Marshall doesn’t know much else, appears Shadows do a lot of speculating but not much energy goes into finding us. There was one effort in San Francisco to trap us, it didn’t go well for the Shadows, and we wound up with Britt. Grace B burned the B&B down when we were done, fire department mystified as to how it got so hot it made ash of bones.
Janah nods at Ellen, since he cooperated it’s quick, he doesn’t feel a thing when the laser cuts through the back of his neck, severing his spinal cord.
We leave a vial with a trace amount of hypnotic that closely resembles a compound of Ketamine and Scopolamine. It makes subjects compliant without dopey side effects. It doesn’t need to be injected, it’s a liquid that can be added to any drink. Minutes later you’re doing whatever you’re told to do. It’s also impossible to detect with drug screening, there’s no reagent to test for it. 
We exit through the woods, Amaya and Eloise are waiting, drive to the hotel. Time to sleep, it’s almost midnight and we have injuries to treat. I earned a grapefruit sized bruise on my chest, Zi has a nasty knot on her forehead. While Janah works my bruise, Daria chills Zi’s forehead to near frozen, the knot already shows signs of subsiding.
It’s only nine in California, I call Lauren.
“Hey mom, Grace B has been sending video bits. She didn’t even need to intervene when you fronted the Shadows. I saw you get blasted, that was scary, you had on your vest though, right?”
“Yep, got a nice bruise, which Janah is working on. The only other injury of note is Zi who got clonked in the head with a chair. I thought we’d have more to deal with, but two of their associates are in New York.”
“You going there next?”
“Yes. Tomorrow.”
“How are you going to find them?”
“Amaya came up with a plan, two plans actually. They’re supposed to call when they’ve targeted their next victims. We have the Shadows’ phones.”
Lauren, “And Amaya is going to impersonate whichever Shadows’ phone dings.”
“Good catch smarty. She arranges a meeting place, Chloe will pick out the Shadows, we do our thing. Amaya’s already completed the first part of the plan. She made a recording in the Shadows’ voices that talks about how great the drug worked, the hypnotic we left at the scene. I’ll mix her recording with some of the sex talk we got earlier today, then we send it off anonymously to the DA. It offers an explanation and should get the parents off the hook. How they deal with the fact of what happened is up to them. There are things they can give the kids that will blunt the memories, even remove them entirely.”
“Is everyone going to New York?”
“I think Dasha and Daria will go home tomorrow, they want to see the children. Eloise, Nikko and Zi will go with them. It still leaves us with nine plus Grace B.”
“The children ask me about the Mamas and Tetya Dafna a hundred times a day. Morshchiny looks around the kitchen, then huffs when there’s no Daphne. I snuck her a couple of bites of burger, got a mild reprimand from Kota B.”
“Like mother like daughter.”
Lauren giggles, “That’s what she said.”
We ring off, time for rest.
Nine in the morning, we’re on I-81 driving to Manhattan, under two hundred miles. Five fly to California. Today’s jets fly just under the speed of sound, between seven hundred and seven hundred fifty miles an hour. Engineers still haven’t figured out a solution to sonic boom, still, it’s under four hours now instead of the almost six it would have taken in the old days.
Amaya, “I am not sure how I feel, being back in Manhattan, so much has changed.”
There’s dissonance in the city. Global warming has raised the water levels, storms are worse, the city floods almost every year. Particularly lower Manhattan, Long Island, Staten Island, parts of Brooklyn. Brighton Beach, home to a substantial Russian community is no longer habitable. The white enclave of the Hamptons is no more.
“People have a massive amount of money invested in Manhattan, but prices stalled ten years ago. Nikko, Daria and Zi sold everything between 2020 and 2025, just as the real estate market began to fidget. Where are we staying Grace B?”
“The Pierre.”
The ancient landmark remains a luxury wonder of grand world class hotels. Renovated several times over the years, it’s all the modern conveniences and muted sophistication. Muted sophistication these days runs five to seven grand a night for a city view suite. We have three.
Chloe, “Hope it doesn’t take too long for them to find victims, twenty thousand a night for hotel rooms could start to run into money.”
Ellen, “At least it isn’t cramped, these places must be eight or nine hundred square feet.”
“I’m not too interested in slogging around town, some of you who didn’t grow up here might want to sightsee.”
Katya, “City is still over capacity, so many residents, workers and tourists crammed onto one island. Sister and I will stay parked until time to deal with Shadows.”
Amaya, “The dinner menu looks acceptable, limited at the Rotunda, more extensive at Perrine.”
Janah’s looking over her shoulder, “Daphne will want sea bass, I think a few of the others will go for filet mignon.”
“What is Dorade?”
“Bream, a whitefish with a texture similar to red snapper or pompano.”
“That sounds tasty, they have halibut and lobster as well. Shall we reserve?”
Grace B, “I reserved for seven when I made the room reservation.”
Ellen, “Perfect, we have a slow afternoon, cocktails in the rotunda at six, then dinner and don’t have to go anyplace. Unless Amaya gets a call.”
She doesn’t. Janah marinates in the tub, while I shower, Ellen is staying with us, yummy. We canoodle on the big bed, not full bore sex, kind of foreplay and snooze. Then we go for afternoon tea, British in style, finger sandwiches, pastries, scones and clotted cream.
It’s Manhattan and The Pierre, two tables of hot girls don’t exactly garner the interest it might if we were in, say, Omaha. It does do wonders to attract the wait staff’s attention. 
Just as we wrap, one of the three phones dings, Amaya stands and makes her way to privacy with me in tow. I hear her talking in Marshall’s voice, she sounds exactly like him.
“Yeah, okay, we gotta get to the city, it’s a couple hundred miles, and we need rooms…oh…good, then we’ll see ya there tomorrow, like, what, noon?”
He (Amaya) listens, then, ‘No fucking way I’m leaving at five in the fucking morning. We’ll see you at noon,” she clicks off.
“It was Ariel, she wanted to meet for nine, dead Marshall was not up for nine.”
“Small cheapo in Queens, which is good. Taking them on in downtown Manhattan would be troublesome.”
“Now all I have to do is formulate a plan.”
Amaya grins, “You’re bunking with Ellen, how much more inspiration do you need?”
“There’s you, but if I got Ellen and you, I’d be up for a MacArthur Genius Grant.”
“You hardly need money. You and Janah enjoy Ellen, Chloe and I have an appointment with the twins. It is a New York thing, Chloe being a film star and all.”
The others pass us headed to the rooms, we follow them to the elevators. They meet in my suite long enough for an update, tomorrow we delete two more Shadows and, hopefully, fly back to Malibu in the afternoon.
“Grace B, please book a flight from Teterboro around four or five.”


Splendid dinner, then a more splendid evening with Janah and I double teaming Ellen. While Ellen mumbled incoherently, I did Janah with a strap on. While I worked, the toy vibed me through a couple of additional orgasms. All in all, a lovely prelude to sound sleep. 
I wake at seven, arrange for coffee and tea and surf online news until the waiter arrives. I added yogurt and scones to the order, enough since we went through dinner like a team of linebackers.
Peek in Janah’s head, she’s up and in the shower, with Ellen. I can see Ellen’s tight abs and hear her groan. Janah’s having a snack with her shower. Janah’s eyes move up the torso, now I see Ellen’s face, teeth biting lower lip, eyes half closed, then her eyes to the ceiling while she shudders her way through a lovely climax.
Janah, “Sheesh, she’s scrumptious, I could play here all day.”
“Come have tea before Ellen loses her mind.”

I recall Katya telling me about Ellen’s effect on the twins’ libidos when she worked in the doughnut shop in her sung little cotton shorts and tight Katya Donut t-shirt. After all these years, Ellen is only a couple of years older than she was then and has lost zip in the hotness department. Not aging is the definitely only way to age.
Mani and Sarah appear, pour coffee and snag a scone.
Sarah, “Sloaney may need an extra hour or so of sleep, wolf girl had a busy evening.”
“Howling at the moon?”
Mani grins, “Howling anyway, she drilled us both, then we licked her boy part and shared the creamy surprise.”
“Such nasty girls, shocking.”
Sarah, “I suppose you and Janah spent the time before bed studying Shaolin texts with Ellen.”
“We studied Ellen, she gave us an A+. Janah did remedial work in the shower this morning, just to make sure she had everything down.”
Sarah, “Janah is the horniest girl on the planet.”
Mani and I laugh, Sarah has been known to down three or four girls, then roam the house nude looking for more conquests, which she inevitably finds.
Sarah, “Okay, horniest except for…”
“Janah admits to appetites.”
She comes in just then, “Daphne turned me into a girl gourmet when we were fifteen. I’ve eaten her and her food thousands of times.”
Ellen appears, “This is a spicy group.”
Sarah, “I got to kill yesterday, you know how it…excites me.”
Ellen, “Yeah, you usually have an O when you pull the trigger.”
“And I did yesterday, but everyone was too busy to notice.”
“Each kill is different, a different person, it’s like a virgin kill, they haven’t ever been killed before. I’m collecting my seventy two virgins before I go to Paradise. I have to, we don’t age, there’s no other Paradise in my future other than the one I live in now.”
Ellen, “You are bizarre.”
“Yes, but Mani doesn’t beat me up much anymore, we kind of settled into an occasional session now and again.”
Sarah has a thing for the M side of S&M, and Mani can be quite the little S. She’s small, but makes up for it with a whip and a few strategic open hand slaps and closed fist punches. For a while, Sarah was into golden showers, which Mani was happy to provide. For all I know, they still play pee pee, Sarah likes powerlessness and humiliation, perhaps a counter to her obsession with murdering people. To each her own. One would think that sort of thing arises from some childhood issue, overbearing mommy, distant dad, craving attention, anxious to please. Sarah was raised in relative wealth, her dad was a surgeon, mom owned a boutique in the New Orleans French Quarter. Sarah went to a lux private girls’ school in the Garden District and was a state champion middle distance runner. Her parents maybe didn’t dote on her, but her childhood was easy and happy. She got along well with mom, even worked weekends in the boutique, which was where she met Mani and Ellen.
Who knows where these things arise? I kind of like it when Nikko wails on me, and my childhood was idyllic.
Katya, “What’s the plan?”
“Grace B sent our concocted Shadow conversation to the Binghamton DA along with the address where he could find the bodies. It’s from an anonymous vigilante, who admits to killing them after he got clued into their predatory activities. He doesn’t explain how, just that he found out and recorded the conversation.
I don’t know what else he’d need, particularly with a vial of the hypnotic right on the table.”
Katja, “So do we kill these two outright?”
Janah, “Depends on the situation. If we can face them down without creating a noisy scene, we do it that way. The hotel in Queens isn’t going to allow for a battle, fighting Shadows is always noisy.”
“We also don’t need anything from these two, we already know Shadows hate us, and we already know they occasionally gang up and try to find out who we are. The hotel room bothers me, if you go in, I have to keep my distance until you get them under control or dead . Once they sense me, they won’t care about how noisy it gets.”
Katya, “Just laser them.”
Mani, “Suppose they are in separate rooms, we go to one, the other shows up later. Or, conversely, they want to meet elsewhere?”
“Both good questions. Maybe we let Marshall dictate where…I don’t know, he’s got a car, they would want to be picked up and we don’t have a Marshall doll to stick in the driver’s seat. I think we go to the hotel early, even call and tell them it will be later.”
Katya, “I like the delay idea. Chloe can roam the hotel and see if she can sense what room the Shadows are in. Chloe isn’t Shaolin, they would see her a just another hotel guest.”
“Okay, that has merit, what does everyone think?”
Amaya, “Like Janah says, a lot of our stuff is improv, the situation dictates how we handle things.”
“And we can’t know the situation until we’re in it. I’m for going with our assassins, I don’t see how we deal with Shadows in busy New York in a head to head fight.”
Janah, “Neither do I.”
Sarah, “Great!”
Ellen, “Great what? You and I got kills yesterday, Mani gets her shot, one of the twins.”
Sarah fakes a pout, “I was hoping you’d forgotten that.”
“Don’t be greedy.”
Katya, “We all go armed, whoever gets a shot takes it. This is not about fair or equal.”
That settled, all we need to do is get to Queens, time to go. We check out of The Pierre. There are still ten of us with Grace B, too many for a single car. We have one SUV and a sedan. The girls who flew home took most of the luggage, we kept only essentials. On the drive we apply enough disguise to be not us. Chloe takes extra precaution, she’s famous and we don’t need her famous today. She goes with what is essentially a hijab and sunglasses that cover half her face.
The trip is simple, 59th Street to the Queensboro Bridge, left on Northern Boulevard to the hotel in Astoria. The place used to be a factory of some sort, then converted a few years ago to a hotel. It looks more than acceptable, and prices in the boroughs are far more reasonable than Manhattan.
“Two fifty a night, not bad.”
It’s 2035, not 2015 when a room in Astoria might be one twenty, money is never what it used to be.
Amaya, “I’m with the SUV, who’s taking the sedan?”
“It’s self driving, let it just roam around until we call for it, or let it park behind you if you find a spot. Don’t get involved with a parking lot, we may need to hustle.”
Janah, “You can’t go in anyway Daph, just stay with the car. In fact, Sloane and I should stay too. There’s no reason for ten of us to go traipsing around the hotel, too noticeable. Grace B goes with Chloe until she locates the targets, Katya will handle the rest. Amaya needs to call Ariel or Corsair.”
She does, “It’s Marshall, we got hung up, stop for gas, traffic is heavy. I think another fifteen..”
Ariel, “We’re here waiting, got a half dozen suckers, going to be good times.”
“Look forward to hearing about it, what’s your room number?”
“I’m in 425, Corsair’s in 427, next door. He’s a news junkie, I can’t listen to that shit all day.”
I get on the tablet to Grace B, “The woman is in 425, the man in 427. Pass by with Chloe and see if she can confirm.”
“Let you know.”
Ten minutes passes, then Grace B and Chloe show up, Chloe says, “It’s them.”
“Good enough. Katya, you’re up.”
Katya, “Ellen, Mani, take 425, Katja and Sarah 427, I’ll keep an eye on the hallway.”
“Hang on, you need Amaya, if they ask who it is, it has to sound like one of the Shadows. And stay clear of the peephole. You have the universal key card?”
Katya, “Yes, two in fact.”
Eloise came up with a universal key card. It will open any card entry lock in seconds. There are still, however, deadbolts and flip locks on hotel room doors. If those are also locked, we have to use good old elbow grease, a sharp kick to the door itself. Those alternatives are obviously noisy. Katya also has a laser, and if she amps it up to full power, it will cut right through the door around the bolt and voilà, the door is open. 


I follow in Amaya’s head, she looking at 425, I hear the knock, she sidesteps the question by announcing herself, “It’s Marshall.”
A few seconds, lock clicks, door opens, it’s Ariel. Out of the corner of Amaya’s eye, I see a laser barrel, then I see Ariel with a hole in her head. She falls backwards into the room. Katya goes inside and pulls the body away from the door.
As she’s standing to exit the room, I hear a door open, then a voice, “Who the fuck are..,” then a thump.
I see Mani holding a laser gun, I can’t see inside room 427, but it’s obvious Corsair heard Ariel’s door open and came out thinking the others had arrived. He was mistaken, but not for long, now he’s just dead, or maybe he’s now permanently mistaken.
They hang do not disturb tags on the door handles, the crew returns to the SUV parked around the corner from the hotel entrance. Katja and Ellen, then Sarah and Katya a few beats later. Janah and I are in the sedan across the street, Mani gets in the back seat, we take off.
Mani, “You watch?”
“Yes, worked out nicely. This time of day guests have checked out and it’s not check in time yet. One bit of luck, housekeeping wasn’t working the fourth floor. And Corsair opened his door expecting to see his cohorts.”
Mani, “I blasted his ass, well, his heart.”
“Was there much in the way of staff or guests wandering the lobby?”
“Check in desk was empty, some woman on a phone, occupied, she didn’t even look up at us. Two took one elevator, one went on another, two of us took the stairs. Coming down, we mixed it up again. A couple came in when I hit the lobby, but they were blabbering about dinner plans.”
We avoid cross town Manhattan traffic by taking the east side up 278 to 87 across the George Washington Bridge We’re going to Teterboro airport in New Jersey.
Grace B has our private plane waiting, the Society’s Transportation people will handle returning the cars.
Four hours later, we’re met at LAX by a self driving mini-bus and taken to our home in Malibu.
Morshchiny’s tail thumps the driveway, she stands, then to her hind legs and plops her giant paws on my shoulders. Her massive snout pokes me in the neck and she sniffs. I bury my hand in her furry face, then scratch behind her ears, she licks my chin and releases me. It’s good to be welcome.
Lauren, “Welcome home mommy, any luggage?”
“Easy stuff, they took the drones yesterday with most of our other stuff. There is the pharma case, drugs need to be refrigerated, then any used items replaced. Store it away in the regular place.”
The regular place is a walk-in safe in the wine cellar, where we also keep weapons. Fireproof, bomb proof, everything but the sun exploding proof. 
We’re not exactly exhausted, more like wind down. This project went decently well, but killing is killing, an adrenaline rush I could do without and I didn’t even kill anyone.
Daria, “Everyone back healthy, good.”
“Very good. Grace B contacted both the NYPD and the Binghamton PD. We wanted the cops to deal with the bodies at the hotel in Queens, not some poor housekeeper finding them. She tied them into the sex videos and claimed to be the same vigilante. It will be a lovely mess.”
“Think the parents will get a break?”
“Mrs. Pearson (Janah and my Society non de plume, they know both of us as Mrs. Pearson) called one of our FBI contacts. She brought them up to speed on the case and was hoping they could settle down the locals cops and DAs in Binghamton and Queens. They will verify the use of scopolamine, which is close enough to our hypnotic, and it will show the parents and the children had no control over their actions. That they were, in fact, completely under the control of the now dead perpetrators. It’s a messy conclusion, but we had to dispense with the Shadows. If they had been arrested, they could have mind controlled the cops and the DA, likely just walked away. Then the parents are still arrested and charged. Messy is better than that.”
Janah, “There is also video of all the victims participating, and shot from different angles, proving that some unknown person was in the room. If the DA can’t get her mind around the whole scene, we’ll make sure the FBI helps her get a grip.”
I’m airplane sticky, even private has recycled air. After a warm shower, hair wash and dry, I stretch out of the bed and go blank.
The door opens, it’s Lauren, she comes over to the bed, I’m in nothing, she strips off her t-shirt, now she’s in nothing. For a minute she just stands there, I do my part and admire the view, she grins and slips next to me.
“Mommy thinks I’m hot.”
“She does, you are hot, languid sylph.”
She scrunches up next to me, puts one leg over mine, kisses me on the cheek then licks my lips.
I feel her hand on my tummy, she rests her head on my shoulder. Her fingers slide down to the crevice and rest there, such a tease.
We zone out that way for forty five, nearer and hour. Then I feel her fingers between my parted legs, gently stroke, hits the right tempo. I suck in my breath, it feel luscious.
Her face is over mine, she kisses me, tongues taste, then she stares into my eyes while her fingers do their thing on my thing. Then I’m writhing, wet and wiggly, she takes me over the top as I shudder in completion.
I sigh, “I’m a perv mom.”
She laughs, “I’m adopted. But I like calling you mommy while I tease you. We have all kinds of what people call perv, twincest, S&M, a tranny, and lots of girls that haven’t aged past fourteen or fifteen, like me. Britt’s thirteen and she was doing Oceane and Cassie the other day.”
“I wondered, she hangs out with them a lot, and Oceane goes clothing free in her room. Oceane clothing free is hard to resist. In fact, I don’t think anyone has ever resisted her.”
Lauren rolls over and stands next to the bed, “Come here mommy.”
I sit in front of her hands on creamy tight thighs, she spreads her legs and pulls my head to her.
“Get me off….mom.”
I slide to my knees, I want to be able to look up at her angelic face, flawless.
Just as she ignites, the door slides open and Janah comes in.
She sits on the bed and enjoys Lauren’s orgasm.
“Geez, she even climaxes beautifully.”
Do tell.
Janah lays on the bed, feet over the sides, resting on her elbows, “I’m steamy, one of you needs to cool me down, after you heat me up.”
Lauren kneels, kisses me, “I’m on it, you can watch…mom.”
Yay, free live porn. I make out with Janah while Lauren makes out with Janah’s soft sensual. She’s intentionally stretching it out, Janah gets the most erotic expression when she’s being tended to, knowing how to receive is as important as knowing how to give. A healthy moaning orgasm is the giver’s reward.
Dasha pops in my head, “Enough of fucking Dahfoney, time for making dinner, you will come to kitchen now.”
“I’ve been summoned,” I head to the bathroom to refresh, then back to the bedroom to find my t-shirt, Lauren is one her knees in bed, Janah is tonguing her butt, guess the follies will have to continue without me.
In the kitchen, Valeria is chopping vegetables, Dasha is laying strips of lasagna noodles which Ellen covers in ground veal and a small layer of sauce she’s been simmering much of the day.
“What’s my bit?”
“Canapés for tea, or maybe just cookies and canapés for appetizer later.”
“What’s available Emma B?”
She runs off a list. Our bots are responsible for keeping the things we like on hand, with thirty girls, there’s a lot of stuff to track. Then again, they’re quantum computers. They can keep track of provisions, create complex algorithms and play chess at the same time. That might use up a tenth of their capacity, just a guess, I’ve never seen them close to overload.
“Tea will be cookies, put a variety on trays Emma B, I’ll get the tea steeped.”
After that’s done and girls file in for afternoon tea, make their selections and spread around the living area or pool, I return to the kitchen.
“Emma B, I’ll need eggs boiled, two dozen.”
“We have blue cheese and honey, how about bruschetta?”
Valeria, “Baguettes or sliced Ciabatta?”
“Baguettes cut crosswise, we’ll save the Ciabatta for dinner, mushroom caps?”
“Yes, we always keep fresh mushrooms, today crimini.”
“Perfect, and I’m certain we have cream cheese, I need paprika.”
Three appetizers will be enough, Grace B has the water boiling for eggs, I add two dozen, which will make four dozen halves. Maybe fifty bruschetta, baguette rounds are small, and three dozen mushroom caps.
Morshchiny bumps my leg, “Not yet, I’m making an extra egg for you but you have to wait.”
She shuffles over to her place by the children. I get busy, Valeria is done with vegetables, they go in a couple of baking dishes, topped with clarified butter and Tonkatsu sauce and will soak up rich flavors on a low heat for the next couple of hours. Then she joins me.
“What is next?”
“Cut the baguettes in rounds,  I’ll lay out each of the ingredients. After the rounds are toasty, put the mushrooms in the oven, just until they start to lose their water, we want the moist, not dry cooked. While they warm up, mix up cream cheese and paprika, that goes into the caps. Don’t worry about how much, if there’s extra Dasha will use it for scrambled eggs, smoked salmon or something.”


Britt, “Wow, what are all the canapés?”
Girls are having pre dinner cocktails and eyeballing the spread on the table.
“Blue cheese and honey bruschetta, crimini mushrooms with paprika cream cheese and deviled eggs with Sriracha and wasabi, they have a little kick. Kota B is serving the children a toned down version with paprika instead of the hot stuff.”
They take plates with their selections, some stay at table, others to tables by the pool. Dasha pulls out pans of lasagna, which need to rest and firm up.
“Valeria, grab the romano/asiago, put it in a few bowls with a demitasse spoon for sprinkling over the lasagna.”
“Da Mama.”
Ellen takes out mixed vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower and carrot slices, peels back the foil, sniffs, “Yum,” she spears one hunk of carrot, blows on it then tastes, “something so simple, clarified butter and Tonkatsu, turns vegetables into gourmet.”
“The children love it,” the kids are good about vegetables and wary of sugar, probably why they’re all rails. Kota B taught them nutrition in the course of her educational lectures.
Amaya, “I am announcing a new screenplay, a sequel to Zycyryn. This one will be dark, the children will have many dangerous adventures. Of course, in the end, they overcome.”
Lauren, “When will it be ready?”
“As soon as I think of what dark adventures they will have and write it.”
“You mean nothing is on the word processor?”
“Blank as Oceane’s brain. My purpose in bringing it up is to force commitment. Now that I have put myself on the line, I must deliver. Tomorrow I begin by reviewing their trips around the multiverse with them, some of the places they went must have been scary. On their trips with the Gids, they do not involve themselves in what they see, they simply observe. In my screenplay that will, of course, not be the case.”
Uma, “We have many stories Tetya Amaya. We tell them to Kota B, she has all of them stored.”
“Excellent, after I listen, I may need you to fill in details, whatever you can remember. Feel free to embellish, this is a science fiction movie, it does not have to be exact, it has to be thrilling and gorgeous, like me.”
Nikko, “Playing fast and loose with the truth?”
“Exactly, nobody but the children know just what they saw, and some of it may need, um, to be expanded, for artistic purposes.”
“Maybe that’s what politicians call their lies, embellishment for artistic purposes.”
Nikko, “Don’t give them ideas.”
Zi, “We have never been political anyway.”
“Back in the day, when it was Janah, Nikko and me, we had dealing with a couple of New York Mayors, but not in any political sense.”
Britt, “What dealings?”
Zi, “Daphne won’t say, but I know some of it from Nishiko. They saved a Mayor’s niece from a group of psychopaths, then they saved hundreds of people in Manhattan from being poisoned with mustard gas at a rooftop party for the opening of a new building. Naturally the Mayor then, different from the first, was to attend along with a few other top level politicos.”
Britt, “Wow, exciting.”
“More than I needed, but we caught a bit of luck, and had help from Black, Chan and Sensitives from the Shaolin Temple.”
We don’t much discuss our former encounters with bad guys, I opened the door with my political comment. We don’t mind them knowing exactly, it’s just that many of our exploits included killing a fair number of people. It isn’t anything we’re guilty about, it’s nothing to tell self-congratulatory stories about either.
“Moving on to other topics, we didn’t need to use Eloise’s master key card in New York, but it was reassuring to have them. What about the flip lock? Getting into a hotel room when the guest is gone is easy, it’s when we need in when the guest is there. I mean, the flip lock is easy to kick through, but it’s noisy, or we can cut through with the laser, that would work.”
Eloise, “Two things come to mind. One is a simple hook, with the flip lock, the door opens just a little. If you can get a hook over one of the bars, then close the door and yank it, the lock will flip open. There’s another bit that will work, a magnet on a shim, like for opening a car door. It would have to be a tiny magnet, but with decent power. Same drill, slide it in the opening, click the magnet on the arm, close the door and shove the shim. it will pull the bar off and you’re in. We’ll try both systems and see what's best.”
Lauren, “We’ll come up with something, then rent a couple of hotel rooms and try then out. How’s five seconds? Through the main lock and through the flip lock or chain?”
“Nobody in the room will get to the door in five seconds, it will take them that long to process somebody trying to get in. The people we deal with aren’t athletes with the reflexes of…well…me.”
Dinner wraps, girls go off to watch a movie or to their rooms to read, snuggle and chat or get up to intimacies.
The Mamas, Dasha and Daria, and the other mamas, Katja and Katya, go with the children to their dorm, they’ll listen to a recap of the girls’ day, in Russian. Family is important to Russians. It isn’t uncommon to have three generations in the same house, or next door. 
When the children came to us, Dasha and Daria became the Mamas. Katya and Katja are transplanted Ukrainians, held in Russia for a time before being sold and delivered to America. The children took to them as well, and while Katya is not sentimental, she has her soft spots. Eventually the two Mamas became four, which delights the children. Lots of bedtime kisses from their no nonsense moms.
It sounds like the old Brighton Beach in the dorm at night. Nine Slavic children including Valeria, and the four Mamas. Valeria is growing, thirteen now, it will be a few years before she chooses when to stop aging.
It can be confusing. The children haven’t aged a day since we rescued them, over a decade ago. That had nothing to do with our sirt genes or protein markers. They came to us from six to eleven or twelve, actual birthdays are foggy. They have mentally matured beyond their biological ages, but not ten years worth. You might call them sophisticated children. They retain childhood primarily, which leaves them open to the many things we lose as our brain matures along with our bodies. We don’t know why they don’t age, or why some got to twelve or ten or nine, but others only to six and seven.
We also passed on having any blood or hormone tests done. The children don’t care and we don’t need to know why, even if tests could tell us anything. They are our delight, happy, engaged, they run in a pack, you see one, you see them all. And their guardians always near, the bot Kota B, and the gigantic mastiff, Morshchiny.
Female mastiff are supposed to top out at around one thirty, Morshchiny is nearer one sixty. It isn’t fat, she has a lot of skin and thus the wrinkles, but Sloane takes her running every day, and she’ll swim around in the pool for a while afterwards. Kota B is strict about her diet, I’m her not so secret snack food dealer, but it’s always protein, steak slice, hamburger, boiled egg. Kota B gives me the evil eye but otherwise lets it slide.
A wonderfully quiet evening, some of us catch up on the most recent Netflix series. Netflix is still around in 2035, there are a dozen other streaming services, we subscribe to half of them. Most of the shows are marginal. Studios have been after Amaya to write a series, she won’t, doesn’t want to get into the weekly grind. She does, however, get richly compensated for rewrites. Producers send her the ‘final’ script, she edits, scrapes out the crap and adds her style of punchy dialogue. And she demands not to be mentioned in any credits. Of the dozen series she’s worked on, six won Emmys as outstanding drama and best writing for a dramatic series, the six others won best writing for a dramatic series. Her name never came up, that’s how she likes it. 
Currently, she’s working on a French mystery series, Amaya is fluent in French, she studied it at Chapmans School for Girls in Manhattan. The same Chapmans Janah and I were graduated from, the same Chapmans formerly owned by Lacy Chapman, who now lives with my mom and Taylor. Our former home in Manhattan was built on the top floor of Chapmans. When Lacy wanted to retire in her forties, we bought the building and the school. It is in operation today, although we no longer have any financial interest.
We sold all of our New York and San Francisco commercial properties. Not we, I don’t know from business, Nikko, Daria and Zi do that stuff. I cook.

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