<Benhimself> Sorry all, alarm clock issues.
<Alexa> Hey, Ben!
<Benhimself> I hate to say it, but I think the whole 'starting at 8' thing isn't regularly doable for me. I can keep trying because I know it's kind of necessary for whoever it is who has to leave at 10 these days, but… yeah.
<Rand Brittain> But we miss you so!
<Benhimself> Sorry. So did my not-showing-upness drive others to despair and leave?
<Benhimself> Or did I cunningly apologize for being late when I'm not even the latest again?
<Rand Brittain> I'm afraid you are only 4/6.
<Rand Brittain> YET I WILL NOT BE DISTRACTED.
<Hollyhock God> It's a beautiful day in the Garden of Eden! Hooray!
<Hollyhock God> Naturally, you're all making plans to spend the week indoors.
<Hollyhock God> Ryan opens the mail and what does he discover?
<Alexa> An invitation?
<Alexa> A bomb?
<Hollyhock God> An invitation from Dana to the Decennial Science Ball in Iceland.
<Alexa> A finger? … Oh.
<Hollyhock God> The Science Ball is so swanky they didn't even have to give it a fancy name.
<Ryan Sherbrig> "Excellent."
<Hollyhock God> Steampunk gear is mandatory, obviously.
<Ryan Sherbrig> Is it myself and Familia, or is just Ryan invited?
<Hollyhock God> It's for all comers.
<Hollyhock God> It's basically the occasion where all the Nobles who are into super-science can show off their new toys.
<Hollyhock God> They hide it under a mortal tech show, mostly because they think that's funny.
- crusher_bob is now known as Ebba
<Hollyhock God> Useful if you're into buying high technology, but otherwise just an amusing way to spend a weekend.
<Ryan Sherbrig> "This seems an amusing way to spend a weekend. And I'd been meaning to have a talk to Dana about this whole 'leaders of the Light' thing."
<Alexa> "Yeah, I was thinking we should give her some sort of official role, keep her happy."
<Ryan Sherbrig> (Ryan, of course, is saying this to those members of his Familia he can easily hunt down.)
<Ryan Sherbrig> "Yes. Some official role like 'leader of the Light'."
- RyanSherbrig coughs.
- Alexa smiles.
<Ryan Sherbrig> "Admittedly my experience with the Light as an actual organization rather than a philosophy is limited, but she certainly seemed experienced enough as the host of that last convocation of the Light we went to."
<Ebba> "That's assuming she doesn't declare war with us right away. But I'm sure we can sort this out diplomatically"
<Ryan Sherbrig> "Yes, I did consider that this could be some sort of trap. But no way to find out, and it's not like she can kill most of us without resorting to conspiracy with Excrucians."
<Ryan Sherbrig> "And who would do something like that?"
- RyanSherbrig manages that with a straight face.
<Hollyhock God> Well, the big weekend comes.
<Hollyhock God> But wait, what's this?
<Alexa> A bomb?
<Ebba> A kitten?
<Hollyhock God> Ryan, your sentries have detected something odd on the perimeter?
- RyanSherbrig Major Divinations while he makes his way!
<Hollyhock God> You've received a report that someone saw a sheep near the Chancel.
<Ebba> "A sheep?"
<Hollyhock God> Notable details: The sheep was black, it went "baa," then it went behind some trees and disappeared.
<Hollyhock God> Also important: sheep do not usually appear in the middle of nowhere, especially in the mostly desert.
<Ebba> (Will be riding around in the heavily-armed dragon to find the sheep?)
<Ryan Sherbrig> Hmmm. So can my Major Divination tell if the sheep was miraculous or magical in any way? Also, still in the Chancel at all?
<Hollyhock God> It wasn't in the Chancel, just nearby, so no divinations for you!
<Hollyhock God> A dragon? Eden isn't naturally equipped with those.
<Ebba> ( :P )
<Hollyhock God> Magical natural resources of Eden: Plants, miracle babies, immortality (still in beta)
<Alexa> (Do we have a phone number for the Power of Sheep?)
<Hollyhock God> I don't think there is a Power of Sheep.
<Ryan Sherbrig> Agriculture, maybe. If only one of the useful Regals was here to do Major Divinations of things outside of the Chancel!
<Ryan Sherbrig> Oh. I mean, um.
<Alexa> You what?
<Alexa> I don't see anything burning there.
<Ryan Sherbrig> "You could set the entire desert on fire, and hope nobody notices until you're done."
<Ryan Sherbrig> "It's about par with most of our plans."
<Alexa> "I don't think it would help … this time."
<Ryan Sherbrig> "Well, if it is part of some sinister plot against us, we'll have to live with Marcus, the Tempest, still being in the Chancel, which also protects all within it with the spiritual strength of an Inferno."
<Hollyhock God> Oh, right. Magical natural resources of Eden (amended): plants, miracle babies, immortality (still in beta), ridiculously overpowered passive defense systems.
<Alexa> "But we could try that rite."
<Ebba> "You mean Marcus, possible servant of the Excrucians?"
<Alexa> "The Witch Hunt Rite, I mean."
<Ryan Sherbrig> (I am in a wacky mood. But I'm gonna try to restrain it, and not say "The Rite of the Fallen? I don't see how that would help?")
<Ryan Sherbrig> "That's why Fiona is watching him! Or at least, gardening in his vicinity."
<Alexa> "And this tree it hid behind — is it a flowering tree?"
<Hollyhock God> It's a twig.
<Hollyhock God> The phrase "flower is the desert" is significant precisely because it doesn't happen often.
<Alexa> (It went behind some trees, you said!)
<Hollyhock God> Also note that the place was recently the site of the Death of All Mankind's summer home and you haven't remodeled the lawn.
<Ebba> (Well actually, the cacti and stuff tend to spit out flowers when there is enough rain for them.)
<Hollyhock God> Twigs! Stubs! Maybe some bushes.
<Hollyhock God> Also it's January.
<Alexa> "Let's have a look at the twigs, anyway."
<Ebba> (So do we want to chase after the sheep, or persue diplomacy in Iceland?)
<Alexa> (I'd rather go to Iceland, but we should at least make an effort.)
<Ryan Sherbrig> (Likewise.)
<Hollyhock God> The benefit of two people not showing up is that you can always decide what you want to do and then make them do the other thing next week.
<Alexa> (Oh, good point!)
<Ebba> (Huzzah! Then there will be no escape for the sheep.)
<Hollyhock God> Hm, there's some trees nearby. Rather scrubby but alive. The soil is getting richer by the day, so you'll have opportunities to do something nice with the place when you want.
<Hollyhock God> In a clearing, however, you find that something has been nibbling on your personal grass.
<Hollyhock God> Possibly a number of somethings!
<Ebba> (Did the something leave sheep tracks? Sheep poop? Anything to conclusively prove the presence of sheep? :D)
<Hollyhock God> Yes, all those things.
<Hollyhock God> Your exemplar senses reveal that this poop definitely came from a herd of sheep!
<Alexa> A flock?
<Hollyhock God> This fur definitely came from more than one black sheep!
<Hollyhock God> The teeth patterns on this grass couldn't have come from less than twelve sheep!
<Hollyhock God> Oh, and there was a flower rite so Fire doesn't exist anymore. FYI.
- RyanSherbrig informs Marcus and Fiona to look into it while they go party.
<Ryan Sherbrig> I mean, carefully cultivate critical alliances with our peers. Yes.
<Hollyhock God> Are you flying on the Grix, then?
- RyanSherbrig adjusts his bowler and clockwork monocle.
<Ryan Sherbrig> Yes, yes, no sense hunting down a Byakhee when I've got one.
- RyanSherbrig spends the SMP for grudging compliance and suchnot.
<Ebba> (And the cute "rrrr rrr" noises the Grix makes when it's forced to provide transporation? )
<Hollyhock God> The Grix grudingly allows the three of you to climb aboard. As Ryan rests his weight on the creature, it lists slightly in the air as though he were extremely weighty.
<Hollyhock God> To Iceland!
<Alexa> "Have you put on weight, Ryan?"
<Hollyhock God> Iceland is somewhat less cold than the name implies, but still pretty cold.
<Alexa> (Particularly in January!)
<Hollyhock God> Also it's full of geeks looking at fancy machines.
- RyanSherbrig speaks their secret tribal languages with perfect fluency!
<Hollyhock God> That reminds me, what are you wearing to the steampunk ball of the gods?
<Ryan Sherbrig> Straightforward Victorian refinery with a few tasteful clockwork accoutrements.
<Ryan Sherbrig> The aforementioned monocle, an impressively-complicated looking mechanical corsage-y type thing, etc.
<Alexa> A nice warm parka.
<Alexa> And pants.
<Hollyhock God> You're not very big on the spirit of the thing, are you, Alexa?
<Alexa> Nope. :)
<Alexa> (Unless Ryan complains beforehand.)
<Ebba> A Victorian dress, with an umbrella.
- RyanSherbrig just gives a kind of resigned sigh after asking Alexa is that's all she's going out in.
<Hollyhock God> …a clockwork umbrella?
<Ebba> You turn the crank and it produces answers even when given bad data!
<Hollyhock God> Yay!
<Hollyhock God> Nevertheless, the nerds find your cosplay extremely unimpressive. Nobody even asks to take your picture!
<Hollyhock God> So you don't invite them to ride the Secret Elevator down to the Underground Magic Science Chamber.
- RyanSherbrig is so snubbed he Anchors one of them!
<Ryan Sherbrig> (Not really.)
<Hollyhock God> You might as well go up later and argue about TV shows with one of them until the qualifications are met.
- Alexa also puts on a cap with an "I <3 NY" logo.
<Ebba> (Isn't Alexa technically English? Since her brother is?)
<Hollyhock God> The underground chamber is vast and mostly empty, so that everyone's exhibit is out of the blast radius of all the other exhibits.
- RyanSherbrig peruses the informational pamphlets looking for interesting exhibit titles.
<Ryan Sherbrig> (Impress me with a list of options!)
<Hollyhock God> Okay…
- RyanSherbrig also keeps half an eye out for Dana, of course.
<Hollyhock God> Dana organized the thing, so her exhibit gets a full page of brochure: Quantum-Computer-Based Construct Universes (Practical Demo & Tour).
<Hollyhock God> Selim is demoing something called a Memory Reader (portable).
<Hollyhock God> Mostly to get out of doing work on E'jah's Portable Planet.
<Alexa> (Is Dana one of the Worldshapers too, or is hers a separate project?)
<Hollyhock God> Separate!
<Hollyhock God> Marley is doing something involving time that you don't understand.
- Alexa looks bored.
<Hollyhock God> The Cammora have the only refreshment stand in the exhibit hall (lemonade: $100k).
<Alexa> "Shall we stick together or split up?"
<Ebba> (All the other competing refreshment stands mysteriously burned down? )
<Hollyhock God> (I presume they just bought the franchise from Dana.)
- RyanSherbrig heads over to Marley's booth, and askes for an explanation!
<Ryan Sherbrig> Nicely, and with genuine intrigue.
<Hollyhock God> Marley is wearing a dress not merely adorned with clockwork, but made of nothing else. She clicks and whirrs with the elaborate finality of an uncaring universe.
<Hollyhock God> Apparently she's invented a machine that can slow down time to 99% of its normal speed without using magic.
<Hollyhock God> That's the jist of it.
<Hollyhock God> But she seems quite pleased with herself- Time is hard.
<Ryan Sherbrig> "Very impressive! Does it use… um… relativity?"
<Ryan Sherbrig> "Light speed, gravity, whatnot?"
<Hollyhock God> "It's gravitational," she confirms, with some science technobabble. Since it's not MAGIC technobabble you have no idea what she just said.
- RyanSherbrig nods politely.
<Hollyhock God> Meanwhile, Dana is avoiding talking to Alexa.
<Hollyhock God> She doesn't actually come out and glare at you, but she ducks into a personal micro-universe in order to avoid you.
<Hollyhock God> It's hard to avoid someone with elegance in a room with maybe twenty people in it, but she does fairly well.
<Alexa> (Does the universe have a little door to tap on?)
<Hollyhock God> It's a little rectangular portal-thing attached to lots of big machinery. It doesn't actually close, so it's not the best place for hiding, but it was all she had.
- Alexa taps on the door.
<Hollyhock God> There are lots of signs explaining how the technology uses quantum computers to create new universes and access them. It makes perfect sense to you, so it probably isn't a very honest explanation.
<Hollyhock God> Dana pokes her head out, and greets you warmly. You wouldn't suspect she was upset if you hadn't seen her ducking out of your sight earlier.
<Hollyhock God> "Ah, Lady Fortis. Welcome to our little exhibit."
<Hollyhock God> Her glasses telescope out to focus on you.
<Alexa> "Hi, Dana. I thought I should say hello, maybe have a chat if you have time."
<Ebba> (Maybe she just had to tip off the assassins, or something, and didn't want us to notice?)
<Ryan Sherbrig> (Thank her for the invitation!)
<Ryan Sherbrig> (A bit weird that she invited us if she was, erm, going to avoid us.)
<Hollyhock God> "Oh, we're always available to an important person like yourself."
<Alexa> "Thanks for the invitation, too."
<Hollyhock God> (It's possible she's miffed that Alexa pointedly ignored the dress code.)
<Hollyhock God> (That's kind of a personal insult.)
<Ryan Sherbrig> (She just needs to know Alexa better.)
<Hollyhock God> "Well, I couldn't really do any less without being rude, could I?"
<Hollyhock God> "Do come and see my little universe."
<Alexa> (Then she'd know for sure it was an insult. :))
<Alexa> "Oh, I'd love to."
<Ryan Sherbrig> (And then Dana shuts the door behind her.)
<Ryan Sherbrig> (Welcome to Eternity.)
<Alexa> (Dun dun dun!)
<Hollyhock God> It's not a very interesting universe, but, you know… universe.
<Alexa> "So where are we?"
<Hollyhock God> It's a three-dimensional space about fifty by fifty on each edge of the cube.
<Hollyhock God> On the bottom, by the gateway, Dana has constructed a living room with sofa.
<Hollyhock God> Beyond there is only darkness!
<Hollyhock God> "This is the first practical step in my universe-building project," Dana explains. "This is a three-dimensional space outside of Creation as we know it!"
<Hollyhock God> "The second step is the creation of actual things to populate the universe with- mostly busy work."
<Ebba> (Wasn't she the one that wanted additional backup Creations, anchored in the Lands Beyond, and not relying on regular Creation?)
<Hollyhock God> "The third step is divorcing it from the Estate hierarchy of Ygg and creating a new one to sustain it. …it may prove a little tricky."
<Alexa> "Neat! Can it be accessed externally?"
<Hollyhock God> "A quantum gateway like this one is the only known way in or out, since it doesn't exist at any known or unknowable point in space."
<Hollyhock God> "It's a purely theoretical location."
<Hollyhock God> "However, once we described it perfectly in our computer, it was simple enough to access it like this."
<Alexa> "So until it has its own Estates, it's kind of anchored to the computer?"
<Alexa> (Does Ebba want to have some fun somewhere too?)
<Ebba> (Guess I'd better see what Selim is up to.)
<Ebba> (And whether everything from the last mess is cleaned up and smoothed over.)
<Ebba> (Although it's almost time already.)
<Hollyhock God> Hold on, doing tech support for parents.
<Ebba> (And didn't E'jah say that creating Estate-like things to prop up a new universe was the hardest part, anyway?)
<Ebba> (So if we wanted to be mean to Dana, we could point out that's she basically presenting 'a cool trick she hasn't actually figured out how to do yet.')
<Alexa> (Do we want to be mean to Dana? :) )
<Hollyhock God> She built an independent three-dimensional space!
<Hollyhock God> Also, parents don't know how to work microphones.
<Ebba> (Heh, had to do a whole lot of looking for microphone-related silliness.)
<Ebba> (Default Vista and 7 sound drivers don't allow for microphone input to be piped right back out of the speakers.)
<Hollyhock God> They were trying to work Skype with the microphone on mute.
<Alexa> (Do they know sign language?)
<Hollyhock God> My mom does! But I don't. It's an impasse.
<Hollyhock God> Oh well, we can leave it to the sheep for next week.
<Hollyhock God> I'll spend the intervening time coming up with names for things.
<Ebba> (Yes sir, no sir, three bags full.)
<Hollyhock God> I really meant for all these science things.
<Alexa> Bob the Science Thing?
<Hollyhock God> Hmmmmm.
<Alexa> I take it we're stopping?
<Hollyhock God> I guess so. I took science lightly and now it's COME FOR ME.
<Hollyhock God> In the form of tech support.
<Ryan Sherbrig> "Tell us about the science, HG! IN MIND-NUMBING DETAIL!"
- RyanSherbrig is now known as Benhimself
- Alexa is now known as Uqbarian
<Uqbarian> I thought you were joking about steampunk gear being mandatory, but Alexa probably would have intentionally misunderstood anyway.
- HollyhockGod probably needs to do some more serious stories.
<Benhimself> The Power of Seriousness is hosting a cotillion!
<Hollyhock God> Everything there must be taken very seriously.
<Hollyhock God> The water cooler is empty. STOP EVERYTHING AND REFILL IT.
<Ebba> I'd guess that most party circuit nobles are mostly jaded.
<Ebba> So as long as he doesn't do it that often, they'll put up with just about any silly party premise.
<Benhimself> "Ho, hum, party crashers from Beyond Creation again? I suppose."
<Benhimself> "I was at a party where we had to deal with an angry Transcendental, once, you know."
<Uqbarian> I'd love to play a purely party-circuit Nobilis game. :)
<Benhimself> That'd be awesome.
<Benhimself> You could get invitations and choose which ones to actually go to.
<Uqbarian> You wouldn't even need to be the same Familia — just a bunch of friends who hang out at the same parties.
<Benhimself> Like all those 'pick your mission' style games.
<Hollyhock God> Well, now I know what the next seven plots are going to be.
<Hollyhock God> Actually, next time I think I need you to host a party, so that we can hammer out your Chancel details.
<Uqbarian> Oh, we're not letting anyone in to Eden!
<Benhimself> Says who?
<Uqbarian> Me! (But not seriously.)
<Ebba> But letting people in was the whole point of taking it away from the Dark.
<Uqbarian> With all the power of my Realm score, I… oh.
<Benhimself> But yes, a great convocation of the Light at Eden was one of Ryan's plans.
<Benhimself> Not necessarily for the immediate future, but, yeah.
<Uqbarian> Alexa had the same idea.
<Hollyhock God> Next week you throw a sheep party!