“Miss Griyashi!” Fane called to the prince’s amanuensis upon approaching her desk the next morning. A meeting with the other bodyguards was slotted on his personal calendar and he needed to coordinate Orlov’s schedule.
The woman, no more than a grass blade in a droughted desert, beamed a welcoming smile. “Mr Anson!”
“Hi. Um, Ajay, Zahar, and the rest of the bodyguards are needing to run through positioning and movement plans this morning. I needed to check in with the Prince to verify his locations for the morning before I left him to his own devices.” Fane had a general impression of what Orlov’s agenda was, but it was always better to double-check.
Griyashi pulled out her paper files and laid them out on the desk. “I wish we could have these on your watch, it would make things easier, wouldn’t it?”
Fane nodded. “It would in some ways, but it’s also a safety risk, having movements online. Easy to hack.” He looked over the agenda and frowned. “None of the primary house guards are going to be available for Mr. Orlov to be having a conference with the Baron and it looks like he’s already been cross arranged to have a meeting with his parents?”
The thin woman sighed, sharing a knowing smile. “I was about to call Anna and have her reschedule with the Baron. It’ll make the man angry, but if it’s internal structure, it can’t very well be helped. What are all the bodyguards doing?”
“Being circus monkeys,” Fane grumbled.
“Performance reviews on the soldiers?” Griyashi noted it over the last appointment.
“Pretty much. Zahar’s taken over a new wing after Birpal retired last week and he’s wanting to have Ajay and my thought on a couple new recruits in it; if we want to shift them into retainer service or keep them as walkers on the grounds. Didn’t want to single them out, though, so we’re getting everyone in on performance.” Fane checked his name off next to the agenda adjustment Griyashi handed him.
“I’ll make sure to let him know when he comes out.”
“Who’s in with him right now?”
“His Royal Highness and Chaitan.”
“He’s plenty safe then. Kinda panicked this morning showing up to escort him and he wasn’t available until Ajay said he’d already gotten down to his office. Right, well, if everyone seems safe enough, I’ll get going for the field.” Fane waved once over his shoulder and left.
The training field, to his chagrin, was chaos. As usual. “Ajay. Fix it.” Fane motioned to the disorganized column of men. “Where is Shelly?”
Ajay blew a whistle and directed the men into starched and pressed lines. “She said she was going to send one of her colleagues over today to translate. Said she was thinking the men out here weren’t listening to you because she was around.”
“That true?” Fane’s language skills were still minimal at best, but his listening was improving, to his relief.
The big man shrugged.
“True.” Fane stared at the columns of men and hissed out a frustrated breath. Resigning himself to the task, he took up the clipboard and motioned for Ajay to start the three-mile run.
A man in uniform broke away from the back of the lineup and approached Fane and Ajay. Saluting, he introduced himself. “My name is Lajpal Singh. Miss Shelly asked for me to translate today?”
“Took you long enough. Why were you at the back of the column?” Fane frowned at his sheet and marked the man’s name off.
“I wasn’t sure if I should stay in formation or not.” Lajpal put his hand down.
“Right. Well, let’s get to it.” Fane set his clipboard down and pressed for the hologram on his watch to pull up drone statistics of the men running. “Does no man any good to watch a leader who can’t do what they preach.”
“Sir?” Lajpal glanced between the clipboard and the men already making progress on their run around the compound.
“We’re doing what they’re doing. That way they know their documentation is fair. Also lets me observe form. Make sure PT is formatted properly.” Fane stretched out his legs.
Zahar approached now that the translator had shown up. “You insist on this form of education?”
“It’s how I was trained. Part of why Mr. Orlov brought me on was to reinvigorate the base by way of new methods. What of you, Zahar? Where were you trained? It wasn’t here.” Fane took off at a steady pace, the three men following him.
“No. I served in the Lazer Break war. Drafted to serve in Bangladesh before it fell. Was transferred out here near the end because my commanding officer refused to put himself in danger and I had to follow him because that was just how the units were shuffled around.” Zahar kept a rhythm with Fane while Lajpal struggled to catch his breath, translate, and run at the same time. Ajay’s stride was long enough to keep up, but he too was puffing.
“Enjoying being a bodyguard?” Fane tracked a runner leading the pack. One behind the man pushed too hard to keep up. Fane figured the man would soon fall behind and burn out before completing the three-miler.
“Wasn’t sure what to do with myself when I was let go at the end of Lazer Break. Got lucky running in Mr Abhi who took a fancy to my ‘no nonsense’ personality as he called it. I find it an acceptable career path. Pretty secure as long as I keep him secure.”
“Job security decent here?”
“Could be a little less secure.” The man frowned, watching soldiers dropping back and Fane and his little group joined the pack.
“Everyone seems to love the royal family, though?” Fane pressed forward, the pace slow for his regular stride.
“Not everyone. We’ve had oppositional forces before. But it’s been pretty calm for the last five years or so. Maybe a failed attempt every ten? Been a while. No, the soldiers are pretty loyal. They get paid well enough, medical, dental, have time off with their families appropriately. They’re loyal. I wouldn’t worry about them.” Zahar matched Fane’s lengthening stride as they warmed up to the run.
The run finished, and half an hour of physical tests brought out a pair of potential soldiers that were designated to be moved into the bodyguards’ section. Returning back to the palace, the bodyguards introduced the men to their new stations and split up to find their charges. Soon enough though, everyone circled back to the same meeting room. Zahar collected the group together in the hallway outside. “Chaitan is standing out from of the Queen’s Parlor. Said she had demanded all the kids show up. He’s waiting there. Might as well go wait to collect them.”
Chapel Orahamm (C) 2022-2023. All Rights Reserved.
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