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23 April 2018 @ 06:26 am
_Marooned_ part 18  

He set up the corridor and stepped through. No sign of Karl or the guard. He turned and ducked through the next corridor.

Guard on the ground, Karl frowning down at a cringing Poobah. He glanced at Xen, then returned his glare to the judge.

“He ordered the guard to kill me.”

“Good grief.” Xen stalked up and added his own glare. “Rael says they’re so mentally modeled that they aren’t safe. I think we’ll help them set up camp near the river, and not take them home with us until we decide we can trust them.”

Karl nodded. Pointed. “That line of trees? The river is just beyond it. Get walking. We’ll send the rest of the guards when we find them.”

Xen nodded. “Sic’em, Army officer.”

Karl shrugged. “How about throwing a corridor south about fifty miles and I’ll try to find the next one. Then you can return to hovering over Rael. How badly is she hurt?”

“Not badly. Little slices and pinpricks. As if tortured. I haven’t asked yet.” He eyed the judge, shrugged and stepped away to throw another corridor. Pinned it on both sides, and left Karl climbing a hill for a look around.


Rael was unwrapping her fingers.

“I won’t say it’s working as well as usual, but it is finally working.” She grinned and ran her fingers up his bare arm.

“Let me look.” He grabbed her fingers kissed them . . . the number of nerve blockers had dropped but his ribozymes were still hunting them down.

I wonder if I have blockers? Except my problems are . . . bloody hell, those things aren’t in my brain are they!

He tapped the inside of her elbow and nabbed a dozen assemblers in the vein. They’re multiplying with the alcohol available to fuel them. He pulled them through the tissues and then pushed them into his own blood stream. Checked. Some with the new blueprint, some regular. Good enough.

“Hey! Are you stealing my joy juice?” Real grinned. “Didn’t think I’d ever need to dose you.”

“Just a tiny bit, just in case I need them . . . Oh yeah, they’re all over this mess.” He touched his chest.

She ran a hand down his chest.

“Behave, that’s the joy juice kicking in.”

Then he touched his head and took a look.

Nerve blocks all over. Scattered, with several notable clumps. He looked at a nearby blood vessel, snagged a ribozyme and shoved it in between brain cells and watched it grab a blocker and start eating.

No wonder doing magic is so hard. Are they wearing off gradually or is my brain adapting and working around the blocked neurons?

His eater started in on a second, and then a third block, with no sign that it might attack his brain, so he started hunting down assemblers with the new pattern and shoving them into the highly blocked areas.

No problems.

Xen looked large . . . and could see the glow of the soil from the bacteria in it. Bright pinpricks of insects, and beside him, a jagged throbbing glow.

It’s working. There no—well not much—permanent damage.

He opened his eyes. “All right. My experiment on myself isn’t disastrous so far. Would you like some of my special nerve-blocker-eaters in your brain?”

Her eyes widened. “Eep! Yes please. Nerve blockers?”

“Ribozymes very much like we use. These glom onto nerve cells and muffle the nerve impulses. I think the interference with the joy juice repair nanos was unintentional. But they are messing up the healing. And I think they’re doing the same thing in our brains, damping down to signal.” He chased a few eaters and a pair of assemblers out of the blood vessels of her brain. Generally, the ribozymes didn’t have trouble crossing the brain-blood barrier, but the assemblers? Maybe not his best idea.

He leaned against the tree and snuggled Rael up next to him. Closed his eyes and half-dozed. Watching the molecular warfare in his brain and hers. Feeling her growing glow, reaching out and feeling the bright spots swirling around his treehouse, feeling Karl, now down by the river with three dull spots.

Should I help those messed up, mind-molded men? Or leave them, so they are only dangerous physically?

He pulled back and sat content. Glowing. Ignored the bubbles everywhere.

And herded the Eaters back into his bloodstream as they finished off the last nerve blockers. Let the assemblers eat the last of the alcohol—can’t possibly be good for me—then herded them out as well.

Checked Rael, and did the same.

“So. I suppose I should go find the rest of the guards. And take you home.”

“Yeah, take me home so I can get you out of those tight leather pants.”

He pulled off his moccasins and held them out to her.

“Pants, not shoes, damn the effect of that wine. My feet are healed. And a lot smaller, you over-sized lummox.”

“But not as tough as mine. I wouldn’t do it for anyone else. Tender foot.”

“Ha! Tender heart.” She took them and snickered a bit at how large they were. “Right, so, what’s the plan?”

“Unless Karl has a better idea, I’ll escort you through some corridors to my home-sweet-home and then reclaim my shoes and go consolidate the judge’s guards.”

“Ha! Afraid to leave me alone with six big tall men?”

“Spikey, the way I’m starting to feel, I’m afraid to leave me alone with you.” Xen grinned. “But fear not! My treehouse come with a rainbow of bachelors, from probably aged twenty to possibly a hundred.”

“Ah . . . Xen, why don’t I just stay here while you go deal with the guards?”

“Umm, because I’m terrified something horrible will happen if I leave you all alone?”

“But then I won’t be pissed next week when . . . Umm.” Snuggled closer. “I keep chickening out on asking you . . . about having a baby . . . “

Xen paused . . . snuggled back. “Once we are out of here. And once we are sure there’s no nerve blockers left that might affect a baby . . . Yeah. Now, let go of me and let’s go see what’s going on.”

“So, so, why didn’t I throw myself at those nasty-but-handsome cops?”

“I can’t imagine my dad making something that would make someone go all gooey in a threatening situation.” He extricated himself from her embrace and stood up. Reached down and pulled her up.

“Huh. Shows he never went to Princess School.”

“The mind boggles at the very idea.”

She was still giggling three corridors later, but sobered as they walked into the camp Karl was attempting to set up.

“. . . not going to happen. You will fetch water for yourselves, collect firewood and such. We will provide you with food while you learn to hunt for yourselves.” Karl flicked a glance their direction and back to the guards, as if he expected to be attacked.

“Ah, good to see you getting them set up. Shall we go find the other four?” Xen heard his cheerful tones and managed to shut up.

“Good idea.” Karl backed way. Xen steered Rael back through the nearest corridor.


“Yeah. The little jerk is terrified and not acting rationally.” Karl shook his head. “I did not mention the possibility of removing the Death. I’d rather they didn’t have any magic.”

Xen nodded and looked south. “One, two, three, and four. There they are.”

“Xen . . . are you drunk?”

Rael giggled. “I drank a bunch of the Joy Juice before I was caught, about four days ago. Now that that Death thing is out of my system it’s kicking in good. And Xen snatched some of the assemblers right out of my blood stream. So he’s drunk too.”

“The Death leaves, left . . . leaves stuff behind and I finally realized I could make a thing that breaks it down into alcohol, to feed the assemblers. So, we’re drunk and I’ve got a lot of power back. Watch this!” He grabbed a bubble and threw it right in front of the nearest guard.

They both stood there looking at him.

“Oh, right. Open it.” He pinned this side, stepped through and opened the far side, without even stepping on the limp guard.

Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on April 23rd, 2018 02:58 pm (UTC)
The safe and obvious thing to do is to bubble the guards and Poobah until they can be treated.

Useless and dangerous food consumers.

Edited at 2018-04-23 02:58 pm (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on April 23rd, 2018 04:06 pm (UTC)
Yes, but they now represent almost half the population. Keeping them separate until Poobah finally realizes they have to work and not attack people in a hissy fit may produce some useful neighbors. In fact, I've got three guards declining to join the Judge and setting up their own camp a hundred kilometers away.

Otherwise, they're nine people alone on the planet. And hoping some more women get transported. :)
(Anonymous) on April 23rd, 2018 04:31 pm (UTC)
Just bubble Poobah. He is the one giving the kill orders.

Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on April 23rd, 2018 09:53 pm (UTC)
And hoping some more women get transported. :)

So do what Nil would do, change some to female.
(Anonymous) on April 23rd, 2018 04:29 pm (UTC)
Xen was supposed to try to talk to Jiol to pass news or a cry for help. Finding Rael and the judge and guards certainly counts as news.

Also, why not attempt to save some of the improved WotG assemblers for Jiol, who could certainly use them. Or does Xen have the entire WotG formula in a spell box?

matapampamuphoff on April 23rd, 2018 04:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Jiol?
He just shifted them out of the brain and back into the bloodstream. In case they decided to start eating something else.

Without alcohol, the assemblers will shut down and then eat themselves, but it takes a few weeks. I suspect that figuring out how to make alcohol with very little fruit or grain handy will be high on his to-do list.
(Anonymous) on April 23rd, 2018 06:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Jiol?
Oh, sorry, I missed the "back into the bloodstream" part. That makes sense.

(Anonymous) on April 23rd, 2018 04:42 pm (UTC)
Meanwhile back on Embassy ...
... there is a 30 meter hole immediately in front of Disco, and Rael is missing. This has got to look like an act of war.

I can't wait to find out what Xen and Rael's friends are going to do about this...

matapampamuphoff on April 23rd, 2018 05:16 pm (UTC)
Re: Meanwhile back on Embassy ...
Yes, I've been pretty opaque as to their motives.

Have they been attacked before? Several times? Are they trying to preemptively look too tough to attack?

Or do they cruise along raiding at will? And if so, why raid Embassy?
matapampamuphoff on April 23rd, 2018 06:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Meanwhile back on Embassy ...
. . . Which I'm now writing.

In case any of you wondered why I put the raw writing up here. It's the way guys stimulate ideas.
(Anonymous) on April 23rd, 2018 07:22 pm (UTC)
RE: Re: Meanwhile back on Embassy ...
I'm guessing that Wolf and Rustle, but especially Wolf, may have a bone or two to pick with AK at this point.

And Wolf asking his old crush just what the heck she was thinking would be a fascinating scene.

ekuah on April 23rd, 2018 07:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Meanwhile back on Embassy ...
Well Holly, you know, the winners write the history as they please.

The history says "Jaejong and AnnaKarina joined forces and explored the muiltiverse".
This could be also be a sanitized version of "Jaejong enslaved AnnaKarina, wired her into the gate mechanism, and uses her to control his gate."

Could Rustle, Never, Nil or someone else create a "delayed and contagious transformation spell" (bunnies, goats or whatever)
Put such a spell on the next non-invited 'judge' and let his home world deal with a sudden increase in goat and bunny population.
(Anonymous) on April 23rd, 2018 08:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Meanwhile back on Embassy ...
I could be wrong, but I think AnnaKarina may be the blonde woman in the earlier scenes. I'm too lazy to go back to book 1 and check for a description of her.

One thing to remember about all the Tellies is that they had some horrible experiences at the hands of the normals on Earth, and possibly since. Orange Team (NumberOne Kids, the Prophets) was essentially thrown to the wolves at the whim of one of them. AnnaKarina got shot. Charlie Alpha and his wife Elsie weren't exactly living it up before they managed to slip away to Arrival. The "Old Gods" were treated brutally prior to their escape to Comet Fall, and some of their experiences in the early days of Comet Fall weren't great either, and subsequent contact with Earth hasn't shown much improvement in many Earthers' reactions to the engineered, particularly at the policy level.

The fact that despite the suffering, so many of the Tellies are either fully or partially equal rights for normals, is actually rather amazing.

(Anonymous) on April 24th, 2018 01:10 am (UTC)
Re: Meanwhile back on Embassy ...
"AK was a spectacularly good looking blond." (Outcasts and Gods, Chapter 3)
"AnnaKarina is a Caucasian type" (OaG, Chapter 26)

Yep, pretty likely its her.

(Anonymous) on April 23rd, 2018 10:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Meanwhile back on Embassy ...
Delayed, easy. Xen did it in Bad Karma for the long life potion. Contagious, the Arbolians showed them how. The question is does Q get to do bunnies (her favorite) or does Nil get to do goats?
matapampamuphoff on April 24th, 2018 02:50 am (UTC)
Re: Meanwhile back on Embassy ...
Oh yeah, that scoop took out the water mains, the sewers, a big chunk of the ring road and not only the first couple of steps up to the Disco building, but the security fences around the Earth embassy on one side and the Comet Fall embassy on the other.

_Everyone_ is quite pissed, and worried. I mean, it's like they could have grabbed a whole building with thousand of people in it. :D
(Anonymous) on April 24th, 2018 06:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Meanwhile back on Embassy ...
Embassy is laid out on a 1/4 mile (400 meter) grid, although Earth and the One each took double lots. Presumably the Disco building is on a lot, which would mean that it would be 400 meters across from one side to the other.

The Xin Zhonggao transporter bowl is about 100 meters wide at the bottom and the divot fit into it easily enough. Presumably the spherical transport region has to fit into the bowl, and there is probably a reasonable safety fringe as well.

If the transporter has a 100 meter diameter transport region, 1/3 up the sphere (as eyeballed by Rael) produces a spherical cap with a diameter of 93 meters. Now that is a substantial divot, but nowhere near big enough to take out security fences on both sides of a 400 meter wide lot.

I was figuring a 30 meter divot as about the smallest consistent with Rael thinking that she was reasonably far back from the magic carpet.


Quick web search shows that a modern city of 1M people sucks down roughly 1G watt.

600 MW = average coal power plant
8 GW = world's largest nuclear power plant (Kashiwazaki-Kariwa)
22 GW = world's largest hydroelectric power plant (Three Gorges)
1064 GW = total U.S. installed electrical generation capacity

So if Xin Zhonggao only has 50M people maybe they only built up 50GW of capacity. Too bad it takes the whole caboodle to run the transporter. (I'm kind of surprised that Rael did not see power transmission lines out to the bowl.) That thing would be great for mining (snatch high quality ore from anywhere), let alone its possibilities as a weapon.

matapampamuphoff on April 25th, 2018 12:46 am (UTC)
Re: Meanwhile back on Embassy ...
The Earth has the entire block to the east of the plaza, Comet Fall and Arrival share the north side. Disco is on the NE block, facing diagonally out at the Plaza.

It's interesting that the carpet was placed on the NE corner of the plaza facing the Disco Building.

Even more interesting, that they knew to deal with Disco, not one of the larger embassies. Hmm . . . Spies? Or did they raid, ahem, excuse me, recruit on a world which once had contact with Disco and now doesn't?

Edited at 2018-04-25 01:06 am (UTC)
Michawl DolbearMichawl Dolbear on April 23rd, 2018 09:50 pm (UTC)
== “I can’t imagine my dad making something that would make someone go all gooey in a threatening situation.” He extricated himself from her embrace and stood up. Reached down and pulled her up.

“Huh. Shows he never went to Princess School.”

“The mind boggles at the very idea.”==

I quote from BPClan (Izzo and Xiat)

Men. So predictable. "The Director's main problem is that he didn't go to Princess School."
"Most men do not consider that a handicap."
"I know. Amazing, isn't it?"

matapampamuphoff on April 23rd, 2018 11:58 pm (UTC)
How to Manipulate Men 101.
matapampamuphoff on April 24th, 2018 03:08 am (UTC)
I need a name for these guys. "Chinese" just doesn't work.

I'll have to get my husband to work out something for the people as a whole, the elite, the professionals, and the workers.

"Han" would probably work for the obviously mostly Chinese.

matapampamuphoff on April 24th, 2018 03:38 am (UTC)
Re: Names
Ooo! I've got a bunch of good ones to mashup. I'll go back and use them, then Rael can sort of recognize a few words.

"That's almost like the Mandarin 'Buxiu' which means immortal or immortality."

"Yes. Buzzy Jaejong."

"Huh. Kinda lost the tonality over 1400 years."

"800 years. You Lingmen can't even count."

"Oooo! Lengmen. Outsider."

Edited at 2018-04-24 03:46 am (UTC)