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“Coffee’s done. Bacon should be ready soon. If you can wait I’ll do omelets. If you can’t wait, I’ll make more bacon and still do omelets. There are some ingredients prepped in the fridge. Pick out what you want on your omelet. I’m making mine like a baked potato.” Rhynn is really quiet as he cooks, like he’ll wake up the food or something.
I walk into the kitchen and blankly scan the area, back and forth. Rhynn steps away from the stove, hands me a mug, and turns me towards the coffee pot.
“Thanks. Good morning.”
I’m taking in everything around me in lieu of being fully awake, I think.
“Good morning. There’s a couple of creamers by the coffee pot, but they’re all really sweet. There’s milk in the fridge, you might be better off with that.”
There’s a jug of milk, along with several containers of ingredients chopped up: Mushrooms, onions, celery, and I think one of those is meat in a marinade.
As I add my milk, I hear a door. Podlihob exits the guest room, dressed and rubbing his eyes.
“Yo. What kind of coffee is that?”
“Medium roast. I like the darker roasts but need that caffeine.” Rhynn’s tone is slightly apologetic. The coffee is silky on my tongue, like unsweetened chocolate. This is good stuff.
After groggily sipping on coffee for a bit, we are treated to Rhynn’s omelets. They are fabulous.
“Furries suck at washing dishes because the damn fur gets everywhere, and the dishwater messes with their skin.” Podlihob washes the dishes quickly and efficiently, quickly getting a drying rack loaded.
As we finish our second cups of coffee, Podlihob’s pocket chirps.
“That’s Gad. We should start heading to the immigration office.”
We pile into Rhynn’s car and glide away. Rhynn messes with some controls, and soon there is music playing, angry and loud. I use a meditate skill for the drive and when we get to the office, I am slightly more alert.
Despite Gad contacting us first, we still wait about ten minutes for him to arrive. Podlihob and Rhynn both have a cigarette while we wait, while I continue to meditate.
“Sorry it took me so long,” Gadlihob greets us via apology after exiting a taxi. “Let’s get in there and get you legal.”
We are early enough there is almost nobody there yet. An orc lady with her hair in a tight, angry bun on top of her head eyes me disapprovingly.
“This is not the correct place to register a tamed monster, sirs.”
“Surprisingly, this fellow is sapient and wishes to immigrate to our fine nation despite prejudice such as what you just showed him. I am his lawyer and I can prove he does have legal standing to immigrate.”
Gadlihob’s smile as he talks is business only. His eyes glare.
“I am a person, I promise.”
I figure speaking is a good way to prove I am people.
“Take a number and have a seat.” She looks down at her desk.
“Not quite yet. There are several forms we could be filling out right now, if I recall correctly.” Gadlihob lightly bangs his knuckles on the counter. “It sure would be nice to have those to start the process.”
Disgust painted across her face; the woman hands us several forms.
“I don’t have a spare pen. I hope you brought your own.”
“Ah you were ashamed to give us the forms due to the mismanagement of your office’s budget! An understandable embarrassment, but I am lawyer, I just might have a pen.” With that, Gadlihob pulls out a golden pen with a diamond inset.
“Good day to you.”
Shaking his head, Gadlihob grabs a number and takes us to some seats. He helps fill out the forms, asking me questions and quickly writing my answers down in neat letters. We are on the fourth form when our number is called.
Another orc lady, this one wearing a pantsuit and with curly, shoulder length hair looks at us brightly. We follow her to an office in the back, and she begins reading the forms we’ve filled out so far while Gadlihob and I finish the last few. She finally pauses after reading the last couple.
“You’re applying for asylum based off a divine curse, but you need that curse researched to prove it is there? That’s atypical.”
“My client’s curse is recognized by the courts. We want to research the nature of the curse, not whether it exists. It is probable that it is divine based on his experiences.” Gadlihob answers the question attentively and politely, in contrast to his demeanor with the receptionist earlier.
“Okay. I will ask the same thing I ask all asylum seekers. Forgive me if this question sounds rude due to your amnesia, but I do have to ask it. How are you going to work here? The unskilled labor market is saturated, and I’m not sure what kind of skilled labor someone with memory issues can do.”
“My client has unique magical abilities and should be able to find either employment or training at the University. In the event he is unable to do so, I am willing to personally employ him at my firm.” Gadlihob’s smile became only slightly like a rictus. He’s remembering that diamond, I bet.
“It is good to have back-up plans for employment. And about a residence?”
“He’ll be living with me.” Rhynn interjected.
“And what do you do, sir?”
“I’m a chef. I own The Screaming Apple downtown.”
Rhynn’s a chef? Really?
“And I assume you would also be willing to employ Mister Matrisyan here if need be?”
“That is correct.” I don’t know how to cook, and I doubt people would want me as a waiter. Podlihob let me know earlier I shouldn’t wash dishes. What would I be doing there?
“I see there is also some question about whether Mister Matrisyan is a player?”
“We believe that to be a part of his curse and will be researching that as well at the University,” Gadlihob quickly answers.
“Okay. I am willing to issue an asylum card with provisional immigration. He will be listed as a player. If the University manages to show he is not a player, we can remove that categorization at that point. That might be tricky since it is unprecedented, but I will document his file to show that we are allowing it. He will need to sign up for and attend patriotization classes like any immigrant. He will be subject to conscription like any player. He will need to submit bank records to us regularly to show he has trackable, legal income. He will need a medical exam to show he is healthy. I will set his deadline to report employment to us a week from today, and, yes, student does count as employment. He will need to submit bank records to us to verify his income in a month. A patriotization course is starting in two weeks. You will need your medical records at that point. I’m writing all of this down for you, along with the time and address of the course.” This lady is awesome. She quickly writes down all the promised information. Then she is shaking my hand.
“You may face some discrimination for how you look. This is a nation built on the ideal that anyone can get a fair shake no matter what they are, so you’re better off here than most other places. Keep in mind that you still need to prove yourself a reasonable person and most people will give you a chance. You’ll be learning more about this in your patriotization classes.”
“Thank you. I’m looking forward to it.”
I’m not sure if I really am looking forward to it, but that seems like the thing to say in this situation.
“That’s a good attitude. Many people are anxious about it since failing the course can result in deportation.”
Woah! Maybe I would be anxious too if you had told me that beforehand!
The lady gives me a form she has filled out to submit to the front desk, and soon I have a provisional identification card. I have a form of documentation, hooray.
“Who wants an early lunch?” Rhynn smacks his lips. I have a feeling he wants to start drinking, something I would know as his most recent drinking companion.
“I can eat,” I volunteer.
“I have a lunch meeting, so I’ll be heading back to my office. Keep me posted, Pod.” Gadlihob strides off to hail a cab. He has no time to spend with us today.
“I can eat, too. I’ve also got a proposal for you guys.” Podlihob’s eyes gleam.
“Sweet. There’s a kobold restaurant I know around here that’s pretty good and has a decent bar. Let’s go.”
We pile into Rhynn’s car and head to a special lunch meeting.