Figuring that they’d gotten about as far as was likely with the central authority – he could inform “M”, but he don’t really see any way M could actually use the information either: nobody wanted to overthrow civilization, and there was no point of leverage except that basic threat. No way to get past the blind mask to figure out motives and such either, so there was a distinct shortage of handles to pull or buttons to push.
Kevin checked in on how the repairs on the Mirage were doing – there were finally enough Thralls in enough places to make the communications network effective. Interestingly, the Singularites were perfectly willing to accept the Thralls he’d assigned there as Kevin’s representatives. Apparently they were taking his/their word for it. Of course, he had left them there to help out with the gates.
The techs wanted to know if he wanted all WMD capabilities permanently disabled on the Mirage. Apparently they’d looked into the “black box” or whatever the Mirage’s equivalent was.
He more or less left that up to the Mirage; Kevin trusted IT a lot further than he did Jarvain when it came to things that exploded.
They wound up reversing some procedures: the MIRAGE would propose when WMD’s would be appropriate, then the PILOT would approve or not.
Over in the Dragonworlds, the comparison program had turned up one new ID: apparently a young red dragon female who had managed to annoy a few of the adults. On the other hand, she seemed to have a group of adventurers supporting her and quite a few young males and a few females had disappeared after encounters with her. The adventurer’s DIDN’T seem to have Vekxin-style granted powers, but she seemed to be a part of the group on a partnership basis. She might or might not have a lot of personal power.
Obviously enough they’d never lost, but one young adult green had encountered her and managed to run. For good or ill, his claim that she was not a normal dragon, but was simply disguised as one, had been dismissed as preposterous by the ruling reds. Probably one of the exotics, although she might simply have a really atypical power set.
Hm. Was there a difference?
Kevin linked through a call to Mr Green (and found that he did, indeed, have a soul – a distinct rarity for dragons). He said that he’d felt something pushing against his mind hard, like his will was no longer his own. He managed to resist long enough to get out, although he didn’t want to meet her again. She’d gone through his magical defenses like they were paper (Hm? Psionic?) – and the adventurers had only gotten involved as servants, to block escape attempts, and to lead him to her.
Anyway, she didn’t seem like an easy pickup, she and her friends seemed to have enough power available to take care of themselves, and she was probably too powerful to enthrall anyway.
He could send a Thrall, or manipulate an adult in, to try for some more data – but he was no diviner, and might not get much. Anyway, he sent Mr Green a small gratuity.
You know, the kids were kind of interested in draconic ID’s.
He dropped by in person to set those up for them, and to get them some suitable concubines and attendants (it wasn’t like he couldn’t easily afford it). They turned out to be White, Green, and Black. Hm. Kevin really would have expected metallics given most core youngsters. On the other hand, Thralls were a selected sample.
Well, the local universe should be more than big enough for two, even if no one had taken Kevin’s bait this time around.
On his personal projects, that left checking for more possible recruits (only nine, all from the Manifold rather than Core: geeze; the computers in the Core must really be screening things – worse, they hadn’t yet released his anti-Vekxin / subtly pro-Kevin documentary for general broadcast. Oh well; that had only been a day or two), trying to corner Vekxin – which was more a job for the House at the moment, they were better at coordinating data – and going to move a planet.
Lets see: his best analysis suggested that he’d be best off with 120 Thralls, positioned as equidistantly as he could manage. The mana requirements were going to be considerable though. So: (1) take the thralls, (2) put them aboard Flits (or Orbs or orbital shuttles or some such if available locally), (3) distribute them across the surface to try and stabilize the gate, and (4) open a gate to an appropriate orbit in the Manifold.
He’d prefer a universe with really forgiving planetary dynamics, or even survivable space. That way he wouldn’t have to worry about minor splits in orbit-matching. Since the computers still needed to work it couldn’t get too odd though. Crusader didn’t have a counter-earth at the moment, and it did have a couple of planet-moving types?
Hmm, no counter Earth at the moment. It had been destroyed in an epic battle a year ago – although there were a few superheroes with the ability to move planets available as well. At least that was better than trying to envision a stable orbital insertion: he’d prefer to avoid having it blown up in an epic battle though – and that was only moderately unusual. The programmers weren’t very forthcoming ont hat sort of thing – and live visitors had made the place more than a bit unstable anyway.
Well, the further from earth, the more stable usually. He sent a message to the programmers to leave a particular solar system alone and contacted one of the planet-movers about making any necessary orbital corrections. He was prepared to use a few quotations from the book of threats – or at least lawsuits – but they only wanted to know if this was a part of the “upcoming test”. Sure. Why not?
Right then. Might as well go and give it a try. The place was going to blow within a month anyway, and who knew? The timing could easily be a little off and the remaining inhabitants have already decided to try and “ride it out”. To get that many thralls in one place he’d have to put most of the businesses on a planetary-rescue holiday,
Jarvian had stopped off at Ealor again: he had Mechs to buy. He wanted at least one assault class, two mediums and two lights. Preferably mixing core and singular tech, self-repair systems, the assault mech set up for maximum short-duration firepower, the medium unit being set up for long-range combat, and the light ones being equipped with the best sensors and highly mobile. He wanted a LOT of ammo for the expendable weapons systems – and lots of power. The limits were going to be waste heat; even pumping it out as a photon beam was a long way from 100% efficient. Perhaps some liquid nitrogen reserves and a small liquification plant? A negative energy reserve would work, but it would be insanely dangerous to carry inside – and a force field on the outside would block the use of Wellstone. At least Jarvain didn’t want any WMD in the Cadet’s mechs – and agreed to giving the safety programs override on his.
He’d need Mercenaries, Industrial Machinery, some Teachers to try and upgrade the local tech, and other heavy items for his takeover attempt – but most of that could wait a bit.
Still, if the world they were moving survived, they could probably get quite a lot done there. There was no one else using most of the local resources and production capacity – although there might be computer limits. He’d be going after a small resource planet first: it might have a moderate garrison, but there wouldn’t be any major relief forces on standby in the neightboring systems.