bit off a piece of rugit meat and contemplated the fire while wondering how much to explain.

“A whole host of things are missing from your history, Jack. Most Earthers imagine you have a perfect record going back thousands of years, but your own archaeologists can tell you that’s a load of rot. They put it down to lost records and such, but the fact of it is, until quite recently, people who didn’t want you to know anything were in a position to prevent you from knowing. Quite a bit of your history has been edited by them.”

Jack humphed. “So now it’s a global conspiracy?”

“You’ll have yourself ample circumstantial evidence for that conspiracy when you get to Parha and find yourself surrounded by English speakers.”

After Koursh organized the watches for the night, he and Fionna joined Rogan for afterdinner tea.

“We must discuss our plans,” the mercenary captain declared.

“Tomorrow it seems we’re stuck here, if we are not to kill our young soldier,” Rogan answered. “Friday morning, we head into Aum.”

“Let’s pray your friends back there don’t come hunting while we’re here,” Koursh muttered.

“Or the local warbeasts,” Rogan added with a nod. “Nam must stay close, to act as Meadhbh’s medic. But we should have scouting parties, to spread ourselves out. We don’t want the beasties getting the idea they can wipe us all out with one blow. Having scouting parties will keep any potential raiders guessing and delay their actions.”

Koursh nodded and looked to Fionna. “You and Lord Brath should stay here, My Lady. Lady Tatoan can sense, you can coordinate, and My Lord can defend.”

“I would rather head into the field,” Fionna began.

Rogan cut her off. “Koursh is right. Bush fighting is his people’s speciality, and it isn’t yours. I could help him in the bush, but if we are to keep some serious firepower close, Althem and I make two instead of one. Your flux-sense can be our lookout while Althem concentrates on fighting, and Nam handles scouting and looks after Meadhbh.”

Fionna looked a little disappointed, but she nodded. “So that leaves the Captain and his four, plus Simkit.”

“And Jack,” Rogan said. “His firepower is limited, but his sensing range paired with a solid fighter gives us a strong team.”

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