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Office of Imperial Legislative Oversight

Star made her way to the Bucket of Blood with an odd sort of smile on her face, her ornate leather case held tightly in her hand.

Just as she hoped, Mr. Underby was in.

“Good morning Mr. Underby!” She said brightly, perching on a stool and setting the case next to her feet.

“Ahh, Macbain, Good morning. What can I get for you?” He seemed, to her, a little distracted, all the better.

“A whiskey please. I’m afraid I’m still a little fatigued after all that travel, I’ve only just gotten in.” She watched him pour a generous measure in a glass.

“Oh? Did you have a good trip?” He asked, picking up a towel and starting to polish one of the dingy glasses.

“Indeed,” She tossed her whiskey back and set the glass upside-down on the bar, “This is strange, but the clock tower at the ‘Plank seems to have run-down, so does the one on Wexhome Emporium. Is the Clockwinder ill?”

“Oh yes, very. Have you not heard?” Mr. Underby replied readily.

“No, I’ve just returned and only saw Mr. Cleanslate briefly yesterday evening. He’s not terribly chatty.” She said.

Mr. Underby frowned, “No, no he is not. He makes my job decidedly difficult.”

Star suddenly looked concerned, “Does it? You must be wishing you had a few extra hands, eh?”

He nodded gravely, “Indeed I do, Macbain, Government work is tedious.”

Star smiled a slow smile, the sort of smile a cat makes just before it pounces on a mouse, “I am so glad to hear you say that,” she replied, earning herself a confused frown as she reached into her leather satchel and pulled out a sheet of paper.

Mr. Underby regarded her dubiously, “What is that?”

Star held it up and read aloud, “Hereby Ms. Stargirl Macbain Nee’ Alan is appointed to the Office of Imperial Legislative Oversight to the Mayor’s Office of New Babbage, you’ll find it’s signed by all the correct people.” She held it out to him for inspection.

He stared at her, uncomprehendingly, then took it, and stared at it equally confused, “It…what?”

Star smiled brightly, ‘oh! Isn’t it curious? I was just glancing over some old family papers and discovered that I was entitled to an office, strange how that happens, isn’t it?”

Mr. Underby narrowed his eyes at it then looked up at her, “A title in a city you or your family do not hail from?” Mr. Underby pulled a magnifying glass from his pocket and began to inspect the document even more closely, “How convenient, Macbain.”

“Oh yes, it turns out my great-great-great-great-great-great-great Grandfather held the office. A very stern fellow, according to the accounts.” Star smiled a dazzling smile, “Won’t it be nice to work together? I do believe it makes me a sort of undersecretary to you and Mr. Cleanslate. I’ll have to look-over all the city business, of course. That is a copy you’re holding, by the by, the originals are safely tucked away. I have the full genealogical and, well, all the other papers which verify its authenticity and some notes of authenticity from various head archivists, including form the Head Archivist of the Church of the Builder.”

“Good,” He said, assuming his more business-like manner again, “I shall need to see them, we must be thorough, of course.”

“Oh! Of course! I would expect nothing less from someone as careful as yourself, Mr. Underby.” She pulled a weighty sheaf of papers from her case and handed them over, “These are all onion-skin copies, of course, the formal ones have already been filed. I assure you you’ll find everything in order.”

Mr. Underby regarded the pile with a faint look of horror in his eyes.

“We shall be working together, won’t that be exciting?” She said with a grin.

Mr Underby stretched a smile back onto his face, “Oh, yes.”

“Of course it is,” Star said, standing and taking her now empty case in hand, “Well, I should return to the ‘Plank, the books are a mess! Shall I meet you this evening so we can get started on that work in city hall? You’ll have to let me up to the Mayor’s office, I understand the elevator is broken.”

“Ah, that area is out of bounds, it is a hazard. Anything you could possibly need has been moved to a different office.” He said quickly.

“Is it? I’ll order a work-crew to fix it immediately.” She said with an overly-helpful smile.

“The work-crew has been ordered already but they are very backed-up.”

“I’ll speak with Henry, he’ll get it fixed faster. I’m surprised they haven’t done it already. City Hall repairs usually take precedence.” She said, sounding a little dubious.

“Are you suggesting that I’m delaying it for some reason, Macbain?” Mr. Underby asked with an edge of anger to his voice.

“Oh no, Mr. Underby! Not at all!” Star said earnestly, leaning across the bar, her face wrought with sincerity, “I just think that, given your reputation, the crews are probably giving you a run-around to make you look incompetent or like you are hiding something. You are not well loved, of course, and with you so close to the mayor they are probably looking for any way possible to discredit you. I’m merely planning on putting them back on track, they won’t try such things with me.”

Mr. Underby was taken aback, “Oh, I…yes, I suppose…”

“I do think we shall become the best of friends, Mr. Underby! You shall find that I’m very thorough in my work!” She grinned again, her eyes bright, “Well, I shall see you this evening, Good day Mr. Underby!”

“G-gooday Macbain.” He called after her as she all-but flounced out of the pub, he regarded the stack of papers on the bar the way some regard particularly deadly snakes. 

Star didn’t worry about what he would find. She knew her appointment was iron-tight. In fact, getting out of the damn job was going to be harder than getting into it had been, but that wouldn’t be so bad.

All in service to the Clockwinder, afterall. 

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19 Comments

  1. Bookworm Hienrichs Bookworm Hienrichs July 31, 2011

    Good show, Miss Macbain!

  2. Edward Pearse Edward Pearse August 1, 2011

    That’s one of those smiles you get while there’s a person behind you ready with a club.

  3. Leia Rossini Leia Rossini August 1, 2011

    Those great-great-great-great-great-great-great Grandfathers sure come in handy.

  4. Breezy Carver Breezy Carver August 1, 2011

    Seconds Dear Ms Leia (( she really does know best :) )) ..

    covers mouth to whipser .. oh do watch your back there Miss Star dear !

    • Stargirl Macbain Stargirl Macbain August 1, 2011

      Don’t worry Miss Breezy, I wear a triple steel-boned corset. :D

  5. Mr Underby Mr Underby August 1, 2011

    The coach sat waiting in the alley behind City Hall.  The man driving at the front stared straight ahead, even when the door opened and Underby emerged with the small figure, wrapped in swaddling.  He stepped up into the coach and said “Alright, move it.” shortly.  The man snapped the reigns and the coach rolled out.

    Underby grimly stared from his window while the small figure lay slumped beside him.  He knew a few hiding places.

  6. Victor1st Mornington Victor1st Mornington August 1, 2011

    …and Underby’s plan starts to collapse around him… XD

  7. Giles Berithos Giles Berithos August 1, 2011

    You really should have let me shoot her, Underby.

    • Stargirl Macbain Stargirl Macbain August 1, 2011

      You’d have to be a better shot, Berithos. 

      • Jedburgh30 Dagger Jedburgh30 Dagger August 1, 2011

        …a better shot, a faster shot, and a luckier shot.

  8. Odnar Halberstadt Odnar Halberstadt August 2, 2011

    Speaks to the Train Conductor and gets the latest news from New Babbage. Laughs all the way back to the mine.

    • Stargirl Macbain Stargirl Macbain August 2, 2011

      ((Odnar, I forget, do you live in Falun?))

      • Odnar Halberstadt Odnar Halberstadt August 2, 2011

        ((Yes, My kin and I live in, under, and around Falun))

  9. Odnar Halberstadt Odnar Halberstadt August 2, 2011

    ((Yes, My kin and I live in, under, and around Falun))

    • Stargirl Macbain Stargirl Macbain August 2, 2011

      ((*grin* Oh good, I’ll be sending you a letter….mwahahahaha))

      • Odnar Halberstadt Odnar Halberstadt August 2, 2011

        A group of children run down the street. Odnar stops his nephew.
        “Tell your father and uncles to meet me in staft #382. We need to have a meeting.”

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