Marty mused… hey, there WAS another benefit to this multi-presence thing! It really was a big help at looking at places from an exterior point of view… Of course, it also meant that your various versions were sitting in judgement on each other.
Which was WEIRD.
At least he wasn’t as susceptible to identity takeovers as Kevin was… Maybe that was because he was an adult and had had time to establish who he was? Were the kids identities running rampant because he had all his attention and willpower tied up in keeping his powers under control?
Wait. If he just took care to remember that his basic, human, identity was HIM, that should… wait; had Kevin messed that one up when he made Kadia his primary home and opted to be a dragon there? If only he’d realized that sooner! That would make mending his psyche much harder!
Blast it! The kid adapted to situations so fast that it LOOKED like he knew what he was doing and had a contingency plan in place for everything. It had taken him until now to realize that the kid was simply going with the flow! He was never really surprised because he was operating under dream-logic in the first place!
How had the kid become such a concern of his anyway? Was it just more of that responsibility stuff creeping up on him, was it just that no one else seemed to be there, or was it just that all this hanging around the kid was making him a father-figure whether he liked it or not?
Oh well! He had accountants to deal with at the moment!
Huh… He’d never really thought about it before – but there was a reason why the corporations of Battling Business World put up with accountants that terrorized their own companies! They could do complex math and handle bureaucracy without explosions of rage like nearly everyone else. They were worth the trouble because most battlers were limited to ordinary addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. That gave them a stranglehold on economics, math education, engineering, and most of the sciences. They held the world’s knowledge together.
Before the Number Lords came, most of them had simply been really strong-willed individuals. Some had been really stubborn – but few of them had been outright insane like modern numerologists were.
Another thing to chalk up against the Number Lords – but mow most of them were sane again.
It all hinged on whether or not they recognized that they’d been being used – and if he could explain things and start slipping a few of them out from under Lord Zero without provoking an immediate duel with the Number Lord.
Oh well! Dumping money all over Manhattan would draw a lot of their attention anyway!
The Accountants did indeed want to know why the hell Marty undermining reality by devaluing money and messing up the books all over the place with unbalanced entries!
(Marty) “I apologize for disturbing you fine servants of the Number Lords. I was not aware I could control my Cash Cloud’s droppings until I tried! Do you need any help with fixing the damage?”
(Accountants, in auditorial voices of doom) “Well, first off, how much did you drop?”
(Marty) “Oh, no more than a hundred per person. Enough for a nice dinner at a nice restaurant!”
(Accountants) “Aargh! At the population of New York City… That’s nearly two billion! And a good quarter of it will wind up with the Ghetto Union! At about two and a half million each!”
Marty frowned… what… Oh! (as his own numerological powers reached out to provide an answer). There had only two or three ghetto scenes in the entire original production – and they were just background images that got recycled. Battling Business World Manhattan had massive ghettos, and wherever you went the place was swarming – with the same people. There were millions of ghetto dwellers, but they were all played by about 200 people; they just got to appear in a lot of places at once!
He should have watched the DVD before he returned. Ah well! He’d play it by ear!
(Marty) “I take it that’s going to be a bother to fix.”
(Accountants) “You know how absurd it’s going to be when every ghetto-dweller is using a chauffeured limo? The gold chains and the bling were bad enough!”
They did have a point of sorts there.
(Marty) “So what can we do about it?”
(Accounts) “Well… We could try to hire some replacemant ghetto dwellers… but most of the ones from other places look different! Trying to get the money back is impossible! No one can ever get a refund from a ghetto dweller!.. We could try to cover it up as a welfare error perhaps!”
(Marty) “What’s that going to take?”
(Accountants) “What else! An assault on the Department of Health and Welfare! The only trouble is, what with the Transformation Plague that’s gone through the bureaucracy, they’re all a bunch of dinosaurs!”
(Marty) “Not to worry! I’ll help you out! All I ask on your part is a favor.”
(Accountants) “You should talk! Even at 80% off, Tyranosaurs have big teeth!
(Marty) “Please, I’ve fought things that have eaten planets.”
(Accountants) “You really think you can do it?”
(Marty) “Yeah. And I don’t even want anything other than that favor.”
(Accountants) “Which would be?”
(Marty) “After we get this done, come with me to my home. I’ve got things to discuss with you guys.”
(Accountants) “Hrm… No funny stuff! We’ve heard about the kind of parties you godly types can get up to!”
(Marty) “I promise. Would you like to make a contract to that effect with me?”
(Accountants) “Hrm… Very well!”
The accountants directed him to the appropriate offices… They also had no problems with using a Great Oathbinding to reinforce the contract; Marty wouldn’t harm them, and in return, they wouldn’t try to do anything funny themselves.
Hmm… There were a lot of ankylosaurs (secretaries and messengers), quite a lot of raptors of various types (ambitious bureaucrats), a scattering of other types (stegosaurs in the records department mostly), and tyrannosaur department heads.
Well, it was pretty obvious that – like any bureaucracy – if he just went for the head, somebody even worse would get promoted (or, presumably, transformed in this case). The velociraptors were just WAITING to devour someone else’s responsibilities and get bigger!
He’d have to go after the Raptors first. There were almost a hundred and fifty of them!
Maybe he could pull off a “reduce monster” effect with his Mathematical magic? It wouldn’t normally stretch that far, but if reality was loose enough in Battling Business World to let Limey start a transformation plague with a bit of file editing…
Ah! He could just use a multiplier spell! A bunch of Bureaucrats (even if they did have big teeth) were no match for Lord Marty, the Martial Comforter of Numerologists! He could even get the accountants to boost him a bit!
Pint-sized raptors would be kind of cute! And an aura of pleasure would work on quite a few of the “herbivores”! He had Minel get some power tools to deal with any reinforced doors he might encounter too! And some traps! And some…
Wait. This was going to be rather a lot to carry on a wild rampage. These WERE dinosaurs he was talking about.
He went looking for a sapient truck who was open to a bit of shady freelance work.
He found one soon enough. He’d never seen a truck smoking a muffler before. It chomped on the end with it’s radiator, and growl something about “it being an anti-pollution model, so what’s it to ya?”
What, it was a smoke-belching truck? Oh! It had just EATEN an anti-pollution model!
(Marty) “Hey, want to help me and some accountants fight dinosaurs? You get a free vacation out of the deal!”
(Truck) “What, you found another enclave of those blasted steam engines?”
What? Was it hard of hearing? Those victorian-era steam engine enclaves were a bother… Oh! It’s definition of “dinosaurs” was a bit different from his!
(Marty) “No, but where I’m going to take you, there aren’t any steam engines or pollution. Ithought I saw them operating computers with steam engines, though, so you can help us.”
(Truck) “Wat a barstard ting to do! What’s it pay though? Leaded or Unleaded?
(Marty) “What would you prefer?”
(Truck) “Leaded o’ course. You get a better exchange rate with them as need it!”
(Marty) “Plenty of leaded for you then.”
(Truck) “Roight then! Whatcha need movin’?”
Marty reflected for a moment. The records room was down in the nuclear attack shelter beneath the building. It had been decided that records needed the protection; the people would just be back at work tomorrow anyway.
Marty had to laugh. Bureaucrats… So insane, and yet so sensible at the same time!
(Marty) “I need you to move that building! That will show the dinosaurs!”
(Truck) “Hrm… Roit then! Oi’ll be back in about ten minutes!”
Ten minutes? He didn’t look like he was about to call the police or anything… Oh! He was just considering how to move the building.
The truck was back shortly with a load of… something. It came to a screeching halt that turned into a flip that hurled the load into the building as it landed on its tires. There was a moments pause before the explosion…
That was actually pretty impressive!
The building bulged out most comically, then took off for orbit on a pillar of flames…
(Truck) “That’ tere’s concentrated balonium! Pure political statements! More hot air per cubic centimeter than anythin else in th known universe!”
(Marty) “Augh! Gotta stop it before the pressure and suffocation get them!”
Minel laughed and paid the Truck. It had earned it!
At the moment, the building was at eight thousand feet and climbing… He didn’t yet have magic strong enough to fix that!
On the other hand, he could fly, though not fast enough to catch up.
(Marty) “Hey, you got any balonium left?”
(Truck) “Heh! Trouble with that stuff is getting rid of it! There’s ALWAYS more Balonium!”
Okay! Marty had Minel make a balonium rocket pack, and used his Math magic to enhance her already-impressive working speed, just to be sure. Then he put it on and tried to catch up!
Soon he was entering the stratosphere, chasing an ever-accelerating office building powered by inflammatory political statements and crewed by hundreds of panicky dinosaurs. There were dozens of tiny velociraptors trying to shove the balonium out of the building while the ankylosaurs approached it very slowly.
Still, tipping them over was enough to keep them out of the way! He could only get one at a time with the Hand of Shadows, but he could do that while stealthily working his way into the building. Fortunately, the general panic provided excellent cover. No one here was sure that their death benefits covered political acts or even if this somehow counted as being fired!
Sadly, the Velicioraptors were having trouble handling the Balonium now that it was burning. Trying to pick it up with their mouths kept leading to them swallowing it, and then they started making speeches. Worse, it seemed that raptors who swallowed too much Balonium turned into flame-war breathing dragons. Who knew?
There were eight of them already… Well, they had wings! Marty threw them out of the building too!
With Hand of Shadows to steer with, Minel’s fireproof barriers to help channel the balonium thrust, and the windows sealed to hold the atmosphere, Marty attempted to Bring in dinosaurs from space aboard a building plunging like an asteroid…
He brought it down in rural New York. About eighty miles from the City… The landing was a little rough, but better than he could reasonably expect.
The dinobureaucrats’ promptly started filing for business-related travel mileage.
Marty gated back to the shelter and had Minel open the door now that most of the dinosaurs were out of the way. The accountants had gotten a bit scalded when the building unexpectedly took off – but they were Battlers, and resistant to angry messages anyway.
All that left was some stegosaurs with spectacles. They were in the vault updating records, and hadn’t yet noticed any problem…
(Stegosaur) “Hrrrrrmmmmm? Did you have a records request?”
(Marty) “Yeah, I need all the records of New York City Ghetto Union Welfare Payments for the last week!”
(Stegosaur) “Hrrrrrrmmmmm…. Do you have a request form?”
Marty used his Contract Magic to conjure one up! It was a bit fringe, but even a half-way decent forgery would keep them busy for quite long enough. They WERE slow!
(Marty) “Yes I do!”
(Stegosaur) “Hrrrmmmmm…. Hrrrmmmmm…. Hrrmmmm…
That continued for some time as the dinosaur slowly went through every line.
Minel spun an illusion of them all waiting.
That let them get to, and revise, the records. Of course, that would probably get some bureaucrats into trouble for paying out two billion dollars, but that was their problem and it wasn’t like they didn’t have tenure. Besides… who was going to try to imprison a dinosaur? It would take the military, and most of them were busy fighting desert wars.
Marty held the meeting on Battling Business World II, in Escrima, through another portal. There he explained what his alternate numerology entailed – emphasizing that it didn’t harm the user’s sanity.
That certainly has it’s attractions – but it required that they shift their allegiance from the Number Lords to Marty. Still, that would let them remain normal humans and not digits. Heck, if they wanted to, they could even have second homes in this alternate of their dimension. He didn’t even require them to be celibate or have a limited number of kids! That was just stupid. Competition was always good for the consumer!
But those apartments… they were for FREE!
Marty was amused. Rent-controlled apartments were apparently a far bigger draw than sanity, being allowed to have fun, and all the other advantages he was offering!
They’d start selectively and quietly spreading the word! That would probably attract the attention of Lord Zero fairly shortly – in BBW accountants don’t normally disappear from his awareness in large numbers – but by then he might have the advantage!
He told him that – if they saw Terry Jenkins – they should tell her that he’d like to meet with her.
The accountants planned to hold a large online meeting and vote, so they could get an exact percentage.
(Marty) “Hey, no problem with that. Just try to get good cybersecurity on that. Jenkins did something funny with computers for whatever made Lord Zero sane.”
(Accountants) “A most impressive stunt – one I would have considered impossible.”
(Marty) “I guess her Champion status let her do that. Anyway, who needs a residence here? I don’t want your old master eating any of you!”
He had the thralls keep an eye on them for the next couple of days, in case regaining sanity had side effects.
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 172b – The Audit (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 172a – The Wheel of Incarnations (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 171 – Into the Magestorm (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 170b – The Core Resistance (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 169a – Egging Them On (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 169b – Egging Them On (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 170a – The Preliminary Assault (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse 167 – Sights To See While Golem Out (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 166 – Chilling with the Cat Clan (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Federation-Apocalypse Session 165 – The Siege of Barrataur (ruscumag.wordpress.com)