Two-plus generations after the end of the world. Probably Canon.
“Very good. Now, let’s find Leia, daughter of Pavarti.”
“You’re stunting his growth, you know.” Cya strode into the conference room as if she belonged there. The three people around the conference table looked up at her with variations on surprise and annoyance.
“How do you keep getting past the wards?” Regine fussed. The Director looked as if she was half-curious, half-irritated.
Cya didn’t blame her, but she wasn’t going to explain, either. Not that I Found a teleporter who can sneak past your wards without a whisper would have been that helpful an explanation, either, since Cya had not intent of letting Regine anywhere near her teleporter.
“I Found a way,” she said, instead. “Luke.” She nodded respectfully at the smirking-and-trying-not-to Mara. “And you must be their pet Finder.”
The boy — man, he had a beard and everything — shifted uncomfortably. “I’m not anyone’s pet. And what was that crack about my height?”
He actually was stunted, Cya noted, or, at least, he’d barely made it past five foot. He was handsome, too, in a sort Cya tended to prefer. “You must have kept him behind some pretty intense wards when I came to visit, his graduation year,” she commented to Regine.
“You were busy with John-Wayne that year.” Luke’s answer did nothing to cover the small but telling reaction Regine’d had. “That boy actually needed you.”
“I know he did. But I might have made an exception to several rules for that one, and I’m fairly certain she,” she nodded at Regine, “knew it.”
“Hello,” the Finder complained. “Right here. Who the hell are you, anyway?”
“Find my closest relative on that list, why don’t you?”
“How do you know there will be one?” Regine asked, too calmly. There was one, then.
“Because my father sent at least 2 other children to this school and my mother sent at least one other. THe odds say that even if I don’t have a grandchild coming next year –” she didn’t, unless one of her sons had lied to her, and she was fairly certain neither son would send any child to Addergoole that they didn’t have to “—I probably have a grand-niece or grand-nephew. Or, knowing both of my parents, maybe a brother or sister.”
The Finder had a pinched look on his face. He was working hard at her challenge, but it was a new concept to him. “Who are you?”
Cya flopped down in a chair and grinned at him. “I’m Cya. The Finder. I knew they had to have one, you see; they’ve gotten much more targeted and they can’t rely on computerized records the way they could back in my day. But they really are stunting your growth.”
His finger landed triumphantly on a name. Cya glanced at it, considered it.
“Ah, that’s Orlaith’s son Hunter-Hale’s child. Good luck,” she shot to Luke. “Going to their Manor can’t be fun.”
“Like going to the Ranch?”
“We like you at the Ranch, remember?” She grinned at Luke, then just as quickly wiped the expression off her face to aim a solemn look at Regine. “He’s how old? If he’s John-Wayne’s age, you’ve had him here for a while. Doing this? ‘Find the kid on a map?’ That’s kindergarten stuff.”
“It’s a necessary task.”
“Thing is, kid — sorry — the man doesn’t look like an idiot. He doesn’t look like he needs remedial Finding or even needs your help finding a job. So… “ Cya steepled her fingers and looked over them at the Finder, who, by this point, was glowering at her. “Creche kid? She offered you a job, and it made sense, since you didn’t have a family to back you up. Not a bad choice, and if I hadn’t had Boom, I might’ve done the same. Problem is… you’re stagnating. It’s factory work, but with your power.”
“I Find people.” He’d moved on to puzzled now. Good. Puzzled meant he might listen.
“Good. You can Find an abstract — you found my grand-nephew there. So how about find the nearest Addergoole-descended person who could really use Addergoole’s help ASAP?”
Hie forehead pinched again. He stared at the map and, after a moment, his finger settled on a place about a hundred miles out.
Cya had already come to that conclusion, but she still nodded at him. “Good. See? You can stretch your power. Luke, I brought a teleporter who can site off of Finds. Give me three minutes and I’ll take you there.”
She turned to Regine. “Hoard the Finders if you want. The ‘Porters are harder to pin down, for you or for me. But if I find out you’re keeping them in kindergarten, I’m going to start offering them all better jobs at higher pay. You’re a school Director. Challenge them.” She stood up.
“Wait. Better job. Higher pay? Pay?”
“You swore an oath,” Regine hissed.
“Yeah, well, so did you. And the oath has an escape clause, remember?” The kid looked almost ready to leave with her.
“Come on, Luke.” Cya was grinning and not bothering to hide it. “Let’s help out that Addergoolian-in-distress.” If Regine still had a Finder by the end of the year, she’d eat her hat. “Kid… you know how to Find me.”
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