You've had a chance to travel for a while on a Viper Convoy, but you haven't travelled long distance in one. And one thing you get to learn on this trip is that they are a surprisingly smooth ride, even though you've been heading down a tortuous road on the way back to Masharas there's been nary a bump on the trip
Serenity‘ may have been inspired to spend the better part of the trip designing a new suspension system for their car whenever she gets bored of trying to decipher phrases from the mysterous black book.
Should someone have taken a moment to look outside or are happens to be on top of one of the cars at this time you witness something you have never thought possible before- As you are approaching the same tunnel through which you left Masharas when you departed on this trip you realize that the tunnel itself is no longer there, as is not longer the mountains. It’s as if a blade had been taken to them and a clean, straight line cut through and removed. The cleft extends into the ground, too, and you notice that some form of passage has been installed, supported by heavy duty metal cabling a deployable bridge has been turned into a slope leading to the bottom of it.
Harriet looks up from her notes, and pales. "… holy shit."
Harriet: "It's all gone."
The Convoy makes it's way down, it's perhaps hearthening to see how fast Masharas is to adapt to such a threat, a defense outpost has already been set here, a temporary roadway leading to the city has also been already laid down and as you head through it you see construction crews working on making a proper road as well as turning the deployable bridge into a proper access. As you come closer to the other end of the road that heads up into Masharas itself (the access has been completed here, as good construction as anything in Masharas) you even see research crews, they're taking measures, soil samples…
Hughbert: "Nothing left to do but accept the situation and react accordingly, I suppose. As absurd as it may seem…"
Harriet: "Yeah… it's good to see everyone's taking care of it."
And as you head up you see just how close, just how close the dimensional tear was to the city- As the cliff itself is no longer obscuring your view you see there a house- The very edge of the cliff is no more than a few centimeters away from the house. You are in the south housing district, you may have heard some rumors here or there about plans to make this a "poor's quarter" or something like that given all the lack of investment in this place that it has seen… Perhaps now it makes sense why this part of the city has been neglected for so long
And soon enough you finally reach the end point of the Convoy's trip. The High Guard's headquarters, you notice that the garage entrace you make your way in is in the process of remodelling, clearly to accomodate the Convoy. As you all finally park you see a lot of construction staff in the parking bay besides yours- It seems they are building a second Convoy, but it seems very different.
Hughbert disembarks after making sure the party's car is safely towed out of the Convoy, with cargo intact.
Serenity: "Huh."
Harriet is very interested in the construction of that convoy, but someone will probably shepherd her away eventually.
Anton hops out of the car before stretching.
Serenity: "You know I always wondered why we never did anything with this part of the city."
Serenity: "…Wonder how long ago whatshertits saw that happening?"
At this point Major Celestine disembarks herseslf, just in time to hear Serenity's last words "Long enough to do something about it, apparently not long enough to warn me about what she was doing about it"
Anton chuckles. "Sounds about right. How goes things?"
Serenity: "…Also makes me wonder why if they saw that coming they still fucking decided to train Alcor…"
Anton: "I think Alcor was actually the one that decided to do this development wise back when he was the Divine Oracle."
Serenity: "Aha."
Anton: "Cors carried on a lot of things from him. She was kind of thrust with the position."
Maj Celestine: "But that's the nature of working with oracles." she looks at Anton "Well, I don't know what your debrief procedures are, but good luck with them. We'll unload your research material you've acquired and put it in safe storage for when you finally come use it. For now, you'll be the only ones with access to this, consider it classified material"
Harriet: "Huh?" Harriet looks back when she heard the word research. "Oh, okay, yeah, good."
Hughbert: "Much appreciated, ma'am."
The Major moves her left shoulder a little, she's put on the armor on that arm again "And now i'll leave you to your business" she leaves, looking annoyed and tired both. You witness some supply crew very carefully unload the material that's been strapped to your car, you over hear one of them wonder how the hell this tiny car kept up with all this load
Serenity: "She wasn't half as scary as you made her out to be."
Harriet: "'Cause it's the best car!" Harriet calls after that poor flunkey.
Hughbert: "I've seen her in better shape, to be honest. These days must be taking a toll on her. I am reasonably certain that making some of the requests for supplies and personnell that I have must not be helping… But she won't break. That much, I'm quite certain of."
Serenity: "I mean, here I was expecting her to put you through a table by way of greeting, but not even a love tap." Serenity shakes her head and starts heading out of the garage.
Harriet: "Oh, yeah, it definitely won't - uh, she won't." Harriet definitely didn't think they were talking about her car.
Hughbert: "You think I wouldn't learn how to behave myself by now? I was a rookie once, too, you must understand."
Serenity: "Mm, nope. Can't picture it."
Harriet: "You were definitely always Hughbert."
Heading out into the city proper… Despite the ruckus earlier, it seems like people have not been too disturbed by the chaos, however. People go about their business as they would normally, and everything seems fairly normal. Of course as you pass by a news stand you see that the chaos still makes the news, and of course you see more movement of construction crews (you are certain the colleges' research departments must also be going crazy)
Serenity: "S'good to be home."
Harriet: "I can't wait to see what's going on in the research departments. Everyone must be nuts about all this going on."
Serenity: "Anyway is there anything in particular we were supposed to be doing?" A glance towards Hughbert and Anton.
JayM: Presumably reporting back and getting information on the next leg of the trip
Anton: "I have a report to drop off. You can do whatever, really." He shrugs.
Harriet: "I was gonna go to my workshop, but I guess I should go see Cor first."
Serenity: "Hm."
Serenity: "I guess that's as good an excuse as any to ask her for materials."
Hughbert: "I'm sure there will be quite the commotion in R+D. This time, though, I might pass on spending our entire intermission there. I may go back home for a day, reassure my parents I'm still in possession of all of my limbs. I do plan on reporting in first, though. Quite glad the Major was with us, that's one part already taken care of."
Harriet: "Oh, yeah, I should probably visit my folks at some point. They're probably worried sick."
Serenity: "…Do you guys not send 'still not dead yet' postcards when we stop in cities?"
Anton blinks. "I report to Cor."
Harriet: "Wait, we can do that?"
Serenity: "If you pay for stamps, yeah."
Harriet: "Holy shit, I always figured that wouldn't work because the infrastructure was shit."
Serenity: "I mean."
Serenity: "It's not GREAT but they usually get there. Our city's important."
Hughbert: "I can't speak for your families, but given that mine has seen me off to join the corps, I would say there is a good chance they're more emotionally prepared for something to happen to me. Still, considering…" He gestures to the gap in the Aegis, "…That. I believe a visit home would be more than welcome."
Harriet: "Huh. Weird. Guess I'd better start doing that."
Serenity: "Oh. Yeah good point."
Serenity: "After we go slap Cor though. Lead the way!" Light shove to Anton.
Anton: "Oh. You want to see her too? Sure thing."
Serenity: "…Who else would I bitch and whine at until I got access to super ragnite?"
Harriet: "Yeah, precisely."
Anton: "Just so we're on the same page, what are we talking about?"
Amal: "Tell 'em I won't let anything happen to ya, Hughbert."
Hughbert: "Please be careful with that once you acquire some, you two. I would be unable to even use that in my force gear, as my output limiter would initiate a safety shutdown well before it reached normal output."
Serenity‘ stares at Anton.
Serenity: "You seem even more out of it than normal today."
Anton scratches his head. "I’ve been looking at things a lot lately, so I'm not sure what worldline actually happened."
Amal: "Aw let him be, being an Oracle is hard~."
Serenity: "Do you not remember the Major telling us about the ragnite batteries in their car that are over a hundred times more efficient than any other type?"
You make your way towards the Grand Chapel and realize something- The Festival of Memories (the only actual celebration that exists in Masharas, it celebrates great discoveries that happened [not those that made those advancements, but the advencements themselves]) must be getting close. The central plaza is being decorated as it is, beautiful banners colored like stained glass murals depicting all the greatest advancements of the last decade are being set up. Conspicuously absent is military technology, but it always happens like this.
Hughbert scratches his head. "Hmm… Right, Amal, if you don't mind sharing a room, would you like to come with? I'm afraid my home's a bit small, but if you don't have any other plans, I think it's very likely my parents would enjoy the company."
Amal perks up. "Aw, that'd be great! I don't take up much room, haha."
And when you get inside the Grand Chapel itself, now that is where all the chaos must be contained that isn't going on outside. You've never seen so many people in the offices like this, there's people running everywhere, there's stacks of paper all over, everything organized of course but the volume of work has gone so up exponentially. Serenity and Harriet can recognize people from the statistics departments of their universities- In fact over half of them are here, including students being used for grunt work
Serenity: "So when are *you* gunna be on one of those perminate banners, Harriet?" Platful shove.
Harriet grins at Serenity and shoves her back. "Just give me time! Once I've finished my device, I'll turn the entire festival on its head!"
Serenity: "Huh that's a lot of fucking students."
Harriet: "Hey, that's what's his name! The statistics guy who's always giving me shit."
Serenity: "…Yeah looks like most of them are number crunchers."
Serenity: "Weird."
Harriet: "What are they all doing here..?"
The chaos extends deep into the chapel, too, as even the highest levels of administration are being swarmed with work. In fact, the defense department while having an entirely separate building at it's HQ has an office here too and look at the line at the door, apparently news of the Major's return has made and all the backed up work has showed up. Somewhat scaringly, however, as you reach the room where you have your usual briefings you find less office workers and more… Medical staff. They're all in a tizzy, but things seem to be stable nontheless. None of them bothers you as you make your way into the meeting room, but you do see that they're more or less 'guarding' that room
Serenity: "'Uno."
Harriet: "This is way too crowded. Let's just get to the meeting room."
Hughbert salutes the staff on guard. "Lieutenant Marcel. We're here to debrief with the Divine Oracle."
You're quicklyushered inside and, once inside, you see that it's only Cor and the Pope there, as always. Cor has shooed everyone else away now that they're not particularly needed. Cor is looking as if she hadn't slept in a couple of days, meanwhile the Pope is sleeping soundly on the couch. Of course, surprisingly, the Pope is wearing almost nothing of her usual attire other than the adornments of her post and the torn remains of her usual clothing is in the other couch. Though everything looks otherwise normal
Cor Caroli: "Ah… So you're finally here, that's a load off my mind"
Amal: "…everything okay?"
Harriet: "Uhh…"
Amal: "I mean, besides all of the things which are manifestly not okay."
Amal: "Which there's lots of."
Anton: "Well I mean, you knew how it played out when you saw the size of the fissures, right?"
Anton: "Once that happened how bad could things have gone?"
Hughbert salutes once more. "I'm unsure how much you've seen and how much you wish to know, so… Where shall we begin?"
Cor Caroli: "There was a distinctive chance you were caught in that incident, I coudl not be certain if ground zero was safe or not… But please, do tell everything you believe important"
Serenity: "We totally were."
Serenity: "Like, multiple incidents."
Anton pulls out an envelope and places it in front of Cor. "All the finer details are in there. I'm sure you still have questions, though."
Cor Caroli: "Don't… Mind her holiness. We had a run in with an akavir assassin, just about everything she needed with all the extra work. It's just exhaustion, it's what she'd tell you"
Amal: "Hehe. How many times do I have to say this today? I won't let anything like that happen to my friends."
Cor picks up the envelope "So… How exactly did he react when he noticed when he noticed Hughbert wasn't there?
Harriet: "He freaked the fuck out."
Serenity: "It's okay we're long since used to your weird kinky sex things at this point Cor." Serenity says dismissively while taking a seat and reaching for some candy.
Anton: "He teleported everyone to the receiving beacon. A lot of snap decisions that had holes in them."
Cor Caroli: "Good. He never knew how to deal when things didn't go according to plan… Which is difficult to do, but appens now and them"
Cor Caroli: "Hrm… Did you get to have any insight on what and how the machine works? Did he give any hints?"
Hughbert: "He scarcely gave me a moment's notice to even do anything. I suppose the threat of action alone was enough to send him into a frenzy."
Anton glances at Serenity.
Cor Caroli: "Whereas I do know it's called the 'God-Making Machine' that is about everything I know. It's activation greatly obscures foresight ability"
Serenity‘ unwrapped a lollipop and shoves it in her mouth, before flicking her other hand towards Cor and embedding a thin red crystal into the wall near her.
Cor looks at the crystal with a raised eyebrow "What?"
Serenity: "It turned all my blood into ragnite gel."
Serenity: "Or well crystal really, but I could suck it back up and it’s more or less still blood-adjacent-gel like when inside my veins? Crystal when it comes out though as you can see."
Harriet: "It's really weird. And awesome."
Cor Caroli: "That… Sounds somewhat terrifying… Also… What the actual hell"
Cor sounds genuinely surprised "What… What purpose is there in that… IS that part of said god-making process?" she considers for a moment "How have your abilities been faring since that incident, Serenity"
Amal: "Also, it tried to unfold a tesseract into threespace and it's made out of a metal that's impossible to make at this point in history that requires nanoscale metallurgy and lots of ridiculous shenanigans. If any of that is meaningful to you."
Serenity: "Hell if I know. It absolutely wasn't a ragnite device though, and Amal said it's made using some impossible building material."
Serenity: "Shit was bizzarely dead silent around it, aside from whatever… music… Lola was listening to while working on it."
Harriet: "The ragnite was completely shielded, yeah."
Cor crosses her arms "… So it's Black Technology"
Amal: "Wasn't me this time, I swear."
Cor Caroli: "Term, by the way, which means technology an oracle 'steals' from a different timeline. Extremely dangerous since it comes with no context, no understanding, no nothing just it's existance"
Cor Caroli: "It's not considered even an acceptable practice to use it, too dangerous and possibility of misuse… Even if I did do it on a gambit. I'm surprised he's using such things, but given who he's working with, makes sense"
Amal: "…I did recognise the design, though. I'm not sure where it came from, there's at least one bizarre temporospatial paradox in play here, but I've seen it before in a book I read once."
Cor looks at Amal "A book? Do you remember which one?"
Amal: "Theogenesis. I found it tucked away at the end of the world, so…"
Serenity‘ shoves a second sucker into her mouth while biting on the first, before tossing one in Amal’s direction.
Amal: "Not exactly one you'll find in the library, y'know?"
Amal grabs the sucker, gives Serenity a thumbs-up.
Cor Caroli: "A book found at the end of the world involving something that could well end it right now?"
Cor Caroli: "That sounds almost like something out of a story"
Harriet: "It's pretty convenient, though."
Serenity: "Alcor is dead set on playing a shitty villian so I mean…"
Serenity‘ rolls a shrug.
Amal can’t help a tiny surprised giggle.
Cor shakes her head "Well, related to the incident… How do you assess the damage it dealt, on a more… Political level. How'd the people in Orsis react to the incident
Harriet: "Welllll, we kinda left them in the middle of a war."
Serenity: "Hughbert's Idea."
Amal: "All heck broke loose and the President almost died. Nothing that jeopardises our mission there profoundly but, uh, it definitely moved up the timescale on 'huge conflict between the people and the corporations' by a bit."
Hughbert: "Those in power tried to twist it to their advantage, while those who lack power are refusing to quietly accept martial law. They're fighting back. It's very likely that 'civil war' is an apt description."
Anton grabs a lollipop and puts it in his mouth. Seems he's silently stewing on something and just letting the others talk for the time being.
Cor sighs "At least it just managed to expedite what was inevitable anyway… Just to inform, it has hit Terchuan bad, particularly one of the Sacred Groves was destroyed in the process and one of the tainted rivers was struck, leading it further inland. Thankfully, due to your assistance with the field method for containing the contamination they've managed to keep that area very well contained so damage was cut pretty short"
Amal: "On the bright side Akavir's too busy sorting itself out after the disaster to stick ALL of their fingers into the Orsis pie and is making do with just some of the fingers."
Amal: "…ah, heck."
Harriet: "Oh, damn… well, at least they're containing it."
Hughbert: "That is quite unfortunate… But, knowing how we left things, I'm reasonably confident that they'll be able to manage the situation."
Serenity: "Oh speaking of."
Cor Caroli: "Yeah, we were lucky part of their military complex was hit… Sadly this also played right into the Chancellor's strengths, he's been reaching out to any territorry that's been hurt very aggressively. I expect more annexations soon"
Cor looks at Serenity, tilts her head slightly
Serenity: "As the Person Primarily Responsible For Our City Not Being Destroyed By A Giant Fucking Laser, I'm formally putting in a request for some of that fucking super ragnite you didn't even tell me existed."
Amal: "Don't need to be an Oracle to know that our mission in Akavir is basically just gonna be 'kick that guy's butt' so I mean."
Cor sighs "So you heard about radiant ragnite, huhn? Okay, i'll give you access to one sample of it. Mostly because we don't have much avaiable anywhere… That said, what are you planning on doing with it"
Serenity: "Beat the shit out of Lola."
Harriet: "I'm gonna want some of that, too. There's a lot of questions I have about that stuff."
Harriet: "Besides, it's perfect for something I'm working on."
Amal stares levelly at Harriet.
Hughbert: "Is it for a doomsday device…?"
Cor Caroli: "Please be extra careful, we only have sixty seven fuel units avaiable, there is literally one place in the entire continent where that material can be mined and I don't expect there will be more than another three hundred units worth of it"
Amal: "…okay, I guess."
Harriet: "Whaaat? No, definitely not a bomb. I mean, it'd make an amazing bomb, but…"
Harriet: "Actually I'm working on a device to help us communicate better. It, like, doesn't involve anyone dying at all?"
Hughbert crosses his arms. "I didn't mention any sort of bomb. Perhaps that's a guilty conscience at work?"
Harriet: "Wh- hey! I'm a woman of science, I have to run through all the possibilities!"
Serenity: "Actually we should."
Serenity: "Absolutely be worried about radiant bombs, given Alcor/Lola/Mai are all fucking teamed up."
Harriet: "Yeah, precisely!"
Amal: "Yeah I absolutely don't trust any of them not to do something super terrible."
Cor crosses her arms "I don't think either of them is precisely a weaponry maker, their actions certainly have been vastly destructive, yes… But they've mostly been side-effects of their actual attempts" she sighs "To which… What the hell, Alcor… I really want to believe in you but you're making it impossible"
Cor Caroli: "What the hell is he trying to do"
Harriet: "As much as I hate to admit it, Alcor's as good an engineer as I am. So if I can figure out how to make a super-bomb out of radiant ragnite, so can he."
Serenity: "Lola's still an engineer, Mai's ABSOLUTELY a weapon maker, and also, an immoral psychopath."
Serenity: "And yeah turning that shit into a bomb wouldn't even be complicated in the slightest."
Hughbert: "It would be wise to assume the likelihood of her being anything but a psychotic merchant of death with 'superpowers' to be near zero." Air quotes.
Cor Caroli: "Hrm… I'll still keep it in mind, i'll have our stores guarded and increase the mine security"
Harriet: "Don't be surprised if they use their bullshit future powers to find a new source of it, either."
Cor Caroli: "Do you know the prototype central power distrubution system we have in the newer north residential district?"
Cor Caroli: "We've been entertaining the usage of radiant ragnite to provide power given it's capacities, and believe me i've scoured the future for a very long time and never saw any other radiant ragnite deposits other than the one we have"
Harriet: "I'm just saying, they're cheating in every other way, they'd totally cheat on this too."
Amal: "It's suuuuuper rare, yeah."
Amal: "But, like, they pulled mythril in from another timeline or something I'm not putting anything past them."
Hughbert: "If they can't find any from this world, perhaps Lola could bring some over. Alcor did get spirited away once we put him in 'check', following a thorough smashing of his machines."
Cor Caroli: "That's a concern we will have to keep in mind…"
Cor Caroli: "Well… I suppose, if there is nothing else you watn to ask at this poitn, you can feel free to go rest, you've earned it"
Anton nods before hopping to his feet. "Will do!"
Anton: "Oh, right. What was the point of being so secretive with the weapon if he knew about it anyways, Cor?"
Cor Caroli: "He knew the possibility of it being used was real, he did not believe I would use it because I hate using Black Technology"
Cor Caroli: "It was a very, very slim chance of me ever using it, which was what I was betting on. Taking the action with the lowest possibility of working, the action least like me to take"
Anton chews at his lip before nodding. "I still don't think that was the right time to use it."
Cor Caroli: "He made the bet I wouldn't do it. I made the bet it would work."
Cor Caroli: "Be careful with that, alright? In the timeline it came from it destroyed the waterworks of Masharas and the aftermath led to severe poisoning of most of the population"
Harriet: "Ugh, I just got done fixing water poisoning."
Cor Caroli: "It's an acid that destroys ragnite and makes more of itself in the process, that single bolt can destroy any force gear, no matter it's size"
Amal: "Yikes."
Anton nods. "Oh, believe me. I've looked into the future to see the results of some potential test fires. You don't need to vouch for its effectiveness."
Serenity: "Huh."
Hughbert: "Should we… Even keep it around anymore?"
Cor Caroli: "I will trust your judgement on that"
Amal: "There'll be a correct time to fire it, I'm sure of it."
Harriet: "The thing about weapons is a lot of the time you want them for deterrence more than to actually fire them off."
Harriet: "If you've got the biggest nastiest gun then people won't fuck with you in case you use it."
Hughbert: "If you believe it's worth keeping… Then sure. I'll trust you there. But I agree, I don't believe I like it, either."
Harriet: "So, like, what I'm saying is we absolutely keep the weapon."
Anton: "So long as we continue towards our destination." He nods to Amal. "We haven't fallen off the road yet, so the desired ending is still attainable."
Amal grins scarily at Anton and nods.
Cor Caroli: "Also, we meet again in four days, two days after the Festival of Memories, for the next assignment. It will be going to Rissan with a somewhat more favorable condition this time"
Cor Caroli: "I'll give you the briefing then, until then though, you're free… And thanks for all the work"
Harriet: "Oh, we get to stay for the Festival? Sweet."
Anton glances at Cor. "what's your take on Akavir at the moment? They're struck with the reconstruction right now, but with how its people are feeling I'm expecting action shortly."
Amal: "Hopefully they'll be polite enough to wait until we're back from Rissan."
Cor shakes her head "They're… Going to take time before they do anything aggressive, but we're certainly going to lose a portion of both Terchuan and Orsis to them in the meantime. Capitalizing on disasters is exactly what the Chancellor does best. We're going to have Intelligence interfere with that, of course, plus we have a few inside agents that should help minimize losses"
Harriet: "Ugh, what a pain."
Cor Caroli: "But they're not going to be rolling the tanks out anytime soon, right now the chance for diplomatic takeovers is too good for them to pass up, and at the very least they don't treat their annexed lands too bad given the Chancellor's entire public persona is about caring for the commoner, so the damage should be reversible in the future"
Amal: "Keep 'em juggling cats until we have the time to… 'work with' the Chancellor."
Harriet: "Yeah, we'll get around to it eventually."
Harriet: "Anyway, I've got a lot of shit to prototype. I've gotta fix the car and I've got a new idea. There anything else you need, Cor?"
Cor shakes her head "No, at this time i've asked everything I needed straight out of you"
Harriet: "Cool." Harriet stands, brushing off her skirt. "If anyone needs me, I'll be in my workshop."
Harriet: "Or at home at some point I guess."
Harriet: "Gotta remember to do that."
Harriet: "Oh yeah, you guys should come to the Festival with me."
Serenity: "Okay."
Amal: "Yeah!"
Serenity‘ grabs another sucker before standing up. "Just have Anton hand the ragnite over to me rather than someone else dropping it off somewhere."
Serenity` then heads out.
Anton trails after Serenity. "Y’know, if this keeps up I think I'm going to have a lollipop shortage." He grins teasingly.
Serenity: "Those aren't even yours, they're Cor's."
Cor shakes her head "(These kids…)" she whispers to herself before just, sitting there and looking up at the ceiling
Hughbert: "Assuming you manage to pry yourself from your research with that special ragnite, I'd be glad to." Hughbert salutes Cor and the Pope once more (it's important to not skip formalities even when little things like ~currently unconscious~ get in the way) before going.
Outside, it's about as busy as it was when you came in
JayM: For now, howeevr, what are your plans for what you want to do this intermission?
Anton: "Well, you know what they say. What's hers is mine, what's mine is mine~."
Amal: "Get some rest, okay!?" And then they follow everyone else out.
Serenity: "What, you think you're competition for the Pope?"
Harriet is absolutely going to be in her workshop a bunch! Not only does she need to Bulletproof The Car, she's going to be playing with fire. Look, she has stuff to put fires out, she'll be fine.
Anton pauses before sweatdropping. "Ha…ha….." He peters off for a moment. "Better not let her hear that one."
Serenity‘ left Harriet some plans for a new hydrolic shock absorption system in the car, too.
Serenity: "Anton…"
Serenity: "Anton I’m pretty sure she's been awake when I've made those sorts of comments before."
Harriet: "Yeah, she totally knows."
Harriet: "Anyway, I'm gonna take these and head off."
Anton lets out a long sigh. "I'm… I'm going to head off for a bit as well."
Serenity: "Later."
Anton pauses before glancing at the others. "If you need me, just think about your undying affection for me. I'll be able to sense it across town~." He winks.
Serenity‘ shakes her head before trailing off towards the residential district.
JayM: Sounds like you’re splitting off for today
JayM: I wonder what the Festival of Memories will be like. Any of you attending to it?
Hughbert: "Let's be off, then, Amal. My residence is off this way. Shouldn't be a long walk from here."
Harriet certainly is! It's a family tradition!
Serenity‘ is going yeah. There’s always a couple interesting things on display.
Hughbert is all about that thing, tbh.
Amal hasn't missed the festival as long as they've been in Masharas! (Plus, they're tagging along with Hughbert, and he's going, so…)
Then… Two days later, you've all had a good chance to rest and recuperate- And the day starts early! As early as midnight as a single firework is fired at the sky as soon as the clock ticks over to the next day, indicating the start of the Festival. The streets are decorated in vibrant colors, and the famous 'Tiny Book Stalls' are scattered throught the streets. Stalls where small books with five-page short stories (generally depicting the usage of important inventions throught history) are given out for free
Anton is absent for the time being. He probably was serious when he said the 'if you need me' comment, though.
The Tiny Books tend to be manned mostly by children or teenagers, doing their first work, or showing the fruits of their first serious research on history!
But the central show of the Festival of Memories is the Grand Chapel's main plaza where it's split in two, the Memories of Past showcase, adorned with the banners of the great inventions of the last decade, as well as showing many of them on display! The Memories of Past showcase's main selling point this year is visible in this great golden ragnite tube going up to the sky… Where the first airship lies stationed- Now and then it fires off a confetti cannon, man that'll be hell to clean
Amal is… unsurprisingly, really, really genuinely into the whole festival and winds up seeming like they're everywhere at once and talking to everyone.
Harriet is here with her parents! Who, of course, she loses as soon as she she gets distracted by a cool invention and goes to stare at it. Which is also tradition, if you think about it.
Harriet seems kind of preoccupied in ways which aren't thinking rapid-fire about these inventions, though.
Then there's the other half, the Memories of Tomorrow, wherein there's many display of future science, plans for the future as well as artistic renditions of how the future could be like. There's honestly a lot of silly things here, it's half of the fun of the Memories of Tomorrow really, but there's also really interesting and serious things. One display that's attracting a lot of attention is from medical, actually, called 'Repair Armor' it's supposedly used to help restore movement of limbs lost or heavily damaged, it's still deeply in development. Strikingly similar to the Major's left arm's armor
Harriet: "Oh yeah, I gotta talk to medical at some point…" Harriet muses to herself, in front of one of those displays.
Hughbert stops by many of the Tiny Book Stalls, giving equally tiny lessons and stories about similar topics. Hopefully, next year, he'll finally be able to administrate this part of the event…!
There's also, tucked away near the farthest end of the plaza, a small altar that's only pulled out for the Festival of Memories. Nobody really knows why though, as the altar's empty and it's clearly the statue that was once there has clearly been destroyed. An ancient tradition with no explanation that is repeated for heavens know what reason. Today, however, exactly one person is caring about it, a young red-haired man in a suit of Akavir style, praying at it
Anton makes his way on to the scene and over to the altar before kneeling down himself. He shoots a smile at the man but waits for him to finish.
The man continues praying for a while, he mutters words that are familiar to you, things only an actual priest would bother to know. "Rare to see someone here in this part" his voice is familiar but you can't tell why
Harriet ends up just straight-up running into Hughbert, because someone wasn't watching where she was going. "Guh- oh, hey, Hughbert."
Anton: "Well, I am a priest after all~. Nice to see you can spend a bit of time away from the stuffy suit."
Amal pops up obnoxiously like, practically under Harriet's arm as soon as she stops moving for a few seconds. (They were probably hanging out near Hughbert anyways.) "Hey, Harriet!"
Anton: "Especially to appreciate something forgotten."
Hughbert: "Careful, Harriet. I'd have to reprimand you if you knocked down any stalls."
The young man chuckles "He's a real piece of work… Dropping everything to come to the Festival. He's taking his time with her holiness at the moment, however, so I had some time"
Harriet: "I didn't!" She almost did, but, like, he doesn't have to know that. "- and hey, Amal. How's the Festival?"
Anton grins back. "Yeah, tell me about it. I got kicked out of there too."
Red Hair: "I like this little old altar"
Red Hair: "Do you know it's history?"
Amal: "It's great! Did you see the Memories of Tomorrow? I think they were missing some of your blueprints."
Anton scratches his head before smiling. "Well, I could see what you've got to tell me about it and then wow you, but I'm a bit tuckered out. I'll let ya do the talkin'!"
Harriet: "They were?" Beat. "Oh, yeah, they totally were. Honestly, if this place featured weapons at all it'd be all me."
He chuckles "Sure… It's how the Festival of Memories started. They say this is where the priests of old would gather to share everything they learned with their Goddess"
Red Hair: "And in her wisdom, she'd tell that whether what they learned was good or evil, and decide wether the knowledge should be sealed or not"
Anton: "Times sure have changed, huh?"
He stands up, closes his eyes for a moment "The books say that if you pray hard enough, then the Goddess would share with you forbidden knowledge if you had a good reason" he looks at the crowd
Red Hair: "That they did. For the better, I think"
Anton reaches into his pocket before pulling out a handful of lollipops. "… want one?"
Amal: "Aw you've got WAY more in you than just the weapons. Or did you already forget about singlehandedly saving Terchuan~?" They grin shamelessly.
He picks one up, sticking it in his mouth "Thanks Anton" he starts heading out "Now to see if my prayers were answered. Oh and" he turns back to look at Anton "Just have fun today, alright?" he says, finally heading out, disappearing into the crowd
Harriet blinks and double-takes. "Oh! Oh, yeah, I totally did that. That was all me. Really, I should be the star of this entire show."
Anton: "Yup! Don't let that Chancellor drag you down too much!" He waves.
Amal grins at Harriet. "I really shouldn't encourage you."
At this point you hear something loud- A voice "Ahahaha! But of course, your holiness. This is my favorite part of the festival" it's deep and comes from the Memories of Tomorrow portion, close to where Harriet, Hughbert and Amal are
Anton stretches before starting to walk off. He pauses for a moment before turning around placing an offering on the alter. He then walks off into the crowd.
Amal blinks and looks around.
Harriet: "What? No, you should totally encourage me. I'm amazing… huh, wait, is the Pope around?" Harriet frowns and looks around for whoever was talking to her Holiness.
Hughbert: "What did you expect? This IS Harriet we're talking about." He also tries to glance in the direction of the noise.
The crowd all kind of stops to stare for a moment, because the Pope happens to be there, accompanied by Cor Caroli and the Major (all three in somewhat 'day off' outfits aside from the basic adornments of their position). They're talking with an older man, middle-aged, dark hair with a white streak on it. The man's dressed in what is clearly an akavir style suit and he has an amazing presence "I love how your country is commited to doing well for it's people, we have that in common"
Harriet leans over to Hughbert. "(Hey who's that guy.)"
Pope Aldiva: "That we do, Chancellor. I am honored you took the day off your busy schedule to come visit, it was an… Enlightening conversation"
Hughbert: "(Probably the chancellor of Akavir, no doubt trying to capitalize on the situation. How terribly kind of him to visit in person.)"
Harriet: "(Wow. He actually seems pretty nice.)"
Chancellor: "Certainly, I had no idea that a woman of the cloth could be so… Vicious. I cannot underestimate you, it seems. But still" he looks around, as if for emphasis "It is quite telling, everything that is on display here… And what is not"
Pope Aldiva: "It certainly is…" she has a somewhat flat tone to her voice "It is part of how we are" she looks sideways at the Major, then back to the Chancellor "Well, should I accompany you on your way out?"
Amal: "(Seeming nice is basically his job, yeah. And he's pretty good at it.)"
Chancellor: "Oh, please do not worry yourself on my account, I would hate to impose on you, coming unannounced was enough of a bother, I am certain"
Harriet: "(Weird. I don't get politics at all.)"
It's not much longer before they're out of reach for hearing, they were walking of course. He certainly sounds sure of himself
There's a distant rumbling noise to be heard at this point too
Amal: "(Ugh, he makes me itchy.)"
Harriet: "(… wait, so if Akavir guys are around… I wonder if they're the same guys who asked me about what I was doing.)"
Amal: "(Oh what? Is that a thing that happened?)"
Hughbert: "(Do tell. Hopefully they were not overintrusive?)"
Harriet: "(Huh? Oh, yeah. It was weird. I mean… I want to know what they know, but also the stuff they were asking about was also kind of the stuff Terra Medical are being really evil about? They knew about the communication device I'm working on. And apparently they're working on a part of the problem I haven't even started on yet but they want my monster research and like… normally I'd be
Harriet: all over this, but Terra Medical are pretty classic villains and like… I'm not sure what to do here, to be honest. Because normally if people have scoped your design they're trying to steal it for themselves, but, like, Aetas is a problem, you know?) "
Anton seems to be floating up in the air at the center of the festival. He cups his hands together before shouting as loud as he can. "Serenityyyyyyyyy! I can't find you with all these aura's bunched together!" He then proceeds to shout Serenity a few more times likely embarassing himself in the process and catching the parties attention.
Amal: "(Ewww. Normally I'm a big fan of ~sharing information~ and love and hugs but I wouldn't… really… trust any of them, right n-)" They look up at Anton and giggle.
Hughbert: "(Invest in some tighter security. Screen your team for any moles. And don't acknowledge that they can come up with a better solution than you, most importantly.)" Hughbert doesn't even look up at Anton yet, and just hangs his head and sighs.
Eventually a tiny mote detonates behind Anton, and he's probably capable of back tracing it's origin to the roof of one of the largest building near the festivel square.
Anton eventually makes his way to the roof before setting down. He holds out a hand. "So. Ready to go for a ride? The others are down there, but we're missing a prime opportunity here."
Harriet looks up at Anton and grins. "Hey, he's having fun." Lowers her voice again, "(yeah, I guess so… I wish I could get what they knew, but I guess some weird unknown party who mysteriously knows everything is too good to be true. Hey, Hughbert, you're a security guy, can you help me keep the details on that stuff locked up?)"
Serenity: "Opportunity for…?"
Anton: "I'll explain when we meet up with the others. I definitely need at least you and Amal, though!"
Serenity: "Ugh that sounds like you're going to want me to *listen* to something." Anton might notice the large seat of headphones, like the ones people that work on runways wearin, dangling from her neck.
Hughbert: "(Sure. I might have to leave you with my family for a bit, Amal. If you think you can survive being doted on with such intensity, I'll have the time to run an audit on Harriet's team.)"
Harriet: "(Wait, right now? But the Festival's still going.)"
Amal giggles. "(No problem.)"
Anton: "Nah. I just need you to explode a barrier. An old acquaintance of mine opened up a secret passage in the old section of the library and I can't get through."
Serenity: "Oh."
Serenity‘ slips the headphones over her ears and messed with a dial on the side of it, before wrapping her arms around Anton’s neck from behind.
Anton: "He works under the chancellor right now, so it's probably something we should respond to as a group."
Hughbert: "(Of course not right now. I'll need you to get me some papers first, but you can leave the rest to me after that.)"
Anton nods before flying down to the others. He'll relay what he just said.
Harriet: "(Oh, okay.)" And here comes Anton! Harriet waves. "Sure, I'll come along."
Harriet: "I haven't been able to focus on the Festival properly, anyway."
Harriet: "My dad'll tell me if anything really important happened, it's cool."
Anton: "No worries Harriet. I can tell you what you ended up doing~."
Harriet: "That's why you're gonna be the next Divine Oracle." Harriet grins.
Hughbert: "Lead on, then. Sounds like a most intruiging chance."
Anton: "I wouldn't say this is a dangerous threat, but if they're using a method to contact the old gods and opening a secret passage from it I kind of want to snoop."
Serenity: "Old " God "" s "?"
Anton claps his hands. "This way, please!"
Harriet follows along!
Serenity: "That didn't answer my question at all."
Amal: "Huh. Plural. That's exciting."
Harriet: "What even are the old gods? I thought we only had the Goddess."
You make your way to one of the simultaneously oldest and newest buildings of the city, the Central Library, where every book and every bit of knowledge is catalogued and a copy is stored within. It's a majestic building, once an ancient building of some sort it has been completely reconstructed to be the library it is right now. It has many sections for different things, even some private sections where they store information for people that wanted it safe but don't want to share it, yet.
There is, however, a bit of a commotion right now as there's workers from the library carrying large piles of books and someone brought out some construction supplies from some closet somewhere.
Anton: "Man. Maybe I should have picked up the books after hiding the passage."
Amal: "I imagine we're about to find out~."
Deeper inside where Anton takes you is… A section that sees little use in the library, but some ancient mechanism has fired off opening a secret underground stairway… A stairway that had been built over a long time ago, having gone by unseen, and when the passage opened it literally tore everything that was built over it apart, collapsing bookcases and causing a wall to crack
The stairway, sadly, is inaccessible as a barrier field has formed on top of it, blocking access. Looks like quite the advanced and powerful barrier field too
Serenity‘ pulls the headphone back down to her neck now that they’re a good distance away from the festival.
Anton: "I didn't have many GOOD options to get past that, so here we are!"
Amal: "Ooh. Neat."
Anton: "A certain someone definitely went down here, though."
Hughbert gives the barrier a good up-and-down glance. "Quite the piece of work, here."
Amal: "Busting up barriers in the closed stacks and coming into contact with an infohazard is definitely more exciting even than walking around during the festival. Who was that guy anyways?"
Serenity‘ tilts her head slightly, before shugging and placing a hand on the barrier, feeling it out.
Serenity: "What guy?"
Anton: "I’d let you know, but I wouldn't want to spoil the monologue he gives when we get to where he is."
Anton: "I feel like he worked on it!"
Harriet: "I… guess that makes sense?"
Anton: "He's currently working for the Chancellor, though."
Serenity: "How much does your friend like talking to spooks Anton?"
Harriet: "Oh. Isn't he, like, the bad guy?"
Anton: "Bad is subjective, Harriet!"
Anton glances at Serenity. "Spooks?"
Serenity: "Ragnite devises and/or Her and/or Voices You Can't Hear."
Serenity: "It's a reverse deadlock and I'm not sure if it's going to be easier to call for back up or just try and overload the devise directly."
Anton: "Also to go on record, that guy definitely isn't my friend."
Serenity: "Well lets try overloading it first in either case, that's quieter."
JayM: Giving it your all, eh?
Serenity‘ rolls her eyes in Anton’s general direction, even though he's behind her, and attempts to put Too Much energy into the deadlock.
Anton jots down something on a piece of paper before passing it to Amal.
As Serenity gives the barrier more energy, it's definitely become clear the system was not designed to withstand this much energy as she can feel the strain, and then you hear some noises like cracking and poping as the floor in a circle around you cracks to pieces! It's not like you fall in a hole, but the wooden floorboards have turned to splinters and the stone bricks underneath have shattered to tiny fragments
The barrier is no longer active, however
Harriet takes a few steps back when the ground cracks, just for good measure.
Hughbert: "…That looks like it's been broken. Right? The barrier is no more?"
JayM: Looks gone
Anton: "Yup! I just looked into the future and you don't experience excruciating pain for trying to get through anymore. Oracles word~."
Harriet: "Nice work, Serenity."
Hughbert sighs. "So what you're saying is that I should probably test if it's cleared. Right." Hughbert steps on through.
Anton trails down the stairs after Hughbert.
Harriet follows on through!
Amal stares at the note for a second and gives Anton an incredulous look and holds up an indeterminate number of fingers before eating the note.
Heading inside… You see something familiar on the walls… They are glowing blue, much like the walls of the Tower were, much like the walls in that temple in Orsis were. Thin lines of ragnite light up as you head further inside. It's a long stairway that spirals downward for a long while. Finally you reach the entrance to a different room, the blueish glow of ragnite illuminates a massive doorway made of stone, there is a symbol in the doorway you cannot identify, and in the center of the room a stone tablet in which glyphs you never saw are inscribed
Anton: "So. My acquaintance is on the other side of this door. I feel like he worked really hard on this, so hear him out and act surprised when he gives his speech, okay?" He nods before smiling at Amal.
Serenity‘ waves her hand in the direction of the door. "Open says me."
Harriet: "Okay," Harriet nods to Anton.
Amal tries not to smile at Anton and nods.
Serenity: "Actually I have no idea how this work, are we just waiting for him to come back or?"
Hughbert: "Is it really that important? I don’t believe there is a high chance of there being any tactical advantage in allowing him to do so."
Anton: "There definitely exists multiple futures where we talk to him in there. I can fish around to see how we open the door, but start trying things in the meantime."
Serenity: "Uh -"
Serenity: "Oh it's a mechanical lock."
Serenity: "That makes sense considering the door itself is a grounding device."
Harriet: "That's pretty cool."
Serenity: "Harriet they usually put the switches on stuff like this near the bottom right?" Serenity squints, running one hand along it while gentle tapping with other knuckle.
Harriet: "Yeah, that sounds about right."
Serenity: "Anyway it's mostly just this entire thing being a patience trap/sink Hughbert which is why I was asking."
It doesn't takes too long to figure out what the switch is, there's a few floor stones with glyphs on them, quite clearly there's a puzzle here but you also lack any information on how to proceed with it. Thankfully, nobody set up a deadly trap on failure so it's just a matter of patience and attempting
Serenity: "Two one four…. three?"
Serenity: "Amal you can't read dumb stupid glyphs can you?"
Amal: "One sec."
Serenity: "'Cause this is boring as shit. Three one two four…"
Amal: "Okay got it." And they roll up and hit the glyphs in a particular order, and…
Serenity: "Wait what?"
Anton: "You had a 1/24 chance of getting it right the first time."
Anton: "That's childs play compared to most of the stuff we've done!"
Pressing the buttons in the correct order… And the door starts sliding open slowly
Serenity: "Oh shut up this is pure random without any hints."
Amal: "Hahah yessssss."
Serenity: "How'd you cheat shortcake?"
Serenity‘ pushes herself up from where she’d been sitting on the ground and dusts herself off.
Amal: "Actually there were totally hints in weird ancient script I can kinda halfass read but."
Serenity: "You fucker you said you couldn't read it back at the other temple!
Amal: "The stuff there was way more complicated! This is a goofy puzzle about astronomy."
Serenity‘ smacks Amal upside the head before making a ’hurry up go in first' motion at Hughbert.
Amal: "I cheated anyways, so." They grin insouciantly at both Anton and Serenity.
Serenity: "Yeah, how though?"
Harriet: "Man, you guys are weird."
Inside, the glow's different. It's more of a golden yellow as… There are a great many objects here, objects you've never seen before at all, but they're on display, as if in a museum. There are clothes as well, paintings too of people you never saw before.
Hughbert walks on in. "I'd like to hear what it was about, at the least."
Harriet follows Hughbert on in, prepares to act surprised.
Anton: "Welcome to a glimpse of the old world!"
Anton: "Secret batcave #6."
Serenity: "God."
Serenity: "Was this entire city founding on top of a weird ass kinky sex enclave or something? Fuck."
And in the center, there it is, a pedestal in which a single giant book sits… The book's a faded blue color much like ragnite, it's cover has a single phrase in the same glyphs.
[OOC] Serenity: founded^
Yet something else is there too, a young man in akavir-style suit and red hair, lazily reading through the book, or looking through it at least
Harriet: "So I guess the secret batcave wasn't in the Church…?"
Anton glances at Harriet before winking. "I did say #6."
Harriet: "Oh, come on, where could it be hiding that we haven't looked?"
Hughbert: "Pardon me, sir. I need to check your library card."
The man smiles, sets the book down and turns around "Oh, i'm sorry, I must have forgotten it at home"
Amal giggles at Serenity. "(That's a secret!)"
Red Hair: "But I simply could not keep away from such an interesting display…"
Red Hair: "Too bad it did not live up to expectations"
Anton: "No? That's a shame."
Harriet: "That is so surprising!"
Anton glances at Harriet before doubling over laughing.
The red-haired man sighs, putting a hand on his face "Okay, you win. That was very good"
Red Hair: "I don't even have anywhere to go from that"
Harriet frowns at Anton. "(What?! Was that not his speech?!)"
Hughbert: "On that topic, I'd like to ask you to begin your monologue. Anton has set us up with high expectations for it. Let's hope only one of us leaves here disappointed today, no?"
Amal: "I dunno, this is exactly what I was expecting."
He shrugs "Oh, unfortunately, not this time"
Hughbert turns v e r y s l o w l y towards Anton and glares. "He doesn't have a monologue, Anton."
Red Hair: "I will be certain to have one prepared next we meet, however" he bows, and takes one step back- Quite literally vanishing into nothingness as he does so
Anton: "We can't get everything we want, Hughbert. I prefer him with silver hair too, but…"
Anton: "I guess he doesn't wear the dye when working for Akavir."
Harriet: "Wh- hey! You can't just disappear!"
Harriet: "Who was that guy, anyway?"
Anton: "Alcor."
Amal: "WHAT!?!" It's obviously fake.
Serenity‘ pauses, spins around and punches Anton in the stomach as hard as she can.
Anton keels over.
Hughbert: "Alcor should have a library card. Was he lying to me?"
Serenity: "Why did he look younger?"
Harriet: "Wait, that was Alcor?"
Anton wheezes. "I think you already know."
JayM: Poor Anton
Serenity: "I really don’t. Not in this world line."
Hughbert pouts vigorously. After stewing on it for a moment, he decided to instead get distracted by the various buried histories in the room.
Anton slowly gets to his feet. "That said, start looking over all the documents in here. We only had a 0.6% chance of capturing him so that's what I came for."
Amal is torn between feeling bad for Anton and laughing at Anton but if they do anything right now Serenity will probably punch them too so they're just standing over there with the most super awkward look on their face.
Serenity: "Okay in the future, numb nuts,"
Serenity: "When asking for our help on mundane tasks,"
Serenity: "Maybe just… be up front?"
There is a lot of significance here, but you can't tell what the significance might be just from the looks. You're certain a lot of these are ancient prayer instruments, and you could not guess what they are used for. They are, surprisingly, made of rather mundane materials, except in cases where they're made of silver. But the ones made of silver seem like they're made for holding liquids
Serenity‘ sighs, going to pick up the book on the pedastal.
Harriet: "Uuuugh." Harriet throws up her hands and goes to investigate the room.
Harriet: "So like is that book actually written in a language we can read?"
Serenity: "Uhh…"
Anton shakes his head. "Couldn’t. It would have solicited a different reaction and that would have caused him to see the danger in advance and get out of here before we showed up."
Amal: "They actually wore stuff like this. That's dedication." They pad around, looking at things- looking at the book. Maybe they can read that too, if it's not too complex!
Anton: "This was the only way we could have had a conversation with him, as little as it was."
The outfits are also kind of scandalous, too, they're… It's not that they're revealing per se but they sure look like they'd hug tighte, in fact it looks like they're almost made for torture or to constrain someone… But some parts of them do reminisce you of modern priest outfits
At this point you hear the pitter patter of feet behind you
Harriet: "These clothes are so weird."
Amal: "Not really~."
Harriet: "Okay but yes really."
Harriet: "I never got why the priesthood likes this stuff."
Serenity: "I seriously doubt any of us would have seemed MORE dangerous if you went 'hey Serenity i want to go crack open a sealed store house from the old religion" , moron. "
Anton: "Oh. I just wanted to surprise you with that part. I was talking about saying it was Alcor."
Amal: "Hmph. It's like, cutting back and forth between super slangy and super formal and neither of 'em is makin' any sense to me."
Amal frowwwwn.
Harriet: "Like, modern fashion's kind of unwieldy, but at least it's stuff I can breathe in."
Anton: "With how much you guys wanted to see one of the batcaves I figured I'd surprise ya!"
Harriet: "… I mean, he's got us there."
Amal: "Looks like it's mostly transcripts of conversations."
Harriet: "I really wanted to find the weird hidden cave."
Amal: "With, like… highfalutin analysis and criticism in between?"
Harriet: "What conversations?"
At this point you hear a voice behind you "Well, seems like you found the Forbidden Library… Do please refrain from taking anything from it"
It's Cor Caroli, and the Pope who have just arrived
Harriet turns around, holding up one of the weird constricting outfits.
Harriet: "Hey, Cor, can you like…"
Harriet: "Explain this."
Amal grins. "Hey!"
Pope Aldiva: "So this is the library you were so afraid of, Cor?"
Anton: "So did Alcor say hi to you guys, or were we just hanging out at the old shrine while you guys entertained the Chancellor?"
Cor Caroli: "Seems so…"
Hughbert: "I don't suppose I could change your mind with… This?" Hughbert discreetly pulls out something and slips it to Cor.
[OOC] Hughbert: It's not money or a bribe or anything
[OOC] Hughbert: it's just his library card
Cor looks at the card, picks it up, and stares at it for a second
The Pope stares at it, and starts giggling
Hughbert: "I've paid all my late fees, I'll have you know."
Cor sighs "Please… I've been wanting to crack this place open for twelve years now, but every time I look into the future to see a place where it's opened that's always some disaster accompanying it, so I haven't"
Amal: "Hughbert, you're a treasure~."
Anton: "Well, someone else opened it now. So may as well dig in."
Harriet: "The only disaster here is these clothes."
Cor Caroli: "I guess the disaster already happened so…" she puts a hand on her forehead "He clearly led you here because of that…"
Harriet: "Like, am I just so bad at fashion that I don't get why you'd want to wear something like this? Is that what's going on here?" Beat. "Wait, hang on, a disaster just happened?!"
Anton: "I take it you know the after effects of that rumbling, then?"
The pope approaches the clothing Harriet is pointing at, looking at them, she looks at her own adornments "Hrm… It's certainly some similarity"
Serenity‘ points at the Pope. "Been meaning to ask. Medium or no?"
Pope Aldiva: "Not at all"
Serenity: "Okay."
Cor Caroli: "The one you guys were involved, Harriet, not a new one"
Harriet: "Oh. You should really use more precise language about that sort of thing."
Cor Caroli: "And the library maitenance crew will certainly ahve a field day, yes, Anton"
Hughbert: "I suppose we paid the disaster in advance."
Pope Aldiva: "Wait… The book" she heads over "It’s the scripture… Of course, written in the dead language"
Anton: "Didn't answer my first question, though." He winks. "Or is that private time you don't want to share?"
She picks up the book and flips through it's pages
Pope Aldiva: "He did show up for a moment before the Chancellor and I had a… Private talk"
Amal: "I really just need to take a moment and learn that language some day, haha…"
Pope Aldiva: "I figured that must have been him, used the same makeup techniques he used to back when he was younger, you can tell because he always fails at the jawline"
Harriet: "
Harriet: "Wait, hang on, but you…" Harriet peers at Amal and shakes her head.
Serenity: "NOW I know." Serenity shoot Anton a nasty look, briefly.
Anton gives a thumbs up to Serenity and a smile.
Harriet: "I still don't get how that guy was supposed to be Alcor."
Amal pats Anton on the shoulder consolingly.
Harriet: "They look nothing alike."
Cor Caroli: "Alcor has… Very good experience with changing his appearance"
Anton: "For what its worth, I didn't notice it was him right away either."
Cor Caroli: "It's very important to him, must have been borderline painful to skip on the hair dye"
The pope continues to flip through the book until she finally sighs "As I figured… I can't understand anything"
Anton: "Just hand it to Amal. He can read it."
Pope Aldiva: "They really did do a very good job of erasing every single language"
She blinks, and looks at Amal "You can read it?"
Amal: "…that makes me feel a -little- better about not being able to read more than the really vague gist of what it was."
Amal: "I can make out, like… I know it's a transcript of conversations mixed with exegesis of the transcripts but that's literally about it."
Pope Aldiva: "Hrm… If that is true…"
Pope Aldiva: "Then… It matches what the recovery efforts have been discovering"
Harriet: "And what's that?"
Pope Aldiva: "So far we've managed to ascertain the scriptures are not quite simple laws on how to act, but transcriptions of… Hrm… It's as if the priests of old would hold great forums with the goddess, to converse and learn. And the scriptures are transcripts of particularly important sessions"
Amal: "Mmhmm, that makes sense."
Pope Aldiva: "It's eerily similar to how some of our teaching practices work"
Amal: "I mean, they probably kept the general approach towards teaching and transmitting ideas, it'd be silly not to."
Pope Aldiva: "That's true… But I was expecting a bit more of exaltation of the goddess on those texts, we figured if it was somewhere it would be on the parts that were lost"
Pope Aldiva: "It probably is there, but it's been conspicuously lacking"
Serenity: "…"
Amal: "Haha. I don't think that was ever their style."
Serenity: "If you were expecting more of that you obviously need to add a medium to that team."
Harriet: "Yeah, that's the method they used in college. Never knew it was a religious thing."
Serenity‘ blinks, surprised for a moment.
Amal: "I mean, when you can just… talk to the Goddess whenever you want, why make a big deal about it? Or Her? You’re surrounded with Her imagery, you know what She is… they exalted Her in their hearts without needing any special words for it." They smile softly. "…anyways."
The pope chuckles at Amal's words "That's a good way to put it… I like it"
Cor Caroli: "What was he seeking here, however"
Cor Caroli: "Was he just throwing me a bone? Was he expecting something out of here? Maybe something about the Four Seal?"
Amal: "Heck if I know. New fashion advice maybe."
Serenity: "Fuck I hope not."
Serenity: "Unpack that Cor."
Amal: "Four Seals, though, now you dropped that you gotta explain what you mean!" They grin.
Cor blinks, the Pope shakes her head
Pope Aldiva: "You have to explain, Cor"
Serenity‘ stands back up, puts one of the headphones back over one ear and not the other, fiddles with the dial, then starts looking for something.
Cor Caroli: "… Gah. Okay, okay"
Cor Caroli: "Four Seal, not Seals… Technically, a bit of old lore. If you pray hard at the four elemental temples around the world the way to the goddess will open that you may seek her favor"
Amal giggles. "The Goddess is a nerd~."
Serenity: "How do the isolation chambers factor into that?" Casually pushing things around, still looking for something.
Harriet: "Okay, theoretical: can you open the way to the Goddess and then kill the Goddess?"
Anton: "One is here in Masharas, for the record."
Harriet: "Because, I mean, if I were a blatant villain with a fake Goddess, that’s what I'd do."
Serenity: "Probably? Pretty sure she's just a ragnite vein so light it up and…" Serenity shrugs.
Cor Caroli: "It's… There's a certain bit of truth to lore that, we have found out there is a very, very deep ragnite vein that spreads in four directions in a spiralling form centering under the tower at the bloodworks, and given what i've read of your report the place where you met Glacies is on top of one of one of those tendrils"
Serenity: "No Shit Anton, we're inside it."
Amal: "Grrrrr."
Amal: "Mrgrgrgrgr!"
Amal: "I really, really don't like that guy!"
Pope Aldiva: "This Forbidden Library was designed to keep what is in here away from the world until it's ready to be seen"
Pope Aldiva: "I guess they didn't really want everything to be utterly forgotten? Even if the old priesthood worked hard to disappear without a trace"
Harriet: "Yeah, he's kind of a dick. And he designed a doomsday device and refused to tell me anything useful about it, which I'm still not over."
Pope Aldiva: "I would imagine there is some form of isolation here so that a medium couldn't just sense the systems going on in here"
Pope Aldiva: "There's a fair bit of ragnite down here"
Harriet: "… wait, you mean like the shielding device which used the technology which doesn't exist yet?"
Serenity: "Different."
Serenity: "That was silence, this is more… reverb."
Harriet: "Oh good. I was going to get really mad if the timeline was even more gnarled-up than it already is."
Harriet: "We have past, present and future for a reason, thanks."
Amal gives Harriet a Look and giggles.
Cor Caroli: "For what's worth we've known about this place for a while. The isolation system is rather old and inefficient, it just dampens the sense a bit"
Cor Caroli: "And no we've been… Working on the Four Seal, Anton. Strictly speaking none of the four seals is here, since the central point the Tower, is here"
Anton: "I was talking about the fact that he prayed at the festival shrine to open this place up."
Anton: "I never mentioned here in particular~."
Cor Caroli: "I still want to know how he did that"
Cor Caroli: "We had manged to actually design a dead lock opener for the library's hidden passage, but never knew there was a different way in"
Anton: "If I had to take a guess, he likely just didn't pass that information on to you when you succeeded as Divine Oracle."
[OOC] Anton: Why is my font bigger now
Serenity: "Turns out training Alcor to be one of the most powerful Oracles and Mediumed combined without THOROUGHLY VETTING HIS FUTURE maybe wasn't a great idea."
Cor Caroli: "Given the information that apparently the temple in Orsis was elemental and with the name of water, this matches some more information we've recovered from mostly destroyed texts. That would place the seal of fire somewhere in akavir, wind in Rissan and earth in terchuan… Intel gathered indicates the old temples have long since been destroyed… But we did manage to map the ragnite vein, however"
Amal: "Surprised that doomsday weapon didn't heck those ragnite veins up."
Serenity: "Anyway she's under the impression Alcor can just smash through without the keys anyway so." A shrug.
Cor Caroli: "Hrm… We've tried to but never managed to develop anything that could break through the dimensional distortion in the eternal stairway"
Serenity: "And is being her usually woe is me i'm a terrible guardian i should never talk to people because only bad things happen a bloo bloo bloo self."
Amal: "So mean~."
Serenity: "Oh, that weird ass tower is the path to her?"
Pope Aldiva: "Yes, the Four Seal refers to a way into the the tower"
Amal: "Mmhmm."
Serenity: "Ha in your FACE ghost mom."
Harriet: "You call her… ghost mom?"
Harriet: "That's kind of weird."
Serenity: "…No? I'm being insulting."
Amal: "…help that's really cute!"
Harriet: "Oh. Okay, yeah, that makes sense."
Serenity: "Might wanna invent up a sarcasim detector while you're in the lab too, Harriet."
Pope Aldiva: "Hrm… Cor, according to the report it seemed like Alcor's machine required a large setup based on patterns on the ground, right?"
Harriet: "Hey! I'm not that bad at it!"
Amal: "Harriet you are also cute. This entire situation is unforgivable."
Cor Caroli: "Yes it did but- Wait, you're not seriously considering he might be attempting to use the setup of the Four Seal to make a larger scale version of his machine?"
Pope Aldiva: "Yes I am"
Amal: "….oh."
Cor furrows her eyebrows and puts a hand on her chin "I don't… Like this at all"
Amal: "OH."
Harriet: "- wow, okay, yeah, that's pretty fucked up."
Cor Caroli: "I also don't trust this assumption, we'd never have come to this conclusion if we haven't visited this place"
Cor Caroli: "And who guided us here? Him, of course"
Serenity: "What, exactly,"
Serenity: "Would that mean in practical terms?"
Amal: "No, I'm pretty sure that's the only thing that could snarl up the threads of fate as bad as they're snarled, that explains a -lot-."
Harriet: "Well, if he can use the natural ragnite veins, he'd have an immeasurably more powerful version of his machine."
Harriet: "It'd pretty easily destroy the world."
Harriet: "
Pope Aldiva: "It would mean that he would have hundreds if not thousands of times more energy avaiable, Hughbert's report mentioned he needed information on spatial distortion, which youprevented him from acquiring, and the tower is the single most powerful spatial distortion known"
Pope Aldiva: "I can only assume there is some relation"
Harriet: "That's assuming the vein is suitable to use, though. Like, he'd need to have built a machine with the same patterns as it has naturally, or at least one which can adapt to natural variation predictably."
Serenity: "This seems like a lot of effort to kill a couple of other nations, to be honest."
Anton: "So where do we go from here, Cor?"
Harriet: "Where would he get that information?"
Anton: "Most of his plans have come from the future."
Harriet: "Aetas is a problem and I hate it."
Serenity: "Like I'm reasonably confident that he could slaughter Orsis, Rissan, Theuchan all without anything this pointless elaborate, and by the time it was just Akavir left he'd probably have help from the rest of the city so…."
Amal: "(I mean, there's a reason this continent was always so important. And… I guess that explains the cruciform spiral pattern underlying the theogenitor schematics…)"
Harriet: "Honestly, I think looking at destroying nations is way too small if you're using something as huge as a nation-spanning ragnite line."
Serenity: "And She's confident he could get down to her as is… which doesn't surprise me since I'm pretty sure *I* could break through that fucking field if Amal left me alone long enough."
Hughbert raises a finger. "If the problem is that Alcor might gain access to the entire ragnite vein at once, shouldn't it be possible to cause some sort of massive cave-in to separate parts of the vein?"
Harriet: "Upscaling that hard, you'd put a crack right through the world."
Amal: "He doesn't actually care about the nations he's trying to save the world but he's just doing it in the most stupid backwards way possible."
Anton: "The veins go deep underground. A cave in isn't going to cut it, Hugh."
Cor Caroli: "I wonder if the destruction of anything is his goal or a side-effect"
Amal: "Like… he wants to destroy this world and remake it, or something like that."
Serenity: "Oh."
Serenity: "OOOOOH."
Amal: "With his own homebrew Goddess running the show."
Serenity: "Okay nevermind this retarded ass plan makes sense then."
Pope Aldiva: "Those particular veins are so far underground it takes five months of digging with specialized machinery to get far enough for a sensor to pick them up, Hughbert, reaching them is a literal impossibility"
Anton: "Wait. So you've been saying he has Masharas's best interests at heart this entire time and you don't even know if the destruction is his goal or a side effect?"
Harriet: "Yeah, so he wants to kill the Goddess and destroy the world."
Serenity: "CARRY ON ALCOR."
Cor Caroli: "What I believe and what there is evidence to back up are different things, Anton"
Serenity: "Little of both honestly."
Serenity: "No I get the game now."
Amal: "Kill the Goddess, replace her with a dumb shitty paradox ghost clone, somehow convince himself that he'll be able to 'save everyone' in any meaningful way in so doing."
Anton: "Great. Then we can move on to figuring out what we're going to do."
Harriet: "The funny thing is, he could probably do a lot of damage even if he just destroyed the Goddess's ragnite vein, let alone using it to power his bullshit doomsday device."
Serenity: "Yeah the damage isn't important."
Serenity: "It's the rebuilding that is."
Serenity: "Honestly it's not a bad solution."
Amal: "Honestly I think he's being played by the future version of the Goddess that wants to make sure she will have had wound up coming into existence and is retrocausally screwing with things to make sure they happen and ughhhh friends don't let friends submit to acausal blackmail, whyyyy."
Amal: "Er, his Goddess. Not the real one."
Amal: "Ugh Alcor you're so dumb."
Serenity‘ stares at Amal.
Pope Aldiva: "Friends, sadly, often let friends do really dumb things. And the goddess knows those two have done a lot of really dumb things before"
Harriet: "In fact, if you messed with such an integral R-Field, I wonder how the environment would even cope with that…?"
Cor Caroli: "Very, very badly, Harriet"
Serenity: "Anyway the only downside to Alcor’s plan, really,"
Cor Caroli: "I would imagine it'd be a cataclysm of it's own"
Amal: "What kind of cheese does he like, can we just lure him into a mousetrap and then beat the shit out of him."
Serenity: "Is that he thinks there needs to be a Real Divine Being."
Hughbert: "Mmmhh… I wonder if there would be some way to immunize the vein against whatever Alcor's trying to do…?"
Serenity: "Also that it has a really high fail chance."
Amal: "I mean also that his plan will kill everyone, but."
Pope Aldiva: "Hrm… If there is, it's beyond our current knowledge"
Serenity: "Well that too."
Serenity: "But from the way he talks -"
Harriet: "Messing with the vein would impact the world no matter what we did."
Amal: "…he's desperate."
Amal: "He thinks everyone's going to die, no matter what…"
Anton: "We can't up and destroy the vein either. It'd stop his plan, sure. But the side effects would be disastrous."
Amal: "So he's willing to do anything - cause the Shattering, use a doomsday device, kill the Goddess- to try and stop it."
Serenity: "- Naw I get the impression that he like,"
Serenity: "Thinks he can set up some kind of bubble or enclosure or sealed space or something around Marsharas -"
Serenity: "- And have it ride out the destruction/creation -"
Harriet: "Yeah, the R-Field of Ragnite interacts with the R-Field of matter, and something so deep and huge would - okay, so you know how like, when you have mines eventually you get sinkholes because the earth expected there to be stone but there's actually nothing there? Imagine that but more complicated."
Serenity: "But yeah all YOUR other friends would totally die."
Anton: "I saw that future. There's nothing but that machine. Dunno why he thinks it would be any different."
Amal: "Because he's being played."
Serenity: "I guess I could ask Lola next time I hear her."
Amal: "Sucker."
Anton: "Yeah. I'm just curious what he was shown to give him such a strong conviction towards this idea."
Anton: "Lola had to have shown him something."
Hughbert: "…When he accesses the vein with that system based off the Four Seal, I wonder if we could buy time by bombaring the area with… Noise, sort of. Isolate Alcor and his device from everything and trap him. He'd have everything to lose by running away, at such a time, after all."
Amal: "…if you're thirsty enough you start drinking the sand."
Serenity: "Oh fuck that's right."
Serenity: "Okay can we back up."
Harriet: "Okay, backing up."
Serenity: "To the part where Alcor is some fucking master makeup artist on TOP of being a drama queen, Cor? What's up with that."
Serenity: "I need to know this tragic backstory."
Amal: "Serenity has priorities."
Cor scratches her cheek
Cor Caroli: "IT's rather personal, Serenity"
Serenity: "That's why I'm askin' you and not Anton."
Serenity: "'Cause you'd know."
Harriet: "Yeah well he lost the right to privacy when he decided to become a dime-novel villain."
Cor Caroli: "But it was very important for Alcor to look the way he does, rather than how he was born as."
Serenity: "Go on."
Anton scratches his head. "Both Alcor and Cor wanted to distance themselves from their past."
Cor Caroli: "That's just it, he always absolutely hated how he was born and wanted to be someone else"
Anton: "Didn't we already go over this? Or am I mixing up timelines or me viewing Cors past again?"
Serenity: "Too bad their pasts are THE DIRECT FUCKING CAUSE OF THE PRESENT so I guess to ask awkward questions."
Cor Caroli: "That put him at odds with his family very heavily, something we both had in common"
Cor Caroli: "And dealing with that is roughly how we became friends"
[OOC] Serenity: so I get to ask^
Cor Caroli: "I don't think anything he's doing is caused by the past, though"
Anton: "Nah. I meant, I've heard this story before."
Serenity: "So what's his deal? I mean I get yours."
Harriet: "So, what? You both hated your hair colours or something?"
Serenity: "Which is pretty shitty so I won't grill you on it but I only heard about your shitty parents."
Serenity: "Not his."
Cor sighs "Nah, I hated my parents. His parents hated him for disliking what he was like"
Serenity: "Because…?"
Serenity: "There's clearly a story here and you absolutely know it."
Cor Caroli: "I don't know, presumably they wanted their kid to be what they wanted him to be, rather than what he wound up being"
Harriet: "Why would they hate him so much for hating his hair or whatevr?"
Amal: "Rrrrgh."
Cor Caroli: "There is, yes. I don't really want to share it either"
Amal: "That's so stupid and shitty."
Serenity: "Okay."
Cor Caroli: "… It is"
Serenity: "But."
Anton: "It's not often your kid is one in a thousand prime medium and oracle candidate."
Serenity: "Here's the thing: you taksed us with fighting your ex boyfriend and risk dying in an incresingly large and inspired number of ways."
Serenity: "So you kind of lost the right to not answer questions we have about him."
Harriet: "Why would they hate him for that? I thought people liked it when their kids were talented."
Pope Aldiva: "Cor, I can-"
Hughbert: "If we put him in a similar body to Viper- not like I think that's entirely feasible currently- and let him fiddle with it as he pleased, do you think that would keep him busy long enough for us to do what we need to do?"
Serenity: "Because the more we know about him the better we can understand him and the better we can deal with his fucking insane ass."
Cor Caroli: "No, it's okay"
Amal: "Like, Alcor can fuck all the way off but that makes me really angry anyways. I don't -quite- wanna give him a hug but."
Serenity: "So put on your big girl bondage gear and talk through some uncomfortable memories."
Harriet: "Like it literally makes no sense. It would be like my mother going 'how could you be such a genius, what a horrible thing you've done!!' People aren't like that."
Cor Caroli: "Listen, Serenity. It's not the memories, but I don't want you to think he does what he does because of the past, because if that was the cause he wouldn't be taking those actions. But very well"
Amal: "…yes they are."
Harriet: "But that makes no sense!"
Amal: "People don't make sense!"
Serenity‘ rolls her eyes with enough force to power her gear.
Harriet: "Well maybe they should make sense!"
Harriet: "… huh, I wonder if that’s what he's doing."
Cor Caroli: "He clearly always insisted he should be the man he is today ever since he was small, but his parents had none of that"
Anton glances at Hughbert. "(This is going to go in circles for a while. I took a sneak peek.)"
Cor Caroli: "They'd given him a different name, gave him dresses he never wanted"
Amal: "People are messy and awful and unkind and they have expectations based on who you are and what you look like and it's stupid and cruel."
Cor Caroli: "His birth name… Though never do call him that, was Julia"
Cor Caroli: "You can guess from here what the mess he had with his family was. You can also guess why the tiny dick joke was specially hilarious to him"
Serenity‘ scrunches up her face.
Harriet: "Wait, he was a girl? Huh. So why wouldn’t his family deal with that?"
Cor Caroli: "Dealing with our family problems together was what brought us close… I guess in the end our closeness is what made him trust Lola"
Cor Caroli: "I guess i'm partly responsible for his idiocy like that"
Cor shrugs "I understand time, not people"
Serenity: "Holy shit."
Serenity: "HOLY FUCK."
Hughbert: "(I just think there's a high chance of him becoming more mentally stable if we found some way to give him what he really wants. I'm not entirely sure I grasp this situation, but…)"
Harriet: "Wait, so does that mean you were also a boy?"
Cor Caroli: "Do not do that, Serenity, or I will be fair ways cross as well"
Hughbert: "(Seems like a harmless wish to grant.)"
Serenity: "No Cor had abusive parents, we already covered this."
Harriet: "Ohhh."
Serenity: "Alcor being a crossdresser is definitely new though."
Anton chews at his lip before glancing to the side. "(I'm more concerned with what we CAN do now. Even if we do go to the shrines they're still going to be activated.)"
Serenity‘ waves her hand dismissively in Cor’s direction.
Harriet: "Well, I guess that makes sense."
Serenity: "If Alcor didn't want me being an asshole,"
Anton: "(At best we might be able to detain Mai and the like after one of the activations.)"
Serenity: "Alcor would not have tried to KILL ME DEAD MULTIPLE TIMES."
Harriet: "So does he associate red hair with how he used to look like or something?"
Cor Caroli: "His hair is red by nature, yes. He dyes it silver"
Amal: "…probably, yeah."
Cor Caroli: "Or did you really think silver was anyone's normal hair color?"
Serenity: "Red isn't exactly normal either."
Harriet: "I mean… yeah? I figured it was some bullshit magical thing."
Serenity: "Well, more red than mine, anyway."
Pope Aldiva: "I don't think he intends to activate the shrines in either case, Anton…"
Pope Aldiva: "Just steal the infrastructure"
Amal: "…can we heck up the infrastructure so he can't use it anymore?"
Pope Aldiva: "But given his reactions… I'd argue that he's still a ways from being able to do that. So our best bet would be to stop his development process"
Amal: "Is it possible to befoul ragnite so it can't channel?"
Pope Aldiva: "Inadivisable. As Harriet mentioned, ragnite's energy causes physical effects, tampering with something that large would have… Repercussions just as large"
Harriet: "You run into the same problem as you do - yeah. Unless, like, I could figure out some way to change it but also keep within a range the environment could handle."
Harriet: "Or we could just change the way the temple interacts with the bein."
Serenity‘ turns around to face Amal.
[OOC] Harriet: *vein
Serenity: "Do the words…. TERRA MEDICAL… mean anything to you?"
Serenity: "Mutant Alcor is not on my list of things I’d consider an improvement, largely because of talking like an asshole there's be salivating and biting."
[OOC] Serenity: instead of talking^
Amal: "They're not doing anything with ragnite veins they're doing different kinds of mad science!"
Amal: "No, I mean, making a subtle but sufficient adjustment to the ragnite itself."
Serenity: "In responce to befouling ragnite that Alcor wants to use!"
Cor Caroli: "Whatever the machine did did cause Serenity's blood to change"
Amal: "He can't get much dumber so the only way to go is up???"
Cor Caroli: "An uncontrolled change could lead to something that we may also not want"
Serenity: "DESTROYER OF WORLDS and etc etc."
Amal: "But, yeah, point taken."
Anton scratches his head before sighing. "Want to line up some readings, Cor. Where's Alcor going next? Or is he going to split up his team and we can't stop everything?"
Pope Aldiva: "This is frustrating"
Pope Aldiva: "We're dealing with thing sbeyond our current knowledge"
Serenity: "Welcome to our life, Popey."
Harriet: "Yeah, this is like, literally all we do. Usually because you guys won't tell us anything."
Hughbert: "The last plan I had, Amal, was to try and create a massive interference 'noise' when Alcor makes his move to buy some time, and in that time, we put him back in 'check'."
Harriet: "Or Anton won't tell us anything. Or both."
Amal: "How does he do that teleportation trick?"
Cor Caroli: "I'm going to spend a day or two in the Quicksilver Chamber, Anton. I need to figure that out"
Anton pouts. "In my defense, I tell you a LOT. If I actually was the Divine Oracle I'd probably have a hearing by now."
Amal: "Is there any way to take away his ability to escape?"
Cor Caroli: "But I want to say you got his attention heavily so he's liable to follow you wherever you go"
Hughbert: "I'd also like to know how he just… Stops being there. If we can't stop him from escaping, I'd like to be able to pursue him."
Anton: "That trick involves Lola, from what I can tell."
Anton: "Can Amal elaborate, or…?"
Cor Caroli: "He does knows how to simulate the effects of teleportaion force gear, so a suppression could help but… I've the feeling if Lola's involved there's not much we can do"
Harriet: "We could try to inject him with Rashtarin-C so his medium field fluctuates."
Harriet: "Because that's… probably a medium thing?"
Harriet: "Serenity does all the weird shit with magic, Anton just knows what she's going to do in advance."
Anton smiles. "I try to speed things along. A lot of the time you guys could come up with these things on your own given the time. I just take a sneak peek at your findings."
Amal: "Paws says we -might- be able to stop him from escaping, but only if we know where he's trying to go… but it'd be really tough, it'd be Paws against Lola…"
Serenity: "Uh the teleporting shit is a combo effect with Lola yeah."
Serenity: "I'll…"
Serenity: "Probably be able to tell you Exactly How It Works, soon."
Harriet: "Yeah, but there's not much we can do against Lola. I mean, unless Puppy Paws can do it. But Alcor's flesh and blood, basically."
Hughbert: "Alright. And then from there, we can develop a counter strategy."
Harriet: "Okay, cool. I'm definitely gonna grill you about that."
Amal: "That might help. If we can do something on -our- end to anchor him here, maybe that'd make it easier."
Amal: "Ugh Lola is the worst."
Pope Aldiva: "It's never fun dealing with an opponent that doesn't plays by the rules"
Anton: "While Alcor is watching us, I have a feeling Mai's going to turn up again first."
Pope Aldiva: "IT's like she can pull off any amount of random deus ex machina"
Serenity: "Cor did we ever decided if Lola was or was not Evil You from another dimension?
Cor Caroli: "At this stage I am very certain she is"
Amal: "Heh. Well, to be fair, they have to deal with us, too."
Serenity: "Neat-o."
Harriet: "But would killing Cor stop Lola from coming into existence?"
Anton: "Nope. Alternate dimension, not the future."
Serenity: "…how did you jump to that conclusion?"
Anton: "Killing Cor would only cause Cor not to exist on this worldline."
Harriet: "If she's Evil Cor, then she obviously needs Cor to exist somehow."
Serenity: "Oh."
Harriet: "A scientist needs to investigate every possibility."
Harriet: "No hard feelings."
Serenity: "No I'm pretty sure that's not how the parallel worlds workd."
Harriet: "Okay, yeah, that makes things easier."
Cor Caroli: "Understanble. But that's not how parallel timelines work. Also, as far as our science has observed other timelines are not real so why she even exists is a mystery"
Harriet: "Well, harder, but easier in the sense that we don't have to make this big moral decision."
Cor Caroli: "So either we're missing something in our knowledge or in how she came to be"
Harriet: "Yeah no science can't explain this and it pisses me off."
Pope Aldiva: "Just look at it this way, HArriet"
Pope Aldiva: "It can't explain this yet"
Amal: "Science can't explain it yet. Growth mindset."
Serenity: "Well I mean…"
Amal …fistbumps the Pope.
Serenity: "From her perspective, we're the ones that aren't readl."
The pope kind of kingerly fistbumps
Anton: "If I had to guess, I'd say the machine is involved on why they're still present on an abandoned worldline."
Hughbert: "If we find out how Lola came to be, I will put forward a plan that we recruit a different Alcor to our cause that replaces their genocidal tendencies with helpful ones."
Serenity: "Anyway give me like."
Serenity: "A week."
Cor Caroli: "If you can do that…"
Hughbert: "…Wait, no, that would snowball quickly, wouldn't it."
Serenity: "And I can probably get us to Lola."
Anton glances at Serenity. "What's your plan?"
Amal: "I think I just figured something out."
Amal: "I don't know if it's relevant."
Harriet: "What's up?"
Serenity: "My plan is I'm a fucking badass and just discovered a way to force multiply my innate skills a hundredfold?"
Amal: "I know how the theogenitor works!"
Serenity: "The what?"
Amal: "The God-making machine."
Harriet: "How's it work?"
Pope Aldiva: "Wait, what?"
Amal: "…so…"
Harriet: "It's super relevant to me so you should definitely tell us."
Amal bounces on their feet a little and then bounds over to the BDSM priest gear, talking too fast.
Amal: "So, there's a reason they looked like this- wanted to dress up like this-"
Serenity: "Yeah because they're degenerates."
Amal: "-when I said that they didn't need to exalt the Goddess in words, that they knew in their hearts what the Goddess was-"
Amal: "-the Goddess has the threads of fate wound around her. She's literally bound to the world, she's the… the spindle, the warp, the core around which the whole world is spun-"
Amal: "-and that's what the theogenitor does, it snarls the threads of fate, spins them around and around someone-" -and they're spinning too now, robes twirling- "-until they're inextricably bound to the world just like the Goddess!"
Serenity: "So what you're saying."
Amal stops spinning, panting breathlessly, shiny-eyed, grinning. "That's how you make a Goddess, here."
Serenity: "Is that I'm a demigod now?"
Harriet: "So… the god-making machine thins someone out until they can spread under the world like a ragnite vein?"
Amal: "The- the blood of the Goddess is the blood of the earth, is the ragnite, it's that simple, they're LITERALLY VEINS-"
Anton: "That lines up with what I've already observed."
Amal: "-I don't know how to explain the threads to a muggle, Anton help me out here- or- one of you, you're all good at this-"
Harriet: "Okay, yeah, but if they're veins then the Goddess is just literally the earth."
Anton: "Did you actually see the threads when we came across the machine, Amal?"
Serenity: "Wait."
Cor Caroli: "Hrm… It have all the threads of the world under their control would certainly make you a god, without a doubt…"
Serenity: "We had a whole discussion about it! Hughbert was very mad about pronouns! Remember?"
Amal: "But she's also the earth."
Harriet: "Actually, there's a whole theory about this."
Serenity: "Okay Amal."
Amal: "Harriet figure out how to cut worlds apart from each other without, like, causing a cataclysm. I believe in you."
At this point Cor has left alongside Anton, while the Pope has just been quietly listening
Serenity: "Just for you, my … man what do I even call you? Hmm."
Harriet: "Okay, sure, I can do that. Probably. I'm gonna need to finish my device first though, there's no way I can figure out how to mess with world threads if I can only hear about them from other people."
Harriet: "It's like trying to fix a machine but you can't see it and you're just listening to someone else describe what the hell you're doing."
Serenity: "Anyway."
Harriet: "Which is SUPER frustrating, by the way."
Serenity: "I'm pretty sure I can open a uh…"
Serenity: "Fuck what was Exceter calling them…"
Serenity: "Wormhole…?"
Serenity: "That's a thing right Amal?"
Serenity: "Anyway I'm pretty sure I can open a wormhole directly to Lola's ass, I just need to modify my force gear a bit, maybe make a second one."
Amal: "Yeah it'll take all of us working together to do this. To break the threads of fate!" They grin! "…yeah wormhole sounds legit."
Serenity: "Like I fucking did it once already."
Serenity: "But I'm pretty sure I could hold it up and keep it semi stable now? And not just quickly toss a bomb through it."
Amal: "That… would… ahahaha holy shit. Paws might be able to help but also that is the craziest idea I've ever heard. I love it."
Harriet: "Yeah, that'd help. Also we need to document that because holy shit."
Serenity: "Also on that note,"
Serenity: "Like ninty nine percent confident I could break through to where She is but."
Serenity: "Also don't want to because cry more."
Amal: "It'd make her reallly saaaad. And then you'd just get a headache."
Serenity: "Yeah exactly."
Amal looks tired all of a sudden. "Okay, so… that's… not a thing that we're gonna be doing tonight, at any rate, haha. Okay."
Serenity‘ pulls her headphones all the way back up to her ears and fiddles with the nobs.
Serenity: "Well no, I need to adjust my gear or build a new one so it can handle the radiant ragnite."
Serenity: "Which means going BACK through noise hell."
Pope Aldiva: "I do suggest some rest before working on those things"
Harriet: "Yeah, the Festival’s probably over. Hey, Serenity! You should come to my workshop, I'll help you out with your gear and we can do science."
Serenity: "Hmm."
Serenity: "Yeah probably better doing it there than at home."
Harriet: "Cool, let's go. See you later, Cor, Holiness." Harriet starts off up the stairs.
Serenity: "Cor already left dude."
Serenity‘ follows Harriet up.
The Pope then finally waits until you all have left, before leaving last. She seals up the doorway again before heading up
Harriet: "Wait, she did? Honestly I wasn’t really paying attention."
JayM: This was certainly an interesting festival, right?
JayM: I do wish upon you luck with all of your new plans
Hughbert: "…Are you hungry, Amal? I'm getting hungry. Let's see what Mother's planning for dinner, shall we?"
Amal: "Heck yeah!"
JayM: Here, have [+5 XP] because you're amazing

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