OT: Pardon Me

on December 6, 2009 in Other Tales


The imperial agent stepped forward as Jillian Callahan approached.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” the agent said. “You can’t come in right now. The administration building is closed.”

“The a-mail I got said it was open to faculty if necessary,” she said.

“You’re faculty?” he asked, looking at her youthful-seeming face and build and her red mohawk.

“Sure am… Peaches,” she said, squinting at his ID that clearly read “Petersen”.

“What the hell do you teach?”

“Domestic Arts,” she said.

“You know, you look weirdly familiar,” he said.

“Well, I am absolutely world-fucking-famous for my pineapple upside-down cake, Peaches,” she said. “People have been known to shit their pants at the table to make room for more. Can I go inside now?”

“Hold on, I know I’ve seen your picture somewhere… textbook, or something?”

“Oh, I know what you’re thinking of,” she said, giving him a beauty pageant smile. “I was in the Bureau’s pin-up calendar four years running. In ’83, I even made Miss Galanthus… at least, after I bumped off the main competition.”

“The IBF doesn’t have a pin-up calendar,” the agent replied, as confused by her apparent youth as he was by anything else about the claim.

“The one with only ten months in it,” she said, brushing past him to push open the door and glide inside. He turned to stop her, then froze in place when he realized where he’d seen her and what she was talking about.

He put his hand to the metal stud in his ear.

“This is Agent Petersen out front,” he said. “I need someone to run a check on a name: Gillian Gottmörder.” He paused. “Yes, but make it fast,” he said, stepping away from the door, moving off to the side so he’d be out of sight to anyone inside but would have a clear view of them of as they came out. “What?” he said. “How the hell does someone get an imperial pardon for that?”

Calendula 11th, 191

They wheeled her into the small, dark room in adamantine chains, with a sack over her head. The two men who’d transported her stood behind her as they pulled the sack off. Beneath it was an iron mask with narrow grating over the mouth. There were bars between her and the man who stood in front of her. He nodded at the other two men, who backed away out of the room, locking the door behind them. Her eyes stared at him, unblinking. He waited for her to say something.

She didn’t.

“I suppose you were expecting a tribunal,” the man asked her finally.

“I was expecting an execution,” she said. “I thought the Imperium had wised up a little.”

“You think you’re in the Imperium?” he asked.

“You don’t sound Metric,” she said.

“There are more human powers in the world than the empires,” the man said. “And quite a few of them would love to try you for war crimes. The rest don’t know… or believe… that you exist.”

She laughed.

“War crimes… if someone gets tried for war crimes, that only means that someone else went further than they did to bring them down.”

“Is that what you believe?” the man asked. “That the side that wins in a war is the one that goes the furthest?”

“Well, you know… there’s manpower and equipment and training and so on,” she said. “But if two sides go to war, it means they each think they’ve got a chance to win it, and so they’re each going to have their advantages… which means that the winner is the one who wants it badly enough to do what it takes to win. In the rare cases where someone claims victory through some brilliant, insightful stroke of strategy that no one saw coming, it’s a historic occasion that gets written about and remembered forever. Most of the time, though, the winner is the one who kills everything in front of him and leaves nothing standing in his wake.”

“Or hers,” the man said. “It happens that we share a belief.”

“Is that a fact?”

“The Imperium is at war,” he said. “The whole world is, even if it hasn’t figured it out. There’s a sickness in the east, a wound in the world, and it’s bl…”

“…bleeding chaos that will drown us all,” she finished in a sing-song voice. “I’ve heard that one before. Do you even know what chaos is?”

“It’s the absence of order.”

“Wrong!” she said. “Order is the absence of chaos. Or do you think people build walls around their cities to keep the order from leaking out?”

“I’m not here to debate philosophy with you,” he said. “The charges against you include three counts of attempted deicide…”

“One of those succeeded,” she said.

“We don’t have a law that covers successful deicide,” he said. “You’re also charged with two counts of genocide and five counts of high treason against the Imperial Republic. Those last ones actually are enough to merit summary execution.”

“The Imperium wasn’t actually a thing yet when I committed most of those,” she said.

“Well, you’ll want to make sure you bring that up at your trial,” the man said.

“Point taken.”

“And that’s without getting into all the petty murders and destruction of property, and so on,” he said. “You’ve committed crimes that most people don’t even know are possible, Gillian.”

“I prefer to think of it as fighting wars that most people didn’t even know were happening,” she said. “Do you know how many times the giants have tried to retake the world in the past two hundred years?”

“I do, actually,” the man said. “Three times.”

“Five,” she said. “I stopped the other two before your people noticed. You’re from Law, aren’t you?”

“Gillian, for all intents and purposes, I am Law,” he said. “And right now, the war that I’m fighting is definitely not the same as the war that everyone knows about.”

“And you want me to fight it for you.”

“Not alone. I’m putting together a team,” he said. “Nine individuals. Some nearly as unique as you are.”

“That’s impossible,” she said.

“Not really,” he said. “The world is a big place. You’d be surprised at some of the things it produces.”

“No, I mean, it’s impossible for one thing to be ‘nearly as unique as’ another, or ‘more unique’. Uniqueness is an absolute quality, not a quantity.”

“Aren’t you the pedantic one?” he said. “Very well. I have lined up an elven stag knight, a winged gorgon, a notorious druid eco-terrorist, a sidhe-blooded human, a wild magician, and the most notorious assassin in the world.”

“There are at least two more elves in that group than I’m willing to work with,” she said. “And, just a tip: when it comes to assassins and terrorists, ‘notorious’ isn’t the same thing as ‘good’. In fact, they can be the opposite.”

“Let me worry about quality control,” he said. “If you fulfill a few tasks for me, I can guarantee you a complete pardon for all your past transgressions…”

She laughed.

“I can,” he said. “Of course, if you choose to immediately return to a life of crime by indulging in your natural impulses…”

“Translation: you’re counting on me killing Mur-Si when this is over.”

“Or vice-versa,” he said. “I’m not picky. That’s assuming you survive the mission, of course… though my projections indicate the two of you are among the most likely to.”

“What do your projections say about the likelihood of me joining?”

“There are big things stirring in the Shift, my dear Gillian,” he said. “Things that no one has seen in millennia. Things that no one has ever killed before.”

“You know the odds are that I’m going to commit a few ‘war crimes’ along the way here, don’t you?”

“That’s not my problem,” he said. “The war you’ll be fighting is different from the one that everyone is watching, anyway.”

“You know when this is all over I’m just as likely to find and kill you as I am to kill Mur-Si?”

“After this conversation is over, you’ll never see me again,” he said. “Do you accept the offer?”

“I accept the challenge,” she said.

“What challenge?”

“To find and kill you when this is all over,” she said.

“May I ask why?”

“I’ve spent seven years in that hole,” she said. “Someone has to pay for that.”

“I didn’t arrest you,” he said. “I had nothing to do with your arrest. I’m arranging your freedom.”

“You pet a lot of scorpions, Mr. Law?” she asked him. She laughed. “You were fine with the idea of releasing a genocidal godslayer on the world to advance your lofty goals, not knowing what I might do with my freedom. Are you going to back down now that I’ve told you?”

“You’ll never find me,” he said. “I’ve already made provisions for when this is over… you’re not even what I’m going to be hiding from, but you still won’t find me.”

“It’s a bet, then.”

Discuss this story on the Livejournal feed.

Reminder: The next incentive story will involve Dee coming face to face with some sort of ridiculous owl turtle thing. I don’t know if anybody is looking forward to reading that but I’ve been looking forward to writing it.

If I meet my goals for this upcoming week, then by next weekend this site will have been updated as many times as it was in the entire month of November. That doesn’t say much about November. Despite my efforts and some improvements in my life management, I still have the bad habit of saying I’m going to do things and then not. I have someone in my life now who’s helping me with my follow-through, and I think the results have been pretty good so far. In any event, as both a thank you and an apology to the readers, I’m going to be doing a special story next weekend, separate from the incentive ones. It should be fun.

It involves a little bit of audience interaction. I’ll be soliciting… something… from readers tomorrow.

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27 Responses to “OT: Pardon Me”

  1. Granite says:

    I’m catching up on chapters and after reading this I had to take a laughter break. “We don’t have a law that covers successful deicide,” Brilliant!

    Current score: 11
    • Mike says:

      But they have a law against attempted deicide? What a weird justice system.

      Current score: 1
      • Kalamorda says:

        Most governments have laws against the attempted overthrow of the government……but not a successful one.

        Current score: 7
  2. Rey d`Tutto says:

    I do so hope this adventure will be expanded upon.

    Callahan is my favorite Teacher.

    Current score: 1
  3. Christy says:

    Mur-Si wouldn’t happen to be Mercy, would she? If so, yeesh, since she is clearly very alive.

    And there seems to be a bit of a definition barrier of what a ‘god’ is. A true deity simple cannot die, so whichever one she supposedly killed cannot have been a real god, just a powerful being that called itself one. Sort of like The Man said.

    Current score: 1
    • sengachi says:

      There’s no reason to believe that any of the gods are truly unkillable.

      Current score: 6
    • Leishycat says:

      Just because something can’t die of old age doesn’t mean it can’t be obliterated. Gods can be destroyed, even if only by lack of belief.

      Current score: 1
  4. pedestrian says:

    the successful act of Deicide brings up the question of omnipotence and omniscience. If a manifested god is killable, logic would dictate that it lacked gnosis and eternum and is therefore deficient in godhood. And it is interesting that Callahan somehow survived divine retribution for the other deity’s she had failed to assassinate.

    Now this is an interesting look at Callahan. It will be amusing if a future story covers her keeping good on her promise.

    Current score: 0
    • Arakano says:

      Maybe she tried to kill the same god thrice and only succeeded the last time? 😉

      Current score: 5
    • zeel says:

      There is also the possability that some things won’t actually staydead. You may be able to kill a gods physical form without eliminating it from existance.

      Current score: 2
      • Kanta says:

        That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons, even death may die.

        Current score: 5
  5. Erm says:

    I wonder if she found him. Before starting at MU, I mean.

    Current score: 0
  6. Anonymoose says:

    Callahan may be a complete psycho, but she has a very impressive resume.

    Current score: 9
  7. Predator says:

    “You think you’re in the Imperium?” he asked.

    “You don’t sound Metric,” she said.

    I laughed for a good long while over this. Hilarity at its finest, AE. Thank you for the excellent pun.

    Current score: 7
    • Jechtael says:

      I noticed that. “Metric” as in “metros” as in “Mother Isles”? (A pun on Metric v. Imperial measurement.)

      Current score: 2
  8. Anthony says:

    Thaat name has me imagining Callahan in a commercial, posing, with a “blood moustache” on her upper lip.


    Current score: 5
  9. Grimm says:

    …’Jilly Bean’ is one of my favorite characters, even if she is a bitch. >.> Please tell me there’s more of this.

    Current score: 4
  10. MentalBlank says:

    Callahan is an awesome character. I hope Mack learns well from her. She may need to be able to take on a God at some point down the road.

    Current score: 6
  11. Cadnawes says:

    Looking at our world belief systems, gods don’t OFTEN die, but they can, either for a reason or becauuse there was a stronger god who was angry. The term “death” may be reelative, since it never seems to stick. They move onto another plane but still exist usually.

    Current score: 2
  12. Cadnawes says:

    Anybody arguing a god can’t die… think about how many gods of our world’s belief systems have. Then if you argue that those aren’t true gods, I dare you to do so in front of someone of that faith.

    Current score: 6
    • Kanta says:

      Just out of curiosity, do you know of anybody who still worships Osiris?

      Current score: 1
      • Len Koz says:

        No, but there are definitely still (or maybe again) worshippers of the Greek gods and the Norse gods (and I don’t just mean people who think Chris Hemsworth or Tom Hiddleston are dreamy).

        Current score: 6
  13. Tom says:

    Have to admit, it took me a minute to realize Callahan was talking about the top most wanted list. Is Galanthus is the first month? If so, wonder if that means she took out the other nine or if she had been at number two until then.

    Current score: 3
    • Jechtael says:

      Ah. I thought it was a reference to her age, and that the westerners of the MUniverse had switched to their twelve-month Gregorian equivalent. That “’83” was a reference to 183, or just plain 83.

      Current score: 1
  14. tijay says:

    The Sidhe blooded human?
    Somewhat related to the Ceriwyden’s(sp)/LaBelle’s?

    Current score: 3
  15. Lara says:

    I really love Callahan. As soon as I read the name “Gottmörder” I was practically vibrating in my seat, wondering what god she killed. I can’t wait to read more of her story. : D

    Current score: 0
  16. Arancaytar says:

    stag knight

    Six years later, I finally got the pun.

    Current score: 1