Meanwhile, Aikiko was considering… she had… a mobile kaiju manse (?) chasing her, a secret order of quasi-exalts operating out of a primordial manse designed to funnel power to preserved fragments of long-defeated Devas, the cauldron-born presumably building even MORE weird manses, ancient crypts releasing weird horrors… And half of it she’d sworn not to talk to anyone but a Primordial about!
Geomancy and Manses. Well, put it THAT way, and the choice was pretty obvious! Even if Charles wasn’t yet a Primordial, he was close enough that she might be able to talk to him – and he was about the biggest expert on Manses that she knew of! Sure, Gaia might be better on Geomancy – she sort of WAS geomancy – but she was friends with Charles. Gaia seemed… a little out of her league!
Hrm… Charles… well, the way he bounced from place to place on projects… you could probably count on him running into YOU within a few weeks if you just stayed still – but he was something of a public figure after that mess with the Sahara; if he was on Earth she could probably track him down readily enough!
He was… going to be testifying at an EPA Environmental Impact Assessment Panel in two days? Oh by the Kami! Knowing him, he’d probably try to resolve their doubts by offering to build them a spare environment or something!
Then she ran across a newly-placed electronic ad for… planetary colonization. Oh surely not! It HAD to be for a new MMORPG or something! Surely even CHARLES wouldn’t…
It looked awfully serious. The sub-pages provided maps, and climatological profiles, and lists of what came in the “pioneering kits”, and support services – and the note that the local galaxy was otherwise uninhabited – and…
If it really was him… was he out to turn the entire earth upside down?
Charles really was headed for the EPA Panel. The summons had finally been delivered, and he’d said that he’d come and testify!
The panel was actually scheduled to be unusually large; experts, scientists, bureaucrats, and agents, all of whom had been reading the reports from the Sahara, had a box full of language-amulet to look at, and who were – in theory – responsible for dealing with all the weirdness.
It was a long flight, but Aikiko was riding a commuter train into Washington the day of the hearings – passing the time by looking at all the cool monuments – when she almost teleported out of her seat to one of the train windows… She couldn’t POSSIBLY have just seen THAT. There was NO WAY!!!
For an instant she got a clear look out the window – and got the merest glimpse of… Mechagodzilla, at human size, wearing an overcoat and a silly hat with a feather in it and… being ignored as it pretended to read a newspaper. The station was rapidly being left behind, but twisting her neck almost enough to wrench caught her another glimpse of it as it… discarded the paper and lept up onto the train some cars back – STILL being ignored by the human crowd!
Look At My Silly Hat!: Inward Facing Waking Circle Oneiromancy (*): Assumption of Wood Shape (this onieromancy takes the form of a very silly hat, 1), Mad God Mein (the hat is immune to countermagic, 1), Untouchable Performer Technique (it’s very difficult to persuade people to bother with the wearer, 1), Gladdening Visage (anyone seeing you won’t really notice anything about you but the hat, 1), Gossamer Winged Flight (the wearer can run around on walls and ceilings, 2), Imposition of Law (the wearer automatically succeeds on rolls made to persuade people that there is nothing wrong with his going wherever he wants to go, 3).
Oh, what the… Aaargh! And no doubt retaining virtually all his powers! HOW did you shrink a MANSE anyway??? And here she was on a train full of commuters and students! In the middle of a major city! No doubt the enlargement ray would hit at any moment, and then her parents would see her on TV – two hundred feet tall and busily smashing Washington DC in a kung-fu battle with Mechagodzilla, and WHAT WOULD THEY SAY?
Leaving the train wasn’t the best option… moving up wouldn’t work for long… trying to jump trains was just… impractical, and she’d wind up going the wrong way anyway… She had a momentary impulse to just stick her head up and demand an explanation, but that didn’t really seem wise!
She’d have to evade. If it did turn into a fight… well, she’d just have to roll with it and try not to kill too many humans as collateral damage… Hopefully it wouldn’t happen though! Mechagodzilla was… oddly benign really, at least judging from last time around!
The Easily Overlooked Presence Method would let her blend in with some of the students, and… oh, crap, she’d almost forgotten! He was FAST – and it was about eight minutes until the train would stop; they were on the final leg into the Washington Terminal.
Well, if hobos could do it… some thaumaturgic cloaking and her enhanced athletics might let her ride under the cars!
There was a small boy looking out the window… “Daddy! The Terminator is on the roof!” “Sit down and don’t be silly Victor!”.
Perceptive kid! Aikiko, however, was busy working up some thaumaturgic cloaking with her Occult Excellencies and gingerly slipping down between the cars… A bit of sweat dripped off her face and onto the rails beneath her as she dug her fingers into the frame of the train’s undercarriage and applied her athletics-boosters… Even for an Exalt, being run over by a train would be painful! You’d have to defend yourself with charms over and over again… It might even be enough to tap you out and kill you! Fortunately… being under a train pretty well concealed her use of obvious charms! Her fingers dug into the greasy metal as the train-ties and gravel rushed by inches below – trapped between a thousand tons of hot metal rushing forward at eighty miles an hour and unforgiving earth and stone topped with steel… Still, with muscle-cracking effort, she levered yourself up into the undercarriage – safe for the moment.
What a rush! Not that she wanted to try that again any time soon, but the gang back in Yu-Shan would definitely be hearing that story!
Then, as the track curved… she caught a glimpse of giant, frothing, iridescent, things drifting into the sky, in stream spreading out behind the train. Whaaa…. Giant SOAP BUBBLES? As if Mechagodzilla wasn’t absurd enough already?… Oh yeah. Raksha crew. Demien was probably very HAPPY if the WORST that happened was someone pulling out a magically-boosted super-bubble wand. She could almost hear someone saying “Oh for the sake of chaos… Put that silly thing back into elsewhere!”
Still… it didn’t seem to be actively hunting for HER. It wasn’t even MOVING much! It had just… wrapped it’s tail around a pipe for stability, and continued to ride on top of the train, and was using the hand that WASN’T holding a bubble-maker to hold it’s hat on… It WAS scanning the area with essence-senses however – but… more ahead than down?
It wasn’t easy to run her own probe from beneath the train, but it was looking for… Geomancy? Was it scanning the Dragon lines for Manses and Demesnes, doing recon for some scheme – or was it sensing for Charles’s world body links? He WAS supposed to be appearing here. It was why SHE’D come after all… That could be real trouble! OK, “Mechagodzilla crashes committee meeting” sounded funny – but Humans were really fairly formidable these days! Nukes and things were no joke!
Unfortunately, Aikiko really wasn’t that good a thaumaturgist yet – and her cloaking attempts were an utter failure.
(Faint growly whisper…) “Hello small follower!… You are behind on your observances, but have become a shrine maiden at my greatest temple! Congratulations!”
Oh great, beneath a train and needing to move! This day just kept getting better and BETTER! At least he wasn’t moving her way yet! Was the silly thing waiting for her to pray to him that he not find her? Oh why not! With a crew of Raksha it might work! Still… she got the ODDEST feeling that… Mechagodzilla quite approved of her. She had, after all, taken an acting job at the Toho Studios – and it… apparently regarded that as her “becoming a shrine maiden at it’s greatest temple”, which – come to think of it! – actually WAS fairly reasonable for a movie monster!
Wait… MechaG WASN’T moving. Instead he was… launching some sort of active probe of his own towards the Capital.
(MechaG, as an aside) “Bosses already have me follow you! But not need to right now…”
(Aikiko) “So what are they doing? No offense, but I really don’t want to be some Raksha hybrid!”
(MechaG) “Something to do with the Great Geomancer! You have his craft upon you, so follow you back to him!”
Gah! So they really were after Charles!
(Aikiko) “You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into if you succeed, but I’m not going to let you find him!”
OK, that was probably true enough – Charles liked monster movies, and was likely to say “Cool!” and try to win MechaG over to become a part of Aden rather than fighting or running like a SENSIBLE person – and MechaG and the Cauldron-Born probably weren’t expecting that! Huh. Was that what it felt like to be Charles? To run around telling the absolute truth all the time and to watch people… turn it upside down in their own heads?
The train was beginning to slow and there wasn’t much time left! While MechaG was aware of her… It’s pilots might not be! She didn’t seem to be the focus at the moment!
She levered herself back up into the car – and bailed out as the train continued to slow. Taking the moment of closest approach… she ought to be able to beat the thing to the building! It had been searching magically, while she had the address and GPS AND her Athletics Charms! She had to warn Charles that he might have a Kaiju guest at the hearing!
She easily cartwheeled down the slope to a wind up standing near the edge of a street on the fringes of Washington. Fortunately, the trail of bubbles still made it easy to track Mechagodzilla.
Meanwhile, at the hearing… the panel had first called a few scientists to consult about the Language Talismans – and had found that they all said the same thing that they’d already concluded. The blasted things definitely worked – but no one could say how.
So they called on Charles to testify.
(Charles) “Well… Hello! So what do you need?”
Hmm… the audience included several elemental auras and… a Serenity signature! NOT what he’d expected – but then a pleasant and prosperous environment did make people happy!
(Dr. Wadleigh) “Mr. Ward? We’ve studied these… talismans… with our instruments and sensors for weeks, but still have no idea how they work. Could you explain how you constructed them?”
(Charles) “They are very minor examples of what was once called “Motonic Science” – what modern science calls the “superforce”. What is not commonly understood is that the Superforce includes several subforces that are not commonly recognized as inherent, rather than emergent, properties – Will, Mind, Narrative, and Essence to be precise. Their construction is thus primarily a matter of mental operations linked with physical manipulations. A physical investigation will thus not suffice to reveal much of their operation.”
(Wadleigh) “As our experimenters have concluded… so how do they work?”
(Charles) “They’re imprinted with a pattern of communications on the mental level and imbued with a trace of essence; when worn for a time that essence will resonate with the wearers – making the imprinted information unconsciously available. In this case, the information is a particular language.”
(Dr. Crays) “This sounds like a form of telepathy! That’s never been proven to work, yet you seem to have a found a way. How does this Essence work?”
Most of the scientists… were looking rather blank. It was hard to tell if it was from disbelief or shock at having someone who was actually prepared to demonstrate and explain this stuff…
Charles had Malinda run a quick check… but all of them were reasonably reputable scientists. There was some controversy here and there of course – they WERE working for the EPA – but they were all decent people with strong publication and research records. Wadleigh was particularly notable for his work on those parts of the ocean where trash gathered.
(Charles) “Hm. I’m sure you appreciate that such an explanation is likely to be quite lengthy if delivered normally? Fortunately, however, the same information-bestowing effect can be used for information other than languages. Ergo… (he rummaged in his pockets and pulled out a familiar-looking case) here’s a quick briefing along with a low-grade essence-channeling effects…”
Charles cheerily handed around another set of amulets
Sigil Of The Dawning Age (Artifact **):
- 2x Class-C Powers:
- Self-Powered. The amulets have no attunement cost
- +6 Occult.
- 2x Class-B Powers:
- Bestows Awakened Essence.
- Reduces the cost of thaumaturgy; normal operations cost 2 motes, really minor stuff only costs one mote, and trivial stuff – such as levitating pencils, lighting cigarettes, and weaving handfuls of light – can be performed at no cost.
- 4x Class-A Powers:
- Can maintain any two thaumaturgical effects with durations. If dispelled, the effects can be restored reflexively by paying their costs again.
- Can be attuned to produce the effects of any one Major Talisman (one of the ones with “triple effect”), or of one Lesser (one of the ones with “double effect) and one Minor (one of the ones with the basic effect) Talismans, or of three Minor Talismans. Changing the attunement requires three Enchantment successes, rolling once per hour. They default to “walkaway” effects unless otherwise attuned.
- Store ten motes, which can only be used to power thaumaturgy.
- The user may spend a mote to roll (Wit + Occ) as a reflex action. 1/3/5 successes adds +1/2/3 dice to any action which is not being enhanced by some other supernatural effect.
Artifact Design: Power 5, Usefulness 4, Plot Impact 1, Script Immunity 1, Components -1 (calls for assorted purchases of rare woods, powdered gemstones, etc), Troublesome -2 (only works for those without access to charm lists of their own – pretty much normal humans). Net Total = 8, 8/4 = Rating-**
Perhaps most frighteningly… the sigils are designed to be fairly easy to analyze, and bestow enough power to – given time, resources, and some personal skill – replicate themselves.
(Charles) “Now these are considerably more advanced devices than the linguistic amulets, so I would recommend a few basic exercises first… Tricks like these are so trivial that ambient energy more than suffices. For example, a beam of light… if you twist it like SO and hold it with your will, it will form a closed loop – think of it rather like string. Now who’s familiar with “Cat’s Cradle”? (Charles made radiant patterns as he spoke.) A handful of light is very easy to work with; requiring almost no energy and only a trivial mental focus. The awkwardness is that this sort of thing simply is NOT natural to most humans – and thus the need for those sigils that you’re currently wearing. They are actually fairly advanced work by most standards I suppose.”
All of them were willing to try – it certainly couldn’t be much more far-fetched than the language amulets! There was… perhaps less astonishment than could be expected when several of them performed lightweaving. After all, they already knew the language amulets could not be explained by standard scientific methods – and with the skill boost that the Sigils provided, they could easily recognize that those little amulets were devices of rather impressive power.
(Crays) “Amazing! I would scarcely believe it if it were not happening before my eyes. And you say this can be LEARNED?”
(Watleigh) “And a boy your age made these…”
(Charles) “Yes. The amulets are not required – anyone can eventually develop such abilities without such aid – but they do make many things a great deal easier. Now, the fact that I made those amulets is somewhat deceptive I fear; I have advantages that are unavailable to most.”
(Watleigh) “Would you be willing to share some of those with us? This is… paradigm-changing, to say the least.”
And there was much amusement – if of the experimental variety – as various scientists levitated paper clips, lit matches with finger snaps, and crumpled paper with their minds.
(Charles) “The amulets and information, certainly. For those who desire it, far more advanced training is available. Certain of my advantages, however, are not transferable.”
The group with the elemental signatures – two Air and one Earth – shuffled nervously while the Earth-signed woman quietly slipped out of the room. The Serenity source, the recordkeeper, busily took notes and smiled quietly.
(Charles “whispering” to both groups via telepathy) “Well, they’re going to need thaumaturgy again soon!”
The recordkeeper’s smile broadened, although none of the groups opted to answer…
(Charles) “Now, as far as the power source of the structure in Egypt goes… It’s operation is similar to that of the Amulets in principle – but it is a great deal larger, and so channels many orders of magnitude more energy. That particular effect is sometimes called “Geomancy” – although it is a mostly-forgotten discipline, with only misunderstood remnants remaining.”
(Crays) “Such as feng shui, I believe… how did you learn such… I hesitate to say it, but magic? Nothing else would explain how that facility is powered.”
(Charles) “In my case I would have to call it an inheritance of sorts, from sources far predating the human race. You are quite correct however; the disciplines called “magic”, or “psionics”, as well as a great many other effects are limited applications of motonics.”
Meanwhile Aikiko was coming down the corridor – a bit out of breath even with her enhancements, wrapped in an array of charms and illusions, passing a few Terrestrial types on the way – and hearing a few phrases from Charles explaining magic to a bunch of government scientists. She slowed as she gaped – and ran straight into some of the Terrestrials.
(Aikiko) “Whoa! He’s… teaching them thaumaturgy?”
The operatives from the Fellowship of Moonsilver and Jade had been sent to observe this meeting. House Donnelly (whom Charles had made contact with before) was a part of it, although they hadn’t been expecting Charles to be so rash as to teach the government scientists magic! Much less to hand out boosting artifacts for it! Their Earth Aspect had departed for an emergency report, leaving the Air Aspect thaumaturge and stealth operative… What was the child THINKING! The Starbreakers and the Alchemicals would not tolerate this if it became public! And – while the knowledge of Celestial Martial Arts was their specialty – the other faction’s infrastructure was much better.
(Jason) “Yes! He’s even giving them magical amplifiers for it! He must be INSANE! Can you imagine the disruptions that will result?”
(Kiko) “And you are?”
(Jason) “Jason Donnelly! I take it you’re here to observe too? From what family?”
(Aikiko) “I’m just a friend of his! I try to keep him from doing things like that, but he’s slippery! And we’re all in BIG TROUBLE, besides!”
(Jason) “What? Why?”
(Aikiko) “Promise me you won’t send me to the nuthouse, but Mechagodzilla is coming for him!”
That got her some REALLY blank looks.
(Jason, slowly) “Er… The guy in a costume from those japanese movies….?”
(Aikiko) “No, a mobile Manse-don’t give me that look, they’re going to learn about those SOMETIME if Charles talks any longer with them – made as a replica of the thing from the movies! It’s human-size right now, but I think we all know what will happen if it returns to full size around here!”
(Jason) “You’re SERIOUS?!? A MOBILE manse that wanders around freely? How could that be possible?”
Aikiko… pointed at the entryway below, where Mechagodzilla – still with the overcoat and the silly hat – was currently inspecting the building directory?
(Aikiko) “I think it’s a new Manse Aspect! I’m not sure how-I barely escaped it myself! Don’t be fooled by that hat! It’s some kind of artifact!”
(Jason) “That’s… Wyld and Stellar and Lunar and… and the POWER there… Thousand Aspect Maze!”
Space seemed to fracture around Mechagodzilla, as the Terrestrial spell went off and swirling chaos erupted into drifting planes of light…
People started shouting in the lobby now that they could no longer see the hat.
(Jason) “That should hold it for a minute or two – I hope! Talk fast!”
(Aikiko) “Okay… I was investigating a fraternity disappearance/prank in Oregon. I tracked the missing people down to this Wyld pocket in Crater Lake – and when I was investigating, HE found me! He was made by this group of Exalts who’ve been merged with Raksha. And when I say he’s an exact replica, it’s right down to the ice ray! Even YOU would have problems dodging that thing-I barely managed to myself. I only got away from him by being really sneaky and causing a rockslide. I’m sorry, but I still don’t know how they could have made him! Charles would have some theories, though! He’s full of them!”
(Jason) “Oh great! Who the hell IS THIS KID that he has EXALTED RAKSHA MANSES AFTER HIM AND HANDS OUT ARTIFACTS LIKE CANDY CANES ON CHRISTMAS!?!?!?”
(Aikiko) “I have no idea… but he must be really important!”
Meanwhile, Mechagodzilla was… stepping slowly through the maze of chaos and deranged space. Annoyingly enough, the wyld-aspected spell didn’t seem to be confusing it one little bit.
(Jason, breaking out with an Action-Interrupting Blasphemous Tirade… which also failed to work) “!@#$%^&*”
(Aikiko, blinking) “So… I was going to grab him and run if he went on too much longer, but I’d have to be more blatant than I wanted to, and that’s not going to protect the city! Oh, crap! He’s coming for us! Do you have any ideas? Because I was NOT expecting to protect DC from kaiju today!”
The Terrestrials were… already running back to the committee meeting (where Charles was still happily giving away FAR TOO MUCH INFORMATION) – and Aikiko followed them!
(Crays) “So, you’re saying that magic and psychic powers are… only the beginning?”
(Charles) “Naturally! Would you expect the exploration of a new level of physics to be limited to a few awkward, minor, effects?”
(Crays) “Of course not. Perhaps it would be better to ask what level of experimentation is within our grasp. You had mentioned that we would not be able to grasp all of it.”
(Watleigh) “As hard as it is to believe… we are all human, yes?”
He looked like he hoped so… but Charles’s not answering that question was not at ALL comforting!
(Charles) “Effects that should be available include moderate-level probability manipulation, small-scale chemical manipulation and transmutation, biological manipulations, the generation or suppression of moderate amounts of energy, telepathy, clairvoyance, telekinesis and other “psychic” abilities, the creation of some talismans, and analysis of various forces. Major shapeshifting effects, long-distance teleportation, direct reality manipulations, the creation of sizeable “pocket dimensions”, large-scale transmutations, and similar effects, will probably remain out of reach without additional upgrades… Oh, Hi Aikiko! What’s up?”
(Watleigh) “Still, what is available to us would revolutionize… I can’t even begin to imagine.”
(Aikiko) “Charles, you’ve got to get out of here! Mechagodzilla is coming!”
For once Charles looked… fairly blank at the moment! Then…
(Charles) “Really? Cool! Who built it?”
(Crays) “Young lady, are you all right?”
(Charles, more thoughtfully) “Er… WHY build it?”
(Aikiko) “No, dude! You don’t understand! He’s going to kidnap you and make you into a Cauldron-Born! THEY built him – Demien mostly!”
(MechaG, cheerfully) “Geerronnnkkk!”
(Aikiko) “What are we going to do? I can run you out of DC easily enough, but that’s not going to stop the city from being leveled!”
(Crays) “Oh dear. She’s… serious, isn’t she?”
(Jason) “YES! He’s in the lobby right now!”
(Charles) “Uhm… well, if it’s not being leveled yet… Wait; in the LOBBY? This is a SMALL mechagodzilla then?”
(Aikiko) “It can change size! It was big when it was after me!”
(Charles, as Mechagodzilla was coming up the stairs) “Uhm… Sorry, it might be best if we adjourn to Aden…
(Scientists) “Wait! What?”
Charles swirled his usual wyld-stunt gate considerably larger than usual – starting with the basic gate and enlarging it!
(Recordkeeper) “I’ll distract this ‘Mechagodzilla'; I’m sure it’s just a crazy in some suit. Security will handle it easily enough.”
As Charles spun the gate outwards to pull everyone into Aden, Mechagodzilla – currently with eight security guys hanging onto him and being entirely ignored – opened the meeting chamber’s door…
(Recordkeeper, after a moments gaping look) “Dammit. I don’t get paid enough for this; right behind you there!”
It was hard to tell if he was talking about his cover at the EPA or his actual job there – but he didn’t hesitate to take the gate! He knew just how fragile his kind were!
The gate rippled – and Mechagodzilla fired some sort of cables through it into Aden as it imploded – leaving two massive metal spheres embedded in the earth there
(Charles) “Oh Dear!:
Most of the others… looked down the mountainside at the singing forest…
(Charles, distractedly) “Well… Welcome aboard!”
(Aikiko, sighing) “Welcome to Aden, guys! You can find… everything here! I’ll let Charles explain that.”
(Jason) “So Matthew wasn’t joking…”
Charles was currently inspecting the metal spheres, and looking rather worried…
Huh! She’d better have a look herself!
Charles… had been boarded; the “Cables”, now firmly anchored in Aden, were just as indestructible as the rest of Mechagodzilla. The fact that the gate was shut down didn’t change that; it just meant that the cables now… extended through elsewhere. Even Charles had no idea what that meant, save that they could tap into some of his energies through them – and who knew what else?
(Aikiko) “Ugh… this is BAD!”
This went way beyond an arcane link! This was… holding hands level! Who KNEW what the Cauldron-Born could do with that?!? Charles’s recklessness… had really bitten him this time!
(Crays) “That is a rather unstable mix of energies there! I’m surprised it hasn’t exploded, or is that not the intent of this?”
(Jason) “It’s… a forced Manse link.”
(Charles) “Explosions? No… I don’t think so! It’s more that it’s grabbed me! I… didn’t think that was possible…”
(Aikiko) “You… can come up with a solution, right?”
(Watleigh) “What do you mean, it’s grabbed you?”
The Chosen of Serenity recordkeeper continued his note-taking…
(Charles) “Oh well… this is Aden – another aspect of me really. One reason why my power-handling capacity is much larger than yours is simply because I have much greater physical reserves. THOSE (pointing to the metal spheres) are limited aspects of “Mechagodzilla” – those cables it put through the gate – and are indestructible. Thus shutting down the gate didn’t sever them… I’m not even sure what state the link is existing in right now!”
(Watleigh) “So… you’re something more than human, then.”
(Charles) “Well yes – or other than strictly human at least! There are a lot more nonhumans on earth than most people think! Even the ones who believe in things like bigfoot…”
(Crays) “Such as? Anything seems plausible at the moment!”
(Charles, still absently) “Oh the various energy-beings are always all around you, but they don’t interact much… The Raksha mostly hang out in pocket realms anchored to earth, but they come out sometimes. Some of the old created races are still around, but they mostly only live in small enclaves and use old motonic effects to hide them; people have a nasty tendency to get upset about people who are different… Oh dear! I didn’t really need any more complications right now!”
(Watleigh) “Raksha? The Indian demons?”
(Charles) “Well, they inspired some of those stories – and some about Elves, and quite a few other creatures. They really are sensitive to Iron though – so these days they find most of Earth pretty unwelcoming!”
(Watleigh) “Ah, I see… there is so much about the universe we don’t understand!”
(Jason) “And I’m certain he hasn’t even begun…”
(Charles) “Well it really does need some maintenance!… Uhrm… It may take a few hours to arrange a gate back for you; will that be all right? I do have telecommunications links, so your cell phones will work! Would you like to look at a library in the meantime?”
(Crays) “Why not? This meeting couldn’t possibly get any stranger.”
They adjourned to a library – Charles couldn’t think of anything much he could do about Mechagodzillas link to him at the moment – and Charles had some lunch sent in.
(Charles) “I must apologize! This is a larger dose of strangeness than I really meant to expose you too right away!
(Aikiko) “I’m sorry too – but I couldn’t let him grab Charles! That’d be a disaster!”
(Charles) “What do they want though? This is even weirder than usual!”
(Aikiko) “Charles… they want to make you and me Cauldron-Born!”
At that statement the recordkeeper hastily departed… None of the humans seemed to notice – and, of the Exalts, only Charles and Jason seemed to. Not that anyone really knew too much about the Cauldron Born really – but the news that they were running around piloting indestructible Kaiju manses that they could disguise as humans… was going to cause everything from shock to hysterical laughter. Did they want Charles to build them a fleet of indestructible Manses?!?”
(Charles, puzzledly) “Why? What does that get them? If they need something, why don’t they just ask like everyone else?”
Still… Kaiju manses! He HAD to figure out how to do that! That was WAY COOL!
(Aikiko) “I don’t know! Do you think they want to make every one of us that way?”
(Crays) “I… might want to stay here for the night, actually.” (To Watleigh) “Look at this map, Cody! Can you even imagine the topography?”
He was looking at a map of a tainted land in old Creation…
(Charles) “Ah. Well… Honestly… The universe got rather heavily revised about thirty thousand years ago.”
(Watleigh) “And according to this text… it was much, MUCH smaller before that. This is almost… no, it IS mythic.”
(Charles) “It was the foundation of a LOT of myths. If it helps any… Earth, or at least the solar system, really IS the center of the universe!”
The scientists weren’t entirely sure whether or not that helped, but at least they now had SOME familiar reference point to work from.
Aikiko and the terrestrials… had decided to skip the library and hold their own conference, up on some mountaintops where they wouldn’t be disturbed. They were doing just fine; they were “investigating” the high mountaintops; freed of the need to hide their powers, they were all jumping rather impressively… Air Aspects might not have Athletics as one of their caste abilities, but their anima power served nicely in that regard. Aikiko was actually having to work to keep up!
(Jason, sending a message over the air) “Are you going to be all right, Charles? I’m sorry your… pocket dimension… has been compromised.”
(Charles) “Uhm.. Well, I’ve never had a Kaiju that wanted to hold hands before… I’ll figure out something! Who knows? Maybe they just want to talk really badly!
(Jason) “I’m… not even sure how to handle this! My family sent me to observe your meeting, but they won’t believe this report. “I’ll have to think pretty carefully about how to present this!”
(Charles) “Well, I suppose I can drop by and do some explaining… Oh, hey, it’s almost time to terraform world #72 – and that will complete the first set!”
(Jason) “Uh… need any help with that? We’re pretty good with geomancy… but I’m not sure how to handle THAT, either!”
(Charles) “It’s no worry! I set myself up to do that!”
(Jason) “Okay then!”
What was he dealing with here? Powerful enough to terraform worlds on his own, but naive enough not to have a countermeasure to what just happened? The return to Ireland was going to be most interesting!
Since Jason – and some of the scientists – wanted to watch, Charles was more than willing to show them – and had no objections to them making a few recordings (which would later cause quite a stir…).
Of course, since Charles was there in person, none of the Guardians needed to attend physically. As usual… the Well opened upon to deep space, framing a barren, airless, lifeless, world – a mere chunk of rock drifting in orbit about it’s sun. Then… Charles threw a ray of green-gold light at it, which washed over the planetary surface in a shimmering wave – and left behind it an earthlike world. Then several crews of manse-builders aboard small starships passed through the Well and headed in to make further improvements.
Jason… wanted to know just how that worked. If the world-body hadn’t been a dead giveaway that Charles wasn’t a Terrestrial, the terraforming of a world like that would have been.
(Charles) “Oh, transmutation, lifeweaving, and that sort of thing mostly! With some upgrades!”
(Jason) “Which are presumably beyond even an Elder Wood Aspect’s capabilities . . .”
(Charles) “Only as to scale mostly, they’d have to work in smaller steps!”
What, so… this would be POSSIBLE for them? He’d HAVE to reverse-engineer it somehow!
(Charles) “See, you restructure the geology where you need to, transmute excess crust into air and water, and establish the atmospheric systems. Then you just need to seed it with life-patterns and spread them all over! The deep geology is generally generic enough to use, although sometimes you have to remelt the core and get a magnetic field established!”
Jason… was pretty sure that they could do most of that with enough time and a good deal of Manses – although he wasn’t so sure about tinkering with the cores and magnetic fields. Those sounded like they’d require some pretty potent Earth Manses!
(Charles) “And the Manse-builders build the gateway manses to put it on the network!”
(Charles) “Well, planets aren’t much use if people can’t get there to live on them!”
(Aikiko) “So that IS you! Advertising! That’s… pretty neat, but have you even THOUGHT about how much disruption that will cause?”
(Charles) “And lots of new mountains and things to climb – and lots of new and restored domains to give the domainless gods something to do! And I have thought about it – but I think that it REALLY needs doing!”
(Jason) “Is that a problem? I was going to ask that recordkeeper about you and magic because he was giving off certain readings on my Essence senses… It’s rare to meet a Sidereal and not have him run!”
(Charles) “Well, an awful lot of gods have been out of work for a long time now – and it does some very bad things to them!”
(Jason) “Like what?”
(Charles) “They become vulnerable to a form of devouring madness. Very troublesome!”
(Aikiko) “They’ll eat anything-people, other gods, Exalts, even! It’s . . . pretty sad!”
(Charles) “It needs fixing!
Aikiko sighed. That was the Charles Motto!
(Kiko) “You still haven’t told me how you’re going to fix THAT problem, you know . . .”
(Charles) “Well, restoring their domains will fix most of them! Then all I need to do is to fix Yu-Shan, and Gaia said she’d help with that!”
Both Aikiko and Jason went a little blank – not at the domain part, but at the “fix Yu-Shan and Gaia said she’d help” part. Jason at the idea of fixing Heaven the way he imagined it, and Aikiko at the idea of fixing Heaven as she and Charles both knew that it was. Of course, poor Jason was just told that it was overrun with cannibal gods – and it was taking him some time to process that. The Lunars of the Fellowship did tell the Terrestrials that Heaven was a physical place… but it was not for them to covet! It was for the gods.
(Charles) “And Earth is getting fixed up, and the new planets will make room for everybody, but it’s going to take a long time to fix everything!”
(Jason) “I see . . . your plans are even grander than Matthew said.”
(Charles) “Well you can’t leave things BROKEN. That’s just wrong!”
(Jason) “I’ll see what I can do to help then. It’s clear you could use more security… at least outside here.”
(Charles) “Well… I didn’t have anything ready to prevent being partially boarded by an indestructible wandering Kaiju manse… I hadn’t thought of that!
(Jason, after a slight pause) “Who would?”
(Kiko) “Dude… only you would think of that with a straight face.”
(Charles) “Well, somebody did! Unless it was a complete accident – and what other purpose could firing those cables have? – somebody thought of it… or else is thinking much faster than I am…”
(Kiko) “I don’t remember Windhiam being good with Manses – his thing was artifacts and his car! Maybe Demien? It felt like he was in charge at Crater Lake! But that doesn’t work either! He was a martial artist and assassin!”
(Charles) “That’s a worry! I mostly rely on thinking of things in advance and setting up ways to manage! But if I’m up against somebody who’s thinking I can’t predict because it’s too chaotic and who ALSO thinks faster than I do… That’s real trouble! (pause) Well… Who knows what skills the Raksha brought to the table?”
(Kiko) “Just what I was thinking… I mean, if I were a Raksha merging with an Exalt, I’d want something that gave me stuff I didn’t have.”
That was an awfully worrisome thought! Her old friends were not only… chaotic, and worrisome, and with weird goals, but they might have all kinds of NEW skills and powers!
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CVIII – The Tomes Of Doom (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CIX – Arrangements for Arcosanti from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CX – Visiting Brigadoon (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CXI – The Sailor Brigadoon (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CII – Hooked On A Story (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- [Emergence Campaign] The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CI — To Dance With The Devas In The Pale Moonlight (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CIII – Multiplying And Dividing Factions (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- [Emergence Campaign] The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CIV — Deiphage Slumber Party (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CVII – Copying Errors (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CVI – The High Chancellor (ruscumag.wordpress.com)