Lytek… actually prepared for his inspection-trip on the spot! For a deity of HIS age to do something right away… he must really consider it urgent! Even if he did… have a pile of new protective artifacts to use? Ah. Charles of course, looking after “Uncle Lytek”. Still, taking him and his bodyguards to Aden was easy enough…
Once there… Aikiko went to check on what Charles was up to! The kid pretty obviously needed a LOT more supervision than he was getting!
Unfortunately, she’d missed the geomantic conference – but the EPA guys had worked their way up to asking Charles to terraform a world for them. It was something they’d only read about in speculations, and those certainly didn’t factor in magic. Charles, of course, had seen no reason not to oblige them while he thought about the work he’d need to do in Yu-Shan.
Aikiko… wanted to see that too! Sure, she’d seen it done in Star Trek – but seeing it done for real… would be quite an experience!
Charles cheerily focused the Well of Worlds on another barren lump of rock in yet another distant galaxy… and blazed brilliantly green-gold wiht the channeled energies of his Devas and Manses as he threw his bolt of thaumaturgic might at it and transformed it into a living world.
Aikiko had a hard time not laughing! That WAS the “Genesis Wave” effect! That had to be how Charles envisioned it…
(Charles, happily) “That makes it a much nicer place! It will take the construction specialists a few weeks to get things ready for people to start moving in and get the gates ready to go, but I have enough crews to work on a couple of dozen planets at a time, so it’s not much of a bottleneck!”
There was a general silence.
While the EPA scientists had been reading in the libraries of Aden, the reality of “magic” had still been rather hard to believe – until they saw their host terraform a world with little more than his will and the “Well of Worlds” to let him see it.
(Charles, a bit absently) “Really, the power requirements are not that high… it’s the complexity that will limit most people! Fortunately, I have lots of extra memory-storage space.”
(Watleigh) “So I take it this is a more advanced application of… thaumaturgy, right?”
(Charles) “Pretty much!”
(Crays, with some incredulity) “And even human beings who can’t channel these ‘motes’ can use it.”
(Charles) “Oh yes – although it will take them much more time and effort to accomplish tasks, and their powers are far more limited. Most people – even if quite skilled – will be hard pressed to transmute more than a few pounds of material at a time.”
(Crays, sighing) “Even then, I can understand why those Terrestrials would want to suppress knowledge of this. In the wrong hands, it could cause problems.”
(Charles) “That’s certainly true – but most conflicts are ultimately traceable to a shortage of space, and I’m making sure that there’s plenty of that!”
(Crays) “I see…”
(Aikiko) “Charles wants to fix everything. I’d say war’s a big one!”
(Charles) “Lots of things need fixing, but that’s definitely urgent! I’ve got quite a lot of war-refugees aboard already!”
They had indeed noticed that – and the diversity – when they’d looked at the population figures.
(Watleigh) “That must have been a big operation as well…”
(Charles) “I had one of my aspects do it! Having many makes it a LOT easier to get things done!”
(Aikiko) “I don’t think you mean the Terrestrial ones, do you…”
(Charles) “Well no! I think some of you met Elzeard during the conference he gave? He’s one.”
(Crays) “He was a supernatural being… he must have been capable of hiding it very well!”
(Charles) “Well, shapeshifting isn’t really that hard! Well… it’s harder if you don’t have enhanced abilities.”
Crays and Watleigh decided to talk to Elzeard… supernatural being or not, he’d shown an excellent grasp of technical principles, how to summarize and explain, and how to reduce things to their basics. Charles… obviously meant well, but he kept assuming far more information than his listeners actually had available. Elzeard, on the other hand, had been very enlightening – and he’d be free to share the supernatural aspects in Aden, which was obviously what he’d been concealing.
Besides… Elzeard took on students. If they could learn to do just a tiny fraction of what Charles had just done…
(Charles) “Well… Elzeard usually lectures at the Primordial Forest Pavilion! It’s right over this way!”
Elzeard was, indeed, lecturing – and was quite definitely a supernatural entity – and one who could help them! They sat in!
Elzeard greeted them – and cheerily answered questions, both during and after the lecture.
(Crays) “Mr. Elzeard? Charles said you were an aspect of himself. How did you come to exist? Were you always around, or did he have to awaken that part of himself to make you?”
(Elzeard) “Charles… is more than human of course, but he has been growing! Everyone has a spark of an internal world and may “argue with themselves” – a relic of poor neural integration in most cases. In his case, as his power grew, he made his dreams solid and actual – expanding this dimension as the embodiment of his inner self. As his inner self became more accessible, Charles awakened aspects of himself – myself and the others – to a quasi-independent existence. While we remain aspects of him, we are focused on our particular fields and specialities, and can handle tasks for him. When we unite our powers in him – as we do to reshape worlds – our power is quite impressive. Even working alone we can accomplish a good deal, and may do so while Charles’s primary consciousness is occupied elsewhere.”
(Watleigh) “So… we are currently in his world of imagination, with you, Gothmug, and the others as independent aspects of that world?”
(Elzeard) “Yes – but with his power level, the world of his imagination – is as (or sometimes more) real and solid as the universe you are used to!”
(Watleigh) “What does it take to create such a place? Charles is clearly more than a normal human being!”
(Elzeard) “You need to have direct access to the primal energies of the cosmos. That potential… can appear in several ways; entities can arise from what you would call the “quantum flux” – what was once known as the “Wyld” or “Primal Chaos”. Most such entities are weak and limited, but the process IS fundamentally random. There are devices that can bestow that kind of power, dating back to the early days of this universe and tied into it’s structure – but there are only a few hundred of those, scattered across the galaxies. It is even possible for humans to transcend their physical forms to become beings of pure primal energy – but that too is very rare and has it’s own limits.
(Crays) “I see… so this would be difficult to casually replicate. That’s somewhat of a relief, actually. While Charles is unbelievably benevolent, I have a hard time believing everyone with such power would be.”
(Elzeard, sighing) “Most… were a little uncaring! They simply didn’t pay much attention to life at levels less complex than their own. As powers go… you’re quite correct; Charles is extraordinarily benevolent and helpful. Fortunately that is at least partially a consequence of his growing into his power within the cosmos, rather than in the chaos beyond. There are other factors as well of course, but he does deserve some privacy I think!”
(Watleigh – although Crays looked dubious) “Everyone deserves some of that… and I’m not sure we could understand some of those factors anyhow. It seems it would take a good deal of study!”
(Elzeard) “Well, my opinion is – of course – biased, but I think that the results so far are very good!”
(Watleigh) “It seems that way. Err… is there any way we could help? I’m speaking only for myself, but this ‘Essence’ has considerable promise for scientific applications.”
(Elzeard) “Charles has been making a fairly high level of power available for those who wish to assist with the spread of life throughout the universe. Simple sensible advice is also useful; he has a tendency to be over-generous and over-trusting. For simple studies… The libraries here are set up to allow remote access.”
(Crays) “We’ll have to look over those materials, then. I suspect we won’t have trouble connecting with our computers.”
(Elzeard) “None at all I suspect… Charles’s computer systems are almost as obliging as he is.”
(Watleigh) “And he obviously does need someone monitoring him, his obvious distaste for the idea aside.”
(Elzeard) “Unfortunately so. While we – his aspects – possess a great deal of power, we are indeed rather focused, and we share many of his blind spots.”
(Crays) “Ms Aikiko? You’re familiar with all this… any ideas?”
(Aikiko) “I asked those guys you came in with! They gave me a few referrals for people to monitor him.”
Aikiko provided the Terrestrial’s recommendations to both the Sidereals and the scientists. If Charles needed babysitters… then he’d better have them!
She made her excuses before the Gold Faction people started asking her where she’d been all this time, accepted sandwiches and hobbit ale from a passing cheetah-child, and – after eating, toking up, and running around for a bit to relieve some steam (and to stall until Lytek let her know that he was back in Yu-Shan) – she headed for South America! She still had four impossibly powerful kids to find!
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