Story Thirteen- The Importance Of Being Preppy, Part Four

<Rand Brittain> So cold…

<Rand Brittain> I turned the heat off in this apartment while I was away for Christmas, and it's below freezing outside.

<Rand Brittain> Now I must go back and unload the car.

<Rand Brittain> Well, at least I can know that it's colder out there.

<Nentuaby> We'll always have Antarctica.

<Rand Brittain> I didn't know I was going to have it in my home.

<Rand Brittain> Now I go for another load.

  • Benhimself has joined #ChildrenOfEve

<Benhimself> Ahoy all.

<Nentuaby> Ahoyhoy.

<Uqbarian> Hi, Ben!

<Rand Brittain> Still so cold…

<Nentuaby> You could try what I do about the cold: Living in California. YMMV.

<Uqbarian> Set fire to the car!

<Rand Brittain> You're in charge of fire, not me!

<Rand Brittain> I'm only in charge of everything except five things.

<Nentuaby> You're technically in charge of those five things too, if only you weren't so darn sleepy.

<Rand Brittain> I'm hamstrung by your choices in spending Dynasty Points~

<Uqbarian> If you're in charge of everything else, you could do a Destruction of Cold, then.

<Rand Brittain> True! But I can't assume my Hollyhock glory without a full muster.

<Rand Brittain> I wonder where my shrubberies went?

<Benhimself> Hmmm. Did they forget? It's been a while.

<Benhimself> Or were thinking 9 PM again.

<Uqbarian> They may still be on holiday.

<Benhimself> That too.

<Rand Brittain> I suppose I can continue on with you three since we're nearly done.

<Rand Brittain> You're the ones I need for the big shouty argument scenes. :)

  • Nentuaby is now known as Marcus

<Uqbarian> Ha!

  • Uqbarian is now known as Alexa
  • You are now known as Hollyhock God

<Marcus> When last we left our (ostensible) heroes!

  • Benhimself is now known as RyanSherbrig

<Hollyhock God> You were being menaced by Maliq underneath the hairdryers.

<Hollyhock God> Or at least, a bunch of previously innocent civilians were.

<Hollyhock God> Can't speak to their status now.

<Hollyhock God> Selim and Maliq are shouting at the computer system, trying to out-admin each other.

<Hollyhock God> You don't know where Beta is.

<Ryan Sherbrig> (I missed a session, right?)

<Hollyhock God> That's correct.

<Alexa> (The log is up!)

<Hollyhock God> Basically, Alexa came in after you and reacted in precisely the opposite fashion as Ryan.

<Ryan Sherbrig> Huge outrage, setting fire to everything?

<Hollyhock God> After a long verbal tussle with Selim and Beta, she walked out in a huff and vented on someone who turned out to be Maliq.

<Hollyhock God> Maliq was so very glad to escalate, and locked a bunch of random people into the hairdryers, which evidently are also brain chairs.

<Alexa> For some reason, Maliq decided to be annoying.

<Hollyhock God> She is currently overwriting their minds with Cneph knows what.

<Hollyhock God> Selim is trying to stop the machines, but she has the same level of terminal privilege as him.

<Alexa> Does it look like the people would be hurt if we just pulled them out of the chairs?

<Ryan Sherbrig> (They all come out of the brain chairs: "We love you, Alexa!")

<Hollyhock God> I dunno; what happens if you unplug a computer while switching OS's?

<Alexa> Something unpleasant, I'm sure.

<Marcus> (I should retroactively take the Shapeshifting gift and weigh in!)

<Hollyhock God> You've got 5 CP, so you're allowed.

<Alexa> I wonder if Ebba, our Exemplar, could just grab Maliq and put a hand over her mouth.

<Marcus> (sudo quit ampersand ampersand removegroup wheel!)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Wait, what's Marcus's Domain?)

<Hollyhock God> 5.

<Hollyhock God> He's a Tempest-Regal.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Marcus, how endowed are you in your domain? A full Regal, yes?"

<Alexa> (Teehee!)

<Marcus> Marcus allows the obvious wisecrack to pass. "Regal, yes."

<Hollyhock God> I'm still concerned about how Rebirth works in this context, though.

<Hollyhock God> It seems likely to result in immunity to nearly all consequences.

<Hollyhock God> So I thought I would run two potential limitations by you:

<Hollyhock God> 1) You can only restore things to the level that you understand them, and thus can't restore traits you don't comprehend or don't know about; or 2) You can't restore things to a previous state- you have to make them at least a little bit different than what they were before (no naughty regression).

<Hollyhock God> Although it still isn't quite so troublesome an Estate as Memory.

<Marcus> I've actually been playing the second, for the most part. I've kind of cheated with a couple of things, but the microphones probably have a different circuit diagram or something now.

<Ryan Sherbrig> A different make and model, maybe.

<Marcus> Something like that, yeah.

<Hollyhock God> Antique victrola-styled.

<Hollyhock God> Okay, that satisfies me then.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Would you say that the process of becoming an entirely different person falls under your estate? And you could thus interfere? Or at least see exactly what Maliq is doing to them?"

<Marcus> "Hmmm. I could interfere, but I'm not sure it would be fore the better. I can at least divine on it." And he does so.

  • crusher_bob has joined #ChildrenOfEve

<crusher_bob> yay, it works!

<Alexa> (Hey, bob!)

  • crusher_bob is now known as Ebba

<Hollyhock God> It looks as though Maliq has set the machines to write random personalities on whatever brains are available.

<Hollyhock God> Most of those personalities are in beta, so they aren't terribly complex.

<Hollyhock God> They could probably manage politics, though.

<Marcus> "She's rolling dice. Random personalities to random recipients, and untested ones at that."

<Alexa> (Can a Divination of Fire tell me why my creation didn't work properly?)

<Hollyhock God> Yes. There's some kind of weirdness going on around Maliq. Like an aura that inhibits the normal working of entropy. It caused your flames to scatter much faster than they normally would.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Hmmm. But not explicitly self-destructive personalities, or those inimical to humanity as a whole? I agree, then, the risk of killing them by cutting the process short wouldn't be worth it."

<Hollyhock God> No, they probably won't immediately break down. I mean, it's not alpha.

<Alexa> (Also, suggestion to Ebba: use Aspect to grab Maliq and keep her quiet so Selim can take over the machines. (Though she'll probably turn out to be intangible or something.))

<Ebba> (And what's her spirit, do we know?)

<Alexa> (Hmm. No.)

<Marcus> "Any that get badly damaged I can reboot. Close enough to be better than the risk of bricking them, at any rate, yes."

<Ebba> (Did the problem with her giving commands to the machines get sorted out?)

<Ebba> (Since I find I have a powerful urge to hit her in the mouth.)

<Hollyhock God> No, she and Selim are still holding each other in check.

<Hollyhock God> It's been like five seconds since the last session ended.

<Ebba> Right-o.

<Ebba> Kindness to All Creatures Punch! (Aspect 4, Pen 3.)

<Ebba> "I know it's not really in your nature, but wouldn't you rather discuss things over tea; instead of everyone hitting each other?"

<Hollyhock God> Are you saying this while you hit her?

<Alexa> :)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (<3 Ebba.)

<Hollyhock God> Hard to know when you guys are kidding.

<Hollyhock God> Maliq gets pacifist-crushed and flies across the room into a mud-vat.

<Ebba> (Just so; right in the teeth, too.)

<Hollyhock God> "Sudo quit all!" says Selim for the fiftieth time. This time, no one disagrees.

<Hollyhock God> "Sudo shut down."

<Hollyhock God> There is a soft whirring as the brain chairs go dormant.

<Alexa> (Do the clasps unlock?)

<Hollyhock God> I think I'll say no, but the customers still seem a bit dazed. Better to keep them here before they wander off thinking they're President Roosevelt.

<Hollyhock God> "Huh," says Selim calmly. "Didn't know those units were online yet."

<Hollyhock God> He walks over to the vat and bangs on it.

<Hollyhock God> "Maliq, you've just busted fifty working chairs and made us look bad in front of visitors. Please consider this the termination of our agreement."

<Alexa> (bitingly) "So this project is entirely safe, huh."

<Hollyhock God> Selim smirks, and says, "Entirely."

<Hollyhock God> "Sudo reboot. Restore from last fail-safe copy."

<Hollyhock God> As the chairs spool up again, he states triumphantly, "I am not stupid, and I designed the chair firmware myself. None of these units can write without reading at the same time."

<Ebba> "Though I notice that we still don't have an answer to wheter the process works on Nobles or not…"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Any tool is only as safe as the hand which wields it, O Domina of Fire."

<Alexa> "I never said you were stupid, Selim."

<Ebba> (All who wish to volunteer Vesper raise their hands.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (/me shapeshifts for extra height in hand-raising.)

<Alexa> (How about Maliq?)

<Marcus> (Dear God, no. He's the last person in the world we want backed up.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Brrr, yeah. A sudden glitch causes them to start writing Vesper and Maliq into everybody the chairs work on!)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Abort! Retry! Fail, fail, fail!)

<Hollyhock God> "Well, maybe I just heard it. But no hard feelings- you just got rid of my less-than-silent partner, and nobody can say I'm to blame."

<Hollyhock God> (Technically, Vesper or Maliq with no powers would just get locked up, like the dudes in UF who get punished by being given the memories of a Power.)

<Alexa> (Maliq did call him stupid, I'll note.)

<Alexa> "Will you reconsider my safeguard and review suggestion, at least?"

<Hollyhock God> "Peer review is the essence of science, Lady Fortis. I'll send you some specs."

<Ebba> (Has Maliq climbed out of the mud vat, has she made a mysterious escape, or is she just sulking?)

<Alexa> "Thanks heaps. It certainly sounds clever."

<Hollyhock God> I think she's still laying head-downwards in herbal mud.

<Alexa> "The machine, that is."

<Hollyhock God> Probably because she can't think of a way to get out without letting you all see her covered in greenish goop.

<Alexa> "How much of the work was yours, and how much was Beta's? Have you worked with him before, if you don't mind my asking?"

<Hollyhock God> "It is, rather," agrees Selim. "Although the core technology was mostly Beta's work, even though I did the coding. My primary contribution was the physical side, although we both worked together on each aspect."

<Hollyhock God> "He's decent enough- you never find any trouble there that you didn't bring with you."

<Ebba> (Well, can't have Maliq laying around like a piece of furniture.)

<Alexa> "Yeah. Sorry about that. Pass on my apologies to him too, next time you see him."

<Hollyhock God> "Will do."

<Hollyhock God> Hm, that seems to wrap that up.

<Hollyhock God> But hey!

<Ebba> (I'll haul her out of the mud and go to work with ye olde handkerchief.)

<Hollyhock God> Okay. Huh.

<Hollyhock God> There's no body on the other end of those feet!

<Alexa> (Naturally.)

<Hollyhock God> Ebba yanks a pair of wooden legs in the other half of a skirt out of the mud.

<Ebba> Heh.

<Marcus> "Ohhh," Marcus comments, "What a world, what a world."

<Hollyhock God> Possibly Maliq was some kind of opposite wicked witch who dissolves in dirt.

<Hollyhock God> Oh, man, we were thinking the same thing.

<Ebba> "If she continues along this path, I'm sure we'll be forced to deal with her severly at some point.)

<Hollyhock God> In other news, isn't that your evil sister's husband wearing that Estate?

<Ebba> (Yes, but that isn't a problem that can be solved by hitting someone in the mouth.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Or is it?)

<Ebba> (I'd mostly assumed he was some Excrucian plot, and was waiting for us to not have witnesses before we start in on him. :D)

<Marcus> "At any rate, with that taken care of- and my respects to Dominus Selim, and please convey them to Beta- I believe we have an elephant in the living room. One we should discuss in private."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "To the Garden of Eden, then?"

<Alexa> "Do you need any help cleaning up?"

<Hollyhock God> "Oh, there's interns for that."

<Alexa> "Righto. See you later, then!"

<Hollyhock God> Samuel goes happily back to work, but takes a brochure with him, while the rest of you return to the gates of Eden.

<Alexa> (Samuel better not be rewriting his personality behind my back!)

<Hollyhock God> It would at least answer an important question!

<Alexa> (It would?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Does it work on Anchors?)

<Ryan Sherbrig> (Maybe he just wants to quit smoking and get six-pack abs the easy way. It might not be that bad of an idea.)

<Hollyhock God> If an Anchor of Fire stops smoking, he has to become an arsonist to compensate. That is Fortis Law!

<Hollyhock God> So, there's you guys, and there's this Marcus chap.

<Alexa> "So. Welcome to Eden."

<Alexa> "Now what the hell is going on?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Would you like an old wooden chair and dramatic spotlight for questioning?"

  • Alexa ignores Ryan.

<Hollyhock God> It's your Chancel, Ryan; you can make one and drag it outside.

<Marcus> A dramatic spotlight- and comfortable overstuffed chair appear. The former's effect is rather ruined by the broad daylight.

<Marcus> Marcus takes his seat. "Several of the questions to be asked here are obvious, so I'll anticipate them. No, I don't know where I've been since Darfur. No, I don't know why she chose to leave a successor rather than breaking her estate in her wake. No, I don't know why the Phoenix hasn't simply ripped me apart." His voice is frank and level.

<Alexa> "Have you spoken to the Phoenix at all? Or heard from Pandora? And why should we believe you?"

<Marcus> "No. No. And… Heh." He shrugs eloquently. "I would answer the last if I had an answer to satisfy myself."

  • Alexa smiles reluctantly.

<Alexa> "Ryan, is the boss lady awake?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "In a world where any of us could be deceiver-shards wearing the skins of Familia or loved ones, a certain amount of cautious trust is the only sensible norm, anyway."

  • RyanSherbrig checks the Realm's Heart.

<Hollyhock God> Zzzzzzzzz.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "No."

<Hollyhock God> You could try and wake her, I mean.

<Alexa> "We should probably wake her up, then."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "I have no intention of being there when she decides to hit the snooze button. Feel free."

  • Alexa zips over to the Realm Heart and coughs politely.
  • RyanSherbrig makes his own comfy chair and sits back to observe.

<Hollyhock God> "Errrmmmmmm?"

<Ebba> "Shouldn't we at least make sure it's Marcus, and not something wearing his skin?"

<Marcus> (You might, at this point, notice that there's a statue of Marcus near Ryan's representation in the Heart. )

<Marcus> (Though you probably didn't think he was spending a Deep Miracle to make his comfy chair. ;) )

<Ebba> "In the name of Marcus Oroboa, I command you to make me a doughnut!"

<Marcus> Ebba receives a plate of cookies.

<Hollyhock God> Doughnuts are fruit and cake!

<Alexa> "Excuse me, ma'am, but Pandora's Anchor has returned, apparently bearing her Estate. I thought you would like to know."

<Alexa> "Assuming you didn't already, of course."

<Hollyhock God> "Mmmmmm? You found a new…. Power of Rebirth? …..good!"

<Ebba> "Hmmm…" (nom nom nom)

<Hollyhock God> "Make sure he has a place to sleep, right….. zzzzzz…."

<Hollyhock God> The Phoenix lapses into another semi-coma.

<Alexa> "Er, yes. Sleep well."

<Hollyhock God> She seems to be doing so!

  • Alexa zips back.

<Ryan Sherbrig> "She didn't seem extremely distressed at Marcus's appearance, no?"

<Alexa> "The boss seems unfazed, though I'm not sure what to make of that. Re-enChancelling took a lot out of her, I think."

<Ebba> (Of course, before your en-Noblement, all sorts of reprogramming could have been done.)

<Alexa> "Marcus, what's the last thing you remember before Ryan met you?"

<Marcus> "The first thing I remember since my last night in Darfur- when, I gather, Pandora came to me on her way out of Creation- was awakening in a rather distant outskirt of London. I spent a few hours in a vague daze as I processed my newfound Nobility and then looked for the event most likely to next draw the Familia's attention, as I had no idea how to locate our chancel- which, by the by, I presumed to be the Fire Isles. I expect that will be a hell of a story."

<Ebba> "Oh yes, we took back Eden. As punishment, Ryan <coughs> has been appointed as the leader of the Light by Lord Entropy."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Unfortunately, most of the Light seemed to accept this appointment."

<Alexa> "As I recall, he appointed us all leaders of the Light collectively, not just Ryan."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "I distinctly remember being singled… yes! Yes, this burden and responsibility is one that I share with my Familia entire."

<Alexa> "He was talking to you more than the rest of us, but that might just be because you're shiny."

<Alexa> "Anyway, Marcus, what do you remember about your last night in Darfur?"

<Marcus> Ghost miracles appear- they play out the scene from a third person perspective, but missing anything that he couldn't have perceived.

<Marcus> He goes to sleep after an unusually frustrating day, only to wake deep in the night when Pandora calls to him from outside the tent.

<Marcus> He goes out and starts to speak to her, but she shushes her with a very wifely finger-to-the-lips gesture. They disappear.

<Alexa> "That's it?"

<Marcus> "After that, abstractions. Argument, and a sense of betrayal. No sensory memories or clearly formed thoughts. Then London."

<Alexa> "Betrayal of whom by whom?"

<Ebba> (About time for me to go.)

<Marcus> His face takes on a very vulnerable look. "Many permutations. Her betrayal of Creation… Mine of her, I think. As I said, there are only emotions, not thoughts."

<Alexa> "Right. Ryan, can you get your Watcher thing to find stuff out?"

<Ebba> (Didn't Pandora have protections from the Watcher? Which would imply that any plan involving Marcus would also have similar protection.)

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Its ability to discern events that happen outside creation has already been established as dubious at best."

<Ebba> (If he was re-programmed as a Excrucian-bot and then en-Nobled, it'd be hard to notice, yes?)

<Ebba> (Since you can't really look into a Noble's mind.)

<Alexa> "Oh, yeah."

<Ebba> (But he'd still technically be Marcus.)

<Ebba> (So us trying the name trick would still fail.)

<Alexa> "I was just wondering whether it might be easier with the person actually being there, like if he could backtrack from their presence or something."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "We will simply have to trust Marcus is what he claims to be, with some sensible caution when it comes to assigning important responsibilities, and accept the consequences of being wrong if they happen to arise."

<Ebba> (Besides, he's wearing a PC hat? :D)

<Alexa> "We will?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Well, I will. Feel free to react to him as you see fit."

<Marcus> (Yes, but you have no more assurance I am not secretly plotting with our HG than your character does that Marcus isn't Excrucian! :P)

<Hollyhock God> Yes, indeed!

<Alexa> "Sure. I'm just saying you're not the boss of me."

<Hollyhock God> Have another secret character point!

  • Alexa pokes her tongue out at Ryan.

<Alexa> "Say, Marcus, do you smoke?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Ah, yes, now I see why you're so swift to assume co-leadership of the Light."

<Alexa> "For which we now have someone else to share blame with!"

<Ebba> "Considering how many people don't like us now, I think there will be more than enough blame to go around."

<Marcus> Alexa's voice addressing him seems to snap Marcus out of some brooding funk. In a rather transparent bid to lighten the mood, he replies "Only when lit on fire. Which wasn't an invitation."

  • Alexa smiles and extends a hand.

<Alexa> "Welcome to the family."

<Marcus> Marcus takes the hand and shakes it solemnly.

<Alexa> "I hope you don't mind if I light up, though." (lights a cigarette) "We should give you the tour."

<Ebba> (Heh. Byebye now.)

<Alexa> (Seeya!)

<Marcus> (Adios!

  • Ebba has quit (Disintegrated: Leaving)
  • Alexa is now known as Uqbarian

<Ryan Sherbrig> (As a Tempest, he probably knows the chancel better than Alexa.)

<Hollyhock God> I guess that finishes this story.

<Hollyhock God> Have you guys thought any about what to do in Eden?

<Marcus> Marcus smiles. "I would like that." He politely declines to note that as a Tempest, this is a redundancy; it's more the spirit of the thing.

<Hollyhock God> With two Tempests you can spam Changes now, which gives you a fair amount of leeway.

<Ryan Sherbrig> Ryan's considering calling a great convocation of the Light to discuss this whole leadership thing.

<Ryan Sherbrig> Oh, or did you mean the Chancel itself. Hmmm.

<Marcus> Also, the smoke does not come anywhere near his respiratory apparatus.

<Uqbarian> Alexa had the same idea as Ryan.

<Uqbarian> It also depends what the Phoenix wants. Though somehow I get the impression she hasn't thought beyond 'retake Eden for those nice Light folks'. ;)

<Uqbarian> Or is she going to give us a whole new crazy goal when she wakes up?

<Hollyhock God> Well, she doesn't have Demanding anymore.

<Hollyhock God> My advice is to have a really good goal ready when she wakes up so there are no decisions left to make.

<Uqbarian> "Hey, mum, wouldn't it be cool if we owned Heaven as well?"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "We're going to make the best banana pancakes Creation has ever seen."

<Ryan Sherbrig> "It could take a while. Go back to sleep, we'll wake you when they're done."

<Hollyhock God> "Is it…. shiny?"


<Hollyhock God> Indeed.

<Marcus> Having the Pandora situation sorted before she starts tracking again would also be an excellent idea.

<Uqbarian> That would be nice. I bet the HG won't let it happen. ;)

<Hollyhock God> We've got a long string of one-shots between then and now.

<Uqbarian> We do?

<Uqbarian> What's the schedule?

<Hollyhock God> I dunno. People said they wanted some more little stuff instead of all crisis, all the time.

<Hollyhock God> We did kind of have eight months or so of A-plot.

<Uqbarian> Oh, I thought you were just doing one or two one-shots. No worries.

<Hollyhock God> I guess I'll keep on doing them until I think of more plot or people start asking for it.

<Uqbarian> IC, Alexa wants to find Pandora, but thinks sorting out the Light situation and possible Dark reactions is more pressing.

<Uqbarian> OOC, I don't want to look for Pandora if that will mess up Nentuaby's new character. :)

<Hollyhock God> Hm, next week: Vesper is hauled before the Locust Court on Windflower charges! YOU must defend him!

<Marcus> I'm rather looking forward to the encounter!

<Ryan Sherbrig> "Plea bargain!"

<Ryan Sherbrig> "My client will consent to moderate flaying in exchange for his lawyers being award cookies."

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