Federation-Apocalypse Session 187 – The Vengeance of the Demon God

Two girls protesting child labour (by calling ...

The more things change... Well, the more they become really different.

Meanwhile, something had occurred to Kevin; perhaps Mr Anvari had another kid or two in the right age range! That wasn’t terribly unlikely on a colony planet and it would help explain part of that vehemence!

If he did, and if he could catch him or her too, it would really rub it in!

He had that checked out.

Oh cool! Mr Anvari had a daughter named Mirlena who was just a little above the minimum age (and reasonably cute too, although part of that was just that he didn’t own her – yet) and an older son named Darius who was still five or six years below the maximum! He’d have to recruit them if it was at all possible! That would really tick the man off! He’d even authorize adding in some extra-special goodies in the contract for them if they were wavering!

When he asked Rusty if he’d called home, Rusty said that he and his siblings had already discussed what they’d heard about the Thrall-contract a few times when their parents weren’t around (a lot of kids were doing that these days) – and he’d already been in touch with them to tell them from firsthand experience how cool the powers were and much he was enjoying himself as a Thrall! He wasn’t suffering a bit!

Hm. Given that Rusty’s mind was completely open to him, Kevin could easily see that he had skipped over his having been fixed; he’d been a bit embarrassed about discussing something that personal with his siblings – and had known that “recruiting” was always a goal and that his older brother might not be entirely rational about that bit. He’d stressed the “Adventuring with Kevin!” and the “Powers!” part instead of the “Being a Pet!” part.

Now that couldn’t have gone better if he’d intentionally ordered it! Rusty was the BEST puppy!

Most of Rusty’s more distant relatives were pleased that he’d promptly sent them contact information – but they hadn’t been particularly worried anyway; to most of them Thralldom sounded like an extended kids adventure – and, in some cases, one that they wished had been available when THEY’D been kids. Most Thralls stayed in touch with home, did useful and quite benevolent things, and ran around enjoying themselves. Ok, they were indentured – but they were pretty much absolutely guaranteed to come through it all safely. Even in Core before the Opening that had never been a sure thing for a child – especially outside of the solar system.

His father, Savil Anvari, was quite enraged – but he HAD been a lot more temperamental than was at all normal recently; his son’s recruitment might be more of an excuse than a cause… His mother, Elandara, was somewhat distressed; her son obviously wasn’t in any danger – which was an improvement on a lot of other adventures he might have run off to undertake – but her idiot husbands outbursts had obviously left Kevin determined to prove that he COULD treat her son like a dog if he so desired!

If only he’d just left it alone… Kevin’s Thralls HAD helped save their world and lives, and were mostly running around being happy, if crazily powerful, kids. But no! He had to get into a pissing contest with an adolescent dimensional overlord archmage and set him to using her son to… make grandiose rude gestures with.

Still… For a supposed “Dark Lord” who could casually move worlds, grandiose rude gestures were a pretty mild reaction.

If only they didn’t involve her son!

Perhaps… perhaps she could do something about it. Kevin was evidently still human – and childish – enough to be diverted into nonsensical shouting matches with people like Savil. That was definitely hopeful!

She settled down to doing a little serious research before trying to get into direct contact with her son. A day or two would make no difference – he’d obviously been happy (at least to judge by the bounce in his step and (sigh) the way his new tail had been wagging) and safe enough (thanks to the safety features of both being a Thrall AND Kadia) as he’d left for Kadia with his (sigh) new master – and it would be best to have some in-depth background to evaluate things against!

The Thrall-Contract was… revealing and incredible. The fact that it had been approved by the computer systems and various other authorities pretty much said that it was genuine. She’d heard of the basics of course after Kevin and his Thralls had moved their planet forty light years in an afternoon – but the sheer number of abilities, and benefits, and skills, was quite astounding, even without throwing in immortality, free access to the facilities and luxuries of Kadia, high salaries, and (sigh) the throwing out of pretty much all the now-unnecessary safety precautions of Core and restrictions on adolescent urges.

She could see how a lot of children would go for it even if they weren’t desperate.

The data on Thrall-assignments was based on statistical sampling only – but those statistics said that virtually all of them were employed doing search and rescue work, disaster relief, medical assistance, manifold trade, operating gates, galactic engineering, and a hundred other useful tasks – although there was a tiny fraction of a percent working as concubines, as short-term attendants in harems and a percentage of error that probably covered some clandestine tasks.

Of course, he claimed to be a Dark Lord – and had successfully re-introduced child slavery into Core (which she certainly couldn’t be entirely happy with even if it WAS strictly voluntary!) – but the content certainly didn’t match the label in most cases! Even the interviews with the ones who were working in harems said that they were happy.

Shouldn’t a demonically-empowered dark Lord who bonded children’s souls make at least a few of his “victims” unhappy? “Going on fantastic adventures and saving people” simply was not a traditional use of child-slaves!

Researching Kevin himself was mostly just confusing… at least beyond his early childhood in Core. It was as if the boy was carefully cultivating several different reputations. The reports tended to tell you more about the person writing the report than they did about what Kevin was actually like!

Well, at least that gave her enough background to try to make sense out of things. It was time to get in touch with Verence. Just because he was… well, quasi-canine anthropomorphic property for the moment didn’t mean that she couldn’t try to check in!

The call to see how he was doing was easy enough to place; Kevin had recently upgraded his contract again to provide cross-dimensional communications for his Thralls.

It was a good thing that she’d dealt with property-class neodogs before. Otherwise the “bouncy – happy – enthusiastic – wasn’t – Kevin – wonderful – he – was – so – NICE – to – make – me – suitable – to – be- his – pet!” attitude might have made the call impossible for her to handle.

Still, the comparison was somewhat comforting too. Neodogs had some importance on the colonial worlds, where things hadn’t been entirely wired yet. They did search-and-rescue, and helped with farming, and a lot of things where… “natural”… abilities were hard to… duplicate.

Huh. A lot like Kevin’s Thralls, with the new worlds of the Manifold in place of the new worlds of space.

That familiarity didn’t exactly make it EASY to deal with when the “NeoDog” in question was her human son – but NeoDogs were definitely “people” in her book, and that was something.

At least it was clear that he was very happy, very healthy, active, and doing pretty well.

His accommodations… left something to be desired. Apparently Kevin was having him sleep in the same room – but either across the foot of the bed or “guarding the door”.

Well, obviously that wasn’t the way most Thralls were treated! There were tens of thousands of them! Verence was… sleeping at his master’s feet, like a dog. BLAST her husbands temper! Verence could have been… still a human boy with his own apartment and useful work to do in Kadia, even if it was as a Thrall, if Savil had just LEFT IT ALONE.

Verence was quite happy about his diet too; apparently he ate with Kevin (she carefully didn’t ask if that meant “being fed table scraps”) and got plenty of extremely fine food – although it sounded a bit short on vegetables to HER. Evidently as far as “what he wanted to eat” went, Kevin was just another unsupervised teenage boy… Of course, being a Thrall – or a Dark Lord – apparently guaranteed good health pretty much regardless of diet short of eating rocks and toxins.

Verence was getting plenty of outdoor exercise too, since Kevin was taking him along on his adventures and daily routine – and he spent a lot of time playing with “Limey Tabard”, rather than his master leaving him stuck in a room or (sigh) kennel

Hopefully “playing with” didn’t mean that this “Limey” was throwing sticks for him to chase!

She looked up “Limey Tabard” in association with Kevin (it was good to know who your kids friends were) – and there was a fair amount of information (and wild speculation) available.

Sadly, most of it made very little sense even for a child who’d been born in the Manifold. While the boy might be a pretty valuable connection thanks to his connection with Marty Tabard – who apparently had some influence over Kevin – but his background as a werewolf-computer was kind of far-fetched! Not to mention the precocious sexual hyperactivity… At least that fit in with half of the rest of Kevin’s associates!

She delicately inquired as to whether Kevin might have designs on her other children…

Well, apparently nothing that had been mentioned to Verence – although he enthusiastically supported his siblings – and all other children – becoming Thralls of course. She’d more or less expected that… EVERY Thrall thought that being a Thrall was great and wanted to share the fun. Still, it did reveal that only a very few Thralls were being treated as pets. They were all still serving Kevin of course, but they apparently felt that THAT was fun – and Kevin seemed almost reasonable for a weird adolescent lord of darkness.

Rusty knew that it was really REALLY important that ALL kids got to be Thralls! If his wonderful master was so busy that he hadn’t yet made arrangements to collect his siblings maybe he could do it! They couldn’t be allowed to miss out – and Darius would be too old to be a Thrall in a few years!

He made sure to use his witchcraft powers and psychological skills to keep from revealing any trace of that thought to his mother though! He knew his duty there, and she seemed to be being a bit silly at the moment! She’d surely come to understand how important becoming a Thrall was later on!

(Rusty) “Uhm… Why does it matter? Is it wrong to be a Thrall? You get to help on all kinds of projects! Kevin says you eventually make all the powers your own and grow out being a Thrall, but I don’t see why that has to happen! But it must since Kevin says so…”

(Elandara) “Intriguing. Now what would happen if you tried not to make it happen?”

(Rusty, doubtfully) “Slower maybe? I don’t think you can really turn down personal growth!”

(Elandara) “Oh, I suppose so.”

Inquiries about Kevin’s activities and temperament got her… stories about Kevin rescuing people, sorting out nasty situations, giving people what they wanted, and strolling into battles and sending all his attackers to therapy.

That matched well enough with the older reports – but the boy seemed to do an awful lot of that sort of thing for a “Dark Lord”! He also didn’t seem to be making Verence unhappy, even if he WAS using him to spite her husband… That implied some finesse there. It was like he did good with one hand and evil with another.

He also… played up the .1% who were serving as concubines and harem attendants on such – for which spots there was fierce competition for short terms. Was that just to maintain his “Dark Lord Credentials”?

He also spent rather a lot of time with his Harems – so those were obviously the Thralls who interacted with him the most. Since his thralls all loved him, of course they’d compete for being the closest to him. That made sense.

Wait; was Verence a trophy who was being kept as close as possible to his master as a reward? Was spiting her husband just a bonus and a reason for a few of the “canine” bits? That made a twisted kind of sense…

At least Verence seemed content and happy with his bargain and situation – although it was pretty obvious that whatever Kevin had done to him didn’t leave him much of a choice about that.

She promised to send him some of his toys and stuff – and some of his favorite foods every so often. If he was going to be bound to Kevin for centuries, he might as well have some comforts of home.

Rusty didn’t tell her that he had an excellent salary and could order all of his favorites that he liked! It was the thought that counted!

Even when the kids knew all the details in advance, and had a free choice at the time, and there were no permanent consequences, and… the computers thought it was a good deal… and you were guaranteed to survive…

Clearly he was being the lesser evil – but still, why did it have to be HER son on a leash?

Elandara had carefully avoided asking her son about the alterations Kevin had had made. Quite enough of them had been visible in the long-range shots for her to make some guesses – and there were things that she didn’t really want to know unless she had to.

There was a mixed undercurrent of relief too… At least he wasn’t being put out to stud to produce thirty grandchildren sometime next year to be raised to be pets. That would be a bit much to handle.

She couldn’t hire an army to go and take her son back – and all the major Manifold search-and-rescue operations seemed to be run by Kevin… It was pretty certain that Kevin had heard appeals from a thousand parents before too. She needed someone with leverage…

If she could get through to Marty Tabard she might have a chance though; a toonworlder he might be, but he was still an adult – with a child of his own – and he seemed to be Kevin’s closest colleague (as opposed to Thrall).

Fortunately, some of the contact numbers Verence had given her were for Limey – and one of them was… a priority number for Marty, since going through him was sometimes the only way to reach Limey.

Marty was feeling a little guilty anyway – and when Limey had told him that Ms Anvari might be calling, he’d decided to talk to her if she asked. Rusty was making him feel pretty guilty. What had he been tolerating that had led to this?

Still, hopefully she wouldn’t ask!

(Marty) “Ah, Hello Ms Anvari! (Slightly shifty and a bit embarrassed) I was more or less expecting your call since Limey gave “Rusty” my priority access number! I must remember to scold him about that, I keep having to change it!”

Elandara sighed very slightly… Evidently not the most responsible parent – but with at least some parental values. Hopefully he was indeed attempting to guide Kevin Sanwell…

(Marty, hopefully) “Were you calling for Limey? He might be playing with Rusty – ah, Verence – at the moment!”

This might be wanting to talk to Limey – or possibly to him ABOUT Limey! A lot of parents wanted to keep close track of their children’s playmates!

(Elandara) “Ah, hello Mr. Tabard. Thank you for meeting with me. I was going to ask you about Kevin, since other than the thralls, you seem to know him best.”


(Marty, cautiously) “Erm… Well I have had more recent time with him than most I suppose. (Pause) What about him?”

(Elandara) “I was wondering what you thought of his character. Some people call him a Dark Lord, but some of his behavior doesn’t match the archetype. Yet in some ways, it does.”


(Marty) “Well… I suppose you’re entitled to some information there.”

(Elandara) “Please, go ahead. It will help me understand why he is the way he is.”

(Marty) “I’m given to understand that Kevin… plays at being a Lord of Evil, and, as a teenager, enjoys a few of the privileges that go with the role – but his actual goal is to ensure that humanity survives, and expands, perpetually.”

That wasn’t really what she’d expected. It fit in some ways – but what kind of demonic entity was dedicated to such a goal? That sounded more like a guardian! But would a guardian treat children this way?

(Elandara) “Interesting. Has he told you why he wants this?”

(Marty) “From what I’ve seen… I think it’s a racial urge, and that it has HIM. Occasionally… if you spend time with him – you see a bit of it. I… have a clip around here somewhere. From when he was talking to a representative from the Unified Church.

The clip showed a background from one of the Anthropomorphic worlds, with various animal-people roaming about – and Kevin, strolling along talking to one of them. That one was asking a question…

What have you been using your powers for so far? ”

Kevin looked quite blank for a moment – and then answered in an echoing chorus of voices.

(Kevin) “I am the Darkness-that-Defends, the Light of the Abyss and the Angel of Nightfall. In the darkness is the rage of the oppressed, the wrath of the injured, and the vengeance of the bereaved. It is the drive for survival and dominion. I will not permit the fall of the Core worlds or for the race to fail it’s destiny – no matter what that requires.”

The creature he was talking to was visibly unnerved.

That was fair enough. She knew enough of the theory herself to know that THAT wasn’t demonic power. That was the primal darkness, the blind, relentless, urge to breed and spread and conquer that was rooted in the survival instincts of the hindbrain! Had Kevin somehow managed to transcend the tainted power of the abyss? That wasn’t EVIL – it was older than good and evil, and it could work with either.

It was also obviously bloody dangerous! The blind urge to spread and conquer wouldn’t be content with anything less than all of space and time. Was there anything restraining that relentless drive except Kevin’s will?

Marty gave her some footage from the battle with the Hellstorm as well – and a shot of the transformation of Inversion from the moon.

(Elandara, somewhat disturbed) “Are you suggesting that he too is a Thrall? He…” (watching the battle in the New Imperium) “Oh my. That is grotesque power.”

She’d known that Kevin was powerful – but to simply annihilate fleets and reshape reality on that scale?

OH. The Hellstorm had threatened the worlds of the Core – imperiling the survival of the race. It had attacked an inhabited planet – and the darkness had annihilated it. Inversion had been dying, and it’s people would go with it – so he had changed that. An… angel of darkness.

(Marty) “He’s an Opener – and one of the First. I’ve seen enough to know some of what that really means. If Openers are truly foci for the power of the race, he is apparently containing a fair chunk of the massed will to survive and dominate of the entire species from it’s very beginning. He is… rebuilding the galaxy, and planning to build more, to make sure that humans never run out of room to expand in.”

(Elandara, with some startlement) “Does this have anything to do with that Project Midnight Gardener?”

Wait, of course, it did! That was all the Thralls assigned to “Stellar Engineering”! THAT was one of Kevin’s personal projects? Rebuilding the GALAXY?!?

(Marty) “That’s the galaxy-rebuilding project, yes. And yes… the poor kid seems to be committing himself to maintaining that… forever. The kids he recruits are in for a few centuries.”

Elandara took a sharper look at Marty. The man was a TOONWORLDER – and he looked… worn and tired. Not at all whimsical – which he ought to be, considering where he was from. From the sound of things, the situation must be wearing on him.)

(Elandara) “You seem to have concerns. Do you think he can handle that responsiblity?”

Marty did have his doubts – especially if the darkness overcame him!

(Marty, sighing) “I like him – and he’s a kid, and he’s had this dumped on him because he trusted a teacher. It isn’t fair to drop that burden on someone, and charge them with containing the power to create and destroy galaxies, and force them to take responsibility for it forever – if he even can. Even he must have a breaking point somewhere. He diverts himself with sex and pets and trivia I think – and I’m sorry your idiot husband got your son swept up in that – but Kevin will certainly find another diversion soon enough.”

Oh dear! Was she getting caught up in the role of a sympathetic ear or confessor?! The man must have almost no one to talk too! Of course, most of the people around him would be Thralls – and it would be counterproductive at best to try to talk to THEM about Kevin.

Marty was suddenly feeling guilty again; he’d started thinking of this nice woman’s son simply in light of his relationship to Kevin, and how he was serving as a distraction.

(Elandara) “Well, my husband’s temper has been worrying the computers. I never thought it would cause anything like this, though at least Kevin is treating him well (other than making him a neodog, she thinks to herself…) and at least most of the changes other than the powers are temporary.”

(Marty) “Oh yes! There’s even a good chance of him being randomly gifted with stuff later on I think; Kevin does tend to give things away – and he’s handy to be the beneficiary of such moments.”

(Elandara) “It looks like he’s given you quite a bit.”

Ouch! That stung! Not that he didn’t realize it – but having it pointed out was kind of rough! She didn’t seem to mean it as an insult though…

She didn’t. Marty was clearly a roguish type, and so it was to be expected.

(Marty, trying not to look uncomfortable and failing miserably) “Yes”.

Had Marty started working with Kevin as a lark, realized what was going on, and now felt obliged to rein in his worst excesses? That really seemed to fit!

(Marty) “Anyway… I’d guess that your son is going to be a “pet” until Kevin gets diverted and forgets his annoyance at your husband. Then he’ll become a normal servant-companion.”

(Elandara) “Do you think you could speed up the process somehow? He’s furious.”

(Marty) “Well… I’ve been considering approaches on the “pet” part. Maybe a few months there. I don’t think that Kevin even knows how to release a Thrall if he wanted to though – so your husband will probably stay furious.”

(Elandara) “Oh, I understand on the thralldom. I would just like him to have clothing other than a collar.”

(Marty) “Well, it is still smartclothes really from what I’m told; it’s just hiding in the fur… All of Kadia is pretty easy-going about clothing.”

(Elandara) “Well, I suppose what I want for Verence is more dignity than he’s getting right now. Though it doesn’t seem to bother HIM, as you say; he knows how things are around here.”

Oh dear. Should he say it? ALL the Thralls knew they were pets; “dignity” just wasn’t a part of their world really – at least as far as Kevin was concerned. If she’d been another man, and not the mother of one of the parties involved, he might have simply said “Uh… I don’t think you understand. The only thing on their minds is Kevin’s happiness. Get what I mean?” – but that just wouldn’t fly with the mother of a kid! It would horrify her!

(Marty, settling for looking doubtful) “Well, it’s not like most of Kevin’s er… personal staff spends a lot of time clothed.”

(Elandara, somewhat unnerved) “But Verence isn’t doing… that… is he?”

She hadn’t seen anything about Kevin… using… males that way!

(Marty, hastily) “No, no! Kevin is pretty throughly girls-only; it goes with being the embodiment of racial instincts to dominate and breed!”

(Elandara) “Well, he could… I don’t know, wear a vest or a dog jacket or something. It would make me feel better at least.”

(Marty, with some relief) “Oh, I think that would be easy to arrange! I’ll just have Limey give him one!”

Limey could tell him to wear it while on the phone with his mother and where she might find out!

Elandara sighed again – she seemed to be doing a LOT of that suddenly – and kept trying to make the best of a bad situation which now included some concern for Marty, who seemed to be willing to be an ally of sorts. Cartoon characters and stress normally didn’t mix!

Marty abruptly reddened as he wondered whether to point out that she didn’t have to worry about Rusty doing “that”, since part of the dominance thing was that Kevin, er… didn’t tolerate any competition in his harem.

His judgement, even under stress, was still better than that – but Elandara was core-educated, and quite capable of reading body language better than he could hide it.

(Elandara) “Is there something you want to say? You’re fidgeting.”

And now he couldn’t think of anything else to say that wouldn’t be obvious stalling!

(Marty, blushing) “Er… well… you do realize… you don’t have to worry about your son doing “that”. It’s… part of the dominance thing; Kevin… well… he doesn’t tolerate any other intact males in his harem – and since he takes Verence everywhere, well…”

(Elandara, sighing and shaking her head) “I had suspected, and I suppose I could avoid confirming it for only so long. Can’t you do something to control him?”

She’d been fairly sure actually, although she’d tried to ignore it; that was a pretty obvious and direct way for Kevin to prove that he definitely COULD treat Verence “like a dog”. He’d probably had it done along with the rest of the modifications just to produce an image of his newly-neutered pets bouncing along happily at his heels to taunt her husband with. Still, as long as it was just a suspicion, she’d been able to avoid the subject at home.

(Elandara) “Or are you worried he will fry you for your insolence?”

Marty started. He did worry that Kevin could somehow get past his Returning – especially if he lost control…

(Marty) “I think it’s pretty close to the core of the forces driving him; He wants humanity to rule the cosmos – and, on the personal level, he wants to father all the kids – but it is one reason that he rotates his staff – and they can regenerate themselves in hours once they’re off the job.

After thinking about what he’d just said for an instant he made a hurried effort to fix that from a male prospective

(Marty) “Most harem attendants spend a lot of time at stud afterwards! Kevin picked them to be close to him for a time, so a lot of the Female thralls want to be close to them!”

(Elandara) “Understandable, but that doesn’t make me feel any better. Sigh . . . I suppose you could try to get him off harem duty as well.”

Well, it seemed that early grandchildren were imminent.

(Marty) “That may take longer – but there’s no aging for Thralls of course.”

(Elandara) “Which is good. Still, I would appreciate it.”

Poor man, getting caught up in this. So like a cartoon character to leap before looking – but that didn’t work out so well in most dimensions.

(Marty) “Besides… as a Thrall, he sees it as one of the biggest prizes he could get; they line up to volunteer!… I’ll try though.”

Elandara could tell that it wasn’t likely to be a high priority unless she prodded a it more; from his point of view it wasn’t like some other Thrall wouldn’t be in the same position next – but she had a commitment to HER son.

(Elandara) “What with the modifications being temporary and all, it’s logically a minor thing. But it’s different when it’s YOUR child.”

Again with the guilt-hammer! Was this a kind of “hammerspace” that worked in Core? It was a lot nastier than the toon variety! What would he think if it was Julia trotting around at Kevin’s heels?

Why couldn’t Kevin have picked an orphan or something?

(Elandara) “Anyhow, I suppose I’ve done all I can to make Verence’s indenture better for him, not that it was torture to begin with apparently. He seems… almost frighteningly happy. Thank you.”

Despite her worries over Verence, Elandara did feel kind of bad for Marty, who was obviously in a tight place.

Unfortunately, Kevin had also been busy…

Since Rusty had already contacted his siblings, and impressed them with just how happy he was, and how cool the Thrall-powers were, Kevin had turned the efforts of his recruitment-specialist Thralls towards Darius and Mirlena while their mother was busy with some research project and their father was busy filing protests.

He’d made sure that they got demonstrations of the powers, knew all about the benefits, and knew that signing up would annoy their boorish father and get them away from him. He also had them informed that Kevin was – for the moment – willing to throw in sweeteners like a high-powered Kadian ID, extra money, personal vehicles, and similar items because he also wanted to annoy their father – but that the opportunity for an especially-generous deal might soon close.

The recruiters also carefully implied to Darius that his little brother would have shown him up if he didn’t sign up – and implied to Mirlena that her brother was getting in on something that she wasn’t.

With such massive resources concentrated on them, and trying to get a quick “yes” at pretty much any price,

They wanted…

Nanosurgery for Daddy’s brain. In fact, they wanted their first mission be to lure him in! Of course, if he came to Kadia, it might well class as a mental disorder, or as sub-critical exposure to a meme weapon, and get cured automatically.

Well that was easy!

They also wanted… a stylish top-end apartment in Kadia, one of the best-on-the-market sensory simulation rigs, their own flits, extra money, and other minor bits…

All of that could be had with nothing more than a high-end Kadian Identity – which Kevin could just decree!

They wanted some servants with musical training. A little odder, but also easy; they could just give the relevant skill-imprints to some indenturees!

They didn’t think to request any sexual privileges or concubines. Of course, that wasn’t that common a thought in Core.

They didn’t ask about their assignments either.

By the time Elandara had finished talking with Marty, Darius and Mirlena were already Thralls – and Darius (now called “Sandy”) was off to join Rusty for awhile. That should rub it in and help lure in his father at the same time!

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