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  • Fear of the Dark

    Fear of the Dark

    Postby Harvey » Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:42 pm

    “Thank you all for meeting me here. As you all know, I am a man that gets to the point, and so I will not waste any of your time with flowery beginnings.”

    It was a rare gathering of the four most powerful humans in Favored society. Incursion, the leader of the Favored state’s security, dominated the room – though he had a chair available, he chose instead to stand, a loose, somewhat aggravated stance far from a normal military demeanor. The other figures were seated. Providence, having been recalled from the senate for the meeting, sat with his usual diplomatic respect. Procure, in charge of making sure Real Diamond had enough resources for the foreseeable future, played with her strap uncomfortably. Plaudit, an aging man and the current Grand Programmer, slouched and looked listless. Behind them sat their aides, as well as other minor officials in the running of the state, and a few lucky ones that had been invited to witness the event. Not that being here in person was a big deal – the meeting, like all governmental meetings, was being holo-televised to every homestead in the Favored. Nearly all of them had tuned in – it was their civic duty, after all – and the few that could not because of work obligations were sure to check the recording once they got some time off.

    And, of course, a projection of AURA sat in one of the chairs as well. The High Programmers were getting better – now she had a full body that moved slightly with simulated breath and other muscle tones. In the early days she had just been a face, rigid and unmoving, even when she spoke. The projection was not strictly necessary, of course – AURA was everywhere there was someone wearing a Favored strap. But the people seemed to feel better if some part of her appeared actually in the room, especially when she spoke up to give advice.

    “The subject,” Incursion continued, “is caves.”

    “Caves?” Procure asked.

    “Caves,” Incursion confirmed. “For years the caves of the island to the northwest have been places of mystery and death for our people. Explorers went down and they did not come up. A military patrol went down and they did not come up. It was decided that, whatever was down there, it did not concern us at the time. Survival was more important. But now the Senate is growing stronger. Lands we once believed to be filled with barbarians are organized after all. These cave-dwellers, too, may be a functioning society. And that could be a serious threat to us all.”

    With his steady voice, Providence said, “I would like to point out that this ‘Colony’ has made no aggressive moves. I have reports from one of the, uh, ‘people’ from Mevwan that they have engaged in prosperous trade with the underworlders.”

    “Oh nonsense!” Incursion barked. “Did you not see the armor and weapons those men wore during their first senate appearance? That is not how you show up to a first encounter if you want to be known as a peaceful society!”

    “Perhaps their appearance is merely a part of their culture,” Providence fired back. “We have encountered many states recently with foreign beliefs that initially confused us.”

    This was certainly true. The initial encounters with many societies had been jarring. Societies that worshipped deities or concepts as gods had initially lead the Favored to believe that they, too, had some sort of AURA computer and were possibly survivors from another Bastion. When the Favored found out that these alleged beings were invisible and their influence could be explained as easily as random happenstance, it was simultaneously a huge let-down as well as being totally baffling behavior.

    Incursion snorted. “While the rest of you have the luxury of indulging in societal philosophy and finding the most obscure P-words to name yourselves after, I have to deal with making sure our state is safe. And precious little support I get. The fact is that we are vulnerable. You are all aware that there is an official Colony tunnel now on the island west of us. And those caves to the northeast are still an unknown danger. We are being surrounded. Our resources are being cut off. Who knows when the very ground we stand on could erupt, revealing a tunnel full of these Colony marines? We cannot let this stand!”

    “I just have to point out,” Procure said quietly, “that this message is being broadcast to the entire city and the outlying regions, as part of our normal civic procedures. It is exceptionally easy for any other state to intercept it for their own purposes. If we are going to declare war on the Colony, I do believe we have lost the element of surprise.”

    Providence said, “I want to state very clearly, to the people of the Favored, to any other states that may be listening, and especially to Incursion himself – we are not declaring war on anyone. Such a resolution has not been proposed to the consensus and, it is my belief, it would not pass even if it were. Incursion is allowed to speak his mind, but his thoughts are only his own. Is that not correct, Incursion?”

    Incursion glared, but he said, “Yes. It is correct. I do not propose that we declare war. I merely suggesting we strengthen our position. I have already sent out a call for alliances-“

    “A call that was not approved by the consensus and thus could not be followed up, even though we received several responses.” AURA said suddenly.

    The room was shocked into silence. Even though the High Programmers had given her a rather mild voice, AURA somehow always managed to use it with the utmost authority.

    Recovering, Providence said, “Yes. That is so as well.”

    “Actually,” Procure said, “I do not agree with his attitude, but I do agree with Incursion’s stance about us being surrounded. Our resources are plentiful enough to keep the state running for some time, but the Senate has shown wanton disrespect for resources in the past by awarding Aryasht a huge claim based on a loan of good faith debt that they seem to have no intention or ability to pay back. We have received a mild boon from the Senate to allow us to expand as well – I have requested that we keep it in reserve, for now. But the situation may be degrading. We cannot allow ourselves to be cut off, less our state slowly starve to death, mentally if not physically, and our mission to discover the truth of the Real end in failure.”

    There was awed silence and slow nodding to that. This happened a lot in Favored meetings – reference to “the Apocalypse” and the disaster that would befall the world if the Favored failed to uncover the truth. It was a powerful, if a bit cheesy, debate tactic – there was no real response to invoking the Apocalypse.

    Providence said, “All right. So, we agree that we shall not enter battle, yet I too cannot deny that our long-term future may be threatened by the underworlders. Simply put, we do not understand the situation enough to make any concrete plans.”

    “Then we must strive to understand it!” Incursion exclaimed. “This is how this topic always ends – we will do it later, there are more important things now. No. No! The situation is upon us. We must determine the extent of the threat.”

    AURA said, “I recommend that we dispatch two parties – one to the tunnel of the Colony and another to the unknown caves to the northeast. These groups will be of size, containing diplomats, traders, explorers, scientists, and a modest military escort.

    Providence said, “I approve of this proposal.”

    “As do I,” Incursion said.

    “Me as well,” said Procure.

    “Plaudit, do you have anything to say about this?”

    “No,” Plaudit said.

    “All right. Well, we are but four men – it is the will of the consensus that matters. We shall put the matter to the vote. Tonight, as every night, I call upon the people of the Favored to do their civic duty and vote either to accept or reject this proposal. May your wisdom guide us to the truth.”



    Several minutes later, all the guests were gone and the holorecorders off. Plaudit and Incursion met quietly in one of the back offices.

    “You are making this too obvious, with all this talk of battle,” Plaudit grumbled.

    Incursion said, “The expect it of me. I do not care for what you think. What is the status of the project?”

    “It is going very well,” Plaudit said quietly. “The growth acceleration is taking. We have stabilized a ratio of 5:1. And, as far as we can tell, their minds are stable within the dreamworld.”

    “When will they be done?”

    “Soon. We are nearly complete, now. Several months. This is the first batch will take a bit longer since we must be certain. But the subsequent ones will be much, much faster. We believe that ratios of 20:1, maybe even 30:1, are possible.”

    “Ten thousand child soldiers, bodies growth accelerated five times fast. Ten year olds grown in two years, who know nothing but what we tell them in the dreamworld.” Incursion grinned.

    “For now. We hope to grow them in months soon. And we have four other pods within Basion that are ready to go online. If I had an ethical bone in my body, this would be horrific,” Plaudit said, musingly, “But I care not. It is the future.”

    “The future,” Incursion nodded. “Does Providence or Procure know?”

    “No,” Plaudit said. “Procure will eventually need to know, but I believe she will approve. But…”

    “Providence will be an issue,” Incursion snarled. “He is all about embracing the ways of the other states. Diluting our people for no gain. You want to talk about horrific? Hmph. He will have to go if we are going to make any real moves to take over the world by force.”

    Praudit said, “I agree.”

    “As do I,” said the omniscient voice of AURA.


    tl;dr - the Favored are sending moderately large groups to invesigate the Colony tunnel to the west of Real Diamond as well as one of the caves of the Kennerixt. These groups are not actually hostile and will engage in conversation and light trade if approached well, but are somewhat xenophobic and will defend themselves if they believe they are in danger.

    Also, dark plotting.
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    Harvey
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    Re: Fear of the Dark

    Postby Scott Alexander » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:36 pm

    Neato. I'm not sure whether what I'm trying with Shy is supposed to be happening in the present or the past. If it's the present, I may try to drag you into that at some point.

    I feel like if you had gone through the trouble of making an entire AC faction the way Ari did, the diplomacy text would be something like "Together, we can both [preserve Planet's fragile ecosystems], and find the most obscure p-words possible to name ourselves after!"
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    Re: Fear of the Dark

    Postby Harvey » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:26 am

    Maybe I'll eventually get around to making the whole faction. But I admit my heart isn't in it since I haven't gotten it to run on this laptop.
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    Re: Fear of the Dark

    Postby Demon of Fides » Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:36 am

    Should we RP this? Sorry, I've been AFK for a few days 'cause of assignments.
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    Re: Fear of the Dark

    Postby Harvey » Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:40 pm

    I'm going to be gone for an entire week+ starting tomorrow. If you want to handle a Favored expedition coming knocking in the meantime, I give you full discression over how things go.
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    Re: Fear of the Dark

    Postby Demon of Fides » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:01 am

    thanks.
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