May 21, 2022 2:54 PM
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"The gods could return at any time they choose. It's not as though they are constrained by interstellar distances. Only their creations are tied to a single planet, after all. 

"But so long as they choose to stay away, it would be foolish in the extreme to summon them. Ozpin, fool that he is, refuses to believe this." 

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"He seems to be under the impression that you wish to unite the relics and summon the gods. I'm not sure how he came to this conclusion. Perhaps it simply follows from his belief that you wish to destroy yourself and all the people of this world."

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"That's how he sees it, of course. In Ozpin's mind, any rebellion against the gods is not merely unwise, but heretical. What else could result but destruction? No, I want to summon them when we are ready for them. Let the fight be on my terms, when the chance of ending those monsters is highest." 

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"How do you plan to prepare people for that fight?"

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"I don't. People won't be fighting it. I tried that once, and failed. I have something more...targeted...in mind." 

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"Are you presently seeking to arrange that conflict?"

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"I have done little else for millenia. But in the immediate sense, no, I am not yet ready to destroy the gods." 

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"We would appreciate being made aware when that changes, if only so we can evacuate bystanders who might be harmed in the conflict."

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"That can be arranged." If it suits her, of course. Then again, with most of Starlight's capabilities still unknown, it might prove difficult to operate in the shadows. "In the meantime, I trust Starlight will not be as foolish as Ozpin?" For now, keeping Starlight from interfering with her plans is enough. She has some...adjusting to do. 

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"We certainly won't seek to see the gods reinstated if that's what you mean, nor will we assume that you're suicidal. I'm not sure what other foolishness you might be referring to."

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"I was referring to the former brand of foolishness, yes." It would not be diplomatic to point out how many of Ozpin's brands of foolishness are contagious. She's a bit rusty at negotiating without having the power of life and death over her targets, but such is the price one pays for ruling the Land of Darkness. "How shall I contact you in the future?"

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"We can leave this probe here, I can also provide you with contact information on the local networks if that would be preferable."

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"Both, if you wouldn't mind, I prefer contingencies." 

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"A reasonable preference. Contingency planning is something I'm quite familiar with. I've had to memorize a few thousand contingency plans as training for this role." She gives a few contact numbers they have in the local networks.

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"Your Semblance is related to enhanced memory, then?" The eidetics are always troublesome to gaslight. It took her an embarrassingly long time to learn that the most effective amnesiac is pain. Not an option for this one, not yet, but perhaps one day...

She recognized the veiled threat, of course, but she needn't bother responding in kind. True rulers do not need to make threats. 

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"Oh I don't have a semblance. I was modified to better suit my role. Enhanced memory was part of that."

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Curious choice of words. This creature looks human, but might she be an automaton like those of Atlas? Or...the more interesting question...like her own creatures of Grimm?

"A very convenient gift, that. I would love to meet your designer. What other enhancements do you possess?" 

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"The design team for the Envoy tweaks is several thousand people so it would be difficult to meet them. Generally the tweaks are designed to make us better at our jobs, we're less likely to hold grudges, harder to traumatize, more perceptive and as mentioned our memory is enhanced."

 

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Less likely to hold grudges implies a degree of precision in mental manipulation superior to almost any unspecialized Semblance she's ever encountered. If she had access to that kind of technical skill - a team of specialists, just for designing this one set of modifications - her mastery over the Grimm could be multiplied a thousandfold or more. 

If humanity had this degree of coordination, they might have won against the gods...

 

 

...or they might merely have marched more efficiently to their doom. Without the mutation of silver, they still would have had no way of actually harming the gods. The gods' invulnerability to magic was the most costly lesson in the history of the world.

At any rate, it is futile to muse about what could have been. That way lies shattering, and years to put the pieces back together. She can ill afford such errors now. 

 

"How is this customization accomplished?" 

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"Our people have done extensive research into how minds work and with a combination of magic and technology some of us myself included were moved from a biological substrate to a technological one. That makes modifications easier to implement. For ethical reasons, we're very careful with how we apply and share this knowledge."

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"I see." Ethics. How typical. These fools have the power to create an army of flawlessly obedient servants, and they hold back because it wouldn't be nice. What a terrible waste. She simply must get her hands on this technology, if only to show them how much more effective it could be when used intelligently. Well, at least now she knows what is possible. Interesting, as well, to learn that this envoy is not herself biological. A far advanced form of robotics. Perhaps it is time to examine Atlesian technology more thoroughly. An old Grimm can, in fact, learn new tricks. 

For now, though, it pays to be useful to those in power. 

"Is there anything else you would ask of me?" in trade is left unsaid. She can decide later if she wants to bargain for more than goodwill. 

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"I'm not sure, it's not clear what resources you have. You seem to be able to survive in an area with a high concentration of Grimm but I'm not sure why. Do you have the ability to control them?"

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Her mastery over Grimm is no secret, but there's no need to go into details without good reason. "To an extent, yes." 

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"It's good to have that confirmed. We would appreciate it if you would make Grimm especially the more exotic types available to us for research purposes. Understanding is one of our primary goals."

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Ah, perhaps this Starlight is not so hidebound as they appear. This request should be handled delicately. The Grimm were one of her most powerful pieces in the smoldering war for Remnant. But it looks like the game is about to change; perhaps she can leverage an advantage on this new field.

"If any lesser polity had asked me for exotic Grimm, I would think them either mad or suicidal. It would be foolish in the extreme to deliver them to you without being first assured that you can handle them. In any event, I will need to see your facilities in action before I bring you lethal weapons to study."

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