Revisionary (Magic Ex Libris, #4) - Jim C. Hines

Author’s Note

Attention! When your name is called, please stand to receive your acknowledgment and gratitude. I’ve got a lot of people to thank, and there’s a story to get to, so let’s keep things moving.

• Sheila Gilbert—for editorial services above and beyond the call of duty, and for helping to make this and every other book I’ve written for DAW better.

• Joshua Bilmes and the JABberwocky crew—for meritorious agenting and helping me make a career from this writing thing.

• Gene Mollica—for bringing Isaac and Lena (and Smudge!) together on an amazing cover.

• Amy, Skylar, and Jamie—for surviving one of the most hazardous environments known to humanity: the home of a writer struggling to make a deadline. Thank you so much for putting up with me.

• Myke Cole—for teaching me how to break into a Coast Guard ship. (Wait, that doesn’t sound quite right . . .)

• Alistair Kimble and Diana Rowland—for offering help and advice with various law enforcement details.

• Kelly McCullough—in recognition of his repeated missions as Volunteer Beta Reader, First Class.

• Gabrielle Harbowy—for expertise and assistance in helping me (hopefully) not screw up my portrayal of Rabbi Miller and his synagogue.

• All my readers and fans—thank you more than I can say for your continued support. It means the world.

Before you start reading the story, I wanted to expand on that last bullet point. Three weeks after I turned this manuscript in to my editor, I walked out the door at my day job for good in order to focus on writing and my family.

I’ve dreamed about writing full-time for half my life. For a long time, I never believed it would happen. Thanks to the support of my wife and kids, as well as the enthusiasm of my readers, I have never been happier to be proven wrong.

I can’t wait to begin this new chapter in my life, and I look forward to sharing new stories with you all for many years to come.

Jim C. Hines

August 2015

HEARING

OF THE

JOINT COMMITTEE ON MAGICAL SECURITY

BEFORE THE

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

AND THE

U.S. SENATE

CHAIRMAN: ALEXANDER KEELER

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON MAGICAL SECURITY

DEREK VAUGHN, LOUISIANA

SUSAN BROWN, FLORIDA

TAMMY HOEVE, MICHIGAN

ELIZABETH GARCIA, OKLAHOMA

TIMOTHY HOFFMAN, OHIO

JOHN SENN, NEVADA

ANTHONY HAYS, COLORADO

U.S. SENATE,

COMMITTEE ON MAGICAL SECURITY

ALEXANDER KEELER, ILLINOIS

MARY PAT CLARKE, MARYLAND

KENNETH TINDILL, RHODE ISLAND

KENT CHILDRESS, OREGON

Testimony and Questioning of Witness Number 18: Isaac Vainio

The CHAIRMAN: This hearing will come to order.

It’s my privilege and honor to welcome the members of the Joint Committee on Magical Security, as well as the witnesses who have been called to testify as we help to shape the future of this great nation during this time of worldwide turmoil and conflict.

Mister Vainio, thank you for taking time from your work with New Millennium to join us today.

Mr. VAINIO: Your invitation made it clear I didn’t have a choice.

The CHAIRMAN: Do you affirm that the testimony you will give before this committee is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Mr. VAINIO: Aren’t I supposed to be sworn in on a Bible?

The CHAIRMAN: For security reasons, no books will be permitted in the chamber during your testimony.

Mr. VAINIO: Don’t worry, I’m not about to try libriomancy with a Bible, or any other religious text. Gutenberg might have been able to handle that kind of intensity and belief, but—oh, sorry. Yes, I do so affirm.

The CHAIRMAN: Thank you. You may be seated. Mr. Vainio, would you please—what is that?

Mr. VAINIO: His name is Smudge. He’s a fire-spider. He’s perfectly safe as long as he’s in his cage. Don’t go poking your fingers in there, though. He’s my service animal. My lawyer advised me this was permitted under disability law.

Mr. CHILDRESS: You have a service spider?

Mr. VAINIO: He senses danger. Like Spider-Man. Having him around helps me with some . . . anxiety issues. It’s been a traumatic few years. I have a letter from my therapist if you’d like to see it.

The CHAIRMAN: That won’t be necessary. For the record, please state your history and current role with the organization known as the Porters.

Mr. VAINIO: I’ve been a member of the Porters—intermittently—for about seven years, working to protect the world from magical threats. I’ve been a cataloguer, field agent, and researcher. Ten months back, I helped to found the New Millennium project in Nevada, where I currently work as Director of Research and Development.

The CHAIRMAN: Ten months. That would be shortly after you announced the existence of magic to the world.

Mr. VAINIO: Correct.

The CHAIRMAN: You constructed New Millennium in the United States. You yourself are