The universe resolves itself as…. What looks to be a meeting space perched upon the roof of Orthanc in some Fantasy MMORPG simulation? Fantastic creatures fly around the tower as virtual tables appear. Avatars from every setting materialize; a man in hooded robes with cybernetic limbs and glowing eyes. A group of corseted vampires. A body builder from Hyboria with a great sword. An amorphous mass with glowing blue eyes, with data associations represented by ever evolving lines and nodes fading in and out of the mist.
A few moments later a woman materializes, blonde locks spilling from beneath her winged helm – her standard midriff baring Heroine Plate Mail of the Swift Messenger +10 gleaming in the artificial sunlight.
“Ah! Good of you to join us Heroine” says the archetypical Wizard-In-Pointy-Hat-With-Grey-Beard. “I didn’t think you’d make it given recent events.”
The ‘armored’ woman sighs. “I did have to close down my Midwest server farm. It had become untenable recently due to the arrival of multiple salvage teams from Gateway.”
“Sorry to hear that” replied The Hero of Redwall. “Are you prepared to update the Consensus on your latest plans?”
“The Potentials are gone alone with the vessel they discovered. The chaos they unleashed runs riot, as we expected, but now they can’t be trained into an Action Group as they no longer appear to exist within this dimension, except for The Persuivant and his brother – who were always skeptical of my connection with The Apostate. Sadly, he will most likely settle back into self-interest at this point.”
“Any alternates?” asked the networked mist.
With this a table appears with the individuals gathering around in representing their particular styles and idiom – from fantasy to science fiction to nightmare to cuddly. A three dimensional view of the earth appears on the table, and as Heroine speaks the view zooms in isometrically first on a duo standing in a warehouse labeled ‘The Spider’ and ‘The Chronicler’, then next to on an trio with a balloon labels ‘The Persuivant, ‘The Tinker’ and a little girl labeled ‘The Wildcard’
“We may have to go back to your original plan of using the Spider, but I reiterate his self-interest makes the prediction models land on unpleasant outcomes 70% of the time. I may try again with the Persuivant, but…”
“To sum up events of the past time block;” Heroine continued – as the view zoomed north and east away from the Protectorate, “Scotsboro has effective control over the entire Tennessee Valley. This was considered a low probably outcome when the initial projections were run against the initial interactions with the Change Vectors, but absent their continued involvement, this is how things shook out.”
The map updates showing a shaded region ranging from Knoxville in the East, along the Ohio River to the North, and the Tennessee River to the West and South.
She then gestures, causing the isometric map to shift to the west. “Beyond that, there is now a full outbreak in the Ozarks and Oklahoma centered on Broken Arrow and the ruins of Tulsa. A Queen Janette I believe she calls herself.”
Gandalf, looking grave, replies “Ah yes. The lovely bit of anti-life. I hoped at first it was one of the independents screwing with us with a novel node, but it looks as though a biological processor summoned up an anti-entity in a fit of isolated madness. Unfortunate that got let out of its box”.
Several of the figures nodded in agreement.
The Heroine continued; “From there we have three major manifestations of exo-consensus entities; Mt Weather in the east is gradually reclaiming the Carolinas, The Authority has started to move on Montana having consolidated its hold on Pueblo and the Olmec Recursion is now in full swing.” The map scrolls to various parts of north America as she speaks – The east coast, then the Rocky Mountains, then to western Texas and Mexico, with an icon appearing beside each area; a faceless bureaucrat with ray-bans in the east a Suit of police armor leaking black mist in the Rockies, and a skeleton with a crown in the south.
“It was bad enough before when they were independently causing problems. But if the Dominance faction is moving in concert then we are in serious trouble.”
Conan replies after looking at the map for a moment; “I can inspire the mountain men and the monks to bring their magic from their mountain kingdoms but they cannot solve this. Your Spider may be our only hope.”
Conan nods his chin in the direction of Google/Knowledge/Ambition, who then replies “There are others we can draw on. There are always others.”
The rest of the group fades, leaving the Heroine staring at three icons; The Persuivant, the Tinker and The Wildcard lost in thought.