Federation-Apocalypse Session 201c – From the Mouths of Babes

Felan, meanwhile, was busily angling for becoming a junior coalition member in charge of creches… After all, the others had placed a – quite astounding – level of trust in him. Having a group of hatchlings come to their dominant parent to say “We want to get rid of this kid! Give the dominant kid the authority to enslave another one of us – anyone he wants – and we’re sure that he’ll take care of the kid we dislike and leave us be!” was pretty unprecedented!

It was good that the other hatchlings trusted Felan – such solidarity actually made them useful, which gave them a bit of power and some defenses to fall back on.

Markov wasn’t entirely sure that the other hatchlings SHOULD trust Felan – or that they WOULD trust him if they weren’t being influenced by his artwork – but it was still encouraging somehow, even if it WAS pretty weird! Felan’s leadership was useful enough to them that it was… actually being accepted.

Still, he was still too young to be put in charge of anything beyond a single creche. Maybe in a few years.

Marty found it encouraging too. A bit of sibling rivalry was one thing; trying to eliminate each other was a bit much! Besides… it looked like the kids really WOULD accept Tokif if he decided to go back – he was useful, and nonthreatening, and had escaped (one way or another) before being caught and slave-processed – and he really ought to be with other dragons and siblings. He’d probably wind up subordinate – but a useful, protected, and non-enslaved subordinate, which wasn’t at all bad.

Positions like that had been pretty rare in the Dragon Empire before Kevin. Normally male dragons got quite absurdly driven when they hit adolescence (thus all those half-dragons) and so normally .1% or so survived to really dominate, finally settling down with harems of twenty or thirty, which was enough to sate most males – but they had no need for free subordinates in harems of that size.

There were roughly equal numbers of dominant females of course, but they usually only needed a few subordinate males (if they didn’t just pick local dominants to have affairs with) – not a harem full. Still, they were usually quieter than the dominant males…

Markov had reached a conclusion though… He’d need some local contacts to get set up most efficiently – and the only ones he had available on metallic worlds were Philsantias and Segev…

Segev might be only a hatchling, but he was far more in tune with local culture than Philsantias – and the kid deserved a break! It was hard enough being a hatchling without being a chromatic on a metallic world with an insane parent!

Segev had been using his witchcraft powers and new resources to quietly manipulate potential rivals in nearby creches into fighting each other – and had been buying up the losers. He’d need more guard slaves to help protect the harem he already had and it was best to get them while they were young and cheap! You had to plan ahead!

Markov was impressed when his Thrall-scouts spotted that; the kid was showing very good sense – and a fair grasp of strategy – for a hatchling!

Hm… Maybe he should steer Philsantias towards a more diverse set of concubines! Having almost all silvers and golds was high-status, but it left poor Segev as THE stand-out target! Of course, if Segev could, he’d make sure that all his siblings from now on were females or natural submissives – but even if he’d been able to arrange that, it would have put him on slave-processing rack the moment Philsantias found out… That “only 1% make it to adulthood at best” thing really did shape almost everything a hatchling did.

He’d cut a deal with Segev to do a little scouting, talk to other kids, and otherwise fill him in on local details. For payment… Hm… still a hatchling without too many hobbies… money, power, rivals on his processing rack, magic, lessons, protection/patronage. Oddly enough, at least per the Thralls, he wasn’t too big on more girls for later; with a hundred and fifteen already lined up he felt that he might not be able to keep up with all of them anyway.

For a moment, Marty was caught up in the dragon-tendencies… Tap into a bit of his wealth, buy up a bunch of the neighbors current creches, and present Segev with a couple of hundred rivals to enslave his way through? Bonus; it would annoy and embarrass Philsantias and show him that SOMEONE appreciated the kid!

Nah. Markov wouldn’t want to anger the only potential ally he had in the area on a hostile world yet…

Markov was considering giving the kid some spells… After all, his father really liked that stuff. Besides, if he gave the kid the right spells, other hatchlings won’t be able to counter them too easily.

Of course few of them wanted to challenge him any longer anyway. He’d won eight times or more. Still, it was always good to know a variety of spells. You never know when you need them. Of course the kid wasn’t really a spellcaster to start with; that was the problem to begin with; he relied on innate magic and powers.

Was that partly rebelliousness? Philsantias kept pushing studying magic of course, and magic certainly hadn’t worked for Varer…

The kid didn’t really know how to use wands either. Stuff to boost his innate powers then? Booster items were always useful though.

The contrariness was interesting though. Perhaps he could provide the kid with some secret training in breath weapon tricks? That would be fun! Those weren’t spells, but they could be quite surprising!

Hm… until the boy acquired a soul, it would be easy enough to provide him with some boosts (a Package Deal and some Unique Training) with a little reality editing…. That would be useful to him, and it was something that couldn’t really be taken away from him. He’d have to demonstrate a bit – but “I will boost your personal and magical power” was always a big plus.

(Segev) “Wow! Dad never offered me anything like THAT!”

(Markov) “That’s a shame. I guess he hasn’t been picking these things up like I have.”

The kids report was best on the neighbors naturally; he had the most contact with them. His general background was good though. He had obviously made a special effort to provide some information on how to get the parents of his rivals (and the ones who had offered to buy him; selling THEM out was absolutely fair!) to accept challenges; that way, even if he couldn’t be the one to collect them, their kids would still wind up becoming slaves or going up for sale cheap.

Markov appreciated that! He’d have to give the kid a fair share of the hatchlings – especially his young rivals – to enslave personally! Even if his part in the fights was indirect, he’d still successfully set them up! After all, it was extra information he was getting free where the kid had gone to extra effort; the basics were all good.

Markov made a note; he had to introduce the boy to Felan some time!

Felan, of course, thought that Segev should have more slaves! After all, he only owned about a hundred and fifty at the moment, and only thirty to forty were harem guards! That wasn’t nearly enough attendants to protect that big a harem!

Markov, also of course, could see his thought that HE was only allowed less then one-tenth that many! But if father agreed on Segev, maybe he’d come around for him!

That was still cute! That level of self-centeredness might be problematic later, but for now… Well, he was only eight. ME! ME! ME! was the natural state of smaller children.

Interestingly, Segev had begun deploying some remarkably sophisticated financial and purchasing tactics.

Some seemed rather familiar… Not so much to Markov but to Marty. Floating a rumor that dropped a stock price while selling short, putting the neighbors in a financial bind, a secondary offer to get them out of it with a few slave-purchases… The basic hit the stock-price, cut out a subdivision you want, make a good offer, and finish the exchange before your short-term manipulations become apparent. Basic Battling Business World and ancient Core wallstreet stuff. For the local kids he was running some gambling with well-disguised odds way in favor of the “house”.

That wasn’t bad for a kid. Nowhere near fair, of course, but that was how things ran around here.

Of course, that wasn’t normal draconic strategy either! They ran a lot more towards raw power. Was Philsantias unconsciously granting his kids weird powers too?

Ah! The boy had the want-to-work-for-Kevin package thanks to his link with Philsantias – which was allowing him to get endowments despite being a phantasm. He’d found the link to the Kadian computers, and was using them to acquire some money! He’d DEFINITELY be keeping in touch with Segev!