Charles was beginning to wonder if something was orchestrating interruptions… A strong destiny charm or good astrological manipulation could arrange it easily enough. That wouldn’t cover the latest one – which was coming from inside Aden, and thus was out of reach of astrology. Still, it was also minor enough to let an aspect cover it – which pretty much put it off the list. This one was probably just random.
Besides… it was just a whole bunch of people complaining on top of a few of the young women who’d moved in on him wanting his attention. A sub-process should be sufficient to deal with it!
At least it wasn’t the Kickaha again.
Not directly anyway.
It was a bunch of human and near-human adults, at one of his residential Manses.
(Charles) “Er… Do you need something? Is this about your “true inner selves”? Those letters were WEIRD! Or is this the Jyhad? I was told that there was one coming!”
(Mother) “what are you doing with our children?!”
(Charles) “Er, what? What children? Aden should be very safe!”
(Middle-aged man) “The ones you turned into wolves!”
(Charles) “Oh! The Kickaha have been recruiting again! That’s kind of naughty there… at least without permission! Well, they aren’t hurt any, but I’d better get them in here!”
(Mother) “So that’s what you call them!”
(Charles) “Well, the kids they recruit get a variety of powers, life spans of several millennia, enhanced personal attributes, extremely rapid regeneration, shapeshifting – at least to wolf-forms – and quite a few other benefits, like sensory boosts, so it’s not like they’re doing anything harmful. It’s still naughty to do it without permission though!”
He sent for the kids, and the (likely) kids who had recruited them, and the pack alphas! It was a lot of kids!
(Charles) “Hrm… Human forms please!… Now, who has parents here?”
More than a few of them did of course. That was why he’d sent for them!
(Charles) “Now then! Did you kids tell your parents what you were up to?”
Unsurprisingly, not all of them did!
(Charles) “I take it that you just ran away to play with the Kickaha packs?”
Some of them, at least… Others wanted to help out with the colonization projects.
The general babbling and child-versus-parents arguments went on for some time. Eventually, however, Charles opted to interrupt it.
(Charles, to everyone) “Now honestly… I don’t have a lot of power over this! I have some authority over the first generation – but I have no idea how many generations they’re up to now and even the first generation were and are free-willed people! Now YOUR children have run away to accept a power-imbuement, and – in at least some cases – to be pioneers, or heroes, or some such. The ones who gave it to them to them are kind of naughty here – but they certainly were entitled to take in runaways, orphans, refugees, and other kids on their own. So you Alphas… I expect you to insist that prospective recruits with reachable families at least get into touch with them and communicate about this first! You kids who have already been taken in, but have accepting families… I expect you to at least spend some time with them regularly! Staying here is a privilege you know, not a right!”
There was some complaining from some of the kids, and some grousing from some of the pack members – but the Alphas could readily deal with that. The parental complaining, however, had more of a point…
(Mother) “You would just give them all this power without knowing how they would use it?”
(Charles) “The older-generation Kickaha kids did actually. But they will make their own choices; yes, they now have more personal power than most humans do – but the Kickaha will never organize themselves to build atomic weapons or such; their natural unit is the pack. Between the two… The Kichaka are likely safer, both personally and for the universe.”
(Father) “How can you be so sure?”
(Charles) “I can be sure that they are personally safer since they are regenerative, can recover from most forms of “death”, and are superhumanly strong and durable. For the universe… they will not tend to build destructive technologies, mass armies, or similar things. The power of tooth and claw – even backed with midrange supernatural powers – cannot cause destruction on that scale. Their creation was more or less an accident of research. I think, however, that it was a fortuitous one. What with the new planets to settle… pathfinders, guides, guardians, and healers will be of great benefit – and they are ideally suited for the job. Finally, of course… I cannot take from them what has been given. It was not my gift to them, and removing it is not within my power.”
(Appalled Mother) “Wait, an accident?”
(Charles) “I had not expected the four original test subjects – all older volunteers in desperate need of transformation – to be able to pass on their new abilities.”
(Father) “Oh. So this was deliberate.”
(Charles) “When it became apparent that they could, the initial tests indicated that it should stop when they reached the limits of the original power source – some six hundred and fifty individuals. They found a way to bypass that on their own.”
(Chorus) “What? How?”
(Charles) “They found a way to make a somewhat more limited set of their basic powers self-generating. That was something of a surprise; entities with such abilities may normally pass on a small part of their abilities to their children, they cannot normally simply bestow them. I wasn’t really watching for that since it’s kind of unprecedented!”
He really had thought that they’d stop at the six hundred and fifty the manse would support. How had they done that anyway? He’d been so busy that it had never really occurred to him to look into it…
Wait. Had they just asked some of the Djinn to help them build a few more Kickaha manses? That would be a lot more limited than them turning into a major magical species on their own and it would make more sense – even most magical species started off at far lower essence levels than the Kickaha seemed to – but it would almost be a little disappointing… it wouldn’t be a major new breakthrough to look into later!
Oh well, still no time. He’d just have to check later on.
(Charles) “They went completely independent!
(Various) “We INSIST on Regular Visits!/Schooling!/Some Discipline!/Doing something about the nonhuman appearance! (That was mostly parents from earth; the extraterrestrial ones had few or no problems with THAT bit).
Charles sighed and held a discussion with the Alphas. Most of them were first generation, and should listen! Regular visits was CERTAINLY reasonable enough – even if the parents had been abusive the kids could appeal and humans attempting to abuse a Kickaha would be hard on the humans at best – and schooling was for EVERY kid in Aden! That was easy enough! And some extra instructions on a bit of Thaumaturgic Shapeshifting would let even the ones who were having a bit of trouble with their shapeshifting easily cover up the more obvious traces. And it wasn’t like they couldn’t get all the training they wanted; Aden was full of tutors.
Later on most of the parents were pleased to find out how much more useful their kids were to have around – but that would take a while.
Meanwhile… Probes were very much an ongoing thing these days, and not just from Yu-Shan and Creation. There were two from the Underworld today alone, four from Malfeas, and one from Oramus. There had been hostile shaping attempts sent from some of the Underworld ones. Of course, Adenic shaping defenses being what they were those remained attempts only, but they would have had nasty effects if they could have worked – raining the Essence from the land and setting up underworld overlay zones.
Charles promptly set up a department of answers, sneding out polite form letters, brochures, and so on to the “friendly” (or at least passive) ones, but allowing the actively hostile ones to “pass unnoticed”. No underworld overlays outside the underworld communications manse boundaries though!
Huh… Weird… At least one of the attempts to set up an underworld overlay came from Yu-Shan. Perhaps that had been the guy who handled Lethe?
Charles called Zanjaras to see if it had been – and if it had been, what he wanted or needed!
(Zanjaras) “Er… No, I would just ask through Cangha. Is there anything YOU need?”
(Charles) “Not really right now… you did get your invitation didn’t you? Unless, maybe, unbinding Yu-Shan from Creation will interrupt your work; you indicated that it wouldn’t, but the plans weren’t quite finalized then.”
(Zanjaras) “Of course. How is that proceeding?”
(Charles) “Well, it should be underway in five days now!”
(Zanjaras) “I see.”
(Charles) “Well, I don’t know who else might have been trying to set up an underworld overlay zone from Yu-Shan… but there’s not enough time for any major investigation at the moment! Maybe afterwards!”
(Zanjaras) “Hmm… Yu-Shan be with you, then.”
(Charles) “Well, thank you!”
There were thousands of last-minute checks to perform! He’d… have to delegate additional interruptions from now on for the most part!
And a very short session this time. Ah well!