Dec 15, 2018 6:34 PM
alteriverse!imrainai lands in sanity
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"That's cool, faster than lightspeed is cool. The Alteri also have that, so you might want to discuss specific speeds. Also I have a concern, you said you're letting 97816 do diplomacy?"

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Our method takes about six of your days to reach any destination. She's going to speak to Eru, who has the power to make this all go more smoothly if he sees fit.

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"Oh, that's cool. - have you considered that 97816 might be, like, one of the worst possible people to do that unless it's very time-sensitive."

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Why is that?

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"There's, like, a fifty percent chance that she's having a breakdown right now because someone looked at her funny."

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"There are circumstances under which she might be fine. If it's time-sensitive then she's likely their only Liar option, and if it isn't, then we can talk to her and determine whether these are the relevant circumstances. There's no sense in discussing it now."

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You can discuss it with her and decide if you think there's someone more suited, but there are advantages to it being her. Would you like me to take you there now? It's five days' travel from here; I cannot instantaneously move distances like that.

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"I see. ...eh. What do we have to lose?"

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"Earth."

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"You're not wrong. But Earth is only of strategic importance if whatever forces have protected it are capable of providing a safe haven indefinitely. We don't know any more about their intentions than we do about those of the, uh, Valar, who have comparable abilities. Any other attachments we may have to this planet are sentimental. Under the circumstances, this seems worth pursuing, even at great risk to ourselves."

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"Agreed. At least we'll have very interesting deaths."

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I will set that trajectory. Should I communicate anything to the other humans? I'm discussing with them what they'd like to do as well.

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"I can go back even if we don't want to seclude the psyons," says Parael, after Mathrael is silent for a moment.

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"You're welcome to try, though I don't think the bulk of the crew finds you much more trustworthy than the rest of them. Less, if anything. I think we will have to rejoin everyone else at some point, and keeping the psyons out of any networks for the foreseeable future is just a cost they're going to have to eat." She sighs. "We thank you for your consideration, Varda, but if I've taught them anything, then I expect them not to believe a message is from me unless they hear it from me directly."

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I could impersonate you, if that would be helpful in some way, but I'm also happy to just take you back.

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Well shit.

"That's good to know, thank you. We'd prefer the latter right now."

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And they're back.

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She considers waiting for some more opportune time to discuss things, but Varda doesn't seem likely to stop monitoring any of them any time soon, so now is probably as good a time as any to say whatever she's going to say. 

"We're leaving Earth," she announces, with all the authority she can muster. "Sorry about the sudden change of plans, and to everyone who's leaving someone behind on another ship, but our hosts are pursuing the defeat of the Confederacy, and I think it's in our best interests to help them in whatever way we can. All previous outside duties are hereby terminated; we'll be restructuring responsibilities as we figure out what needs doing."

She sighs, and thinks, and comes to a decision. "You know what, everyone who isn't a squad leader, take a day off. We'll regroup this time tomorrow."

There are questions, of course, and concerns, and people who are very certain that this is all a trick of some kind. She responds to questions aimed at her as well as she's able. She learns in broad strokes what they've been able to pull from the Alteri computers, and resolves to go over as much new intel as she can over the course of the next few days. 

"Alright," she announces, eventually, when everything that requires immediate attention has been dealt with. "Varda?"

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"I'd like to speak to the Alteri, if that's possible. You'll want to give me a second to put a biosuit on."

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That won't be a problem.

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So she puts her suit on, takes a few deep breaths, and declares herself prepared to see how the bugs are doing.

The bugs are not pleased with the situation, as one might expect. They have demanded answers from Varda and been very dissatisfied with what they've received, and they are similarly unimpressed with Mathrael's declaration that she will be commanding the Liars on board the ship indefinitely, without answering to Vakaran. She thinks she succeeds at not completely closing diplomatic ties with their (former?) masters, but she does make it clear that the Liars are now free agents, insofar as that's possible with some kind of alien deity ultimately controlling everything they can and can't do. 

For the rest of the voyage, the majority of the Liars attempt to get their strength back up for whatever lies at the end of their journey. Mathrael goes through the logs they've confiscated, reading journals and planned work schedules and what's known about the gate. 

She finds records of all the women who have been impregnated without their knowledge over the course of the past two months in Vakaran's personal computer terminal. She is outraged. She is tired. She doesn't know that telling anyone while they're stuck like this will do any good. She expects the psyons to reveal the secret, immediately, but they don't - Parael because she goes as Mathrael does, the nine-year-old because she sides with her master and does not want to reveal his plans without his knowledge, and the small ones because whenever Parael and the nine-year-old agree on anything, that thing is not a safe one to question.

She waits.

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She's available to answer questions and provide tasty snacks if anyone will take them. They jump. They arrive above Valinor five days later. 

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Mathrael breaks down what she's found for the other Liars once they're in Valinor space, hoping that from this position they'll have the option to do something about it. She leads with the gate plans and what she believes they imply about the structure's workings and origin. She ends with the fact that eighty percent of the crew's fertile women have been impregnated without their knowledge, apparently on the orders of Vakaran Atekri, who seems to have kept his decision secret from most of the other Alteri on board. 

Forced impregnation is not an unusual occurrence; failure to inform the women in question is. Those from houses Atekri and Tellari are outraged that they were not informed that they needed to find husbands, and that those already married were not allowed to bear the children of their partners. Those from House Festri are outraged that Atekri appears not to have consulted Festri's leadership at all. There's a lot of outrage going around.

The Liars would like Varda to know that they are outraged.

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I can only imagine. That's horrifying. I am so terribly sorry. I - what a nightmare. I can consult with the rest of the Valar to determine whether there is anything we can do -- a way to safely delay the pregnancy until the parents are ready, maybe...

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