Federation-Apocalypse Session 93b – Car Wars II, The New Crash

   Back in Battling Business World, Marty was reveling in a return to general mindless violence… It didn’t ALWAYS have to make sense! He’d kind of missed just diving in with a knife!

   He couldn’t help himself though. He tried to organize the battle and apply some tactics… Core really was rubbing off on him a bit – but there was still plenty of chaos and confusion!

   The Corporate Restructuring – well, OK, the Marketshare Wars – were still in full swing, and, thanks to the iCar proposal, were likely to remain so for some time, despite Marty’s having gotten BMW and Nissan to team up and launch an all out assault on the Toyota-Volkswagon partnership that was currently dominating the field.

   Marty hesitated… Know what? It was time to start thinking more! He was going to direct from the back. Even if he had no strategic experience to draw on!

   Toyota was holding off his forces handily, while Volkswagon was working on finishing off GM and Chrysler.

   Marty swore… Was it superior weapons? Superior strategy? American raiders too amused by the poor dubbing to fight effectively?

   Aw. Nothing so amusing. It just looked like the American companies had gotten a bit too complacent, slow, and green, to be able to fight effectively while Toyota and Volkswagon both appeared to be fighting at the top of their game. BMW was full of elites, but lacked numbers, while Nissan had numbers, but not the superior weapons of Toyota and Volkswagon.

   Drat it! There had to be some way to turn it around! He knew they were fighting in the flatlands of Flyover Country, but there had to be some part of the terrain they could exploit!

(Rookie) “Well, we could always hire more contractors!”

(Marty) “Can we do that that quickly? Wouldn’t the rapid-response fee be over budget?”

(Rookie) “Not usually, but….

(Marty) “But what?”

(Rookie) “Well isn’t there that new group that’s been running around? They apparently move around very fast and are known for exceptional performance.”

(Marty) “Haven’t heard of them…”

(Rookie) “I think they started operations after you went to that other branch. They;’re an odd bunch; they all wear tuxedos and are supposedly very professional. I think they are called the Tux Elite.”

   Marty placed a few calls… He’d try to find out more – but, in the meantime, he had to find some way to turn the tide! The new hybrid ammunition and more ammo efficient-firearms were giving the enemy too big an advantage! Their weapons were lighter, more efficient, and more reliable than everyone else’s.

   Why did there have to be a regulation exemption for the heavy manufacturing industry? Just because they were the giants of industry…

   Marty felt a bit inadequate – until he remembered that he was packing a blaster pistol.

   Could he improve on that by making it sentient? It wasn’t like he had a lot of practice with guns after all… as long as it was pointed towards the enemy, it should be ok. Maybe he could even get Limey or the girls to duplicate it somehow.

   It would be coolest if they could copy it while it was sentient, but Marty had no idea at all what that might do.

   He settled for having the girls wake up people’s existing weapons. That way, they could provide covering fire for the human raiders… It might be a problem later on though. Could he reverse the sentience once he did it? The military didn’t look kindly on civilian sentient guns that hadn’t served! Reversing sentience had been done, but it usually involved stashing the device somewhere in isolation until it fell asleep indefinitely – and even then they were prone to awakening again when disturbed.

   Well… He could stash them in a mini-storage place! There had to be one around that was nutty enough to take a bunch of sentient guns… Or he could give them opportunities to shoot people in the Middle East. There were always a lot of opportunities for guns there!

   His companions suggested that he just be practical, and suggest that they head to the nearest recruitment center after this fight. That way, certain people were less likely to get even madder at him.

   The first batch went rather well, the firearms were more than enthusiastic about shooting people. Many went off merely from the anticipation of the coming battle. Soon enough though he wound up having to resort to more… violent measures to awaken them. Those wound off going off into his face the first time – and showed no compunctions about being aimed at anyone, combatant or not.

   Marty wound up with 75 sentient firearms – of which nearly half were complete loose cannons.

   Volkswagon and Toyota had nearly six hundred men each. BMW and Tata only had about ninety each – but 75 sentient pistols would likely make a difference if they could be used at a particularly weak point in the enemy formation.

   Marty wasn’t that hot at tactics – but if he could get a small force between the forces of Toyota and Volkswagon and starting shooting at each, then he might be able to hit them at their weakest point. If he was lucky, he might even get each of them to think that the other was betraying them.

   Marty got plenty of volunteers for the probable suicide mission. After all, they were only risking one day’s pay, and it would be fun!

   Wait, how would he get his forces into position? Toyota and Volkswagon were back to back surrounded by GM, Chrylser, Nissan, and BMW.

   Well, he had enough flying pharmaceuticals for a modest group…

   They flew in, notifying their allies beforehand. They took full advantage of cloud cover, although Marty would have preferred burrowing stuff.

   The flight over the battlefield was both exhilarating and frightening at the same time. The level of carnage firearms could bring upon the masses was unparalleled. The closest thing in Marty’s experience was the Siege of Jerusalem – of which visions flashed through his mind. No wonder guns were banned for everybody but heavy industry…

   Oh, neat! That guy’s head had exploded! DAMMIT! He wasn’t supposed to think like that! He had to value human life!

   The critical point was conveniently empty of enemy forces for several hundred yards in all directions.

   Uh oh. Ambush.

Federation-Apocalypse Session 93a – The Midnight Gardener

   Kevin was brooding… Why would Famine be so powerful? Famine hadn’t been that big a threat in a long time, while disease was still around. OK, it was a reduced menace in Core too – but the last of the great plagues to sweep through the race were FAR more recent than epic-scale famines! He HAD to be drawing on Core! Nowhere else had the kind of unified belief to tap like that! The worlds of the Manifold had more local concerns, and far too many separate foci for any one of them to have that kind of power! Much less power that extended across the worlds. That was why he drew some of HIS power from the people of the Core! Why would fear of Famine be stronger than War? War was still a current…

   Wait.

   Famine was more than lack of food and the fear of starvation.

   Could Famine be drawing power from a scientific belief? It wouldn’t have the edge, or urgency, of the old fears – but everyone in core was well aware of entropy. More people now believed that the universe would eventually grow old, and die – starved for energy, and fading into an eternal cold darkness – than had ever even HEARD of the “horseman of the apocalypse” in all of history.

   Kevin, with his usual adolescent enthusiasm, promptly took “a quick hypothesis” for “a working theory” and set to work.

   He might be Core-educated, but he was an Opener with vast reserves of power to draw on – and he was far too used to having his casual theories spring to life as externalized facts to worry too much about the difference between leaping to a conclusion and hard information.

   Besides, it wasn’t like he didn’t have the resources to start a side-project.

   So how could he launch an assault on Entropy? Pulling all of humanity into the Manifold would work – but it would mean abandoning Core, which was unacceptable. He wanted the number of human souls in existence to expand perpetually…

   So; assign some Thralls to – err… Project: Midnight Gardener – and maybe hire a few people and make inquiries – as to… hmm…

   1) The occurrence of stars and astronomical objects in the Milky Way that need removing – stars that were entering really dangerous pre- super- or hyper-nova stages, neutron stars that were spiraling into each other or colliding to produce gamma ray bursters, and similar menaces – and the frequency with which new ones appeared.

   2) Some good estimates on the velocity, state, and composition of matter which would need to be fed into the outer disk to maintain starbirth and keep the normal-matter sections of the galaxy in a semi-steady state.

   3) The rate at which it would be necessary to remove mass from the supermassive black hole at the core of the galaxy to keep it stable. It could be fed negative energy to reduce it’s mass, even if that process would generate an enormous flood of radiant waste energy which would need to be directed out of the galaxy… Hm. Would that be distinguishable from a “naturally” active galactic nucleus?

   Were there any naturally active galactic nuclei? Was an energetic galaxy a sign of a wide-spread galactic maintenance project? Was it possible that such a project was already running in the Milky Way? What would be the lesser signs of such a thing, and was it really too necessary as yet? It might explain the relative scarcity of dangerous astronomical activity – although individual Openers might also account for that.

   He could look into that later.

   It would be a worthwhile project to get started even if there was no connection with Famine (and it turned out to be impossible to convince everyone that the end of time could be forestalled indefinitely). The Heat Death of the Core universe was NOT acceptable.

   Some of the scientists he contacted gave him such LOOKS…

   There was even one guy muttering about “Hubris”. Well, it wasn’t like he had DELUSIONS of godhood… According to Ryan he had the real thing!

   It took several hours to get that project properly explained and started.

   Meanwhile, over in Battling Business World…