The Spoiling Of The Bunch

Cynn: Hello!

Cynn: My name is Elder Cynn.

Cynn: And I would like to share with you a most abhorrent dog.

Rand: :o

Cynn: Can I change out my Bond to my weird New England town? That was a product of a Gilmore phase and I don't think it will bear out much in play.

Cynn: Or did ye have plans for it?

Rand: Not at the moment, but I could if you like.

Cynn: Mmmmm. Lemme pense.

Alex: <pensive>

Alex: Game when?

Rand: Hm, I was asking Fayola if she'd be coming tonight.

Rand: Hm, perhaps she was called away? And also Vance maybe.

Rand: Maybe instead you should tell me what you've been doing lately, as a plot hook generator.

Remy: I'm not called away.

Remy: I'm spiritual.

Remy: Remy is doing his super-empowering work down in the tunnels of the Chancel.

Remy: The latest candidate is a thoroughbred with a heart of gold.

Rand: Steam tunnels?

Remy: I was thinking subway, but why not both?

Rand: And… there are horses?

Remy: Just the one horse.

Remy: He saved a small child from a freak oil rig disaster, thereby proving his worthiness as a hero.

Remy: And he won the Kentucky Derby.

Cynn: Cynn has withdrawn to his holdfast to contemplate fate. And also to get the Courts in line. There's been a lot of infighting lately because the goblins are really screwing with the cash-for-gold market, and the Seelie are getting too proactive about being the "good guys," and Marahan McMarcaerhan is waking up just off Lindisfarne, and there's just so much fairy shit.

Rand: So, you actually do do things to rule fairies?

Cynn: Being a king for them is more like being an arbiter who gets some limited rights to tell them what to do, but yeah.

Alex: Alex has been encouraging an oak tree in the campus quad to grow a new limb that he can carve in to a new arm for himself.

Alex: So he's basically been in the process of grafting a new arm on, like you'd graft a new limb on to a tree.

Alex: But he's also been trying to get in touch with Destiny.

Alex: How might he do that? Mostly through the Ordinary World; lots of phone calls, lots of letters, trying to network through mutual friends. But also through the Spirit World—communing with the Oak, inhabiting spirits of the oak throughout the world to ask about destinies and to try and reach out through more metaphysical means.

Rand: Really, the number one question Nobilis 4e needs to resolve is how difficult it is for Powers to get in touch with each other.

Alex: Right now that's a question you'll have to resolve for yourself.

Rand: People are always asking me "Can I call Fire about this fire-related problem?" and I'm torn between my reluctance to make up an NPC on the spur of the moment and my desire not to shut things down.

Rand: There's arguments in favor of communication being easy and in favor of relative obscurity.

Cynn: I always like PbtA-style flexibility.

Remy: I can't imagine Nobles having social networking that's less awesome than mortal Facebook.

Alex: (Oh, man. That's a thought. Did Facebook exist when Nobilis was first conceived?)

Rand: That sounds like the way wars get started.

Remy: Remy opens the Fantheon app on his phone and checks Destiny and Foresight's walls to see if they've publically posted anything. Quickly.

Remy: His phone is likely one of his Anchors, if only to make it possible for the wireless to keep up with his experimental frame rate.

Rand: Adding additional frames without adding more things to look at is just a waste of clock cycles!

  • Cynn casually trolls Smitr while listening to an argument from a hungry pooka about cabbage-snatching.

Rand: Probably the way to do it in the book is just to write up some Cleave of something who are trying to run a divine social network and let people decide for themselves how popular it is.

  • Rand considers what Destiny and Foresight would actually post to such a network.

Rand: Foresight occasionally marks other posts with their sigil, but doesn't seem to post anything themselves.

Rand: Destiny posts a picture of a cat every evening at precisely 6:30 GMT.

Rand: Well, 18:30 GMT.

Rand: It is rumored that the exact details of the cat spell out important details about the future, but the truth of it remains a mystery.

Rand: Destiny does list a post office box in Alberquerque as a contact point, though.

Alex: Tell us what we know of Destiny.

Alex: How long have they been Noble? What were they like, pre-Noble? What's their Familia?

Cynn: It is a silly game.

  • Alex makes life hard for Rand.

Rand: Unknown, unknown, unknown.

Rand: They're quite mysterious and reclusive.

Rand: You check the Facts Known page.

Rand: Apparently they sometimes go to parties?

Rand: But they usually are a different person each time.

Rand: Nobody's sure if the office keeps passing on very frequently, or if they have a lot of aliases.

Alex: CUT TO: Alex pulls up outside the post office in Albuquerque, Arizona, driving a rented sedan. He steps out of his car carrying a small package wrapped in brown paper. What's in it, Cynn?

Rand: Foresight's name is known to be Tempa Surkhang, but they appear in person even less.

Rand: They're one of those awful people who tend to manifest in the form of notes indicating that they left wherever you are just before you got there.

Alex: Perfect Timing will do that.

  • Alex jabs Cynn or Remy to complete his collective action.

Remy: It's the severed head of a gorgon.

Remy: but I'll leave spending the TMP to you or Cynn.

Alex: Is this a bribe or a mailbomb?

Remy: Yes.

Cynn: I am confused.

Remy: We're Reservoir Dogs-ing.

Rand: I don't know what that is.

Cynn: Never actually watched it.

Cynn: It's a Tarantino film.

Remy: Making shit up.

Alex: At any rate, Alex obviously is here to leave the gift/assassination attempt in Destiny's P.O. box.

Remy: We gotta really think out the note we put on this.

Alex: Alex's right arm is in a sling, the bandages concealing the thick bark that still covers the grafted and half-healed limb.

Remy: Presumably, they're Destiny, and so will be unharmed and in fact aided by the opening of the box.

Rand: "Dear Destiny. Here is a hug from me to you. Signed, your secret admirer."

Remy: So we could settle for a "let's talk."

Alex: Yeah, that makes sense. Including a baroque trap is more a security precaution to ensure only Destiny opens it.

Rand: So, just that, then?

Alex: Just that, yeah. Call it an opening salvo.

Alex: I'll drop 4 TMP in to making this an effective means of getting in touch.

Remy: Well, I could pepper it up with a Motion.

Rand: You fire an opening salvo.

Rand: The next day, you hear a rumor on the apple vine that Destiny is dead.

Rand: Assassinated! Waylaid! Murdered, even!

Cynn: What about Destiny's Child?

Rand: They remain extremely popular.

Alex: "Oh, right, shit, that was one of the theories, wasn't it? That they just die and get replaced all the time," mutters Alex nervously.

Remy: Have there been previous reports like this?

Rand: Not that you know of.

Remy: "Alice'll be pleased."

Rand: Sure enough, the next day, you receive a stone-wrought invitation to the funeral.

Remy: "…and that's about all the silver lining I can think of."

Alex: I imagine one of Cynn's butlers brings it to him.

  • Alex knocks off 4 TMP.

Cynn: "Ugh. Funerals. I don't have anything to wear or any proper horrible drugs to consume which could render me appropriately inconsolable."

Remy: "We humans have a special something that'll bring tears to your eyes."

Alex: "You'll never convince me that last part is true, Cynn."

Rand: Call an ambassador!

Cynn: (I've started to shift my idea of Cynn to something like a sadder, more wistful version of Oglaf's Xoan ambassador.)

Rand: Oh, right, you said 'inconsolable', so you were already referencing that.

Alex: "Well, I think this is as good a way to get in touch as any."

Remy: "It's okay to not feel any guilt, because there's no way they're staying dead, right, Alex?"

Cynn: Cynn rummages around for a small box of what might have been snuff, if snuff were an unnatural and impossible green that seemed to corrode the light around it.

Cynn: "Well, they were Destiny. At the very worst we can say that it was probably their time."

Rand: Anyway, shortly after you have the chance to discuss this a bit, you get another package in the mail.

Rand: It's a plain brown parcel, containing a thumb drive and a note.

Alex: Alex opens this one facing away from his face

Rand: The note says "Let's be friends! —T".

Rand: The thumb drive contains two MKV files.

Alex: T as in Tempa?

Rand: One's a video of Remy stuffing a gorgon's head into a box.

Rand: The other's a video of Alex putting the box into the mail drop in Alberquerque.

Remy: Damn it, Wotan.

Cynn: "I mean. It's what you actually did, so…"

Remy: "Exactly. If she has incriminating material on us, then she knows she can trust us."

Remy: "'Killing' her was really just a way of getting to know her," Remy says, making up his justifications as he goes along.

Cynn: "Well, now that you've managed to make a kind-of-enemy of her, I can summon her here, if you like."

Alex: "Wait, wait. It's Foresight, right?"

Rand: Yeah, Tempa is Foresight's name.

Alex: "She could have just wished these in to existence. A Creation of Foresight."

Rand: Destiny's name was unknown. Possibly they'll say at the funeral, or, you know, not.

Alex: "Blip, here is a USB stick containing videos of all my enemy's hazards."

Remy: "That doesn't make it any less damaging."

Alex: "Summon her how?"

  • Cynn unfurls his garish purple treaty.

Cynn: "I have the right to call for parley. You're foes now, of a sort."

Cynn: "She will appear here to make terms, or else… well, you know, I'm not sure but I suspect it's unfun."

Rand: Elliott unfurls his purple treaty, and something falls out.

Alex: "Wait, don't do it just yet."

Rand: …or maybe not?

Alex: "Let's at least have lunch ready."

Alex: Alex ensures there are appropriately hospitable snacks available. THEN the treaty.

Cynn: This is the story of how Foresight became best friends with Remy.

Cynn: (Weaving Destiny!)

Rand: Is that a power you actually have?

Alex: (It's an Imperial Miracle, basically.)

Cynn: The friendship bit not as much. It would be more accurate to say that this is the story of how we came to terms with Foresight.

Rand: Well, I guess you can try, although its effectiveness will be questionable if Foresight resists.

Rand: I guess it depends on how reasonable an outcome it is.

Rand: All right, how exactly do you summon them, then?

Rand: Let's give this a bit of gravitas.

Cynn: Cynn writes his invitation to her in gold ink, copying choice phrases from the Treaty. He gives her assurances of her safe passage, and of the hospitality of his Familia, and also fills it up with a strange, binding power that dances across the shimmering swoops of his handwriting.

Rand: Incidentally, Tempa is a guy's name, according to the onomastikon.

Rand: From Tibet!

Remy: That's not first declension at all!

Rand: My haphazard commitment to multiculturalism will ultimately result in the Society of Flowers being composed largely of assholes from very small countries.

Rand: Anyway, as you finish writing this out, something goes off in your desk drawer.

Rand: It's a two-way radio somebody happened to put there.

Remy: "Roger?"

Cynn: "I suppose you would see this coming."

Rand: "That's how it works… friend."

Remy: "Afternoon, Tempa."

Remy: "Want some lunch?"

Cynn: "You know, that's an awfully predatory way to say that word."

Alex: Alex mournfully eats a celery stick, knowing the snacks will go un-shared."

Rand: "I made tapas. They seemed fitting, for some reason."

Rand: "Oh, I'm sorry; they seemed fitting… friend."

Rand: He draws it out even longer this time for extra emphasis.

Cynn: "I'd love it if we could cut that out," Cynn says, dreamily, as he inhales a pinch of whatever horrible thing lives in the snuff box.

Alex: "I assume you know what we wanted to talk to you about, given your portfolio."

Rand: "Yeah, you probably wanted to talk about the blackmail!"

Alex: "The which what?" says Alex, frankly puzzled.

Rand: "Are you trying to make me confess things into a tape recorder or something?"

Rand: "Anyway, I have some items of yours. I'll be happy to keep them safe for you… as long as you do some errands for me in return."

Remy: "Pass."

Remy: "Actually, make that a hard pass."

Alex: "Yeah, like we're gonna get one over on you that easy. Blackmail requires fear of being revealed, and as far as I know you don't actually have anything like that on us. We're mostly wondering if we could talk with Destiny about this destiny we've been dealing with lately."

Remy: "Going along with a blackmailer is never a winning move!"

Alex: "You can run those errands by us if you want, no promises either way."

Rand: "You want to talk with the person you already killed?"

Remy: "Arguable."

Alex: "My understanding is that Destiny dies all the time."

Rand: "Can't say I ever recall it happening before."

Rand: "She didn't see it coming, either."

Alex: "In the event that Destiny is not, at this moment, alive, could you let them know we want to talk to them next time you see them around?"

Rand: "Are you… are you having a loose relationship with linear causality?"

Rand: "That's supposed to be my bag."

Remy: "Speed breaks the limits of causality."

Alex: "Tell me with a straight face that Destiny, one of the great Powers of our age, is going to be killed by one gorgon head. Not even a living gorgon head."

Alex: "Well, killed in a way that would stick."

Cynn: "Has anyone seen my lovely-wovely snuggleboy? Evulphias has been gone all day…"

Alex: "It's just not a plausible chain of events, speaking of causality. 'Oh no, I was hit by a spitball and I died.'"

Rand: "And yet, here we are."

Alex: Alex asides to Cynn and Remy, "I'm not just pulling this out of my ass, right? That's like being killed by a jack-in-the-box."

Alex: "I could survive that without more than some scuffing."

Alex: Alex also directs this inquiry to the HG, albeit indirectly.

Cynn: "It is possible for that to have been a mortal blow," Cynn says, briefly lucid. "But unlikely."

Remy: "Oh, yeah. And it was in a box! Not getting killed by things in boxes is so thoroughly within their remit it's not even funny."

Remy: "This is clearly a death-and-rebirth scheme."

Remy: "As featured in every comic book, ever."

Fayola: (I'm very sorry. The world continues to mock Alice's Perfect Timing Gift; things have come up and I won't be able to attend today.)

Alex: "What are these errands you're trying to strong-arm us in to?"

Rand: Powers are durable, but it's not like getting one-shot never happens."

Rand: I mean, it's somewhat suspicious for Destiny to be surprised by a medusa-in-a-box, but I wouldn't say it couldn't happen."

Rand: "Well, for a start, I need a few of the white lotuses that grow in the gardens of the Night."

Rand: "Just two is fine."

Alex: Alex writes this down.

Rand: "I'll need them to wear at the funeral."

Remy: "Can I run there?"

Rand: "Well, you'd have to get past the infinity of crushing darkness, and the invisible dracula ghosts."

Rand: "But, hopefully."

Rand: "It's also probably just as well to make sure Night doesn't find out it was you, or you'll be making even more… friends."

Alex: Alex rolls his eyes. This is already sounding like more of a pain in the ass than just taking blame for the botched invite.

Alex: "And the other thing?"

Rand: "Just a young lady who needs looking after. I think you already know Veronica?"

Rand: "We'd all be very sad if anything happened to upset her lovely future."

Alex: Alex purses his lips. "Mmm, interesting, interesting, good to know."

Alex: Alex is quietly visualizing Destiny sitting behind Foresight and snickering during this whole conversation.

Rand: "Well, then," transmits Tempa, smugly, "I guess I'll see you at Destiny's memorial service."

Rand: "Poor, poor Destiny."

Rand: "I guess you could say… her foresight failed her at a critical moment, eh?"

Alex: Alex looks over at Remy, who he assumes grabbed a tape recorder shortly before that sentence began."

Rand: If he did, then Tempa didn't say it. ^_^

Alex: So true…

Rand: You can't ruse a ruser, blackmail-loser.

Remy: "We should probably be up front with you."

Remy: "We're not backing your Veronica destiny deal."

Alex: "You already know this whole blackmail thing is pretty iffy. You probably have a sense how this is going to play out, at least as much as we do."

Cynn: "I'm open to backing it," Cynn says, his voice small and far away. Dude is spaced out.

Alex: "I'm less open to it now that they're trying to strong-arm me in to it."

Remy: "I don't mind picking up flowers, unless there are some unspoken perils, which of course there are. You want someone to babysit your future president, find someone el—Cynn, come on! Show me some solidarity."

Alex: "I was pretty open to it before."

Cynn: "I am, as ever, brother; the stand-betweener. You know, the door-jamb fellow."

Remy: "He sees everything a trillion steps ahead. That's intrinsically untrustworthy."

Alex: "You're just thorny about being metaphorically outpaced."

Alex: "Tempa, listen—you're going to catch a lot more flies with honey than vinegar, here. What is the deal with Veronica?"

Rand: "The deal is just what it appears to be. I belong to a group of certain Powers, which poor Destiny once led. We would like the mortal world to continue upwards on a stable center rather than teetering into self-destruction. We foresee that we can put her in the place to make this happen."

Alex: "So this is a Light thing."

Rand: "It's a sane thing."

Rand: "Frankly it's incomprehensible to me that so many ostensibly non-evil Powers keep getting in my way, even if I am technically evil myself."

Alex: "I feel for you there, I really do."

Remy: "Humans are irrational—we do things that go against our own interest all the time."

Remy: "And all my human irrationality is telling me I should accelerate you to escape velocity. Well, except that you'd have prepared for it."

Rand: "The seat belt arrangement is rather complicated, yes."

Alex: "Honestly, I'm already half-sold on your scheme, it's just that, well… Our sister, Reprieve, has a bug up her ass about predestination you could win a Nobel Prize for discovering it, it's so big."

Remy: "Hey! Alice is the only one of us who has firsthand experience with destiny."

Remy: "I trust her gut on this one."

Remy: "How many times has a conspiracy that plots to put a president in place not been the bad guys? Ever?"

Rand: "We know her, of course; although, she probably doesn't know us."

Alex: Alex rubs his thumb and forefinger together under his chin. "My family is American, you know," he asides to Remy. "My actual family. The ones who raised me as children, who I grew up with. You guys are close, but… These days, the idea of knowing things will turn out well is tempting."

Rand: "Do you think you could convince her? Or rather, is there something we could do to convince her?"

Alex: "Doubtful. She's of the Dark. A humanity without the power to destroy itself isn't something she cares strongly about preserving."

Alex: "She'd be happy to have humans around forever, but not at the expense of their capacity to, y'know, not."

Rand: "Ms. Acacia is really quite determined to oppose us, so being able to come to a detente would be worth quite a lot."

Remy: "Just how much access are you able to give away? If she can observe the whole scheme to her satisfaction, and determine that it won't impair free will, she might be persuaded."

Alex: "Understandably. She's incredibly dangerous, given that she can be anywhere at any instant and thus far infallibly is at just the right time."

Remy: "If you're just going to cryptically say it's for the greater good, not so much."

Cynn: "Her terms must always be her own, I fear. We cannot speak for her. And will not. And would not."

Rand: "I have no idea how she could determine that, since the whole concept of free will is nonsense."

Rand: "There is only what will be."

Alex: "I know, right? How would you determine its absence or presence? It's a vacuous concept."

Rand: "Yeah! I am constantly having to explain this to people."

Cynn: "There are things beyond your philosophy and sphere, though, aren't there? The Riders, surely."

Alex: "Tempa, this whole thing where we skulk in the dark at each other like demons is dumb. We're all adults here, and we were all human once. Can we just meet for lunch at a neutral ground somewhere? I'll leave the sticks at home."

Rand: "…yeah, okay; this is starting to approach three separate layers of obfuscation."

Rand: "What are your thoughts on curry?"

Alex: "In favor."

Remy: "Mmm… curry."

  • Remy kind of just… impulse grabs some curry.

Cynn: "Half-human," Cynn corrects Alex."

Alex: "Fair, fair. My apologies, Cynn."

Rand: "Right. Tomorrow noon, London, Ghatma's."

Cynn: "Mmmm."

Rand: "Don't take the 7:45."

Alex: "Sure, I'll see you then. Or—actually, you know what? Let's go through Anchors. It'll be a bit lower stakes than showing up in person but still reasonably intimate. Does that sound alright?"

Rand: "Oh, I thought we were doing that already."

Rand: "Sure, sure."

Alex: "Alright, see you then."

Rand: "It's not even that I'm paranoid, really—I just have this schtick, you see?"

Cynn: "Yes, yes. We all know the burden of motif."

Rand: "Truly, being God is suffering. Anyway! This message will self-destruct in 3… 2…"

  • Remy grabs the Anchor and runs.

Cynn: <blip>

  • Cynn teleports.

Remy: Is there a waterfall around that it could be dumped off of?

Rand: It's full of bathing students!

Alex: Alex just grabs the bomb and stuffs it in his armpit—wait, what are we talking about? He can't possibly outpace Remy.

Rand: Anyway, there's a long and comical chase sequence as Remy finds all the places he looks unsuitable to dispose of the radio.

Rand: Because, as you know, some days you just can't get rid of a bomb.

Alex: wackity schmackity dooo

Rand: So, anyway, what now?

Alex: Lunch the next day, presumably. Who are our Anchors?

Remy: Remy's nearest London Anchor is one of the chosen heroes he's granted his divine gift of speed—Gavrille Black, taxi cab driver extraordinaire.

Alex: I don't really have anyone good; I'll have to arrange one. Can I leverage my "My oath is that, when someone sincerely prays to me from the shadow of an Oak for protection, I grant protection" bond to grab someone in London?

Cynn: Cynn just shows up himself. He's hungry! And he can teleport.

Rand: You can't really grab someone, but you could say that you have a collection of people who've called on you for protection.

Rand: So… you do that, I guess?

Alex: Yar. I will owe them quite a bit of money.

Alex: Cynn, don't show up in person! That wasn't the deaaal.

Remy: Remy tries to get a bead on Foresight's Anchor-body.

Cynn: I have altered the deal.

Cynn: Pray I do not alter it further.

Rand: Hm, how would you get such a bead?

Rand: Ooh, I know.

Rand: Trip everybody in London.

Rand: The one person who dodges has Foresight in them.

Remy: No.

Remy: That's bad.

Alex: My anchor is… Barty Molehir, a chubby 40-something accountant who prayed for help dealing with some debt problems a while back from a bench beneath an oak. Time to call in the favor.

Remy: Probably do a superspeed search of the restaurant for any showing signs of waiting for someone to arrive.

Rand: There's a convenient sign on your table!

Alex: Nice.

Remy: Remy sits, and if Tempa's not there, Creates some speed in his showing up.

Alex: Alex moves cautiously, not wanting to leave Barty with any marks.

Rand: Once you all sit down, the owner of the restaurant stops cleaning glasses and sits down at your table.

Cynn: Cynn *blips* in.

Remy: "Let's get right down to it, Tempa."

Remy: "Exposit."

Rand: "Right, let's blaze right through our statements of position."

Remy: "Bluh bluh."

Rand: "I'd like to use my immaculate knowledge of what will be to steer the world towards a more pleasant future."

Rand: "But people can be really weird about this."

Alex: "Is your knowledge actually immaculate? It seems like it can't be that immaculate or you'd already know how this would work out."

Rand: "It's really only somewhat immaculate," admits Tempa.

Alex: "Okay. But it's still pretty good and you want to use it to help people."

Rand: "Yeah, that!"

Remy: "What if they don't want help?"

Rand: "I feel like that question is too broad to be meaningfully answered. Which help don't they want?"

Alex: "Well, we're dealing specifically with Veronica's 'destiny'. Which is, frankly, kind of a vague term."

Alex: "I don't know what that really means, in terms of, like, the nuts and bolts."

Remy: "If her destiny comes through, it will ripple out into the destinies of millions, billions of other people. You say this'll make the world better. Maybe it will. What if those people don't want that, anyway?"

Rand: "Don't want what?""

Cynn: "You know… destiny," Cynn says, making a strange handwaving gesture that may or may not require access to higher dimensions.

Rand: "Destiny is just…" Tempa wiggles his Anchor's hand about. "…it's like, what will be, will be, only with opinions."

Rand: "It's a force that gives weight to certain possibilities over others."

Rand: "A thumb on the scales of statistics."

Remy: "Stop equivocating. Your plan is intended to bring about consequences. Don't hide that behind probability."

Alex: "All our plans seek to bring about consequences all the time."

Alex: "That's not, in and of itself, an issue."

Remy: "You haven't asked the people that consequence will happen to how they feel. That's why you keep coming off as evil, I think."

Alex: "It wasn't the murder plot?"

Rand: "I haven't asked because it's a stupid question. How do people feel about the color blue?"

Rand: "The answer is: it's complicated."

Remy: "Strongly!"

Alex: Barty takes a napkin and starts making diagrams with straws.

Rand: "The fate of the world is constantly being influenced by mysterious forces beyond the average person's ken."

Alex: "It's true. That horse has fled the barn."

Alex: "Why is destiny qualitatively worse than, say… literally everything Lord Entropy has ever done?"

Rand: "Or Economics."

Rand: "Or, for that matter, Luck."

Alex: "It's a little different for Powers. The Estate comes to us, not from us. The guy in charge of Plague can't just say, ooh, no one ever gets sick again now. Not without fucking up the bigger picture."

Cynn: "We give and we take. Action and choice."

Alex: "So, I'm an American, by birth. The whole democracy thing…" He quirks his lip. "I don't particularly like the idea of subverting it like this. I want the will of people to matter. But of course it will matter because that's how the destiny will manifest…" He rubs his, or rather, Barty's temples."

Rand: "It's not like people get to select the candidates they get to choose between as it is."

Remy: "That doesn't justify you continuing to make decisions for them. It means we have to work to create choice."

Rand: "Arguably, promoting a candidate who wants to expand voting rights and move Americans away from living paycheck-to-paycheck… does that?"

Rand: "I can't tell if I'm the cynic or the optimist here."

Alex: "True. Honestly…" He taps his chin. "I don't know how to bridge the philosophic gap between you and my compatriots. You've pretty much sold me on it."

Alex: "Remy spends a lot of time in the deep cosmic. His perspective is farther from the ordinary human than you or I, I think."

Remy: "It's a worthy end, but using destiny to achieve it is like killing a fly with a shotgun."

Alex: "But from the deep cosmic perspective… Let's cover that. How would this affect the Valde Bellum, Tempa?"

Alex: "Killing a fly with a shotgun is eccentric but not necessarily bad, depending on your background."

Remy: "We can work to improve voting rights and end capitalism without having to manipulate the whole of destiny."

Remy: "Imagine having the foresight to know exactly what you need to do to advance your cause."

Rand: "That… is what I'm already doing?"

Rand: "Like, I'm not actually sure what you think manipulating the whole of destiny is."

Alex: "I think we're having a lot of difficulty coming to consensus about what a destiny is, yes."

Alex: "I'm imagining a sort of numinous force applying a pervasive, subtle influence to everything, everywhere, all the time."

Remy: "It sounds like you're securing a certain conclusion for the world. Or at least a major plot arc."

Alex: "Is that in the right ballpark?"

Rand: "Alex's description is basically correct."

Remy: "So, speed is that way."

Remy: "I wield my Estate to influence people so they'll be able to bring about the outcomes I want. That's like, my whole thing."

Remy: "But I ask. I give people the choice of having their life changed."

Remy: "You say asking at all is stupid—and that's what I object to."

Rand: "Ask them what, exactly?"

Remy: "Give then a clear disclosure of what what the consequences for your plan will be for them, and then ask them for permission."

Cynn: "Remy, do you visit every high school runner and ask them if they consent to being fast?"

Remy: "No, but I do ask consent whenever I actively meddle with Speed."

Alex: "So what you're proposing is that we should democratically poll humanity and ask them if they want to have their world meddled with in extremely subtle to make it a generally better, less bad place."

Rand: "That would result in my not being able to do anything at all. There's always going to be somebody who says no, even to Plan Free Beer."

Remy: "Just because Tempa's rhetorically displacing his agency onto destiny doesn't mean he isn't personally involved and interfering."

Remy: "Well, why not just tell the electorate about the whole deal upfront—back Veronica, sponsor her, tell everyone about the future she'll bring about—and then let them make an informed choice?"

Alex: "We're still meddling pretty spectacularly, tho. What counts as winning this election for yea or nay on Good Destiny? Who counts the votes?"

Cynn: "Oh, perhaps we have a viable inroad to consensus?"

Cynn: "We could give her a sword. Like that Welsh chap."

Rand: "…because I'm a magical deity who most people don't know exists? Like, are we suggesting up-ending the status quo and revealing the existence of the Nobilis, thus shattering the ordinary world for good?"

Cynn: "She who pulleth this sword from the… congressional floor? Hopper? I don't know."

Rand: "I don't think that would work, but swords are awesome."

Rand: "Maybe some kind of gavel?"

Alex: "I'm increasingly on board with Tempa's basic agenda."

Remy: "You can reveal tactically. Just tell them that you're in the know, what you know, and let them figure out how you know it."

Alex: "But I'm grasping what you mean, Remy, about the fly and the shotgun."

Remy: "There is so much middle ground between your current status quo of secrecy and tearing down the whole masquerade. Just an eensy bit of transparency is enough."

Cynn: "Oh, what about if a flock of bald eagles circle over her like a glory wreath? You know, like the guy with the little bird. But more predatory."

Rand: "Reveal tactically… to everybody on the planet?"

Remy: "Reagan had an astronomer. Veronica can have an eccentrically avuncular figure who claims to know the future. And backs it up, spectacularly."

Rand: "I don't really see how that makes everything fair."

Alex: Alex looks at Remy extremely skeptically."

Alex: "Remy, it's not necessarily a win condition to make the Ordinary World in to a comic book."

Remy: "Even if people don't believe you, they can at least evaluate your claims about what her presidency will bring. Not all will believe, but thanks to the godsforsaken ruin of modern broadcast media, your voice will get out. People can talk about it, debate it, conspiracy theorize, whatever, but at least they'll have a glimmer of informed consent."

Remy: "Just because we're Nobles doesn't mean we have a moral right to manipulate societies from on high."

Alex: "But the destiny her inauguration will bring about won't be limited to the United States, will it? It has global scope."

Rand: "Yeah, I… have no idea what you're trying to say."

Cynn: "Wait—doesn't it mean that, Remy?"

Alex: "Arguably, we have a moral obligation."

Rand: "You think that it would be unfair to manipulate the mortal world in secret, but if I pretend to be someone's astrologer and manipulate the world, then it's okay?"

Remy: "It's substantially less secret!"

Rand: "…not really?"

Remy: "Hmm." Remy goes cross-eyed for a bit. Speed flows through his synapses like lightning distilled into liquor, compressing a few weeks into an eyeblink.

Remy: Greater Creation of Speed on my brain.

Remy: He thinks things through.

Remy: "Well, bad news for transparency. I can't think of a single way of making that possibly work in an effective manner. But I have concluded, pretty conclusively, that backing Veronica is the best harm-reduction course of action."

Remy: "I had to take some time to grow beyond my misinterpretations of what Alice said about destiny. I've come to a more nuanced understanding, now."

Rand: "Uh… cool!"

Rand: Tempa tries to be pleased about this but honestly Remy reversing his position in microseconds is kind of creepy!

Rand: "Do you think you can get your sister on-board?"

Cynn: "It sounds as if we have come to terms… but Alice is another matter."

Alex: "Yeah, she's not going to be down with this. But she's not really the assassin sort. She'll just try and sabotage Veronica's presidential campaign someday."

Rand: "Hm. I guess you probably aren't up for the plan where you beg her to go along to get the three of you loose from my dastardly blackmail scheme."

Rand: "…and it was such a good scheme, too."

Rand: "Oh, that reminds me I should mail you the negatives."

Alex: "Thanks. It honestly wasn't that good a scheme, it was pretty clear that something shifty was up."

Alex: "Still, if you thought it was a good scheme, eh, maybe I'm wrong."

Rand: "Well, I never got around to telling you what would have happened if I'd made the evidence public, but rest assured it was very scary and involved toothpicks."

Rand: "Ah, well. Once again, plans change as the weather of the future alters."

Rand: "Instead, I shall celebrate our friendship by inviting you to dinner on my mysterious private island."

Rand: "Dinner… and a murder!"

Rand: "Not, uh, your murder," he adds. "That wasn't a threat."

Alex: "I think I'm good, thanks," says Alex politely. "Do you know what the deal was with Guilt and Waters?"

Remy: "Is it crows?"

Rand: "Alessandro is some kind of sorcerer on top of being god of all the seas that are, and he basically wants to drown humanity, or at least turn them all into mer-people, so they'll stop polluting his oceans."

Alex: "What an asshole."

Rand: "Well, they kind of are. I mean, he's reacting rationally to an attack on his domain; he's just short-sighted."

Alex: "True… I suppose that is our remit, to defend our Estates. But still. Come on. There are middle grounds."

Rand: "I feel like he's potentially reachable by somebody with better grasp of the powers of love and friendship and whatever than I've got."

Alex: "Not it."

Rand: "Yeah, I know, it's stupid; it's just, you have to put the barrel of toxic waste down before you get the moral high ground."

Rand: "Now, Jean, she just thinks humans have it coming."

Rand: "I think the idea that humans would engineer their own destruction and then wiggle out from under it at the last minute offends her."

Alex: "She tore my arm right off, you know."

Rand: "What an asshole."

Alex: "Well, I had punted us both in to orbit, and not really in self defense per se."

Rand: "These things do happen."

Alex: "Also I was not particularly human at the time, which makes it less, y'know, personal… But I'm actively trying not to nurse a grudge. Maybe I should hold it against her more."

Rand: "Speaking from a completely neutral position…"

Rand: "She'll give you another reason, given time."

Alex: "That sounds highly plausible."

Alex: "Cynn, Remy, where shall we go from here?"

Rand: "I feel like we've covered everything for now. I'll let you know if I think of a way to deal with the Alice situation other than just waiting and seeing."

Cynn: "D'accord."

Rand: "And I do hope you'll reconsider about the murder. It's going to be on the 22nd of next month, and the food is really rather good."

Remy: "Saying things like that is not going to help with the evil problem."

Alex: "You know full well we'd probably meddle with it."

Remy: "But he knows that we know that he knows."

Remy: "Ad infinitum."

Rand: "Indeed I do."

Rand: "Now you get the picture!"

Rand: "Anyway, Tempa out."

Rand: Foresight's consciousness withdraws, leaving the restaurant owner looking at you with the embarassed look you get when your boss suddenly vacates your body in front of a bunch of strangers.

Remy: Remy stops being a British cabbie.

Rand: Hm, Elliott's power of friendship was more effective than I expected."

Alex: Alex leaves the building and goes back to Barty's house before he stops being a chubby british accountant."

Cynn: It's more the power of detente.

Cynn: But yes!

Cynn: The advantage of being hella indecisive is that Cynn gets folks to the table. For curry."

Cynn: And murder?

Rand: Yes, we're going to have a lovely murder-poo.

Alex: Are we done for the night?

Rand: I think so!

Rand: I guess you also have to go to the funeral for poor departed??? Destiny at some point.

Rand: I sort of wondered how to make this plot go since Alice seemed to be the only one with strong opinions on the subject.

Rand: I guess the answer was to turn the Familia against each other!!!

Cynn: Heh.

Remy: Miracle-augmented cognition is good shit.

Alex: Agreed.

Rand: Anyway, next week, murder mystery! The best genre.

Rand: Except for mystery comedy about lawyers.

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