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A Jacksonian Nursery Rhyme

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 I. Monday’s Child is Fair of Face

“I, Byerly Pierre Vorrutyer, declare this is my son Shiv-Pierre Jasper Larimar Arqua Rutyer” By announced proudly. Ivan Vorpatril nodded, marking the formal witness of a Vor male bastard. Then, archaic Barrayan peculiarities over, the rest of the family crowded in. The Baronne swapped out her eldest granddaughter, Donna Udine Beryl Jade, for the latest male addition to her empire while Moira Alys Amber Sapphire toddled from her grandfather to see her new brother.

In the corner, Pidge smiled smugly at her newly announced status as Heir, but Byerly and Rish smiled lovingly at their wealth of beautiful children.


II. Tuesday's Child is Full of Grace

This time the traitor was Star, and she’d learned from her brother’s mistakes. The trigger was the birth of Pidge’s child. The clan gathered to celebrate, instead, timed needle grenades wiped them out.

Blind luck had sent Rish and Moira back to their quarters to fetch her toy bunny and Byerly had just stepped out after them. He blocked all thought of his murdered children that had been perched on their grandfather's knee; everything had to go toward dodging the death squads arranging bodies for the ‘accident’ imagery. Finally, ducking through the kitchens, he found the last living Jewel.


III Wednesday’s Child is Full of Woe

Their pre-assigned escape was supposed to be a ship to Fell Station then the Hegen Hub, but all the codes were scrambled now. However, Star hadn’t caught his latest system hack, which got them into a maintenance area with an occupied shuttle bay. Byerly exchanged his child for the tools in the getaway bag and Rish stood guard while he broke open the airlock. He succeeded when they were attacked. Rish threw Moira into the shuttle just as the nerve disrupter killed her. All By could do was slam the airlock-door closed, his soul screaming as the shuttle accelerated away.


IV. Thursday’s Child has Far to Go

They had to be wanted fugitives by now. Their survival depended on outrunning the news. By considered the possibilities: Doubling back to the Barrayan consulate on Hargreaves-Dyne Station was too long and too obvious. They’d never make it. No, they had to take anything leaving the Whole now from the Cordonah jump point. Hmmm, one ship was going directly to a planet with a very familiar Barrayan consul. It was also an obvious choice, but once in transit there was little opportunity to capitalise on the bounty. Byerly transferred over the mound of credit chits necessary to smuggle two passengers.


V. Friday’s Child is Loving and Giving

Exhausted and shattered, By lay on the bed and closed his eyes. He listened past the sounds of the others’ bedtime bustle, to hear Moira’s soft breathing as she snuggled against her cousin Paddy. Then the bed dipped under the Vorpatrils’ combined weight. Ivan’s strong arms pulled him tight while Tej plastered her warmth against his back. She pulled the covers over them all, her marvellous breasts rubbing against his shoulder blades. He started to shake and Ivan breathed little comfort noises into his hair. Finally safe, cocooned in the love of his surviving family, Byerly Vorrutyer wept then slept.


VI Saturday’s Child Works Hard for his Living

“Bad news. The bounty on Arquas is too high. No shipper I trust will take you and the ones who would will double-cross us. Instead, there’s a Komarran trade fleet one jump over. I’ve diverted an escort destroyer. It’ll be here in four days. The trouble is getting you out, we’re tracking two killers already.”

“Tej has fully-recognised diplomatic immunity. The intelligence chatter suggests assassins won’t risk imperial reprisal, but you two are Barrayan renegades. I’ve created papers for you but they need to be recognised, apparently they won’t be unless you’re my direct relative. Someone’s been bought.”


VII. But the Child Born on the Sabbath Day...

Ivan looked down at the freshly-stamped paperwork and groaned. Why did the universe insist on doing these things to him. Only Tej could persuade him into committing this insanity.

       “I, Ivan Xav Vorpatril, do take thee, Byerly Pierre Vorrutyer, as my wedded co-spouse...”

“Three conditions: One, no sarcasm and no gossip about this -ever. Two, you explain it all to Gregor and my mother personally -without me in the room. Three, we divorce the minute we reach imperial space.”

“Can we get off this planet now?” snarled the blushing new Vorrutyer-Vorpatril.

“And don’t expect any alimony!”