Chapter 5: Alice and Finch; or Posters Part1
Why did I let her go?
Because I did not have an answer for her.
What do I do now?
Find a reason, and give it to her. Figure out what will entice her to join
Certainly she has not given the offer a fair chance.
When Chloe finally came back to reality, she was extremely disoriented. She opened her eyes and looked around, getting a feel for her situation. It was still afternoon. She was still in the market. The sounds returned to her, the bustle of trade. She had unconsciously moved to a bench. There was a child on the bench with her, and he was poking her face. She was so tall, however, that the child had to stand on the bench to reach.
Chloe didn’t like this, so she told him to stop. He sort of yelped and then ran away. As usual, she recounted that which was useful from her bout of deep thought.
Alexandre did not say “no!” she said, and rather arbitrarily, that she was not going to work for the castle. I said that it was an expedition, and all she had said was, “So?”
Chloe held onto the fragment of hope.
The sun was setting by the time she reached the western-central residential district. To her surprise, Chloe ran into Alice. Or, more appropriately, Alice almost ran into her, tripped in the act of avoidance, and gallantly turned to apologise.
“Sorry madam—oh hi!”
“Alice, what brings you here?”
“Going home, evening shift’s starting almost soon now.”
“Hmm, well, I am going to visit Finch again.”
“Alexandre Dirge was… difficult.”
“Oh, let’s go then!”
Then, unceremoniously, Alice grabbed Chloe by the hand, and she was forced into running. Chloe didn’t have much trouble up through, due to the difference in leg length. She is so much shorter than me, while Alexandre…
Very soon they did reach Alice and Finch’s home, and Chloe was able to have her discussion.
“She must have been in a bad mood”
“Is she always in a bad mood?” Chloe retorted.
“Ah, well, truly; she’s been conditioned to see the bad in the world. But do you think there was anything specific?”
“She was trying to buy a sword.”
Finch frowned. “I guess you interrupted the exchange with your offer.”
“Well, maybe she took it as a bribe? You, as the Fifth Prince, could easily get the sword for her.”
“What!” Chloe stood up. “Why would she take that as a bribe! I was not even going to do that, and even if I was it would be fair payment for a job! An…”
“An advance!” Alice finished.
Finch’s eyes tightened. “Didn’t I just tell you that she sees the world—”
“Hang on!” Chloe shut her eyes. She didn’t hear them anymore.
Alexandre “Jutt” Dirge. What has Finch told me about her?
I mean in the past.
She’s half Solune. Very tall. Taking a Masters in Kemia.
She was a gang member for a while, right?
She started the Murdock-Baracus gang wars.
“Why did she start the Murdock-Baracus gang war?”
Alice became starry-eyed. “To save her mother!”
Chloe frowned. “I would have her on my expedition.”
“Umm, okay…” Finch was lost, but this was not the fist time he’d missed a few steps in conversation with Chloe Rhye.
“Yes!” Alice jumped, shaking the house.
“But, if she is to be this volatile all the time, it will make problems with the rest of the team. Talent is nothing if one is anti-social and unable to apply it.”
“Well, she’s not anti-social, not technically.”
“Not technically? Is that a fact?” Chloe eyed him calmly.
“I mean, no but…” There was a minutes long silence, “maybe…”
“She’s just having problems with teacher!” Alice cut in.
“Professors,” corrected Finch.
“And writing her Masters final paper essay!”
“You just have to learn how she is and she’s fine.”
“What a strange family you have Finch,” Chloe said, “I do not know if I should take Alexandre after all though. Do you think there is, ah, that there’s something wrong with her?”
Alice kept a neutral expression, but Finch spoke, “I know there’s something wrong with her, but look at what she’s done anyway!”
Chloe sat back down. She closed her eyes to think, but nothing happened. She would have to move with intuition; Limbic Thinking.
“How do I get Alexandre on my expedition, and how do I control her once she is on it.”
“Get to know her!” Alice said.
Finch said, “Set it up as a challenge. Give her a threshold, something that could stop her from actually being able to go.”
Chloe took a breath. “I, ah, I really do no know…”
“Posters!” Alice shouted, excited.
“Yes!” Finch said, “Advertise, you’re so smart Alice! You need a whole expedition team! Send out a general advertisement—”
“One with high standards, something that might compel Alexandre,” Chloe finished.
“That’s actually a good idea,” said Finch, “put up some notices around the academy, namely the cafeteria and the Philosophy of Kemia building.”
“Although, probably you want everywhere,” Alice added, “so she doesn’t think it’s targeting her. Oh! She’ll think that since she said no, that you gave up on her and are doing this for that reason instead, wow!”
Chloe laughed, then said, “We will, ah, we’ll make her come to us instead of the other way around. Ah, now, how do we actually do all this?”
“Well, since we don’t have a printing press, so I would say by hand,” said Finch.
Alice jumped again, knocking over her chair and shaking the house. “Wonderful! I’ll help!” She bared her teeth, and they left the little house to get craft supplies.
The walk was fairly short, and over it they discussed what criteria they would list as requirements.
“So, Kemia, Anthropology, History, or Biology, right?” Finch asked.
“Maybe open it up to the Liberal Arts kids too,” said Chloe.
By the time they had returned, they had a good idea what they were looking for in an expedition member. When Finch brought up that the standards might be to broad, Chloe decided to add even more qualifications. At the end, they made about fifteen posters that each read:
Help Wanted – Work for the Castle
Summer position working for the Royal Family regarding international relations and cultural research.
Paid position. Travel required.
Academic Qualifications, One of: Biology, Kemia, Anthro, Solune History, Liberal Arts.
Other Qualifications Needed: Preferably a completed undergraduate.
Also Required: Some combat/self defense experience.
This is to be a dangerous exploratory excursion to the Lussa Kingdom. There is currently a political conflict, potential for a civil war. We would remain if any conflict breaks out, and potentially provide aid through knowledge or forces.
Finch asked, “Why does it say, ‘work for the castle’?”
“To see how Alexandre takes it.”
“And fighting experience, and all that about maybe a war? You won’t get a lot of people with that; not at a university!” Alice said.
“I know that, but you said that she was in conflicts before, so she must have something. Also, it’s better that they don’t make the expedition guards’ job harder. I’m sure we will find some people.”
Alice clapped with glee.