And we'll just see how many worlds I can Drei-proof.
And . . . "A high tech world that could switch to manufacturing cybernetics" would be ideal? I must think of a way to keep that from happening . . . Or use their desire for it to . . . trick them into something they won't enjoy.
He hung around long enough to pick up gossip, watch the interactions, listen to the planning. Then he went shopping, and headed for the hotel. Plenty of food, lots of gauze and tape, lots of wine, lots of whatever caught his eye as useful . . .
They were all in Rafail's room, attempting to watch, or rather, understand, a vid in English.
Rafail, still pretty pale, grinned from where he was propped up against the headboard. "Between the four of us, we're getting about half and guessing the rest."
Animal's voice from under the bed. "I don't know what a lot of the words mean!"
"Huh, exceeded an . . . eight year old's vocabulary? How old are you, Animal?"
"So who's hungry and who wants an instant English lesson?"
They swapped glances.
Rafail cleared his throat. "How about a bit of assistance to the bathroom, then lunch while you tell us what an instant English lesson is?"
"Lada? You may be too young to be able to do this. And Bob already has a lot of English, but he can add vocabulary and nuance." Ice pulled out an copy of the English language, a bit difficult as it was his first language and buried deep in his earliest years, year. Sequestered it in a mental compartment outside his inner shield and offered it.
Animal crawled out from under the bed and reached up to poke at Ice's head. "What is that?"
"That is the memory and mental pattern of a language. And I think you must be at least half Drei and precocious magically."
Rafail snorted. "It's not magic, it's Mentalist powers, enabled by our genetics."
Animal scowled at him. "I want it to be magic."
Rafail jerked in shock. "I said that in English! I'm speaking English!"
Lada looked wistful. She's glowing a bit. She'll grasp power anytime now.
"Lada? Close your eyes and imagine you can see a balloon full of words and stuff, stuck on the side of my head. Imagine reaching out and touching it." Ice tapped his head, right where Animal had.
Lada closed her eyes . . . shrugged and opened them. "I'm not a Menatlist, women don't have the ability."
Ice sobered. "Do all women get brain chips?"
"I suspect that's why they don't have mentalist abilities, because you were speaking English."
"What?" Her eyes widened.
"So, let's try that vid from the start, and I'll explain whatever no one understands."
After dark he took a stroll down Fifth Street. Got led--from a distance--to a different building, just as run down as the first. The same people. Less threatening, despite still looking tough.
"That worked very well on our . . . experimental subjects. Now what are we going to do about the . . . Bunnies. German or Russian?" The Leader, still masked.
The tall thin man was standing to the side. Not talking yet. Not sure I haven't misidentified the actual leader . . .
"I am currently using the German's dimensional gate to spread the Anti-Cyborg chemicals . . . I am looking for a way to strand the Russians elsewhere. I doubt I can budge the Germans. In any case, whenever you have the nano gene repair globules and the wine dispersed to all the Cyborg army bases and feel confident to start, go for it."
He met their eyes. "I'm good at improvising, don't worry about me. In the mean time, I have these."
He pulled out his bars and brought out the coins, strung up on cords in sets of three.
"These are not very strong, but they are better than nothing. This one will block mental influences. Low level Mentalists won't be able to control the wearer. This one will absorb the energy of their lasers. To a point. A heavy military grade weapon will get through, but ordinary cyborg arm lasers can be blocked. Then bullets. It'll slow them down, it can't stop a high powered rifle, but a hand gun across a room, it'll help. These are all I have right now, I'll keep making them."
They all looked at the bag.
"I can't make the dimensional bags. Sorry."
"Can you get more?" Tall thin finally spoke.
"Not right now. I'm currently stranded, marooned here. But I have people looking for me, and when they do find me, I will be able to arrange help, although how much, will be out of my hands."
"I see. And if you don't get found?"
"At some point, someone will realize I'm neither who, nor what, I'm pretending to be." Ice grinned. "I suspect it'll get pretty energetic, at that point."
"Come find us."
"If I'm certain I won't endanger you."
He walked out, this time. Thinking about how to trick the Russians into an Empty World.
Gior hated to admit it, but a prophet and a Warrior hanging on her every world was a bit intimidating.
Especially when they were listening into her thoughts.
:: This is the inbetween. Filled with dimensional bubbles, the things I use to make bags and corridors. ::
She felt Furkan's frustration as the bubbles ignored everything he tried to do to them.
Mikel was just silently watching, like a hunter waiting for the right prey to walk into range.
:: See these things like crumpled paper? Those are the other worlds. :: She looked around and failed to see any books.
:: What are books? :: Furkan eyed one of the crumples, which also ignored him.
:: A lot of parallel Earths, so similar that they barely separated, and then they start squeezing back together. ::
:: Sounds nasty. ::
:: It's weird, the same people marrying, having the same kids . . . And a century later all that's left is historians arguing about details. Any way, here's a cone.. I grab a bubble and use it to slow the cone's spin and shove it over to a World I want to check out. ::
Furkan looked over at a different crumple. :: Can you tell which ones you've been to already? ::
:: Mostly. That one you're looking at is new to me. :: She let the cone dive into the universe, and flash of galaxies and the then individual stars and smack into the Earth of that universe so fast she didn't have time to look . . . :: Usually I have better control and can sort of look for where on the world I'm going. ::
A snicker from Mikel. :: Paying too much attention to Furry? ::
A mental glare from Furkan.
Gior centered herself and looked for another cone. Found it and bumped it over to twist tails with the first and suck down right in front of her.
She opened her eyes, screamed and threw herself sideways, away from the gaping maw of teeth coming through the white whirlpool. The dinosaur leaped through. Scaly, feathery . . . dead, as she threw a slice at it.
"Holy Shit! A velociraptor!" Furkan sounded somewhere between frightened and delighted.
Mikel grabbed him and pulled him away. "And his buddies are coming through!"
Gior bolted around behind the Gate and sat to find another cone. "Do. Not. Go. Through! I am going to close the gate!"
"No, no, no, no! I want to see more dinosaurs!"
"Furkan!" Gior made a duet with Mikel.
Three quick flashes of power.
Gior looked around. Lots of dinosaur parts.
Furkan grinned. "That's all the raptors. I'm going to go take a look at what's on the other side."
Mikel grabbed, Furkan ducked and jumped through the gate. Mikel was on his heels, and a more distant audience she'd barely been aware of trotted up and jumped through. A mixed bag of teenagers, Cyborgs and the Oner Scientists who'd been studying the kids.
Gior growled and jumped though.