Fourteen- Science In My Perfectly Good Magic, Part Two

<Uqbarian> Hi, Rand. Did you see bob and borogove's apologies?

<Rand Brittain> Apologies? Oh noes!


<Rand Brittain> Only one solution is possible- we must end the world!

<Nentuaby> Oh, is that what the sheep are for?

<Uqbarian> Ending the world? I vote for fire.

<Rand Brittain> Some say the world will end in fire; others say in sheep.

<Rand Brittain> Not that sheep are a big mystery.

<Nentuaby> Therefore, we shall set the sheep aflame.

<Nentuaby> I love a win/win situation.

<Uqbarian> :)

<Uqbarian> I think I know enough of ends / To know that for destruction sheep / would gently send / us all to sleep.

<Rand Brittain> It would be funny if they were High Summoned sleepy-sheep.

  • Benhimself has joined #childrenofeve

<Rand Brittain> Hooray! My players!

  • You are now known as HollyhockGod
  • Uqbarian is now known as Alexa

<Hollyhock God> When last we left you, two of you were in Iceland, playing with toys!

  • Nentuaby is now known as Marcus

<Hollyhock God> But back home, Marcus is confronted with a troubling note from Alexa.

  • Benhimself is now known as Ryan

<Hollyhock God> What did it say, again?

<Alexa> "I know what you did last summer"?

<Marcus> “Unlike you.”

<Hollyhock God> Hey, now, it's Alexa who's supposed to deliver the BURN.

<Alexa> (But I don't remember leaving him a note!)

<Ryan> (The sheep.)

<Ryan> (I think?)

<Alexa> (I guess. Or maybe I sleepwalk. Sleepwrite.)

<Hollyhock God> I was just deciding that you had, and asking you to determine what it said.

<Alexa> (Oh! Is slow on the uptake.)

<Hollyhock God> Something like "Hay MarO had ship prblmz plz deal kthx bai."

<Alexa> "Marcus, one of Ryan's sentries spotted a sheep near to the Chancel (approx. location marked on map attached).”

<Alexa> "We had a quick looksee but just found tracks of a flock of sheep.”

<Ryan> ("This being the middle of the desert, we were something suspicious.")

<Marcus> Marcus cocks an eyebrow at the note. "Mmmm… Hmmm."

<Alexa> "We're off to the science fair, so could you have another look when you're up?”

<Alexa> "Cheers, Alexa.”

<Alexa> "P.S.: I have no idea what you did last summer, but I intend to find out."

<Ryan> ("P.P.S. Our volcano is totally going to take first prize!")

<Hollyhock God> Now, it's time for our next adventure: Marcus Oroboa and the Case of the Six Sick Sleepy Scythe-Sheep!

<Marcus> Marcus tucks the note into his pocket and dutifully heads off to the gate to investigate said… sheep.

<Alexa> ("Ryan, I thought you were bringing the volcano! Darn. Is it still on mum's desk?")

<Ryan> ("We'll have to improvise! Find a hamster and a small toy airplane!")

<Alexa> ("I only have a guinea pig. Will that do?")

<Hollyhock God> Slightly outside the Chancel you find the wooded copse with the tell-tale traces of the presence of sheep- not normally to be found in the wastes.

<Ryan> ("If only we had brought Marcus along!")

<Hollyhock God> Quite possibly a number of sheep.

<Marcus> I follow said sheep-trace, I suppose.

<Hollyhock God> It isn't really a trail, just an indication of their presence in the past.

<Hollyhock God> No signs outside of the copse, at least not immediately.

<Marcus> Well then.

<Marcus> I guess that's pretty much that, then.

<Alexa> (Nice quick session! Thanks, guys! :) )

<Hollyhock God> I guess that's like the games where you don't choose to open the Door that Must Not Be Opened and go home.

<Hollyhock God> Three days later the world ends because you didn't receive the blessing of the Purple Maiden and become the prophesied hero.

<Marcus> Marcus casts about idly via divination for any sign of impending doom, but other than that, the motivation to investigate aging sheep-sign is… not high.

<Alexa> ("If only I'd brought Fiona along!" says Marcus.)

<Hollyhock God> Sheep wouldn't normally be in that area! Their presence is sinister!

<Hollyhock God> But no, no impending doom. Your divinations indicate that there is only one-shot stories for several months yet.

<Marcus> What area are we in, anyway?

<Marcus> Because sheep would be in the traditional location Eden's given. I'm a bit confused.

<Hollyhock God> You forget this was Dark Lord territory last month.

<Hollyhock God> Blasted heath! Low real estate values! No human habitation for a thousand miles on either side, or something.

<Hollyhock God> Also, Alexa's note didn't mention it, but Ebba's exemplar senses detected last week that there was only black wool even though there were multiple sheep, which is myffic enough to be notable.

<Marcus> Blasted heath is exactly sheep territory. But okay. :P

  • HollyhockGod doesn't know about sheep, okay?

<Alexa> (Alexa forgot to mention the sheep was black! Dun dun dun!)

<Hollyhock God> Fine, fine.

<Hollyhock God> Ping! Chancel senses… tingling!

<Marcus> Aha!

<Hollyhock God> Intruder at the aft gate!

<Hollyhock God> You rush to the scene, and what do you see? A black sheep!

<Hollyhock God> It looks up at you with trusting eyes.

<Hollyhock God> Looks as though it wandered in. You should really set up a password lock.

<Marcus> "Hello there," Marcus says to it in his best Sheep (nearly unaccented!). "How do you do?"

<Hollyhock God> "Hey!" says the sheep. "It's a man! Hey, man!"

<Hollyhock God> "I like you. You are the correct hue."

<Hollyhock God> Clearly, this sheep has not had the benefit of education in a pluralistic society.

<Marcus> Marcus blinks slowly. That's… a bit of an unusual attitude, for a sheep.

<Marcus> "Mmmm. And why would another color be incorrect, friend Sheep?"

<Hollyhock God> "Because that would be silly." The sheep giggles.

<Hollyhock God> Estimated mental age of this sheep: about six.

<Marcus> (Oh, the vagaries of conversation with animals. Did you say he was actually inside Eden?)

<Alexa> (He was at the gate. Perhaps he was going to… ram it?)

<Hollyhock God> Outside the gate but technically inside the Chancel proper.

<Hollyhock God> Oh, look, more sheep!

<Hollyhock God> It's a whole flock of black sheep running up to play.

<Marcus> Right then, there are more efficient ways to be doing this than standing and baaa-ing at each other! Major Divination of What Their Deal Is.

<Hollyhock God> Total head count: 10 sheep.

<Hollyhock God> 90% of their deal: Baa! Baa! Eat grass! Look at the funny man!

<Hollyhock God> 10% of their deal: I/O Error: Sheep not found.

<Hollyhock God> Oh, look, it's a sheep who's immune to miracles.

<Alexa> (It's a baaamb!)

<Marcus> (Perhaps an Inheritor of the Power of <insert favorite butt of ethnic jokes here>.)

<Alexa> (Ha!)

<Hollyhock God> The mysterious sheep acts gaily innocent and attempts to lead its flock away from Eden in a surrepetitious manner.

<Marcus> "Excuse me," he points at the Essential Sheep. "I'm sorry to be rude, but who and/or what are you?"

<Hollyhock God> "Baaaa!" says the sheep, sheepishly. "I'm a sheep!"

<Marcus> "Evidently so. Sheep are not, however, typically miraculous creatures. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask for an explanation of just why you're nosing about the edges of my Chancel."

<Hollyhock God> The sheep looks left, and then it looks right.

<Marcus> (That must be a very long sentence in Sheep.)

<Hollyhock God> Then it looks up, which is easy because it's just changed shape into a person.

<Hollyhock God> It's a little boy who can't be more than twelve, but with the businesslike look of an adult. His skin is a very blackish sort of violet, and his eyes are even darker if possible.

<Hollyhock God> He matches the sheep quite well, actually (the crook helps).

<Hollyhock God> "I was just shepherding," he says nonchalantly. "Following the sheep in accordance with shepherding principles. Is this a Chancel, then?"

<Marcus> "Yes."

<Marcus> (Note to self: At next opportunity, spend a couple of AMPs to memorize our little phone book.)

<Hollyhock God> Or at least memorize the player characters in your own game.

<Hollyhock God> "Oh. Well, then. Sorry you were troubled."

<Hollyhock God> Boy and sheep vanish.

<Marcus> (That I did spot. Sadly, Marcus does not hang about :P )

<Marcus> "Mmmm… hmmm." (Oh, if only I were more of a metagamer. "Major Creation of Taffy!")

<Marcus> "Excuse me," Marcus broadcasts to the chancel at large via ghost miracle. "Due to suspicious activities about the verge, I will be sealing the chancel for a while. The management apologizes for the inconvenience."

<Hollyhock God> (The miracle babies do not mind the inconvenience.)

<Marcus> He spends his RMP to do so.

<Alexa> (I don't get it.)

<Hollyhock God> Marcus has encountered the most fearsome creature of all.

<Marcus> (The dread GMPC. :P )

<Hollyhock God> I got tired of sneaking around people who wouldn't do anything secretive. So I decided to come to this game and sneak around you.

<Hollyhock God> You have so many delicious things to hide.

<Alexa> (Oh, I see!)

<Hollyhock God> Chancel lockdown initiated. Penetration?

<Marcus> Does the lockdown thing need Pen? It's kind of a special rule.

<Hollyhock God> No, it's listed somewhere. Maybe in the LARP supplement?

<Hollyhock God> It shuts down all gates but Auctoritas can still get you through unless Penetration is used.

<Marcus> It's in the GWB alongside the teleportation gifts

<Hollyhock God> Otherwise you'd never have gotten into Eden yourselves. :)

<Marcus> Ah, right-o. I'll give it… two, I suppose.

<Hollyhock God> May as well do three, since it's a deep miracle.

<Hollyhock God> That'll hold 'em!

<Hollyhock God> You're left standing in the thin strip of Eden outside the gates.

<Hollyhock God> You've got maybe three hundred yards of radius within your power here.

<Alexa> ("Oh, wait. Did I leave my keys inside?")

<Marcus> Er, no, I was sealing the chancel.

<Marcus> Not the gates per se.

<Hollyhock God> I was kind of thinking of Eden as open, but with very effective walls.

<Hollyhock God> This is why details are important and we should probably have made some up before now.

<Hollyhock God> Oh, well, your way works too.

<Marcus> Indeed.

<Hollyhock God> Pocket universe closed!

<Marcus> Alternatively, I can just have been inside the gates when I sealed those.

<Hollyhock God> That also works.

<Marcus> Meanwhile, Marcus goes back to setting up his private bower, unaware (dun dun dun) that invisible sheep are staring at him.

<Hollyhock God> Are they?

<Hollyhock God> I guess that settles the Marcus story for now.

<Hollyhock God> I do want details on the bower, though, and on Eden in general.

<Hollyhock God> Are you building a Glorious Mansion? I'm sure Ryan is.

<Marcus> Well, I figure since the whole place is an… Edenic… garden, probably there are no indoor spaces proper. So he's building himself a nice vine-screened space for outdoor privacy.

<Hollyhock God> It's not like the place can criticize you if you decide to put buildings in.

<Hollyhock God> It says "Tempest" on your door.

<Marcus> Manually, in this case, since being Polished is kind of a kick and even a Tempest's gotta have hobbies.

<Marcus> Well, true, he could change that, but then you could paint a moustache on the mona lisa! He may have Words with Ryan if he tries to put in anything too ostentatiously artificial!

<Hollyhock God> Interesting.

<Hollyhock God> Where did you put the secret Excrucian entry gate?

<Marcus> Under the dovecote.

<Hollyhock God> Well, that explains everything.

<Hollyhock God> I think I'm going to keep asking you these sarcastic questions, and then one day Pandora and her friends pour out from under the dovecote and it turns out you were evil all along.

<Alexa> Where did you put the dovecote?

<Marcus> Exactly!

<Marcus> (Note to self: Do not install dovecote. *eyes HG mistrustfully* )

<Hollyhock God> Meanwhile, in Iceland, Alexa and Ryan (and Ebba, somewhere) look at Science.

<Alexa> (But where would we put the doves?)

<Hollyhock God> I guess maybe Marley's machine for slowing down time by 1% is kind of dull, but you have to consider that it's real, mortals-compatible science.

<Hollyhock God> I think I should just let you guys make up the outlandish science fair projects.

<Marcus> (BTW, remember that Ryan will have heard my announcement that I'm sealing the chancel, via Realm's Heart. And may be wanting to know why.)

<Hollyhock God> I invite you all to tell me what somebody has invented.

<Marcus> (Bueller?)

<Alexa> (I'm devoid of ideas.)

  • RyanSherbrig is a bit distracted from genetic-algorithim-devised prayer wheels for spamming one's enemies by the sudden changes in his realm.

<Ryan> In the Realm's Heart: "Marcus? Is everything all right?"

<Hollyhock God> Oh, that is a good idea!

<Marcus> "I think so, that was more of a strong precaution. There's a strange shepherd-type fellow with those mystery sheep. Noble or something like. He vanished rather sheepishly when I pointed out I could tell him from his flock."

<Ryan> "Unfortunate. I'm mostly waiting to hear back from Alexa about how her meeting with Dana went. Although some of these projects are fairly interesting."

<Hollyhock God> Hm, Alexa, while this is going on, and you've managed to get away from Dana's pocket universe, you find yourself looking at another exhibit, which isn't actually an invention at all.

<Ryan> "Did you catch his name? Or anything jump out in the Book?"

<Hollyhock God> It looks as though someone has set up a museum of human developments in energy science from the present forward until the year 3000.

<Marcus> "Book?," Marcus asks, never having been briefed all that thoroughly.

<Hollyhock God> It predicts when mortals will invent about forty-seven new technologies and how the Light will respond and guide that development.

<Alexa> (I don't get to have a chat with Dana? Or are we keeping that offscreen so it can later be revealed she replaced me with a Deceiver? ;) )

  • Alexa looks through the exhibit to check that humans are still using fire.

<Hollyhock God> Oh, you wanted to keep talking with Dana? Well, that's fine, too.

<Ryan> "Ah, yes. Vesper, Power of Words, left us a copy of the Almanac he keeps work on, detailing most of the 'known' Nobilis. Consider the source and all, but it's been fairly reliable for the most part."

<Hollyhock God> What were you discussing?

<Marcus> (The Light Power of Eugenics is sitting in the corner with a small booth peddling the first truly objective genetic intelligence screening. For some reason, nobody's taking his brochure.)

<Marcus> "Hmmm, that does sound useful. Where would I find it?"

<Hollyhock God> (It's under the dovecote.)

<Ryan> "We had a copy in the old chancel. I'm not sure if it got moved or not. I imagine you could tell one way or another."

<Alexa> (I was going to get round to something like 'Sorry about this leadership fuss; it wasn't our idea; we'd really like your help and advice.')

<Marcus> "I'll divine after it then, thanks."

<Alexa> (And suggest a convocational thing.)

  • MarcusOroboa does so.

<Hollyhock God> What do you know, it was under the dovecote after all!

<Hollyhock God> One day I really must look up what a dovecote is, but right now I'm happy just imagining.

  • MarcusOroboa wonders why Eden even has a dovecote.

<Marcus> It's like a chicken coop… but with doves.

<Hollyhock God> In case of a flood, obviously. If Karen sends a flood, only doves can stop it!

<Alexa> (Now we know Karen's secret weakness!)

<Hollyhock God> Hm, here's a picture of some small boy with blackish skin holding a shepherd's crook. I suppose that might be the same guy.

<Hollyhock God> JOSEPH, SHEPHERD OF NIGHT: "This youthful Sovereign shuns the company of his peers and is not frequently seen. Because his presence is usually marked by chaos and reckless action, he is frequently reckoned to be among the numbers of the Dark, but little is known."

<Hollyhock God> "His ability to remain unseen is uncanny even for a Noble, and he remains mysterious even to my perspicacious self."

<Marcus> Marcus blinks at the page. "Ah. Well, I'm glad you pointed me to the book," his Heart representation says. "Apparently he is Night, and his Gift is one of stealth rather than teleportation. We may have a problem."

  • Alexa looks for the owner of the energy exhibit.

<Hollyhock God> Alexa finds him!

<Marcus> Marcus thinks for a moment about the implications of the entire flock vanishing, then fills the immediate vicinity with phantom dogs doing their best "gonna getcha, sheep" routine.

<Hollyhock God> He's a tall man, well-built but perhaps running a bit to seed, wearing a practical yellow jumpsuit with suitably golden upholstery. He gives you a look of pleasant but business-like greeting.

<Alexa> "Hello. What's your prediction method?"

<Hollyhock God> "The only one that works," he says, British with a hint of colonel.

<Hollyhock God> "I steer the progress of science myself."

<Ryan> "Worrisome. Well, Eden's strengths hould protect it from most foul play if he has unfortunate intentions."

<Alexa> "Isn't that cheating?"

<Hollyhock God> "Nonsense! It's accuracy!"

<Hollyhock God> "Clean energy will be the most important development of the century!"

<Alexa> "You have a personal interest in the field?"

<Hollyhock God> "Energy is a passion of mine. It's all around us, as of course you know, being energy yourself."

<Alexa> "Well, not exactly, but yes."

<Hollyhock God> "Ah, but I forget myself. Benjamin Gibraltar, Earl of the Day."

<Alexa> "Alexa Fortis, Fire's Regal."

<Hollyhock God> "Yes, well," he laughs, "Your reputation precedes you."

<Hollyhock God> "It's just possible you'll never need to introduce yourself again."

<Alexa> She laughs. "It's not all true!"

<Hollyhock God> "Perhaps not." He leads your eyes to a console over on one wall.

<Hollyhock God> "As you can see, this little trinket is for monitoring the use of energy across the entire Earth sphere."

<Alexa> "Mmhmm."

<Hollyhock God> It's not a very complicated trinket. It's a bar graph on a screen that says "26,930,934,105."

<Hollyhock God> "A simple toy, but it gives me pleasure."

<Hollyhock God> "Now over here are the more complicated devices that can detect the use of nuclear power, solar energy collection, oil and coal, and similar."

<Alexa> "What do the numbers represent?"

<Hollyhock God> I dunno; some technobabble. I guess Alexa knows things about energy science?

<Alexa> (Probably not! But she'll nod and go along with it.)

<Alexa> "And these are real-time measurements?"

<Hollyhock God> "Yes, I have various instruments set up here and there. Always useful to know firsthand when some nuclear power plant goes haywire, although I've been trying to put better safety protocols in place lately."

<Hollyhock God> Anyway, it's ten o'clock and it's time for the cliffhanger, so.

<Alexa> "Indeed. I'm curious — if you're predicting by steering science, how do you account for the steering efforts of other scientifically minded powers?"

<Hollyhock God> The number goes up!

<Hollyhock God> While Benjamin discusses the difficulties involved in coping with other Powers and their meddling, the display begins to beep and slowly climb.

<Hollyhock God> Benjamin looks at the numbers and shakes his head, sadly. "You see what I mean?"

<Alexa> "Does that happen often?"

<Hollyhock God> "It's doubled in thirty seconds. Some fool somewhere is testing some energy grid device or something on-planet instead of going to Titan or somewhere safe."

<Alexa> "Great. Can you get a location from here?"

<Hollyhock God> "Of course they will do it, but it's pure foolishness. Soon someone will catch them and… well, they can probably clean up after themselves, but it's sloppy."

<Hollyhock God> "Where is it? It's… oh. It's upstairs, right here."

<Hollyhock God> "Somewhere in the mortal convention hall. We might… want to go and have a look at that."

<Alexa> "Yes, let's."

<Alexa> Prayer to Ryan: "Just going upstairs to check out an energy spike in the mortal section." Prayer to Ebba, same.

<Hollyhock God> Hm, I think that's all for tonight.

<Hollyhock God> Next week, Marcus continues to hide from sheep!

<Alexa> Sheep that may not be there, even?

<Hollyhock God> Indeed. The worst form of paranoia.

<Hollyhock God> When you get back you should deny ever writing that note.

<Alexa> What note?

<Marcus> Or who may be getting a whole eyeful of my l33t gardening skills!

<Hollyhock God> "Marcus, you need to understand that these sheep are your subconscious mind trying to tell you something."

<Alexa> What do Marcus and Ryan's Realm's Heart icons look like?

<Marcus> "Yes. They're trying to tell me 'Marcus, you have spent waaaaaaay too many lifetimes herding sheep."

<Alexa> "This time, it's paybaaaack!"

<Hollyhock God> I'm inclined to reference the thing from Discworld about sheep and goats, but it's irrelevant because Joseph herds both.

<Marcus> Hmmmm…. Marcus's icon is a marble statue with flowering vines growing all around it, which wither when he dies. The flowers change as he reincarnates.

<Marcus> And what is the thing from Discworld about sheep and goats?

<Hollyhock God> Basically, the god Om developed from the prayers of a shepherd who was grateful that he found his lost sheep.

<Hollyhock God> It's mentioned that Om would have been a lot different if he had been shaped by the prayers of a goatherd.

<Hollyhock God> The reason being, sheep are stupid and will follow you anywhere, but goats have to be guided.

<Marcus> I see.

<Uqbarian> Catch you folks next week!

<Hollyhock God> Hm, this episode needed more sheep.

<Marcus> You can add CG sheep for the director's cut!


<Ryan> Ovinopocalypse.

<Hollyhock God> It would be funny to have a Gift that makes harmless things into effective and deadly weapons.

<Hollyhock God> You can use it to kill your enemy's dignity.

<Marcus> "You cannot stand before my trout-fu!"

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