It’s the very last Musketeer Day! This has been an epic adventure for me and I really appreciate everyone who came along for the ride with me, whether you were reading, supporting, retweeting or just generally squeeing at me. Special thanks to Grant for making my Musketeer Space title banner, and to my proofers who are working on the ebook.
Letting go of my sweeties is a lot harder than I thought it would be. But, you know, WE’LL ALWAYS HAVE PARIS SATELLITE.
Final reminder: if you want to receive the complete ebook of the (lightly edited) web serial to read on your e-reader device, please sign up as a Patreon supporter at the $1 level before the end of this month. I won’t be making the complete ebook available for general sale any time soon. If you sign up for the $2 level, you will also receive a collection of Musketeer essays from this blog and elsewhere.
I will be rebooting my Patreon page next month to acknowledge the end of the serial and announce new projects – and I’ll give all my supporters a nice comfortable window in which to remove or change their pledge, given that Musketeer Space is DONE.
For now, enjoy the epilogue to Musketeer Space. xxxxxx
Chapter 62 – We’ll Always Have Paris
Seven months after the abrupt end of the Second Sun-kissed War, Regent Lalla Louise Renard Royal and her husband, Prince Consort Alek of Auster, became parents to triplets. Royal baby fever had been running high for months, and Gossipnode all but exploded with the anticipation of this happy event.
For Dana and the other Musketeers, life did not change at first, though security details for the royal family immediately became more complex. There were more changes on the horizon, to be anticipated.
“Three of them,” said Athos dourly, as the Four Inseparables gathered in the Abbey of St Germain for the age old tradition of wetting a baby’s head. Three babies meant a lot of drinks for anyone currently signed to service of the Crown. “Fifteen years, maybe less, and our jobs will be to keep those three royalings out of every dodgy nightclub, rave, bubble club and whatever the hell teenagers invent to do to themselves between now and then. Never mind Musketeers. We’ll be the sex and drugs police.”
“Isn’t that already your job?” Aramis said archly. “I wouldn’t worry about it, darling. We’ll be long gone by then.”
Porthos coughed. “Are we going somewhere?”
Aramis pointed a long, elegant finger in her direction. “Don’t pretend that fancy Chef Coquenard hasn’t asked you to marry him.”
Porthos rolled her eyes. “I haven’t said yes. Besides, I can be married and still a Musketeer, it’s not against the law.”
Dana brought a new tray of drinks to the table, and caught the tail end of the conversation. “Is this the part where you convince us you’re going to retire to a quiet life as an Abbot somewhere in the outer System, Aramis? Because no one actually believes that.”
“I’d be brilliant at it,” Aramis protested.
“Surrounded by priests and intellectuals all day, honour-bound not to seduce any married ladies you come across?” Dana actually scoffed. “Yeah, right.”
“What about you, Dana?” Porthos asked, to keep the peace.
“Oh, I’m always going to be a Musketeer,” Dana said, without hesitation. “Forever.”
Athos clinked his glass solemnly against hers. “As is only right and proper.”
“There’s more to life than being a Musketeer,” Aramis insisted. “There’s a whole wide universe of possibilities out there.”
Dana and Athos gave her identical expressions that clearly told her that she was 100% wrong, and they feared for her sanity.
“For example, Athos,” Aramis went on, continuing her thesis. “I can definitely see you in your more mature years, taking up an aristocratic estate somewhere. Not La Fere, of course, something more modest for your noble needs. Only one library. Perhaps you’ll find yourself raising a young ward whose chin is suspiciously similar to your own…”
Athos glared at her. “Never going to happen,” he growled.
Aramis fluttered her eyelashes at him. “You know Chevreuse and I talk, right? I’m perfectly aware of that trip to Peace you took last time Treville gave you leave ‘for your health’…”
“Mind your own damn business,” Athos said, and knocked back half his drink.
Dana was only half aware that their bickering continued, rising and falling in the background like the energy hum of a musket-class dart in need of recharging. She had stopped paying attention to them, because Special Agent Rosnay Cho had just walked into the bar.
Ro’s flight suit was pale turquoise, her long black hair spilled down her back as usual, and her manner was all business. She did not acknowledge Dana’s presence at all, but went straight to the bartender.
Dana did not even pretend not to watch the other woman as Ro very deliberately scratched the scar on her face, then lay three fingers alongside her own chin.
On high alert, Dana surveyed the bar. “Those three,” she whispered. “In the corner. “Don’t they match the description of the terrorists who tried to disrupt the press conference last week?”
Rosnay Cho knocked back a shot of something highly alcoholic at the bar, then turned around and left with a smirk on her face, still not making eye contact with Dana. She didn’t have to.
“That woman,” breathed Aramis. “She’s so useful to have around.”
“Hands off, I saw her first,” said Dana, with a touch of pride in her voice.
Porthos glanced casually across at the three men in the far corner. “How are we going to do this? Call for backup, evacuate the bar? Everything by the books?”
“Sure,” said Athos, draining the last of his drink, and wiping his mouth. “Or we could just flip the table, draw our blades, see what happens.”
Aramis shot him a fond smile. “As always, Athos, I’m in awe of your strategic brain.”
“All for one,” said Porthos, grinning so fiercely that it was amazing the bar had not already emptied at the disturbing sight.
Athos groaned. “Must we, really?”
“And one for all!” crowed Dana.
“Aren’t we beyond team chants and catchphrases?”
“Shut up, Athos. Play nice.”
“Flip the table already.”
It was, they decided later, somewhere in the top three of best bar fights ever, resulting in six arrests, three dislocated shoulders, and only two major sword wounds. If there was more to life than being a Musketeer, Dana ever didn’t care to find out.