Back at his headquarters, Marty started making some arrangements… He’d have to make sure that his siblings were keeping up with their educations – although, given how big Kevin was on that and the general semi-mandatory availability of Teacher, that probably wasn’t a big worry.
He’d hold Kevin scolding them for an absolutely last resort. He didn’t want his siblings to have the regrets he did.
Elera and Minel thought that it would probably be possible to counteract his father – although Marty kind of hated to do it,. Still, there WAS a difference between being a fun father, and being completely ignorant of all parenting He’d had to learn the difference the hard way!
After that was set up, he went to find out about his legitimate Email – encountering some of Limey’s booby traps along the way (which was a bit startling – what was up there? Surely Limey knew that blowing him up wouldn’t work, and even if it would, WHY? Some sort of discipline was in order!) – and to see if Limey was still steamed up.
Limey was – he’d been having a LOT of fun there – but was also a bit subdued.
The legitimate messages included loads of business deals, contacts, and stuff related to Amarant Solutions. The rest included autograph requests, fan mail, and other nonsense. Apparently Core filtering systems approached AI levels. Still, there was some from Mr Leland… It was kind of nice to be able to communicate with the boss through normal means again!
It was easy enough, if a bit time-consuming – although Minel found an answer from Kevin on their inquiry about Limey, and had shown it to them both.
“That’s odd. It must be something to do with the merger. As a Thrall, he should be asking for permission for stuff like that BEFORE doing it. As a laptop, he shouldn’t be doing stuff like that at all – and should just power down when you’re away unless you left him a job. Either way… either he’s doing things that he knows will cause trouble for you on purpose, or you’re indirectly telling him he should and rewarding him. Since Minel here says he’s acted up before, telling him to stop won’t do much; he’ll just find another way to act out. If you don’t want to put up with some other stunt next week, you’ll have to seriously punish him. If he’s being a bad dog, a visit to the vet and a cage for when you’re away might get him over it. It’s not like that kind of thing is really permanent.”
Oh dear. That was really far more ruthless than he wanted to be with his little buddy! Still, it had some pretty obvious uses on the intimidation front – and getting the boy to THINK about his impulses would help a lot!
Wait, had he just expressed a preference for thinking before acting? GAAAH! Gelman really WAS getting to him!
(Marty) “Did you understand that, Limey?”
(Limey, deciding to bluff it out – or perhaps that Marty would say that he’d “never do that”) “What did he mean a visit to the vet?”
(Marty, rather pleased – he wouldn’t of course, but the suggestion definitely had the boys attention!) “I think he means neutering your werewolf form and boxing you up when I’m gone. What do you think Kevin means, Minel?”
(Limey) “You wouldn’t!!!”
(Minel) “Oh, I’d say so; it’s not like he wasn’t abusing the privilege there. I’m pretty sure he KNEW that he was defying you! Kevin’s not big on Thralls acting up.”
(Marty) “Yeah, just look at what he did to that kid who let the mean doctor abuse the neodogs.”
(Limey) “Oh, him? He’s funny!” (Limey shut up very abruptly, realizing that that particular statement might have been a tactical error).
(Marty, cheerily continuing the “pure intimidation” strategy) “Oh, cheer up little buddy! It’s not permanent! You’re a werewolf-Thrall, and will regenerate! And maybe you’ll learn something!”
Limey was busy trying to think of some way to imply that he hadn’t been flaunting all his fun in front of Ikeran, and was being very quiet.
(Marty just smiled) “So Minel, who’s the best vet in Kadia?”
(Minel looked thoughtful for a moment) “The Thelmon services group is best! They specialize in species-transformations, modifications, and genetic alterations!”
(Marty) “Huh. Well, maybe they can get our little friend to apologize for being a disobedient laptop. Or werewolf. Whatever.”
(Minel) “Shall I make him an appointment?”
(Marty) “Well, buddy, you know how you can fix this. What do you say?”
(Limey) “But you didn’t SAY I shouldn’t! I’m Sorry! Don’t take me there! I don’t wanna be like Ikeran!”
(Marty, deciding that the point was made) “Well damn. You’re right. (He picked Limey up and snuggled him) Look, I want you to be a good boy, okay? Don’t run around with girls, don’t disobey me, and don’t try to hurt me. I’m trying to be a better guy than I was back home.”
He held a private consultation with Minel though. Something really was strange there; A normal thrall wouldn’t have been setting booby-traps, would have checked before starting a harem in the first place – and wouldn’t have protested such a decision from his owner.
Marty had been thinking much the same thing – and had her start probing while Limey was so distracted. It was certainly easy enough to see the “No girls at ALL?” question in Limey’s head!
(Marty) “Yes, kiddo! No girls at all. At least not romantically. You can talk to them though.”
Minel didn’t have the power to probe too deeply – but thought that it had to be some interaction between the Thrall-bond and the Computer-logic. It left him unsure of who to obey – and made him something of a wild card. Conflicted between Marty and Kevin – and between rebellious-adolescent, sapient device, and wolf.
There had to be some way to get one dominant! Marty hated seeing the little guy so confused, and it was his fault! A transformation? But he’d had enough of that… Mental exploration? But he was pretty sure that what was going on wasn’t a misunderstanding, it was suddenly having contradictory stuff crammed into his head!
Could he just pour more power into one aspect until it dominated by default? He knew at least part of the technique and he certainly had power to spare! Would that reconcile things? He REALLY didn’t want to resort to drastic methods! Besides… Limey was due for an upgrade, and he could always fall back on mental exploration once he had him to the point where there WAS a dominant “self” again! The kid – as his personal assistant – would need it when he really got going on the godhood bit!
Hm… It looked like his personality would be… a lot like it was now, but with fewer conflicts. That would do! At least a lot better than him being like this! Plus, he’d have Kevin formally transfer the bond!
As for the sixty-odd werepuppies on their way… Oh well. Kevin was currently running a large-scale planetary colonization / breeding program for the Thralls. There were tens of thousands of participants in that already. Another sixty kids was nothing.
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 138b – Accumulating Chaos (ruscumag.wordpress.com)