Master Mixer Sslasl #3

In the third installment, Sslasl is battling with the possibility that his illness either had been discovered or was making him believe things had happened which had not.
…”Sslasl, they called you down to the bosses office. You better move.”
Sslasl looked up to see one of the other master mixers pointing to the announcement board. Sure enough his name was there with an urgent notice to report to the boss’s office.
He nodded his thanks and moved to shut down his mixer. As soon as he had it shut down he hustled to the locker room to remove his chem suite. By the time he got to the boss’s office, he had been worrying for nearly half an hour. He had come up with all kinds of horrid scenarios, including that they had discovered he had the possession, even though he had been meticulous in controlling all the daydreams.
As he approached, the boss’s assistant waived him toward the office urgently. He hurried toward the small office and saw three others standing there with the boss. The boss looked scared. He was not scared of anyone. That had to be an illusion.
“Ah, here he is. Sir, Ma’am. Ma’am, this is the master mixer I told you about. His name is Sslasl.
Sslasl, these honorable people are from the corporate office. They wish to speak to you.”
“Sslasl, that’s an unusual name? Come on in, take a seat. Your boss will see that someone else covers your mixing duties while we talk.”
The young woman who spoke looked pointedly at the boss, who quickly nodded his head and nearly bowed as he rushed to leave his office and close the door.
As soon as the door was closed, the other woman spoke.
She was very tall, and extremely thin. A woman in her middle years, she wore her long red hair down below her waist framing her very pale skin. The light blue eyes she cast on him seemed to twinkle but there was no mistaking the serious nature of what she was about to say.
“Nev, make sure we are secure.”
The equally tall and slender man moved quickly and set out some devices which he somehow produced from his jacket. He turned them on and watched the indicators for a few seconds, then lost all focus for a few seconds longer.
“We are secure, ma’am.”
“Thank you Nev.
I am Master Masl. This is Nev, my apprentice and right hand. This other young lady represents the corporate sales office and deals only with the military contracts. You will forget you ever saw any of us after this conversation ends, is that clear?”
“Yes ma’am.”
Now Sslasl was really worried. What could he have done to involve one of the masters? And Masl, she was one of the top masters if memory served.
“The high councilor tasked me with finding solutions to our need to travel over very long distances of space without the need to refuel. If you are familiar with the mastery, you likely know that while we could transport one or two ships around with the power colors, we could not efficiently move fleets in that manner and the high councilor wants to move many fleets simultaneously.
So what does all this have to do with a mixer on a small rock called G’Ham?”
Sslasl was lost, did she want an answer? If so, what answer? She was waiting watching his eyes. Then he remembered the mix he had analyzed last year. The day when he learned he had the possession.
“The only thing I can think of is my analysis of a mixture that on the surface might have met your needs, except that it was extremely toxic.”
“You wrote that it might be possible to build a device to do the mixing as the fuel was needed, allowing the individual ingredients to remain inert, did you not?”
Sslasl, swallowed. She had read his analysis, and that was why they were here. They wanted to use that mixture.
“Yes, ma’am. But the mixer would likely take up the space we had hoped to gain on the freighters.”
“We are not talking about freighters; if the same mixer could be used continuously, would it be possible to attach large fuel cells to the outside of say a battle cruiser, then mix the fuel as needed?”
Sslasl’s eyes widened. A battle cruiser with external fuel cells. Where could they possibly be going? The witch hunters….
“Oh my god. You are planning to attack the witch hunters!”
“Ma’am, we cannot have a mixer in a backwater mixing plant…”
“Silence!
Yes, Sslasl. The high councilor has always planned to return and free the lost realms. Could it be done? More importantly how long would it take to do it?”
“Ma’am, I agree with her, we cannot leave this man here with such knowledge. We will need to do a memory block.”
Sslasl, exerted all his will and shut down the daydream.
Not now. Good god not now. A master would know.
What was her question again?
“Yes, ma’am. It is possible. I would have to pull the mix back up and see how much we could optimize it to determine how much we could gain with that mix, but it would be significant in the scenario you defined. As for the mixer, a large one would be fairly quick, possibly two months? But I’m betting you would want to make it as small and light as possible. For that I would need to work with an electro-mech tech and a miniaturizer. That could take as much as a year.”
“You are right, smaller is much more desirable, but we need some quickly and we can deal with large if that’s all we can get quickly. I will get you your team, but I need the small version in six standard months. Full production in seven. Can you do that?”
“I don’t know ma’am, it will depend on how quickly you can get the staff here and how good they are.”
“Here? No you mistake me. We will not be putting the plant here. In fact, no one here will know anything about it. I will be taking you to a secured military facility tomorrow. Can you be ready to move by then? I understand you are single, living with a foster mother right now. Is that correct?”
Sslasl’s head was spinning. They intended to whisk him away tomorrow, possibly never to return. What would G’Hass do? She needed his income to keep the children fed.
“Ma’am, the house needs me, I am sorry; I cannot leave with you, certainly not tomorrow.”
He could not believe he had the courage to speak those words, but he heard them tumbling out of his mouth.
“We will see to the house. It will be protected and funded by the high councilor while you are gone. Trust me, they will be okay. You have my word on it.”
He started to ask which high councilor, and then realized it did not matter, no one would mess with someone protected by either the Guul High Councilor or the G’Ham High Councilor.
He had no choice now. It was clear they were going to make him go whether he wanted to or not. And the idea of someone messing around in his mind as the young man had hinted was very scary. They would certainly notice that he had the possession if they did that.
“Yes, ma’am. If you will make that kind of guarantees, I can leave as soon as you want.”
Again, he could not believe he had uttered those words, but he heard them tumble out of his mouth.
“Very good. I think we will get along just fine Master Mixer Sslasl. Now, we must put a temporary block on your memories. We will remove it tomorrow when you are aboard the ship. You will believe you are being sent to another part of G’Ham for further training. Your pay will be deposited into your account as usual and G’Hass will be able to access it. While you are gone, you will receive a special duty stipend rate to allow her to hire some help since you will not be here to help with the children.
Okay?”
His heart sank. She was going to rustle around in his head anyway. Well it was over either way. He might as well cooperate and hopefully she would still take care of G’Hass as she had promised.
“Yes ma’am.”
“Okay, just relax, I am going to touch your temples and you will go to sleep for a bit.”
As she spoke she reached for Sslasl’s head and he felt the depths of despair descend on him. It would be the sanitarium for him now, and the house would be broken up.
…Sslasl could not believe his great fortune. When the boss called him down to his office, he was certain it would be something bad. Instead he was being sent to a special mixing school in the capital, what an honor.
What was it he had been so worried about? He could not remember. Oh well, it would all be good. He was even getting a special duty stipend to help G’Hass out while he was gone.
He walked into the house feeling better than he had in… well he could not remember when he had felt so good.
“G’Hass! Wait until you hear what happened at work today.”
G’Hass walked out of the kitchen with concern etched on her face.
“What’s gotten into you boy, yelling in the house at this time of the day. You know the little ones are down for a nap.”
She signaled urgently for him to use caution.
He absently responded with the appropriate signal.
“Oh, sorry. I’m just so excited. They sent me home early so I can pack. They are sending me to the capital for a couple months to attend an advanced mixing school. The company is paying for everything. And get this, they are even going to give me a special pay stipend so you can get some help while I’m gone.”
G’Hass stood still stunned, staring at him to see if he was kidding. Then her fingers flew as she asked him silently if he was okay. Clearly she did not believe the company would do such a thing and was worried he had finally succumbed to…. What was it he would succumb to? Oh well, it didn’t matter.
“Good grief boy. You are home early and talking about something that happened at work today. You about scared me out of my mind.”
“Sorry, ma’am. But it is good, I swear.”
He signaled his response, reassuring her that he was just fine and nothing had happened except that he had gotten a great opportunity.
“The man they had selected to attend left the company suddenly, and they chose me to replace him. Isn’t that wonderful?”
She signaled an urgent meeting at their place for privacy.
He responded and set the time.
“Yes, that is wonderful, but are you sure? I mean the capital is way on the other side of the continent. And it is a very large city. And tomorrow? Really, couldn’t you take a week or so to think about it?”
“No ma’am. I have to go now, or they will give the opportunity to someone else.”
“Okay, well if you are going tomorrow, I had better get your clothes cleaned. I need to take one of your shirts to the mender’s. Get the big kids in here so I can give them instructions on how to heat the dinner and when to serve the little ones.
Go, go. We have a lot to do.”
“Yes ma’am.”
Sslasl went out quickly to gather the two oldest children. They would be carrying his load he had no doubt. G’Hass would not spend good money on help when she could spend it on food and clothing instead.
An hour later, he made an excuse to go out for a walk. He wanted to set the area firmly in his mind before he left for months.
G’Hass had left earlier in the evening to get one of his shirts to the mender so it would be ready tomorrow for his trip.
Half an hour later, he saw G’Hass standing in the shadows at the designated spot, and moved over toward her silently slipping from one shadow to the next.


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