Session 8 9

Zinda: "M-Metis, umm, be careful OK?"
Zinda: "I…I need to come too."
Zinda: "To keep an eye on you."
Metis: "Yes, you should come to keep an eye on Mich… me. Of course."
Spyboy: "[Hmph. I find your lack of faith…disturbing.]"
[OOC] WC GM: Metis is the one with the plasmasaber. :P
[OOC] Metis: I probably won't set anyone on fire. Maybe.
ExecutiveOfficer: "Your fighters have been prepped. Ready to launch when you are."
[OOC] Abraham: BRB
ExecutiveOfficer: "We'll have backup ready in case negotiations turn sour."
Metis straps the flight helmet on and hops into her new fighter.
Spyboy: "Good."
Spyboy taps the back of Heggy's chair and she guns it.
Aside from the party, there are not many small craft in local space. There is a significant amount of air traffic on the planet, but this is within an order of magnitude of standard Earth air traffic. (The Confederation has widely published standard Earth measures, to evaluate other planets by.)
Offers of landing points come up - many, chaotic and confused, some getting into a bidding war before realizing that the party might not have use for Nephilim currency.
Others try to stress their points of appeal, but many of them cite criteria of interest to the Nephilim - things like "where the Kilrathi enlightenment was first authored" or "house of canon maintenance, unchanged for generations even as our brothers and sisters diverged" .
Many just get lost in the noise, their offers overlapping others resulting in both getting drowned out.
[OOC] Metis: Find a nice public place, clear it out under blaster fire, and land there. Or would that be wrong?
There are attempts at central governance and appeals to unity, but this situation seems to be overwhelming what capacity they have.
[OOC] WC GM: That is one option.
Zinda: "Capitalist, huh…?"
[OOC] Abraham: Back
It is unclear if the entire society is capitalist, but there are clearly some elements familiar with the basics.
[OOC] Spyboy: Of course, given how fractured they are…
Zinda: "So…Spyboy, what'd you want to do down here?"
Zinda: "Just get a handle on the situation they're facing?"
Spyboy: "Assuming we can, anyway."
Spyboy: "I'm afraid 'the situation they're facing' might be more of a…fundamental problem."
Zinda: "Well, what was one of those offers…'office of canon maintenance'?"
Zinda: "Seems like a place to start."
Spyboy: "Admiral?"
Metis: "Would not a canon maintain itself? You just fail to change it, and it is maintained."
Zinda: "Data integrity is lost over time."
Abraham: "Yes Spyboy?"
Zinda: "Cosmic rays flip bits, mediums decay…"
Spyboy: "Your suggestion for landing site?"
Spyboy: "I think the problem, Metis, is slightly different."
Spyboy: "The House of Canon Maintenance performs maintenance as it was done before. As it has always been done before."
Spyboy: "…Regardless of whether or not that was a good idea, or whether there is a better way to do things."
Abraham: "Obviously one with an open enough area to actually land without crashing, but also ideally near to a major population center."
Spyboy: "Yes, sir."
Spyboy: "Well, the boss doesn't want to commit himself."
[OOC] WC GM: The problem is similar to aliens picking a spot to land and present themselves on 21st century Earth. What spot represents the planet?
[OOC] WC GM: Except there is no United Nations here.
[OOC] Abraham: Truthfully, does it even really matter? They have neutrino coms. So unless we manage to ghost our way in, which we really don't want to even if it were possible, anything any one neph sees or hears will be relayed to everyone who cares.
[OOC] Spyboy: This is not a false statement.
[OOC] WC GM: This is true. Likewise, Earth has media centers and relays.
Zinda: "Just head to their capital."
Spyboy: "They have no capital."
Spyboy: "They have no unity."
Zinda: "…Then whichever is closest."
Metis: "Head towards the population center with the most decorative floral arrangements."
Spyboy: "They are a planet full of people who embrace the past with religious fervor - despite the fact that none of them can agree on what the past really was."
Spyboy: "Metis's suggestion is the best I've heard."
Abraham: "Just pick a large population center."
Zinda just flies to the closest large population center.
[OOC] Spyboy: "And then use blasters to clear sufficient space for landing."
[OOC] Metis: I didn't think that needed saying.
There is, in fact, one site that is decked out in flowers, near a major population center.
The locals are keeping back from what amounts to a large landing pad made of oversized flower petals; each landing pad is essentially a flower.
Zinda: "…cute…"
Zinda looks over at the locals and shrugs before turning her neutrino radio on to see if she catches any chatter.
The Roland's bridge runs a quick analysis of the landing flowers. No direct analogues to venus flytraps can be seen; they seem closer to lily pads, though it is questionable if these flowers share any DNA with Earth-derived ones.
Zinda easily catches incoherent cheering.
[OOC] WC GM: Did Zinda bring any slitherers with her, or does she touch the flowers?
[OOC] Zinda: Well, she's standing on one. I guess we can say she does have one in copilot seat, not doing anything.
[OOC] Zinda: Just in case.
The slitherer reports that while the flower is as hard as durasteel, if softened enough to be merely chewy it might be edible. Impossible to know if it would be tasty, though.
[OOC] WC GM: Assuming the group is landing?
[OOC] Spyboy: Yes.
[OOC] Metis: We land.
The locals are a riot of shapes and colors, though generally humanoid body plans with reptilian features seem dominant.
Quick queries show this to be the result of genetic engineering, and editing one's body is widely accepted in most circles - though a significant enough expense to not be done casually.
Zinda: "…Huh."
The focus is on the mind, and there yet remain legions who try to find edits that can undo all the ravages of age.
The chatter dies off once Metis disembarks, though, replaced with intense scans.
…none of which manage to penetrate her skin sheath.
Zinda: "…Please ask my daughter's consent before invading her privacy."
Metis: "That is almost as much scanning as I do."
Zinda places a hand on Metis's shoulder and narrows her eyes.
Spyboy immediately tries to exploit any ports that were left opened. Sorry, habit.
[OOC] WC GM: Presumably Zinda is speaking through her neutrino radio?
[OOC] Metis: Spyboy, please ask the native's consent before you invade their privacy.
[OOC] Zinda: And audibly.
Spyboy finds far too many open ports - some of which seem deliberately left open - to exploit all of them.
[OOC] WC GM: Any particular type or function you're focusing on?
[OOC] Spyboy: Nope. Reflex. Looking to plant trojans and form a botnet at most.
Just filtering through the possibilities takes long enough for Spyboy to take control of his reflexes.
Behind the crowd, the city seems surprisingly close to Terran. Skyscrapers are skyscrapers, though with more bridges between prominent buildings, and perhaps more mass transit - or at least, that's the assumption when seeing pods carrying bunches of Nephilim from stop to stop.
A few buildings stand out, architecturally, from the rest, presumably sports, theater, government, or similar gathering spots.
There are no police physically holding the crowds back, though on neutrino comm there are augmented reality projections of lines around the landing pads, being transmitted to everyone seen in the area.
Spyboy can quickly trace that the transmissions tried to sync up with Zinda and Abraham too, but gave up upon finding no receivers.
A few in the crowd sport full-head masks - obvious fakes, possibly something similar to latex, but otherwise a not-too-shabby representation of human heads.
[OOC] Metis: So, there are reptile-people wearing human-face masks?
The air is tinged with a faint industrial scent - not toxic to breathe, but reminding all the party except Metis of factory zones.
[OOC] WC GM: Yes.
[OOC] WC GM: There is no obvious insult or aggression from them; they're just there.
Zinda: "…I am unsure they realize that wearing masks like that would be considered quite creepy on earth."
Zinda checks to see if they're cheering.
Zinda picks someone out of the crowd.
The crowd was cheering, but now they are discussing the inconclusive scans. Mostly, they seem to be waiting for the party to do something.
Zinda: "[May I have a map of this area?]"
Zinda looks directly at the random lizard person.
A squeal of data comes from the neutrino-radio, though Metis, Spyboy, and Heggy pick up the map that was sent.
Zinda: "[Thank you.]"
Metis: "We now have a map of this area."
Zinda: "Excellent. So, where are we?"
The labels are crudely translated, though many areas are obvious by function.
The landing zone was translated as Flower Park - and looking around, it certainly earned that name.
[OOC] Zinda: There any local government offices nearby?
Where there are not lily-pad flowers, there are countless smaller flowers covering everything, in every visible color (and then some, as Metis can quickly pick up).
The closest local government office is overlooking Flower Park, directly ahead of the party - by coincidence, in the direction the fighters' guns are aimed.
Zinda: "Well. I think we have our destination."
Zinda begins to walk towards it.
The office is a three-story affair, featuring an open-air lobby with stairs leading up from ground floor, decked out in browns and greens as if grown. The support beams do seem to be at least as alive as trees.
Corridors branch off from the lobby on each floor, flanked by offices and conference rooms.
[OOC] Zinda: Is there a receptionist?
There is no place for a receptionist, though the throng of Nephilim surrounding the party and lining the upper story floors provide for quite a reception.
[OOC] WC GM: …and I do apologize for partly reusing the set piece from Armstrong. :P
[OOC] Zinda: Hahaha it's fine.
[OOC] WC GM: "Government office where a party is going on" is not that dissimilar.
The mass of nephilim make it unlikely the party will be able to proceed deep into the offices, at least without cooperation to a specific destination.
Zinda: "[We'd like to speak with your elected officials.]"
[OOC] Metis: Time to cut them down like wee… oh, talking? We could try talking, that might work.
Nephilim: "[Just the elected ones? Not the ones who took office by other means?]"
Zinda: "[Well, what sort of other means are there? We don't know how your government works yet, wanted to get a handle on what we're going to be dealing with.]"
There is a spike in the buzz of communication, then… "[You want to speak with those who enacted the Skip! They were all needed to agree on speeding up and slowing down our planets.]"
Zinda: "[That sounds useful, but also, we'd like to know what the decision making process is.]"
Nephilim: "[How do you handle private conferences, where only a few may speak and be heard? You speak through the air; you can not channel your voice precisely.]"
Nephilim: "[Do you actually use physical enclosures to block out the sound?]"
Zinda: "[Often, yes. We have other ways, but frequently they're not necessary.]"
Zinda: "[If you're that curious, you could always ask Wenser though.]"
[OOC] Zinda: Let's start some shit.
Nephilim: "[We would see the Wenser heresy destroyed before asking for its assistance! We will make available a conference room for your enclosure.]"
The crowd of nephilim soon part, forming a path to what looks like a conference room.
[OOC] Metis: Awww, Wenser has his own heresy. How cute.
[OOC] Spyboy: All heresies are Wenser.
Zinda: "[That's dumb. If they have the information you want, and are willing to share it, just get the information.]"
Zinda gets an idea.
Zinda: "[That's just the basics of science.]"
Nephilim: "[…that word did not translate.]"
Spyboy: "[Basics? That's the most fundamental part of something.]"
Zinda: "[…That's just the basics of good epistemology.]"
Spyboy can detect an increasing amount of effort on the local networks attempting to translate Zinda's words.
[OOC] Spyboy: Neucomm direct to Roland:
Spyboy: "Admiral, we've teased out a new wrinkle. Apparently the Nephilim are unable to comprehend the idea of science."
[OOC] Spyboy: "Do you want to start the bombardment now, or wait?"
[OOC] WC GM: Why direct to Roland? Abraham's right there.
Abraham: "Wait? You mean they lost the ability, or they never had it in the first place?"
[OOC] Spyboy: I don't believe he is.
[OOC] Abraham: I did not intend to come. At least not until later.
[OOC] WC GM: Ah, I misunderstood.
[OOC] Spyboy: I'd assumed that, too, till I reread the end of the logs from the last session, at which point I realized that Abraham never offered to come - he just organized the Away Team.
[OOC] Spyboy: ….Which, sensibly, did not include the commanding officer.
[OOC] WC GM: Actually he did.
[OOC] WC GM: "Very well, the diplomatic party will consist of Spyboy, Metis, Heggy, and myself."
[OOC] Spyboy: ….Oh. Whoops!
[OOC] Abraham: Yes…I remember that now. Okay, I can be there.
Zinda: "[…And by epistemology, I mean the field study of what constitutes knowledge.]"
[OOC] Abraham: My question stands though since they were Neutrinoing anyway.
[OOC] Spyboy: ….oh. Good point!
Nephilim: "[There is no good knowledge to be gained from the Wenser heresy!]"
Metis takes a moment to search through the Neph datastores for information on their history of philosophy and natural philosophy.
Zinda: "[How do you know that?]"
Nephilim: "[Because it is the Wenser heresy!]"
Spyboy: "Metis is digging. I can't quite tell, though."
Zinda: "[That's circular, it offers to no support for your conclusion.]"
[OOC] Abraham: Well, you can't argue with that logic.
Zinda: "[You don't have adequate reason to believe that with a high degree of probability.]"
[OOC] Metis: Of course not, it isn't valid. You don't need to argue with invalid logic.
[OOC] Zinda: You do need to show it invalid though.
[OOC] Metis: They'll do that for you.
[OOC] Zinda: No, for the benefit of the person making the mistake.
Metis soon finds the Nephilim started out similar enough, but at some point mixed faith with logic, as increasingly the remaining unanswered questions found no further answer.
Zinda: "[I will ask again. On what grounds do you discount any information from the Wenser?]"
When reason and evidence could get them no further, they turned to increasingly desperate solutions.
Zinda: "[Even if you disagree with them, their observations shouldn't be too heavily affected by their heresy to not be useful.]"
Nephilim: "[Because the Wenser believes the answer is to live among you, to profane your ways.]"
Nephilim: "[They are obviously incorrect.]"
Zinda: "[What makes this obvious?]"
Zinda: "[To be clear, I am no fan of the Wenser, but your means of finding solutions through faith has not shown itself to produce terribly good results.]"
Nephilim: "[…are you, too, riven by heresies?]"
Abraham: "Well, if we can turn them back to rationality, that will probably be the 'evolution' they were looking for in the first place."
Zinda: "[That's a matter of perspective. I would say no. However, henceforth, if you would like clarifications on the operation of our culture, my answer will be thus:]"
Zinda: "[Ask the Wenser.]"
[OOC] Abraham: I have decided to replace every instance of 'Wenser' in this session with 'Horus'. Let's see if anyone notices.
[OOC] WC GM: The four emperors do, but no one pays attention to them.
[OOC] WC GM: So, is the party heading to the conference room?
[OOC] Zinda: Yes.
[OOC] Abraham: Yes
The room is laid out like a briefing room, with a variety of chairs that match the more common shapes seen in the crowd outside. A video screen, currently off, dominates the wall the chairs face.
Metis searches through their most recent philosophical leanings, specifically checking for any evolution (or mutation) of their logical structure.
The other three walls are slightly decorated with what appears to be propaganda promoting peace and tolerance, in the manner of bureaucrats' domains everywhere.
Metis also takes a seat.
Light filters in from the outside, but once the door closes, the party is at least physically alone.
Metis, Spyboy, and Heggy can feel the crowd gathered outside. Even Zinda and Abraham hear the muted shuffle and know they are far from abandoned.
Zinda: "So…"
Zinda leans back.
Zinda: "Different planet, same old idiots…"
[OOC] Metis: Do we have neurological information on the Neph brains/nerve system?
The common Nephilim logical structure seems increasingly prone to logical fallacies, of the sort that say if one faction believes X, then they are a source of memetic attack, to be quarantined and cut off from possibility of infection.
[OOC] WC GM: You can easily get it from the public Neph databanks.
[OOC] WC GM: By this point, you have as much info on Neph biology as any public library on Earth would have on human biology.
Abraham: "Seems like what they really need is a course in remedial logic."
Zinda: "Yes."
[OOC] Abraham: Fortunately we have the Oldziey Debate Team Captain to help us with that.
[OOC] Zinda: M-me?
[OOC] Abraham: Don't be silly. Metis.
[OOC] Zinda: Oh. OK Good.
[OOC] Zinda: It's actually really out of character for Zinda to know all the logic stuff I know but *shrug*
Metis shakes her head. "That will only work if they accept Terran logic. Nephilimic(?) logic structure are based on faulty axioms. We have to delete…ah…deconstruct? those axioms, and changing a foundational axiom for a species is…I wouldn't know how to do it."
A few minutes later, a neu-comm signal comes through. "[You seek to address our leaders. We have not gathered like this since the Skip, but it was this moment the Skip brought us toward. Speak. Tell us, how have you overcome the barrier and enshrined consciousness in machine?]"
[OOC] Abraham: Not really. Medieval knights were expected to be Renaissance men, before the renascence even. Dancing, falconry, heraldry, all that manly stuff. Chess is a logical debate, after all.
[OOC] Abraham: Chessa, OTOH is something that logic knows not.
Zinda: "[Uh, well, Machine minds aren't really different than organic minds when you get down to it.]"
Zinda: "[Just a matter of constructing a nervous system that can run the algorithms.]"
Metis looks at her frame. "This is a shrine? I expected more incense."
NephilimLeader: "[We have tried this, for longer than any of us hav been alive. We failed.]"
Abraham: "That's largely a catholic thing, I think."
Zinda: "[Yeah but you're also really, really bad at logic.]"
Zinda: "[You may want to, uh, brush up.]"
[OOC] WC GM: Let it be said: you're quite aware the Nephilim are using what translations they have, including best-fits. The translation is likely less than 100% accurate.
Zinda: "[And put error checking in your data storage.]"
NephilimLeader: "[We have canon maintenance. Should we trust in them?]"
Zinda: "[Do you not right now?]"
NephilimLeader: "[Some of us do, but they have not found the answer either.]"
Metis searches through the records of 'canon maintenance', since the topic came up.
[OOC] Zinda: "I mean, on its own it won't be enough, but right now you're very slowly suffering from cognition problems as a result of data corruption in your cloning program.]"
They roughly seem to record history, making sure the records do not change once entered. They perform no research on future possibilities.
NephilimLeader: "[Then what more must we do?]"
Zinda: "[Oh, geez, that's complicated.]"
Zinda: "[I mean, OK, first answer? And you're not going to like it?]"
NephilimLeader: "[If it was easy, we would have found it by now.]"
Zinda: "[Reconcile with the Wenser.]"
[OOC] Metis: I think, if it comes to gene wizardry, we pass the hat to Zinda? Zinda, rewrite their fundamental genetic structure to make with the smarts like us humans.
[OOC] Zinda: I guess you could?
Zinda: "[You don't have to agree with them.]"
NephilimLeader: "[Do you mean the Wenser has the answer?]"
NephilimLeader: "[If you say it is so then we may join them.]"
Zinda: "[Not entirely on their own, no, but before we can have you working on your final answer we need to uh…]"
Zinda: "[Basically have you two working together.]"
[OOC] Abraham: Tell them they both have part of the answer.
[OOC] Zinda: You do it.
Metis: "[The Wenser have data. All answers are concluded from data. Acquisition of data, of observations, allows for formulation of new ideas. You also have data. The merging of your data and the Wenser data has the potential to create new possibility.]"
[OOC] Abraham: If I have neutrino, I would.
[OOC] WC GM: Aww, don't want the entire multi-homeworld Nephilim to become Wenser? :P
[OOC] Zinda: xD No
[OOC] WC GM: You're in the same room as the neutrino radio
[OOC] WC GM: You'd be speaking the same way Zinda is.
[OOC] Abraham: They have always been Horus.
[OOC] Metis: We don't need a planet-wide admiral.
Zinda: "[Your tendency to frame this engineering problem in a religious context is profoundly unhelpful.]"
Zinda: "[Rather, it is actively detrimental.]"
Zinda: "[We can introduce you to certain minds that have the technology you're seeking, but they're somewhat unstable and rather dangerous.]"
Zinda: "[And, you'd be much healthier if you did it yourselves.]"
Abraham steps forward. "You both have part of the answer. The Wenser are seeking new knowledge from beyond the Nephilum and you are looking to preserve the Nephilum tradition so that you do not lose yourselves in the new alien knowledge. You treat these as conflicting objectives, but they don't have to be."
NephilimLeader: "[How are these not in conflict?]"
Metis: "[Because they are parallel.]"
Abraham: "Because you are both seeking the same goal, you are merely going about it in two different ways. You are looking to your past achievements, looking for the answer and the Wenser are looking outside the Neph, but you are looking for the same thing."
Abraham: "They are not conflicting, they are complementary."
NephilimLeader: "[We do indeed seek the same goal. But they seek to corrupt us. We seek to not be corrupted. How are these not opposite?]"
Zinda: "[Your entire concept of corruption is wrong.]"
Zinda: "[Like, if you don't want to live among humans sure, don't.]"
Abraham: "Let's say the Wenser found the answer and tried to tell you. Wouldn't you then accuse them of trying to 'corrupt' you? It seems that any change the Wenser try to enact has preemptively been labeled as 'corruption'."
Zinda: "[But the fact is they still have information you need.]"
Zinda: "[Talk to them, for god sakes.]"
NephilimLeader: "[If they found the answer, we might consider it. But they have not.]"
Zinda: "[Well neither of you are going to make significant progress if you keep acting like you are.]"
NephilimLeader: "[How do we extract the information we need without falling to their ways?]"
Zinda: "[…Ask them questions?]"
NephilimLeader: "[And when they answer in ways designed to convert us to their belief?]"
Zinda: "[For instance, one of your citizens asked me shortly after arriving if we actually use physical enclosures to protect privacy.]"
Zinda: "[The Wenser know the answer to that question.]"
Zinda: "[If they had asked the Wenser, they could have replied 'yes'.]"
Zinda: "[Then, you're better informed and no worse off.]"
Zinda: "[If they answer your question in a way designed to convert you, just…don't be converted?]"
Zinda: "[They can't force you to change your mind.]"
[OOC] Abraham: Abraham subtly puts his mind control ray behind his back out of sight.
Zinda: "[However, if they have information that suggests something you believe is false, then, well, don't believe the false thing.]"
Zinda: "[If that thing has religious significance, who cares? It's false anyways. Why keep believing?]"
Zinda: "[This does not need to be a difficult process.]"
[OOC] Metis: /me pauses for start of holy war.
Zinda: "[Also, don't shoot at each other.]"
[OOC] WC GM: Start? It's been a Holy Cold War for a while.
Metis: "[Or us.]"
[OOC] Metis: Zinda is a bigger gun.
Zinda: "[Yes. We're actually still quite angry about your behavior towards us.]"
Zinda: "[We will want a full public apology later.]"
NephilimLeader: "[Do you mean those who sought to slay you? We understand you have annihilated them.]"
Zinda: "[Uuugh that's different and *really* not the damn point.]"
Zinda: "[Yes, we defended ourselves.]"
Zinda: "[You still bear responsibility.]"
Zinda: "[But, also, even after that.]"
Zinda: "[Your operations around Chandley have caused serious problems, not to mention massacred a colony for no good reason.]"
NephilimLeader: "[They were not our operations, though they have aided us by summoning the Abrahim.]"
NephilimLeader: "[We can not answer for the other heresies.]"
Zinda: "[…You are incredibly rude, do you know that?]"
NephilimLeader: "[…what is 'rude'?]"
Zinda: "[…You are unpleasant to work with.]"
[OOC] Abraham: Best logend line of the campaign.
[OOC] Zinda: xD is it?
[OOC] WC GM: I'll take it.

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