Eclipse 30

Eclipse, the Girl Who Saved the World, is for sale on Smashwords, Third Millennium, and Amazon.

“What is going on?”  Janie’s mother asked fearfully.  Abigail Wells wished her children had been less involved in persona events, even if none of them had been their fault. “Have you been doing the persona thing again? Blowing up more robots? And not telling us?”

“No!” Janie realized that she was at the edge of getting into really deep trouble, for something that was not her fault. “No, Mommy.  And the robots last December were trying to kill Brian and me and our whole class.  I didn’t do anything.  Speaker Ming wants to ask me about City of Steel.  He needs your and Daddy’s permission to talk to me.”

“I suppose you should be honored,” Patrick Wells said. “I didn’t even know the Speaker plays City.”

“It’s one particular move,” Janie answered. “The one Eclipse used to beat the Maze.  It’s the move I pulled on Kurchatov, only hers was better.  I was saving that variant for the National, and… Now Eclipse used it first!” Janie pounded a delicate fist on the kitchen table.  It was unbelievably terrible.  Her move had been used, and not by her.  Now it would be the Eclipse Gambit, not Jane’s First Gambit! Nothing could be worse than that! “No one knew about that move.  No one.” She pounded her fist again, then looked momentarily thoughtful.  She hadn’t told anyone, had she?

“Dear, dinner or not, the Speaker is a very busy man,” Patrick said.  Hopefully, he thought, my daughter did not insult the First Citizen of the Republic too much. “You should forward what he has to say.  And you two bite your tongues.” Patrick glared at his other two children.  Brian nodded vigorously.  Trisha sagged back in her chair. 

“OK,” Janie said.  Suddenly the entire Wells family saw, standing directly in front of each of them, a short woman wearing a cream tunic and trousers.  Standing to her right was an elderly gentleman, balding, silver-haired, smiling, eyes sparkling, dressed in the scarlet robes, high-collared cape, and multipointed hat assigned by law to the Speaker of the House. 

“My apologies,” Speaker Ming said, “for having intruded, and I hope that young Janie here is not in any trouble as a result of my intrusion, but the hour seemed late enough to be after dinner, though I see I was mistaken, and the urgency of my interruption is indeed great.  In any event, the issue is that the Bearer of the Namestone played City of Steel against the Lesser Maze and used a novel move, rather a move that was novel until it was traced back to Miss Wells here.  I gather that the Bearer actually played a variation on Miss Wells’ original move.  There is great interest in what light Miss Wells can shed on this circumstance.  I would like to ask her about this.  My own position, which I have been heard to say repeatedly by the press, is that the Bearer–this Eclipse person–took the Namestone fair and square, so she now owns it.”

“Janie knows how to reach me once you decide on an answer,” Krystal North added, “but time is of the essence.  From the number of hits on the web pages of City of Steel Review, in particular the pages corresponding to Janie’s games, a large number of other people seem to have figured out the same thing we did.”

“I get a champion, don’t I?” Janie asked.  Sunssword had explained all about champions, something ‘you need to know’. “Someone who makes sure no one takes advantage of me?” Speaker Ming nodded in agreement. “OK, I know exactly who to ask.  Who’s questioning me?  If Dad and Mom agree?”

About George Phillies

science fiction author -- researcher in polymer dynamics -- collector of board wargames -- President, National Fantasy Fan Federation
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