"So," says Bella to Rúmil one afternoon, "a few weeks ago I told myself that if in a few weeks I had not come up with an actually good way to bring up a thing I would just mention it anyway on the grounds that if it came up somehow later and I had not done so that would be weird."
She starts writing Sibyl a note - hasn't been replied to yet, maybe Sibyl's not checking her messages for the next hour - "I can't actually distinguish between 'in Telperion', 'in Materia', 'in Warp', and 'went through Warp to somewhere Warp-adjacent' - I could go to Telperion and try from there to triangulate but we do actually from a triangle with it and Materia so that's still several places he could be without it being distinguishable..."
She wraps her arms around him. She does not need her hands; she can just levitate her crystal ball where she can see it. "- Cam works," she reports when she's opened Sibyl's message. "Okay, so he can narrow down where he is. - Do you want to go park in Space, Sibyl wouldn't be able to see him coming but Loki's stuff should still work fine in the Edda neighborhood -"
...and if he could confirm to her over the network that he arrived safely that would be great for her peace of mind -
Sauron turns out not to even be in the Milky Way galaxy. He's off far away in another galaxy that is in fact too far away to have its own name according to any Milky Way species of which the Alpha Quadrant's common knowledge is aware; it has a number in Federation records. She tells Rúmil as soon as Cam gets back to her on that.
He's fine, but there is a loose, wizard Sauron in Warp. And in Ithil your alt got recaptured and then psionically obliterated and it is unclear if we should even try getting her back once Loki has generic resurrection, and I do not have a specific reason to expect anything to happen to Scroll but if something did would I ever get him back -
Uh - given enough time they could set up somewhere else the way they're set up in Valinor and then tell wizardry to stop working the way they broke the necklaces. But they don't want to have too many of them away, lest Sauron attack.
(They shut down wizardry in Valinor, as a precaution.)
They could try talking to him and asking him to surrender?
She pops in to inform Warp that the Valar have not e.g. decided to keep her forever or something, then comes back. While they are thinking of their good solution there is a wizard Sauron in a science world on an inhabited planet, so the peal is probably going to do something fast if they can think of anything, even if the Valar can't help that quickly. Do the Valar have, like, relevant resources of which the peal should be aware.
Well, "ran off to Warp, while Sauron" is not super reassuring by itself, but unfortunately most of the people they could quiz on the timeline are also Sauron and therefore dead now. They could as a formality ask a Thuringwethil or something when Saurons start doing things.
"So the peal told the Telperion Valar not to release Melkor, which they agreed not to do, and to arrest Sauron too, which they were planning to do but apparently on a 'whenever convenient' basis, and it turns out that at some point unbeknownst to them he used wizardry to leave Telperion and is now in Warp being the president of a random planet in a galaxy distant from peal-related Warp operations. Thought I'd warn you, it's moderately likely that he'd be able to pass through Materia if he so chose and that'd put him next to here."
"Boots is working on a spell to keep him from wizard-teleporting around, but if he's insubstantial sorcery teleport won't work without bringing the whole planet, which would wreck its orbit, and it's inhabited. Mage teleporters don't work interdimensionally at least so far. So I'm learning lots of random things so I'll have the juice to take him three hops into Loki's range, or, well, first I'll test with a friendly insubstantial Maia but if that works I need three hops with a passenger plus emergency extra."
"They can be almost completely irrelevant to me, but not completely irrelevant to everyone. Vocabulary in obscure languages yes, excruciatingly detailed rainfall data not so much. Names of people I will never meet and wouldn't bother talking to yes, number of leaves on trees no."
"Yeah. 'daeva are only contained by the fact they're either incurious enough not to have followed up on the multiple clues they have at this point or altruistic enough not to have made it apparent they can' is a disastrously unstable situation. There's got to be either a wizardry or a spellbinding or an eclipsed or at worst a wished-on way to contain them. Develop it. Then recruit harder, there are a lot of security measures you could take if you weren't constrained by only having one and a half demons. Have a couple dozen; have people checking hourly for anyone outside their native dimension; know about it before it even happens every time; develop a procedure that also catches people who aren't conjurable. Don't trust the Valar to do anything more complicated than 'speak in complete sentences'; as soon as you land on a world and before its Sauron and Melkor learn interdimensional transit is a thing that even in principle exists, summon them out to an uninhabited planet and hole it."
"Sibyl should be able to tell you, but - yes. A million people dead is less of a disaster than a loose Enemy, especially now that you can bring them back. He's in Warp, now, imagine if Warp hadn't been the Telperion neighbor with the most people and we hadn't been able to find him at all and he was now in some other dimension with several trillion people in it, with wizardry and an apparent agenda of getting them all to destroy each other as entertainingly as possible."
"Counterspells are possible in principle but Boots doesn't want to count on it especially versus a Maia wizard; antimagic fields likewise. She's not even positive her anti-teleport spell will work; Valar can forbid wizardry on their turf, specifically or in general, and didn't need a lot of prep time to do it so a Sauron could replicate the trick."
"And he might not have teleported with wizardry - or, even if he did, he might know another way to do it, Shadow's did. Though Ithil's didn't and they were highly motivated, so that at least seems to require some prep time. What about wished on or spellbinding anti-wizardry, what about the rings of power -"
"Some magic rocks have some potentially relevant powers but Sibyl can't tell how they'll interact and Gem can't reset time outside her neighborhood. Spellbinders are working on it but keep hitting blind alleys since a spell can click just fine as long as it works in the context of Hex whether or not it actually has the desired effect on other magic systems. Rings of power I don't actually know..." What does the network have to say about rings of power these days.
Reconstruction of Sauron-proof ones is proceeding apace but that's Elf pace, it'll be at least a couple years. Elrond and Galadriel and Gandalf have the existing Sauron-proof ones though Celebrimbor thinks he can do better next go round. When done they should effectively make the bearer a Vala, and therefore probably work for wizardry cancellation because Valar can do that but it kind of depends how much of the 'acting within a specific area' and 'everything very slow' constraints are actually part of the magic compared to being part of Vala personality.
"We kind of don't have many resources in Millenia because usually mes do that and the male mes are not welcome. Swift was wondering if I'd go figure out whether any of the people in possession of a ring of power would loan it out or help us use it to catch the Maira -"
"Elrond's willing to help, doesn't naively know how he'd do it, would need someone with a wizardry teleport to come teleport around so he can get a feel for it, would definitely need to be nearby and probably nearby for some period of time, so Gandalf might work better, no one's sure where Gandalf is, how does he respond to being earwired -"
"No, but she's coming at it from a perspective such that she thinks she can productively pick it up, with a little bit of 'yeah the peal was gonna let me die I am a suitable sounding board for resentment of the peal' and a little bit of 'I am literally three, he hasn't done anything nefarious since I hatched and I view sexual assault as an obscure old-person misdemeanor'."
"Maybe the genderflipping helps but I have a hard time seeing any of the terrible things my alts do as - anything other than very distant disasters that I can fathom having happened under completely different circumstances but - so different that I only sort of recognize myself -"
Things to check: can sorcery teleport an immaterial Maia? (No.) Can Tireh teleport an immaterial Maia? (Yes.) If an immaterial Maia is tipped off and leaps to a world the peal hasn't discovered yet, can they be summoned back to Warp from there - that one works on Olórin, turns out, but they're not confident it will work on Sauron because he has the antidivination/anti-magical-finding up. Can they stop Sauron from himself teleporting (Gandalf and Olórin are still working on it. Either the work requires occasional explosions or they're just having a lot of fun.)
Do Edda and Warp have any neighbors in common such that they can avoid having to teleport Sauron as far (they set some teleporters to jumping for new Edda neighbors).
Can Tireh incorporate her notes into her indestructibility so it's less easy to separate them from her? (Tattoos work but don't have anywhere near the needed surface area.) Are there other ways to make sure Sauron can't separate Tireh from her notes? (Spellbinders are working on it.)
If they intend to kill Sauron who else goes blank in Sibyl's precognition? (can't check that until they're ready with everything else).
"I mean, Elves are only particularly advantaged among humanoids, that's only about eighty percent of the new places, if you'd like to send frost giants to the other ones they'd be much appreciated. It's kind of frustrating to be capable of killing gods and still hard-pressed to keep children from starving."
They get to work. The planet whose president they just assassinated carries out an earnest and thorough and scrupulous investigation which turns up absolutely nothing.
And three days after that if Sibyl checks what will happen to her in the next hour what will happen is one of the Elves monitoring them appears in front of Sibyl without knocking and says "thesungoteatenbygiantspiders'.
"Tesseract isn't too much of a pill to do that. They'll be set as soon as they're here -" Blue crackling. "- they're set, just with different constellations to look at and a misaligned day cycle because it seemed important to have the chilly side warmed up first."
On three abruptly relocated planets demons are summoned to make it rain little letters in the appropriate language saying 'we learned of the destruction of your sun. We've put you back around a similar one in a protected zone where incidents like that cannot occur. The protected zone has some important features we will discuss with you shortly. Persons killed as a result of the destruction of your sun can be a priority for resurrection.'
Sixty years at bronze age tech levels (surprisingly good place for low infant mortality, though). Queens (there are three sexes and only the incubating-females, not the large-gamete-females or the males, take to politics at least at this stage of history), some large empires in progress that are not yet capable of reaching one another and some smaller nations more or less squabbly.
They're gonna have to be literate to get much out of summoning. It gets handed over to Vanda Nossëo to get folded into things. The other two planets are literate, and can have a summoning rollout immediately - "Cam, do you want to handle that, I seem to recall it's a specialty -"
" - first's planet the languages are all fine though they don't have the Internet yet, second planet has Internet but there's a major language that'd be, ah, you could at least read and write? Spoken, it's presently more glitch than translation, though we're tinkering to fix that - oh, I guess you don't have to wait for us, do you -"
Formally, Revelation's hands-off - has an afterlife, doesn't have material scarcity, is a serious information security risk - if we invite them to join any of the interstellar consortiums, say, daeva inevitably look those up... do you think there are grounds to change that status, or should we just pull you and the summoner - maybe in their sleep - to Edda and throw the infinity stones at the binding problem -
"We have interdimensional transit. Interdimensional transit was developed on chiplocked computers and is a well-kept secret, but if it were widely known it is probably not impossible for a determined demon to hunt down and reverse engineer. I have been impressed by Ganymede's commitment to secure procedures and I trust you to take that as seriously as it merits, which is why I'm here alone to discuss daeva security instead of arriving with a diplomatic delegation to formally open relations with Earth."
"We want to subscribe. We haven't had many incidents but it seems like there are a lot of benefits to having law enforcement be uniform across jurisdictions, and at the moment there are a lot of problems arising from the GCP's handling of cases from our world without any kind of jurisdiction agreement, which I think could be most straightforwardly avoided if we subscribed."
"I'm optimistic that ordinarily we can just work with your normal procedures with no special process at all- trials should be public, it wouldn't be decent to compromise on that - but that one is going to have to be a special case. If we'd already been subscribers we'd at least have known to apprise you of the situation in advance - a week before it even happened -"
"So the, ah, no-state-secrets version of events - the problem is that verifying any of this will be impossible without running across them - is as follows: our world had a nasty work of a creature named Melkor, who had put out a couple suns, started a world war on a planet of five billion, and paved another couple moons with servers which he used to upload and torture several hundred million people. By sheer chance a young kid summoned Swan, unbound. We asked him for help with the war; he terraformed a planet and took refugees there, investigated Melkor, helped end some famines that were a consequence of the war. And discovered that Melkor could be destroyed with a black hole and nothing short of that, and arranged for the target to be our least-populous planet whose population was all resurrectable, and went to the affected populations' government for guidance. We told him to do it. He then promptly resurrected everybody. The victims opposed pursuing charges - they were really glad Melkor was dead and the torture stopped and the planets with much larger and less resurrectable populations protected -"
I think Gem's would work better for this than mine; we've been relying on member states and haven't had any trouble with people who don't come with a member state. I wasn't going to advocate resurrecting anyone who destroyed Vulcan until we had something sensible in place but we don't yet.
"Great. Maybe we shouldn't have evaded having to try our Millennium alts for war crimes."
And he pulls a panel of people together to read Earth war crimes trial proceedings and invent something. Someone suggests that Elven justice should involve polling the victims on what they want, and so everyone in Valinor is asked whether they want Cam to be imprisoned. Six of them are in favor; on further investigation one is two and never heard the word before and the other five misclicked.
She has people! Mîr has a justice system inspired by the American one, but very loosely - it has to be palatable for a mixed Elf/human population so sentencing is often "getting stuck in a Lórien" or fines, and also cases are not thrown out for procedural error, just whoever made the procedural error loses their job.
They are appreciative!
The trial takes a week. At the end the judges publish a statement, the for-public-release portion of which reads:
The destruction of Valinor was authorized in order to prevent the torture of persons uploaded by Melkor, the destruction of Endorë in its ongoing war, and potentially the discovery by Melkor of a way to circumvent restrictions on summoning in the absence of which he could spread his war to other dimensions.
Four hundred twelve billion, eight hundred and ninety two million, four thousand six hundred eighty three instances of upload torture ceased within one second of the destruction of Valinor.
The war on Endorë killed one hundred twenty million, thirty two thousand, nine hundred ninety four people in the year prior to the destruction of Valinor, and ceasefires were signed between all parties the week following the destruction of Valinor. Biological weapons had been deployed in the war with the capacity to kill all members of targeted species with no survivors. Nuclear weapons were being developed by both sides with intent to deploy them.
All persons killed in the destruction of Valinor have been resurrected. Valinor was selected as the target specifically because of the resurrectibility of its citizens.
No persons killed in the destruction of Valinor were willing to testify for the prosecution. At the request of the court some agreed to testify, and stated that they opposed a prison sentence for the defendant.
Additional evidence and considerations have been redacted for reasons of national security; for sealed trials it is not the case that public information will constitute a complete representation of the case. In this case the extensive redacted information was not decisive in the verdict but was relevant to the sentencing. The defendant is sentenced to time served.
Yay!! - in that case he will suggest to a few of their new members on Endorë that they write the GCP about demon-handling procedures!!
So prompted, three of them write the GCP to observe that in general GCP standards for prison conditions exceed their own and they're very pleased to be members but the gags are not compatible with local standards for prisoner rights. It sounds like the gags are a necessary safety precaution with humans, but Elves can't survive the extraction of their souls and are therefore not vulnerable to being talked out of them by a demon they summoned. Maybe Elves could serve as GCP summoners (with the added advantage of not dying of old age) and they wouldn't need to gag demons anymore?
Orcs are like Elves that way; Dwarves don't seem to have souls, they haven't gagged any demons and none have asked about their souls. There are a couple newly imported species (it's a long story; their stars got extinguished so the Noldor relocated them really fast and now they're in summoning range) but no reason any of them would be visiting a prison planet.
"Congratulations on that." And they turn their energies to places of greater concern.
Loki's frost giants get assigned to run a refugee camp on this constantly-raining world where twelve million people got displaced by an ongoing war and their neighbors are all professing great concern for taking them in once it's demonstrated they aren't going to spy for the other side. The place has magic - people can freeze raindrops in place - which is mostly useless but of religious significance such that the refugees decline to be evacuated elsewhere.
Elves have been doing this for long enough that they manage not to all go incoherent with horror.
"I think," someone ventures, "there are some kinds of people who will be as bad as they can get away with and some who will be exactly as decent as expected of them but not a bit more and then some people who, you know, wouldn't do that even if everyone thought it'd be glorious, and Elves mostly don't have the first kind and have high expectations for the second kind and have our fair share of the third."
"This is still racist," says the other Elf.
"There are obviously some innate species differences in - how much people suck - you can't pretend it's all just circumstances -"
"I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm saying you're racist."
"If some Asgardians signed up for refugee work I wouldn't turn them away. But they haven't, have they."
"Someone could maybe convince 'em it's glorious."