After the remote consultation with M, their next destination was Baelaria. The obvious route was through the gate to the Singularites new world, across the New Imperium to Galdren, and from there take the train to Baelaria.
There would doubtless be side-projects along the way. Jarvis wanted to find a way to be tougher and provide heavy fire support without a mech – and it looked like the Praetorian technology would be a lead in that direction. Raphial and Marty were interested in the Praetorian technology as well (Raphial very, Marty vaguely), although Kevin thought they were pretty much nuts. Everyone was interested in fouling up Clan Smoke Jaguar in the Battletech Realms as well. As for individual projects – Kevin wanted to visit Hogwarts, as well as dropping by the Dragonworlds, Marty wanted to bring in some staff from Battling Business World (and that was sure to become a disaster), Jarvian wanted more mechs and to see if Baelaria could make suitable frameworks.
(For other private interests they had Rifts, Exalted, any Random Anime universe that came along, Samurai Jack, World of Darkness, Faerie, a Zombie World, Pirates of the Carribean, a historical Robber-Baron world, and a Video-game world with lots of chances to use athletic skills and blow things up).
Meanwhile, the Singular folk were busy setting up manufacturing and power production facilities (the New Imperium was providing plenty of help) – and Marty’s core office was seeing a lot of inquiries travel arrangements out of Core into some of the more populated Realms with significant resources. There were also raids going on against a technology company there: There seems to be a new supply of tech out there that works reasonably well most places. Kuat Drives company is reportedly hiring more ship technicians to get a job done in the New Imperium.
Jarvian, still trying to catch up, was where the gateway to Singular ought to be. Unfortunately, it seemed to have gone missing. Odd. They usually took longer than that to fade out. Still, there were shifts that closed them sometimes and openers could close gates as well as open them. Still, they’d need to take another route. There should be a gate on the major moon. Fortunately, the Mirage could reach it easily.
Back on Ealor, the Singularins were busy building a nanite assembler facility. Kevin and Marty suggested checking the programming VERY carefully before activating anything: the system had just made a trip through Battling Business World.
The Wingates had a brief discussion with Kevin – mostly revolving around the local possibilities for trade, where to send representatives, whether there might be any more survivors, and “what ARE you? HOW do you open gateways between the Worlds?” (Directed to Kevin).
They sent representatives to the Imperial Capital, to the House of Roses, and to the Federated Americas. As for more survivors – the robots had pretty well surveyed the surface in the version of the version of Singular the group had visited: It’d been 50-60 years after the war there, so there were probably no survivors left in that reality. Really close alternates tended to merge – but they could check over their version: it would be easy enough to reach the surface from the moon. Of course, everyone was still alive. It was just that most of them would be in new incarnations – and might or might not remember anything. It was possible to locate them – but it was a great deal of work, and might or might not be welcome… The Singularins decided to think about that later.
As for how Kevin could open gates between worlds – it pretty much came down to he could shift reality by drawing – in some undefined manner – on the forces which defined the universes. He could even share a bit of that power – enough to let them operate existing gateways – with others, but not enough to let them open their own gates. As for WHAT he was – he would say he was human. Just one who could tap sources of energy unavailable to most.
As for the possibilities for local trade – they had some technological marvels: nanotech that was beyond what worked reliably in core (and far beyond that of the New Imperium), advanced fusion reactors, advanced computer systems, advanced software, wellstone material (the stuff with programmable surface structure) in various shapes and sizes. Marty and Kevin recommended either the New Imperium or Core. Most of their stuff was hard-science enough to work in a lot of realms, unlike the wish-fulfillment teach like the “hypermatter” of the New Imperium – tended to be limited to particular realms. Marty suggested focusing on Wellstone for the moment. The New Imperium tended to focus on scale, not subtlety.
What they wanted was a flit as a start (easy enough) – and they could always use information, influence, supplies, raw material, and tech they didn’t already have, among other things. Kevin recommended some core educational programs as well…
Marty found that the best bet looked like the Corellian Shipyards. They’d been looking for something to give them an edge against Kuat Drive Systems for the last few years. They hired a freighter to take some reps there – and went along to continue providing explanations.
Meanwhile, Jarvian had gone through the lunar gateway – in the middle of a pretty impressive crater: the impact had obviously come close to shattering the entire moon. It opened into deep space, in the middle of a wrecked battle fleet (probably the Hellstorm’s doing). Lots of signs of fighting, no life signs. Really BIG weapons. Fusion Warhead plus. They poked around a bit, picked up a stray droid, and set out for the nearest inhabited planet.
The trading expedition ran across Jarvian on the way and picked him – and Gerald and the Mirage – up. Explaining to the Mirage that they were in a “Star Wars” realm occupied the time for a bit. Explaining the Hellstorm to the freighter crew was at least as complicated.
Then they had to explain the Corellian Shipyards – orbital facilities hundreds of miles across around three of the planets – to the representatives of a realm that worked mostly in nanotechnology.
The negotiations were straightforward – Marty acted as a representative/translator (on commission) and Kevin handled writing up the contract. He then went looking for the local black market, but virtually all this version of Corellia sold was ships. Marty picked up a tramp freighter that just seemed to be calling to him and Kevin went looking for Gates (and recruitable Thralls. Jarvian and the Singularites would like a permanently-assigned assistant). He really needed a quick side trip of two.