Story Thirteen- The Importance Of Being Preppy, Part Two

<Rand Brittain> Oh, so cold!

<Uqbarian> Oh, so hot!

<Rand Brittain> Darn wrong side of the planet and its wackiness.

<Uqbarian> I have air conditioning, so I shouldn't really complain.

<Rand Brittain> I've just arrived back at home and turned on the heating on our floor of the house, so it's rather chilly.

  • Nentuaby has joined #childrenofeve

<Uqbarian> Hi, Nen! Welcome back!

<Nentuaby> Greetings.

<Uqbarian> Now we have to kill you. :)

<Nentuaby> Of course.

<Uqbarian> Thankfully, it won't stick.

<Nentuaby> So before the game proper gets started, how many points was I supposed to spend on Marcus?

<Uqbarian> So you definitely aren't coming back as Pandora?

<Rand Brittain> Hum, you can have as many as everybody else.

<Nentuaby> I can neither confirm nor deny that. But for now, I'm Marcus. :P

<Uqbarian> Ah. :)

<Nentuaby> Which is what at this point- 38?

<Rand Brittain> That's… let's see, we started with 25 + 7 + Eternal, right?

<Nentuaby> 25 + 5 + Eternal.

<Uqbarian> 25 + 5 + Eternal, IIRC.

<Rand Brittain> Okay, so that's 33, plus eleven stories completed.

<Rand Brittain> After story twelve I made up a free 3-point Gift for everyone.

<Rand Brittain> So, 36 points total.

<Rand Brittain> Wait, plus eleven.

<Rand Brittain> So 44.

<Uqbarian> And we got 5 MPs.

<Rand Brittain> Haven't you refreshed since then?

<Rand Brittain> I mean, the great service left you full when Lord Entropy arrived, but it's a new story now.

<Uqbarian> Oh, I misunderstood. I thought you meant +5 permanent MPs.

<Rand Brittain> No, that was just the flush of power from Fervent.

<Uqbarian> Righto.

<Nentuaby> 44? o.0 That's… a lot.

<Uqbarian> Alexa hardly ever spends MPs anyway.

<Rand Brittain> Hm, which Gifts on the wiki would suit Marcus?

<Rand Brittain> I like "Honest Eyes," that makes everyone believe you as long as you're telling the truth.

<Rand Brittain> Maybe "Signet of Life" that animates works of art as your servants.

<Uqbarian> Ooh, is he a Tempest as well?

<Nentuaby> Yep.

<Uqbarian> I wonder if Ryan will be jealous.

<Rand Brittain> He's a handsome man with the same powers as Ryan and the same authority.

<Rand Brittain> No doubt Ryan will behave like a mature adult.

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<Uqbarian> Hey, boro!

<Nentuaby> 'Allo.

<borogove> Hey, people.

  • Benhimself has joined #childrenofeve

<Uqbarian> Hey, Ben!

<Benhimself> Blarghle.

<Rand Brittain> Good evening/morning/timezone.

<Benhimself> Sorry, still waking up.

<Rand Brittain> Hm, just need bob now.

<Rand Brittain> Perform the crusher-summoning ritual!

<Rand Brittain> Find small objects nearby and CRUSH them!

<Uqbarian> Bob up and down!

<Rand Brittain> Yes, yes, and drink tea!

<Rand Brittain> Where did we leave off, anyway?

  • You are now known as HollyhockGod

<Nentuaby> I suppose I will leave my last five points unspent until I come up with something appropriate.

<Uqbarian> We're outside the law firm.

<Hollyhock God> You were just about to enter the dreaded law firm of unspeakable torment!

  • Nentuaby is now known as Sir-Not-Yet-Appearing-In-This

<Uqbarian> Possibly sitting in a coffee shop across the road, trying to decide on an actual plan.

<Uqbarian> How about we send Ebba in to sneak through a back entrance or air conditioning duct?

<Uqbarian> Then when bob turns up is when Ebba finds something.

  • Benhimself is now known as RyanSherbrig
  • Uqbarian is now known as Alexa

<Hollyhock God> And what will the rest of you be doing?

<Alexa> Meanwhile, one of us is pretending to be someone with lots of money and a legal question, plus a lawyer and financial advisor.

<Hollyhock God> Okay, which?

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<Alexa> Hello!

<Ryan> (I would say somebody else, Ryan has done a lot of talking these last few sessions.)

<Hollyhock God> Ah, my last player. The gang's all here again!

<Ryan> (Fiona's got lots of Spirit, she can impress easily!)

<Alexa> (Bob, I was just suggesting Ebba could sneak in the back while the rest of us go in the front trying to look normal, but you can come with if you prefer.)

<crusher_bob> I can sneak quite well

  • borogove is now known as Fiona

<crusher_bob> I also have a gift that lets me see the motivations of mortals.

<Alexa> (Neat!)

<crusher_bob> Which will come in handy if they aren't miracle resistant.

  • crusher_bob is now known as Ebba

<Alexa> "Fi, do you want to play the dodgy millionaress, then?"

<Ebba> It's never mattered before now since there have hardly been any mortals.

<Hollyhock God> I thoughtfully included a bunch of mortals in this adventure for your convenience.

<Ryan> "Hmmm. Ebba should probably come with us, then; that's handy."

<Alexa> (Does anything show up from the exterior with the Sight and/or Witch Hunt Rite?)

<Ryan> "Perhaps we could be the family of said dodgy millionaress?"

<Fiona> (Fiona is probably not the best character for interacting with normal people.)

<Hollyhock God> Neither of those methods display anything obviously miraculous.

<Hollyhock God> The Sight does indicate that the place is rather cheery, though.

<Alexa> "Otherwise I'll do it. I was thinking Ebba as a legal advisor, Sam as financial advisor, Fiona as a secretary. Ryan, you can carry our bags."

  • Alexa smiles.

<Hollyhock God> Boy toy!

<Alexa> "Oh, no, wait, you're my boy toy!"

<Alexa> "Now, if only we actually had some money."

<Ebba> "If we only need that appearance of money, can't Ryan make us some?"

  • Alexa looks at Ryan inquiringly.

<Ebba> (Sort of fairy-gold-like?)

<Alexa> "Well?"

<Hollyhock God> Do most rich people carry their money in suitcases?

<Hollyhock God> "The really rich don't carry their money in suitcases," says Samuel.

<Alexa> (No, but we don't have an easy way to fake a bank account, do we?)

<Sir-Not-Yet-Appearing-In-This> Only the dodgy ones!

<Hollyhock God> "You need someone who can make convincing-looking references from bankers."

<Hollyhock God> Samuel brandishes a laptop.

<Ryan> "Hmmm."

<Ebba> Ahhh! Formatting!

<Alexa> "You won't get in trouble for it, will you?"

<Hollyhock God> Samuel begins some furious word processing and says absently, "I rely on your protection."

<Ryan> "If he does, we'll have to simply employ our godlike powers to get him out of it."

<Alexa> "Right. I'll have another cigarette while you type some up."

<Alexa> (AFK a minute)

<Hollyhock God> Samuel creates some rather spiffy-looking letters of reference purporting to be from Lloyd's and prints them on his portable printer.

<Hollyhock God> Apparently he swiped some of their letterhead for just such an occasion.

<Ryan> (Hmmm, Oddsod expressed curiosity as to where the Nobilis game was; want to let him lurk?)

<Hollyhock God> I do not mind.

  • RyanSherbrig finds somewhere discreet, like the coffee shop, and assumes proper boytoy form. So, basically, Maebara.
  • RyanSherbrig has a foppy scarf and everything.

<Hollyhock God> You now have references asserting your valued client status, and the body of a muscular Japanese twenty-something.

<Alexa> "All done?"

<Hollyhock God> Whom I am imagining wearing Laharl's scarf.

<Hollyhock God> I kind of wish I could hear Ryan's Maebara impersonation. Such are the limitations of the medium!

<Hollyhock God> I guess you can proceed when ready.

<Alexa> "Right, let's go."

<Ryan> (I'm not much for actual voices for my characters anyway.)

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  • RyanSherbrig stands around looking pretty and carrying any spare bags that can be had.

<Ryan> And bored. Pretty and bored.

  • Alexa stalks up to the front door and stands there, waiting for someone to open it for her.

<Hollyhock God> The door does not open itself.

  • RyanSherbrig opens it, of course.

<Alexa> "Thankyou, sweetie."

<Ryan> (We're infiltrating a suspicious mortal law firm through cunning disguise.)

<Ebba> (No, we're not; we're engaging in a family bonding exercise.)

<Ryan> (Six of one, half dozen of the other.)

<Ebba> (If we were really infiltrating a law firm, we'd be doing it differently.)

<Hollyhock God> There is a desk. There is a receptionist at the desk. The receptionist is hot. She says "Good afternoon, sirs and madams! Welcome to Stingham & Grynne. What could I do for you today?"

<Alexa> "Get me Stingham. Or Grynne. I need some legal advice."

  • RyanSherbrig checks the receptionist out in a vague pretense of discreetness.

<Ryan> (Anything unusual via Sight or Mythic?)

<Ryan> (I imagine the Witch Hunt Rite entails doing actual things that can't just be done covertly, yeah? Crushing flowers and the like?)

<Hollyhock God> No, no, and no.

<Hollyhock God> "I'm afraid they're both dead," coughs Samuel. "Lucky for us," says the receptionist. "They were tartars. Hullo, Fortis. Are these your clients? Shall I ask if Mr. Cantrip is available to meet?"

<Alexa> "I suppose Mr Cantrip will have to do."

<Hollyhock God> "Right," says the receptionist, whose name is Eliane. She presses a button. "Mr. Cantrip, Mr. Fortis and clients to meet with you if you have a moment."

<Hollyhock God> A young and cheeky male voice responds , "Excellent! Send them on up; I've got an appointment elsewhere I need to get out of."

<Hollyhock God> Eliane clicks a button that opens the doorway into the main office. She waves you on through, relying on Samuel to know the way.

<Hollyhock God> The door reading Michael Cantrip is very legal and imposing.

<Hollyhock God> Michael Cantrip is not at all imposing, although much like all the lawyers and clerks running about he's awfully nice to look at. Dark hair, less than thirty, wicked grin.

<Ebba> (Hmm, Stepford lawyers indeed.)

  • RyanSherbrig is beginning to have his suspicions, yes.

<Hollyhock God> "Good afternoon, Fortis," he says to Sam. "What can I do for you and your clients today? In need of advice? Lost the only copy of Auntie's will?"

<Hollyhock God> "Just looking for some advice with regard to the Revenue, Cantrip," Samuel answers.

<Ryan> (Assume I am checking out everyone with the various things I can check people out with, and I'll assume nothing interesting until otherwise noted.)

  • RyanSherbrig obviously stifles a yawn, looks around the office as if hoping for something interesting will pop out.

<Alexa> "Alexis Huntington-Smith. I have suddenly found myself in the possession of almost more money than I know what to do with, and a strong desire not to pay tax on it.

<Alexa> "Fortis here said he couldn't officially help, but that you fellows might know a thing or two."

<Hollyhock God> "Ah," says Cantrip. "Taxes. At Ess & Gee we love taxes, which is why we don't want you to have any."

<Alexa> "Splendid!"

<Hollyhock God> "The noble art of comfortable tax planning is one of our areas of special interest. Let me introduce you to…"

<Alexa> (Dun dun dunnn!)

<Hollyhock God> No, I just faded out. I assume you're going to talk business for a while now.

<Hollyhock God> (I typed too slow to have Sam introduce you as "Ms. Fortissima.")

<Alexa> :) Does anything unusual pop out?

<Hollyhock God> I'll assume you can keep him talking about tax avoidance as long as you like.

  • RyanSherbrig does a very good job of looking incredibly bored very shortly into the conversation.

<Hollyhock God> Hm, Ryan and Ebba notice some unusual patterns of dust on the walls.

<Ryan> (How so?)

<Ebba> (Hmm?)

<Hollyhock God> As though there had once been a number of hanging frames that have recently been removed.

<Ryan> (Are there any potted plants or the like in the room?)

<Hollyhock God> There's a cactus!

<Ryan> (Cacti flower! Kind of!)

<Hollyhock God> This is so.

<Ryan> In one of those obscure Russian languages that only have one living speaker, "Fiona, can you see through that plant what frames used to be on the walls of this room?"

  • Fiona attempts to do so.

<Hollyhock God> Hm, the cactus hasn't been there very long; only for about eight days.

<Hollyhock God> But just after it was placed in the windowsill, the frames that hung in the office were removed.

<Ebba> (Heh, maybe the cactus is behind it.)

<Hollyhock God> Fiona can't really get a good view from out of the cactus spines, but it looks like they were professional photographs of some person at official functions.

<Hollyhock God> While the legal talk goes on might be a good excuse for someone to try sneaking off and snooping a bit.

<Ebba> (Well, I guess that's me, since I'm the sneaky one.)

<Ryan> "Right. Is there a restroom in this place? And maybe a vending machine somewhere?"

<Hollyhock God> "Oh, take anything you like out of the break room at the end of the hall. That's what it's there for."

<Alexa> "Run along, darling. Behave yourself!"

<Hollyhock God> The break room has comfortable chairs for lawyers, and a refrigerator full of beer and sugar Coke.

<Hollyhock God> Ryan also finds, in the break room, drinking an acceptable but rather surpised Beaujolais, a dark-skinned man even larger than himself.

<Hollyhock God> I summon the fifth player character!

  • Sir-Not-Yet-Appearing-In-This- is now known as MarcusOroboa

<Ryan> (Does this person appear Rebirthy to the Sight?)

<Ryan> (Or something else?)

  • Marcus smiles at Ryan. "Ahah. I was wondering how long the small world effect would take here."

<Hollyhock God> He shines with the light of a man experiencing a second life, or something.

<Hollyhock God> It's safe to say he pings the Sight as Noble in a very familiar way.

<Ryan> (Come to think of it, haven't we seen Marcus?)

<Marcus> (Some of you may have. He was around the Fire Isles a couple of times.)

<Ryan> "Wait. Marcus?"

<Marcus> "The same. More or less."

<Ryan> "Are… you responsible for what's going on here?"

<Marcus> "I should hope not.

<Marcus> His smile disappears. "Well, I do hope not. I don't remember quite everything, at the moment."

<Ryan> "Hmph. Pity. If you were, we could dispense with this ridiculous charade."

<Ryan> "I'm afraid the mystery continues. What were you doing here? Or do you not remember that much, either?"

<Marcus> "Well, there was something about investigating these folks. Finding you, apparently, too."

<Marcus> "I'm not sure whether that was actually something I intended. I… feel rather like I've just woke up."

<Marcus> He gazes into the wine, looking from the expression on his face as if he's wondering why he was drinking it. He sets it aside.

<Ryan> "Interesting. Well, what's going on here would fall under the estate of Rebirth, I suspect."

<Marcus> (Speaking of which! Can I do a Major Divination of Rebirth to scry on the transition over from old-model Stingham & Grynne to its current incarnation?)

<Hollyhock God> Oh, yes, easily.

<Marcus> (It seems worth doing, then!)

<Hollyhock God> Basically, various members of the firm joined a fitness center some time ago that at first performed a number of unusual mental and physical evaluations.

<Alexa> (Of course!)

<Hollyhock God> After a while, the firm members were offered access by shadowy figures to a process that could effect a transformation in mind and body.

<Hollyhock God> The medical trials were very secret, but as you can see they were quite effective.

<Marcus> Marcus goes off into a reverie for a bit. "They… joined a gym that did this to them."

<Hollyhock God> Eventually, the tranformed lawyers gave membership sponsorships to their colleagues, and the rest was history.

<Hollyhock God> The process, as you perceive it, appears to be a hybrid of advanced science and Earthly magic.

<Hollyhock God> It's at the upper end of the possible, but not actually miraculous.

<Marcus> "Which is, to say the least, a bit beyond the remit of normal gyms. It doesn't seem to have been miraculous, though."

<Ryan> "Hmmm."

<Hollyhock God> (Although no living non-miraculous human is likely to understand how the principles behind it works. It's several centuries beyond current technology and spellcraft.)

<Hollyhock God> Who are the shadowy backers, and what is their motive? Now that, you can't see. But you have an address!

<Ryan> "Well, it might be worth a visit to the gym. Honestly, if it weren't forced upon them, honestly, I'm not sure we even really have a problem here."

<Ebba> (Right-o; I'll go get the chainsaw.)

<Hollyhock God> Broken Horizons Personal Development Center, in Seven Dials.

<Ryan> (Honestly, even if it were forced upon them, it might still be an improvement, but Ryan's diplomatic enough not to mention that in front of company of unknown allegiance.)

<Marcus> "That depends on how deeply it's affecting them, doesn't it?"

<Hollyhock God> Fortunately, it's within your power to analyze the process.

<Ryan> "Perhaps. Or if there are any effects not immediately apparent."

<Hollyhock God> If you want to know how deep, the process is capable of effectively rewriting 99% of the body and mind.

<Hollyhock God> It does not affect the soul, but it can still perform a change so wide-ranging as to effectively kill the patient and replace them with someone you've invented.

<Marcus> "Actually, I'd say this goes a bit beyond the remit of mere alteration. It's a great deal closer to replacement."

<Hollyhock God> The lawyers at Stingham & Grynne did not receive that level of treatment however, but something notably less.

<Ryan> "Regardless. A visit to this gym seems a good idea."

<Marcus> "Indeed."

<Hollyhock God> More like a 50% replacement.

<Ryan> "I'll head off to the office and tell them where I'm going."

<Hollyhock God> One particularly antisocial lawyer had 75% of his mind rewritten; while one needed little more than the magical equivalent of liposuction and a kick in the pants.

  • RyanSherbrig sticks his head in the door, casually interrupting Mr. Cantrip in the middle of whatever he was talking about. "Sweetie, I met someone who told me about this really cool sounding gym nearby. I'm gonna go check it out in case you're here for a while, all right?"

<Alexa> "Oh, very well. Don't be too long. Call me if you get lost!"

  • Alexa blows Ryan a kiss.

<Hollyhock God> Is there much left for Alexa to do at the law firm besides hide money she doesn't actually have?

<Alexa> (I guess not!)

<Hollyhock God> There's nothing to do but follow the boy-toy to the health spa and force him to work out!

<Hollyhock God> Alexa simply cannot be satisfied with guns that are not truly swollen.

<Alexa> (We wait a few minutes, then wrap things up with Cantrip.)

  • RyanSherbrig drops the Maebara guise less than seconds after leaving the building.

<Hollyhock God> In fact, the place looks more like a spa than a gym. It's very like a fancy place you might go to in the Swiss Alps.

<Hollyhock God> Possibly your secret agent boss ordered you to purge yourself of free radicals or something.

<Marcus> But in London instead.

<Ryan> ("Excuse me, are you a vet? BECAUSE THESE PYTHONS ARE SICK.")

<Hollyhock God> (This man is insane.)

<Hollyhock God> Yes.

<Hollyhock God> People floating in vats of herbal mud and being rinsed with a high-pressure hose to remove dead skin.

<Hollyhock God> You are greeted by a salesperson who attempts to sell perfection using low-pressure sales techniques.

<Hollyhock God> Since you are no longer disguised as a sick python, he seems to think Ryan is a perfect target.

<Ryan> "So, Marcus, we've never really gotten a chance to talk. Are you the subtle type, or the 'barge in and employ miraculous powers to get the answers you want?' type?"

<Marcus> Marcus shrugs. "Good question. I haven't exactly had the latter option long."

<Marcus> (Did I get the names of any medical professionals while I was scrying?)

<Hollyhock God> Sure, go ahead and make some up.

<Hollyhock God> Most of them are underlings, though.

<Ryan> "Let's find out if you find this needlessly excessive, then."

<Hollyhock God> The works is done by Shadowy Figures not visible to your knowledge of the process.

  • RyanSherbrig turns on Glorious.


<Ryan> "Excuse me. I'm looking for the shadowy figures in charge of remaking people here. Do you know anything about that?"

<Ebba> Then I'll be ready to heal anyone that ends up blind.

<Ryan> (Glorious, not Elemental! Honestly.)

<Ryan> (I only did that that once.)

<Ryan> (And she was technically a fictional character.)

<Ebba> (Wasn't she an actress hired by Vesper?)

<Hollyhock God> Not-real people are people too! Well, not really.

<Hollyhock God> She was a fictional character hired to pretend to be a different fictional character.

<Hollyhock God> "Our mysterious employers never come out of the secret labs under the building, Lord," says the worshipful salesman.

<Hollyhock God> "But what could a being as perfect as yourself possibly want from them?"

<Marcus> "Ah. Mildly so."

<Marcus> "Efficient, though."

<Ryan> "Oh, I just have some questions to ask them. Take us there, could you?"

<Ryan> To Marcus: "I know. We could have pretended to be interested for, what, days, before getting results?"

<Hollyhock God> "Anything you desire, your worship." You are led into the secret laboratories as the assembled spa customers bow down and praise your name.

<Hollyhock God> Clearly they need to upgrade to an annual membership, so that they may one day approach a pale reflection of your glory.

<Ryan> Clearly.

<Hollyhock God> The labs are mysterious and full of equipment.

<Hollyhock God> There are chairs with brain hats, and bubbling beakers, and ancient books of occult formulae!

<Ebba> (Brain hats?)

<Ryan> (Hats for your brain.)

<Ebba> (Like old-fashioned hair drying chairs?)

<Hollyhock God> Yes, like that!

<Hollyhock God> The kind of chair you sit in while someone replaces all the boring bits of your brain with better stuff.

<Hollyhock God> Also, there is a guy.

<Hollyhock God> He is sitting in a chair, doing nothing.

<Hollyhock God> He is awfully boring, but he looks like a Noble to your Sight.

<Hollyhock God> The Noble of… something bright and shining, Ryan thinks.

<Ryan> (Hmmm.)

<Ryan> (Suspicious!)

<Ryan> "Hello."

<Hollyhock God> He turns his head to look at you. He wriggles his nose a bit.

<Hollyhock God> Then he looks at Marcus. Something he sees seems to please him a bit better.

  • Fiona has quit (Ping timeout)

<Marcus> "Top of the morning."

<Hollyhock God> He stands. His posture changes. He holds his shoulders wide and looks at the two of you with purpose in his eyes.

<Hollyhock God> "You! You have come here for a reason!"

<Hollyhock God> "I have much to show you. This is the temple of a sacred work."

<Ryan> "Show away."

  • RyanSherbrig remains suspiciously alert.

<Marcus> "A sacred work, you say." Marcus looks around appraisingly.

<Marcus> (Say. Being as we finally have two people with more than 0 Realm, what the heck does our Realm's Heart look like?)

<Hollyhock God> I suppose it's the central dais where the Phoenix sleeps.

<Hollyhock God> "Here, we rescue the mortal from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age. Through our art, a man need not be who he was born to be, or who he was raised to be, but who he chooses to be."

<Hollyhock God> "My associates and I are engaged in creating the human of the future."

<Ryan> "Intriguing. And you are?"

<Hollyhock God> "I am currently called Beta. I am developer of the Estate of Identity."

<Ryan> (Ha. Marcus, check him out via the Sight!)

<Ryan> (I bet you see him as the Power of Rebirth.)

<Hollyhock God> Ryan's guess is correct.

<Ryan> "I am Ryan Sherbrig. Radiance."

  • RyanSherbrig resists adding "Leader of the Light", there.

<Ryan> (But only just.)

<Hollyhock God> I couldn't think of a way to describe his aura in terms of A = A.

<Hollyhock God> "Ah," says Beta. "The leader of the Light."

<Alexa> (Ha!)

<Ryan> "According to Lord Entropy, at any rate."

<Hollyhock God> "Doubtless Dr. Ahroun will be glad to see you."

<Ryan> "I have mixed feelings about the promotion. But naturally, am interested in what you're working on here."

<Marcus> "Say what now?" Marcus cocks an eyebrow at Ryan. "You'll have to explain that one to me. At any rate, Marcus Oroboa, Rebirth."

<Hollyhock God> There is a noise from an adjacent room, as though someone had started at Beta's remark and knocked something over.

<Hollyhock God> It is possible that everyone has forgotten by now that Ahroun is Selim's last name.

  • RyanSherbrig thought it sounded familiar.

<Hollyhock God> A door opens, and Selim indeed appears, looking somewhat distraught at seeing you.

<Hollyhock God> "Afternoon, Dominus Sherbrig and company," he tells you, nodding.

<Hollyhock God> "I didn't expect to run into you here."

<Ryan> "Selim. We were just investigating claims by one of Alexa's anchors of a bodysnatcher invasion or something of the kind. I'm pleased to see the rumors false, of course."

<Hollyhock God> "Oh, yes, indeed," says Selim, nodding happily. "It's all very aboveboard here. It saves trouble that way, really. There's no need to go around kidnapping test subjects when there are plenty of willing ones if you know how to ask."

<Hollyhock God> "It's really been a very interesting study of constructed personalities and the compatibility of various traits.

<Ryan> "Really?"

  • RyanSherbrig enters fascinated work-mode.

<Alexa> (I'm off in a few minutes.)

<Hollyhock God> "It might be a while before it can safely go mainstream, of course," Selim admits.

<Hollyhock God> Beta watches this dialogue between professionals with interest. His posture subtly changes again.

<Hollyhock God> "It would look better on your CV, though," Identity suddenly says off-handedly, "if the Dark wasn't footing half the bill."

<Hollyhock God> He appears not to consider the implications of his statement at all.

<Hollyhock God> He goes back to fiddling with some papers.

<Ryan> "Oh, really?"

<Hollyhock God> Selim looks like he's really unhappy but was also pretty much expecting that.

<Hollyhock God> "Well… Lady Ristani seems to think this business supports her goals, and contributed work and resources. I don't agree with her evaluation of our work, of course."

<Hollyhock God> "She claims that redesigning the human psyche to be less faulty will qualify as the destruction of humanity. Which is crazy, I think."

<Hollyhock God> "So I didn't see anything wrong with accepting her help. I guess."

<Marcus> Marcus nods. "It's problematic philisophical ground. Certainly, if you take it too far, you've destroyed the individual you're working on."

<Ryan> "I suppose it depends on what you consider 'humanity' to mean."

<Ebba> (Heh, not when Powers use it, but when the (mundane) technology gets loose and people get to use it on each other…)

<Ryan> "It's certainly not a concept with any commonly-agreed-upon definition."

<Ryan> (Was Ristani someone we met?)

<Hollyhock God> (Maliq.)

<Ryan> (Not Maliq's last name, was it?)

<Ryan> (Ah, so it was.)

<Marcus> "You have been monitoring their souls, of course? "

<Ryan> (So I was right! Maliq WAS behind it!)

<Ryan> (Sort of.)

<Hollyhock God> "We performed some basic tests on the spectral essence, but they all showed more or less no change."

<Hollyhock God> "The soul of an altered body still learns and develops based on the karma they acquire through actions in life, but otherwise doesn't have an effect on the individual while they're still embodied."

<Hollyhock God> "I guess you could call it a sort of side-incarnation."

<Marcus> "Hmmm. Good. Though I'm not entirely happy with two qualifiers in that sentence. Hold on a second."

<Marcus> Marcus performs a Major Divination on- say, Cantrip, tracing the future path of his reincarnations, now and as it was before the procedure.

<Hollyhock God> It's shifted, but only to a small degree. He isn't any less intelligent that he was, but he has less drive for professional success. That cuts down his potential for meaningful achievement for good or evil somewhat.

<Hollyhock God> Of course, since he evidently didn't want professional success, those highest-end paths were unlikely in the first place.

<Marcus> Mmmmm… and projecting if the procedure were to become popular, and subsequent incarnations were to iteratively apply the process?

<Alexa> (I'm off. Try not to start a factional war without me, folks!)

  • Alexa has quit (Disintegrated: )

<Hollyhock God> Can't be determined. The quality of his karma doesn't provide the nature of his next incarnation, only its spiritual rank and location.

<Hollyhock God> His next incarnation might want something totally different out of life, so even if he had access to the procedure he might ask for something other than muscles and good social skills.

<Marcus> Fair enough. Just as long as it isn't a vicious cycle of milquetoastery.

<Hollyhock God> There are ways that could happen, but not through poisoned karma.

<Hollyhock God> From the perspective of your Estate, the technology is a non-issue.

<Marcus> "The reincarnation path of your test subjects does appear to bear that out. There's some danger, but life is danger."

<Hollyhock God> Dominus Ahroun is very ethical. And since he is, I am, too," agrees Beta.

<Hollyhock God> It is possible that the first two words of that statement were slightly accented.

<Ebba> (In the name of… ?)

<Hollyhock God> (Beta is implying that Selim is ethical but that he doesn't have sole control over the technology.)

<Hollyhock God> (If that's what you're asking.)

<Hollyhock God> Selim takes offense at this. "Lady Ristani can do what she wants with the data. I'm confident in the long run that I can sell sanity more effectively than she can sell… whatever she thinks she's going to sell."

<Ryan> "Things that people think are self-improvement but will ultimately lead to destructive tendancies, I imagine."

<Ryan> "Alternatively, enough self-improvement for a select few that others' jealousy proves their undoing."

<Marcus> "Or simple outright Stepfordization."

<Hollyhock God> "I was kind of assuming she was going to be selling sex, but your theory seems viable also," Selim admits. "But I think people will eventually get bored with what her imagination can come up with."

<Ebba> (I doubt it's what people want for themselves that will really cause the problems. It's what people will want for other people, once they have the ability to change them.)

<Marcus> "I'm not entirely certain I share your faith, but it's more a matter for careful monitoring than any immediate intervention. Unless the- ah, leader of the Light, was it?-thinks we ought to launch a factional inquisition."

Marcus smiles slyly at Ryan.

<Hollyhock God> There's certainly the extension of issues like the "What is a man?" question into the realm of sci-fi.

<Hollyhock God> Also, of course, the entire Dollhouse TV series.

<Ebba> (Not to mention, how can you have resolve, when what you want comes out of what someone else has put into it?)

<Hollyhock God> (Selim would argue that it already does, and that before this technology you just couldn't track it!)

<Ebba> (Yay, determinism and memetics arguments!)

<Ebba> (In fact, probably memetic warfare…)

<Hollyhock God> Arguably, Selim, Beta, and Maliq are just extracting and replacing memeplexes, (and performing really advanced plastic surgery) rather than altering people.

<Ebba> (Since you don't have to wait a generation or two for things to change.)

  • HollyhockGod loves memetic warfare.

<Hollyhock God> I think we're done for now. We should finish the rest of the argument with all our crew present.

  • HollyhockGod should have let the rest of the crew appear at some point.
  • You are now known as RandBrittain
  • Ebba is now known as Crusher_Bob

<Rand Brittain> Still, we're all glad to have Nentuaby back! It'll shake up our new status quo some.

<Crusher_Bob> Cleanse it with fire, says I.

<Crusher_Bob> :D

  • MarcusOroboa is now known as Nentuaby

<Rand Brittain> I hope this story is interesting even if it doesn't lead to a high-stakes magic fight.

<Nentuaby> I'm just waiting for somebody to have the natural reaction to Marcus's… irregular… status.

<Rand Brittain> I think that's going to be Alexa.

<Rand Brittain> Ryan will be chill until he finds out you're also a Tempest in Eden.

<Rand Brittain> Then there will be a passive-aggressiveness war!

<Nentuaby> Muah-hah-hah.

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