In Battling Business World, Jenkins was trying to calm Lord Zero, the Neitzchian was plotting, deploying its agents, and considering an alliance with the number lords, and the various other local gods were joining up with the local militaries to go to war.
In the Dragonworlds, the secret police were investigating Ailill, a backlash was brewing, and the greater dragonlords were beginning to seriously question what this upstart youngster was up to.
In Faerun, Lloth had begun to take some slight notice of a minor interloper, a small Cult of Kevin was spreading amongst the street children of Waterdeep and the younger dark elves, and the Priestesses of Elistrae hadbegun to draw on a stand-in source of power…
In the Crusader Kingdoms, the remaining sieges were being broken, the undead were being hunted down, trade was expanding, the various faiths were considering what their visitors and allies had implied about the greater universe, and the Higher Powers were becoming more involved – and considering what should be done.
In Inversion, Kevin, Marty, and Xellos were poking around, the situation continued to degenerate – generating an immense psychic pressure from the trapped population – while Merlin and the megalomaniac “God” continued to plot.
In the New Imperium, Revan and the Hellthunder continued their assault on the galaxy, the Hoslin and the Singularites of Ealor continued to settle in and rebuild their lives, and the Jedi Schools continued to take in ensouled youngsters from Core.
In Core, Kevin’s Midnight Gardener project was – as intended – underway and gathering some publicity, Kevin’s contract was moving towards accepted status (leading to a continuing upswing in recruiting in Kadia), the House of Roses and the Core Military continued to expand their operations, and the world-moving preparations were underway on the last worlds threatened by the ring nova.
Baelaria continued to rebuild and expand its trade relations.
In Kadia, the meme-treatments were in full gear, the various research projects were continuing, the Five Worlds were nearly emptied of souls, reinforcements and supplies were being dispatched to the various Disaster Realms under attack by the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, more of Kevin’s dragon-concubines were clutching, Thralls were being recruited in a steady stream, and the soul-mapping and Rosary of Memory search engine were coming along nicely.
In the Manifold in general, the hunt continued for the runaway children of the Singularites of Ealor, Shayn was still doing whatever-it-was that he did, Amarant Solutions was expanding its trade network, the Horseman were recruiting a replacement Death, the Roman Imperium was expanding across a selection of the near-forgotten primitive worlds, and the warfare in the Straits was settling down a bit.
Over in the Linear Realms, King Arthur and the Arrankar were pulling the realm together, Ruth and Arxus were running their own quixotic missions, the House of Roses, the Federated Americas, and other groups were coming to the defense with the assistance of the Thralls, Dr Brenner was developing his powers as a Dark Prophet, Ryan was working on defenses, treaty negotiations were underway, a major invasion was coming, religious revivals were being driven by meme-weapons, the mass disappearances were drawing more and more notice, major portions of the forces of the Underworld was being overpaid by Kadia to help maintain order – and, in the middle of all the chaos, the Neodogs were still running about on child-rescue duty.
The South American Maranhao Linear C was a residential-industrial complex, focusing on agricultural packaging and materials reprocessing. While relatively poor and primitive compared to the North American linear arcologies, the focus on rebuilding the local land for sustainable production had led to exportable food surpluses – of which a certain amount commonly “went astray”, some to the local illegal kids, and some of the best to bribes and underworld channels for special luxuries. Various other illegal drugs and services used those same channels, and the local illegals were often used as runners and lookouts – or as trade goods.
So far, it hadn’t been much touched by the war. Even the meme-weapons could not easily spread through a population where the broadcasting apparatus was so primitive and filled with static.
With the mass disappearances, the number of easy runner and lookout recruits had fallen drastically – making it far harder to avoid hiring someone who was an informer or who was in the pay of another gang. With the local underworlds restive, and difficult to separate from the local authorities in any case, there had been a crackdown on unauthorized travel, rumor-mongering, and anything they thought was odd – and the neodogs definitely were.
The local authorities wanted to know what was going on. If there was money, they wanted in on it. If it was a change, it was a potential threat to their positions – and they didn’t like potential threats.
It was officially deniable of course – you could always blame the underworld or some over-enthusiastic (and disposable) subordinate – but if the kids were vanishing, it seemed likely that some of them knew to where – and that meant that the information could be beaten out of them. Of course, if the kids didn’t know – well, a few illegal children would be no loss and at the moment there need be no explanation whatsoever for their disappearance. They were disappearing anyway.
They scooped up twenty or thirty and hauled them into an unused annex of one of the industrial packaging areas for interrogation – to start with, a simple attempt to beat information out of them
It didn’t take long for the local pack of Neodog operatives to get wind of THAT. That was just not acceptable! They’d have to rescue the kids, then make sure that the local “authorities” didn’t snatch any more, than do something about that corruption! Mistreating children was just NOT ACCEPTABLE.
Sasha took her pack-team and headed down to do something about it.