CatastrophicFailure

Revelations of the Kraken (Chapter 39: The Walking Dead)

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51 minutes ago, KSK said:

I see what you did there. ;)

Nice interlude though - and only on your particular Kerbin would you find mountaineer-dudes! 

All things serve the Beam. -_-

But yes, sadly Kyle and his lil’ bro will never get credit for inventing the (short-lived) extreme sport of Landslide Surfing, nor for having the gnarliest wipeout in history, as  everyone within a couple thousand kilometers is about to have a lot more on their minds. :blink:

Been debating for a while where exactly to stick this one, as the next mini-arc will be much lighter than all the drama lately. :P Turns out I can still write <2000-word mini-novellas. :D

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Maaaaaaaan, I love you, it might be just me, but I think you post new chapters more often.
And as always, new chapter was pleasure to read.... I want MOAR

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So now you kill off characters in a hearbeat okay.... :P

Neat not-novella long chapter for a bit of break. Curious how it affects Val and Edgas. Also a bit curious how Sam could hear the twisting metal of the tracking station (unless dying tracking stations are really loud....)

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2 hours ago, qzgy said:

Neat not-novella long chapter for a bit of break. Curious how it affects Val and Edgas. Also a bit curious how Sam could hear the twisting metal of the tracking station (unless dying tracking stations are really loud....)

Well, we've never heard a tracking station die in the game, but I know math. If we assume that the dying volume is equal to the mass of the dying station divided by the dying density, then that would probably put the dying volume at around 10m3. That agrees with my preconceived notions, which makes it correct.

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3 hours ago, qzgy said:

Also a bit curious how Sam could hear the twisting metal of the tracking station (unless dying tracking stations are really loud....)

Sometimes a sound gets played to all clients at once.

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Wow. That was something. You, sir, are really really good at describing landscapes. I'm not sure if this tops the description of the combined eclipse we got however many updates back, but it's darn close.

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10 hours ago, qzgy said:

So now you kill off characters in a hearbeat okay.... :P

Have you forgotten poor Cal? It was a year ago, you might have...

8 hours ago, roboslacker said:

Well, we've never heard a tracking station die in the game, but I know math. If we assume that the dying volume is equal to the mass of the dying station divided by the dying density, then that would probably put the dying volume at around 10m3. That agrees with my preconceived notions, which makes it correct.

You're forgetting to factor in the groundspeed of the prevailing wind and its effect on the airspeed of an unladen, mildly hypoxic swallow... -_-

3 hours ago, IncongruousGoat said:

Wow. That was something. You, sir, are really really good at describing landscapes. I'm not sure if this tops the description of the combined eclipse we got however many updates back, but it's darn close.

:D

I'm fortunate to be basing this all on a game that occasionally delivers some pretty inspiring views...

Spoiler

The actual Blabberhorn, from my 6.4x reference game:

r3RgsLE.png

Ignore the kerbelle in the box...

The rest of the Rim Range, tho I imagine it being quite a bit steeper...

EkqIdMy.png

 

Worth the climb. :D

5tf589k.png

Or in this case, crashing repeatedly, hacking grabbity, and jetpacking to just the right spot...

 

I actually had to tone the height down a bit for the story, 16km is a bloody big mountain. For comparison, Everest is less than 9km... :blink:

 

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2 minutes ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Ignore the kerbelle in the box...

I'm more interested in the box. Or, more accurately, the box[].

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1 hour ago, 0111narwhalz said:

I'm more interested in the box. Or, more accurately, the box[].

Even in these more enlightened times... this we do not speak of. :ph34r:

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6 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Have you forgotten poor Cal? It was a year ago, you might have...

No well not at least after I relooked at the chapter.  in anycase I was thinking a bit more about the last chapter. or 2...

 

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11 hours ago, KSK said:

Even in these more enlightened times... this we do not speak of. :ph34r:

... mostly because we cannot remember when or why we made said box, just that it happened to be nearby when we needed to measure mountains... <_<

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Chapter 30: Visions

Spoiler

And also, thanks to @KSK for editing assistance. :D

Clean shirt, new shoes,
And I don't know where I am goin' to.
Silk suit, black tie,
I don't need a reason why-y-y!
They come runnin' just as fast as they can...

“'Cause every girl crazy 'bout a sharp dressed Kerman!” Burdous Kerman sang to a statue, giving it a wink and a finger-gun as he passed. He continued bouncing down the enormous staircase, feeling better than he had in years. Even that nasty cold seemed to have cleared up. He paused at the mirror on a landing, taking a moment to straighten his black bowtie, adjust his waistcoat, and give his gold cufflinks one last check before prancing down the stairs. 

“Master Burdous,” the wiry old kerb from earlier gave him a nod, “I see the tailor’s talents have not been put to waste.”

“Roland, my good kerb— it is Roland, right?” Burdous didn’t wait for an answer, “it is a rare treat to enjoy the services of a genuine Kervile Row haberdasher. You look quite dashing yourself, are those... epaulets?”

“Harrumph!” Roland, well, harrumphed, “the shoulder braid has been a fixture of formal dress for Imperial retainers since antiquity.”

“If you say so,” Burdous nodded. He decided not to ask about the monocle, which every bit of his vast engineering knowledge and his own eyes were telling him was anatomically impossible for a Kerbal. Any further consideration was halted, anyway, as Dibella came down the other wing of the staircase, wearing a stately- if a bit old-fashioned- high-necked gown of shimmering grey silk and fumbling with an earring. 

Which sent that part of Burdous’s mind reeling into an entirely new realm of anatomical improbability. 

“My lady,” Roland gave her a deep bow, “you are surely a muse to the poets.” 

“Oh, why thank you,” she giggled, returning him a demure little wave, “Her Majesty’s generosity is surely unrivaled.” Then her eyes shifted, and her smile fell to diplomatic mode. 

“Burdous.”

“Dib-ell-a.”

She gave him a considering look, “you’re dressed quite sharp tonight.”

“Thanks!” Burdous grinned, “um... that high collar really hides your impending neck wattle!”

Her mouth fell open. 

Burdous threw his hands up, “nonononononono, that makes it worse!”

Now Dibella’s teeth clenched down, and she took an angry step forward. 

Roland stayed her with a hand, “please, my lady, allow me.” He shifted his grip on his cane. 

Whoosh!
Thwack!

“D’ouch, my shin!” Burdous rubbed at his leg, “oh, but this fabric is so soft!” He looked up, and saw Dibella’s eyes go even wider, “what?”

Then Roland matched her expression. 

“Whaaat?” he frowned. Then turned to follow their eyes, “holey mother of—!”

He scrambled over to the stairs, “Edgas. Dude. Buddy. Homie. whut. are you wearing?”

Edgas looked at himself, “I dunno, I found it in the closet.”

For a moment, Burdous’s expression matched the other two. 

Then he closed his eyes, and steepled his fingers before himself while drawing in a long, calming breath.

“Boi.”

Then promptly slapped Edgas upside the head.

“They have a tailor here! A Kervile Row tailor! You were supposed to have him alter a dinner jacket for you!”

“I... didn’t want to bother him...”

“That’s his job!” Burdous smacked himself in the face, “what is this? What even is this? It doesn’t fit you at all! It impressively doesn’t fit you at all!”

He made a series of jerky, twitchy gestures to emphasize, “these pants are too short— is... is that corduroy!?— this shirt is too long— it’s got moth holes!— and this jacket! Is that tweed?!? Where did you even find a tweed tailcoat? Do you have any idea how many tweeds gave their lives to create this abomination?!”

And finally, “is that a clip-on tie?”

Edgas scowled back at him, “this is just pointless. We... we shouldn’t be partying right now! There’s more important concerns. I’m not even hungry, anyway.”

To this, Edgas’s stomach lodged a formal protest. 

Then Burdous’s seconded the motion in the most emphatic terms. 

And even Dibella’s filed its own amicus brief. 

She frowned at it, but approached Edgas with a conciliatory smile, “Edgas, the Empress is right, at least to an extent. We could all do with a little recuperation. So let’s have a bite to eat and then get a good night’s rest. I have the feeling there will be... more answers in the morning.”

Burdous nudged him, “and we have got to have a talk about your fashion sense.”

Dibella frowned, then looked around, “but... where is Valentina?”

“I believe the seamstress had already finished with Lady Valentina, my lady,” Roland offered, “but... she did have the most curious expression when she passed.”

“Has she not come out, then?” Dibella glided up the stairs, and knocked on the door to Valentina’s room, “Tia? Is everything all right?”  

“Go ‘way!” came a muffled, slightly terrified voice, “not coming out!”

“Tia? What ever is wrong?”

“Go ‘way!”

Burdous nudged Edgas, “bet it’s a pantsuit. Val never did a formal thing without her uniform.”

Edgas just scowled at him. 

“Come now,” Dibella persisted, “it will be all right.”

“Not coming out! This-this-this thing does not fit at all!”

“If it needs an adjustment, I’m sure the seamstress can help.”

“Yep, pantsuit,” Burdous grinned, “a nice pantsuit, of course, possibly even fashionable, but still...”

“No! Go ‘way!”

“I’m sure it’s no trouble if she needs to let it out a little more, you do look like you’ve put on a couple of kilos...”

“Gah!”

Dibella frowned, reaching for the doorknob, “Tia, really, you’re being quite—“ 

Clicka.

Clicka—clicka.

“Tia! Open the door, please.”

“No!”

“You must be hungry, too, you get grouchy when you’re hungry.”

“Gaaah!”

“Really, you’re being silly now, open the door.”

“Go away!”

“Valentina!” Dibella stood back, crossing her arms. Then a sly smirk crept onto her face. She fiddled about in her hair for a moment, and produced a hair pin. She slid it into the lock...

Clicka.

Clicka-clicka.

Clicka-clicka-clock!

“Aha!” the door swung open, and Dibella gasped, “oh dear... oh, dear dear dear...” She disappeared inside. 

“Okay, maybe not so fashionable,” Burdous shrugged. 

Above, muffled voices could be heard. Then raised voices. Then something smashed against a wall and the hall light went out, plunging the upstairs into shadow. Something or some things could just be seen shuffling about. 

“Now march, young lady!”

Burdous chuckled, turning to Edgas, “must be pretty bad after all. I remember this one time, at the big astronomical symposium in Kerbin City, everyone got caught outside in a typhoon, it was raining squids and frogs, sideways. Anyways, everything but the convention center was battened down for the storm and we couldn’t find a dry cleaner, so she had to... Edgas?”

Just like that, Edgas’s face had suddenly gone all limp, one pupil blown, as if his brain had simply shut down.  

“Edgas? Ed!” Burdous snapped his fingers in his face, “Eddie-boy! Kerbin to Edgas! Come in Edgas!” 

Roland's pupils shrank to points, "my... my word..."

Then Burdous looked over his shoulder...

“Holey moley!” 

... and joined Edgas and Roland in their disjointed, slack-faced looks. 

Valentina came down the stairs, slowly, one step at a time, her own eyes wide, and... just slightly bewildered herself. She wore a long, flowing, one-shoulder gown the color of morning, that seemed to shimmer and shift from violet to blue to orange and red as she moved. It clung, well, just enough, and Burdous could almost swear he saw licks of blue flame dancing in the folds along the fabric. Her short hair was... not that different, but somehow more its own, and woven with gossamer strands of something that sparkled like starlight. He thought she was even—

She stumbled just a heartbeat on that last step, yes, they had gotten her into heels! They clicked softly on the marble floor as she approached, somehow looking powerful and vulnerable all at once. Up at the top of the stairs, Dibella peered down, leaning on a bannister with a satisfied little smirk. 

Valentina met them, her eyes actually level with theirs. 

Except for Roland’s, of course, who quickly swept into a deep bow, “my lady! You are a vision.”

“Wow...” Burdous was vaguely aware he was talking, “you look incredible....”

And Edgas...

Edgas...

Edgas..?

Burdous elbowed him, “Ed? Edgas! Manners!” He gaped at Edgas’s unchanging face, “tell her she looks pretty!”

That one of Edgas’s pupils grew a little larger. The other eye just twitched. His mouth flopped open and closed making little popping noises like a gasping fish. And then, finally...

He shoved his hand out in front of her face, “iM gAs-MAn eD-keR pLeAsE d0nT hÜRt mE!”

Burdous raised a hand to his face. 

***

GobbleGobbleMunchMuchSlurpChompGnawGnawSwallowUrpGobbleMunch...

Valentina leaned over to Dibella, her eyes still unblinkingly fixed on the spectacle, “is... is he even bothering to chew?” 

SlurpGulpNgluckNgluckMunchGobble...

Dibella shook her head slowly, “I...”

ChompChompGobbleGulp...

“I... think that was whole turkey...”

Edgas just rolled his eyes, then turned them back to the single dinner roll on his own plate. His stomach continued its series of loud, vehement protests at his gastric filibuster, but that was fortunately drowned out by Burdous. He shouldn’t be hungry. He had no right to be hungry—

To this, his stomach raised an especially loud objection. 

And besides, staring at his plate and brooding kept him from looking up at Valentina. Any time he did that, his stomach went off on entirely different round of flutters and twitterpations, his palms got sweaty and his head got all foggy and he felt like he might pass out. 

More so than usual. 

And most of all, looking at her made him not want to be angry, and right now, he wanted to be angry. He could feel it, bubbling and churning beneath the surface like hot magma, straining, crackling, building more and more pressure. They shouldn’t be here just wasting time! They should be doing something! Anything—

I thought I was doing the right thing...

Something deep in his mind rumbled and creaked at the memory of the dream. 

They’re all gone, and it’s all my—

His stomach rumbled and creaked, as if even it understood that was a dangerous line of thought. Then it tried a more diplomatic approach, reminding him that that roll on his plate did look awfully good. 

Everything looked awfully good. 

The table was enormous, a long length of mirror-polished mahogany that seemed to go on forever, and practically overflowing with every manner of delicacy that was pleasing to the senses. There was, of course, borscht and pelmeni in every variety imaginable, and mountains of sliced rye bread so fresh it nearly stung his... whatever he smelled with. Piles of stuffed blini, salads made with potatoes and eggs and mayonnaise and... very little lettuce, racks of shashlik on skewers, meat pies and honey cake, steaming bowls of stroganoff, and enough hot tea, kvass, and extremely high-test rocket fuel to wash it all down. 

Edgas’s stomach rumbled so loud he almost thought the table shook. 

And that wasn’t even all. There was a whole roasted pig, which... Burdous ate whole, a turducken— a chicken stuffed in a duck, stuffed in a turkey, which just seemed silly— a tusalout— a trout, stuffed in a salmon, stuffed in a tuna, which seemed even sillier, and even a turkra—

Edgas shuddered. 

Apparently, somewhere, a turkey, stuffed with a crab, stuffed with an octopus was a great delicacy, but that one brought back all sorts of memories he did not need. 

However, the Baked Alyeska, which despite being on fire was not melting, seemed oddly enticing. The table rattled again as his stomach rumbled agreement. 

“Edgas, you really should eat something,” Dibella said with concern from across the table, “you’re looking rather pale.”

“She is right, child,” the Empress said. She and Roland were seated down at the head of the table, yet they could be heard quite plainly. The acoustics in this cavernous hall must have been as incredible as the food, “Healing draws upon the subject’s own energy, you must rebuild your strength or you may find yourself looking up from the floor.”

Edgas shuddered. Or maybe it was his stomach again. Or the table. 

She is right, the Scientist in him chided, you’ve got a nasty headache brewing in here and tremors will likely follow. Fainting won’t be far behind.

The Practical Kerbal was just staring at the table and gibbering. 

With a sigh, Edgas took a bite of the roll, trying all the while to convince himself it tasted like ashes, persisting even when it had disappeared and he found himself reaching for rye bread and a particularly plump blini

Yet he still had to squeeze his eyes shut for what followed, “thank you, for... helping me. And, um,” he glanced at Burdous, “this animal, here.”

The animal looked up, “GobbleGulp?”

“You are welcome, child,” the Empress replied, without looking up from her own meal.

Edgas frowned, “would you, um, care to explain, well, everything?”

Across the table, Dibella clicked her tongue. 

The Empress still didn’t look up, “such matters are hardly proper supper conversation. We shall speak of such things another time.”

“Another—?” Edgas bit his own tongue. 

“ChompChopGluck—Gulp!-burp” Burdous might have swallowed his, “are you a witch?” he said enthusiastically, “ooh, are you a Sourceress?”

She looked up, face unreadable, “no, child.”

He pointed at Edgas, “could you turn him into a newt?”

“No.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“Have you tried?”

She looked at him, “no.”

“You hesitated.”

“I did not.”

“Stoppit!” Edgas snapped, a bit louder than he wanted to, “this is... weird enough already.”

There was a soft clink as the Empress set down her fork, “I would expect you, of all people, Edgas Kerman, to have a more malleable mind about such things.”

He blinked at her, “what’s that supposed to mean?”

She fixed him that unrelenting, imperturbable, utterly serene gaze, “surely your experiences on Bop have demonstrated that there is more to the world than you can perceive.”

His mouth fell open, “how did you even—“ he turned to the kerbelles, “did you tell her? Did you know what we were walking into?”

“Edgas!” Valentina snapped back. 

Edgas winced, pressing a hand to his head, “maybe I’m just going crazy. Or I hit my head and we’re all dead and this is what I get instead of my life flashing before my eyes. How do I even know any of this is real?”

This drew the barest shadow of a frown from the Empress. She touched the blue münstone around her neck and...

The contents of Edgas’s water goblet rose up out of the vessel, and floated there before his eyes in a wobbling transparent ball. Edgas drew back, his eyes going wide. Valentina tensed, Dibella raised a hand to her mouth. 

“Oh, cool!” Burdous grinned. 

“Go on, stick your finger in, if you must,” the Empress said to Edgas, “see that is real.”

“Okay!” Burdous did instead, swishing his finger around in the little floating blob, his face bright with boyish fascination.

“Interesting,” he mumbled mostly to himself, “it doesn’t feel at all like a liquid in microgravity. I can feel... little eddies, or currents or something...” He tapped his other thumb against his lips, brow pinching in thought. Then took his spoon, dipped it full from his wine glass, and dropped the wine into the shimmering glob of water, watching how it swirled and dispersed, “fascinating...”

Edgas was still recoiling, as if afraid it might bite, “I... I don’t believe in magic...”

This drew a snort from Burdous, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

“Really?” Edgas frowned at him, “you’re an engineer, for Pete’s sake!”

“Who’s Pete?” he shrugged, “yeah, I’m an engineer, that means I believe the data, even if I don’t understand the data, and right now the data is telling me there’s a little ball of water floating above the table.” He stuck his finger back in, swished it around... then flicked water in Edgas’s face, “once  you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

Edgas rolled his eyes... and wiped his face, “boy, you’re just full of silly platitudes tonight, aren’t you?”

“Well, not that long ago I was full of twisted metal, and now I’m not, so I’m gonna give the pretty lady and the old guy the benefit of the doubt,” he looked at Edgas, “only logical.”

Valentina leaned in, “you know, he does make a good point...”

Edgas stared at the wobbling sphere, “so which is it, then? Magic, or technology?”

“Is there a difference?” the Empress’s face never changed. 

“Yes!”

One edge of her mouth curled into the slightest hint of a smirk. She nodded to Burdous, “years ago, he learned how to manipulate the atom in order to travel the heavens, and walk on the planets. Decades ago, others leaned how to manipulate the electron to being light into the darkness. Before that, they learned how to manipulate fire and water to move mountains, and eons ago our ancestors first learned how to manipulate fire itself, to finally leave their dank holes in the ground. He is right, any of these miracles... are indistinguishable from magic, to one who does not know.”

“But that’s not magic at all!” Edgas burst out, “thats science! That’s just understanding the laws of nature and using physical rules. This—this—this... this!” he gestured at the floating water, “this is against the rules!” He slapped his scarred forehead, “this is against the rules!” He raised a hand to slap—

Burdous brandished his spoon, “I will stab you with this.”

Edgas just waved at him, “this is against the rules!”

The Empress’s smirk became the shadow of a smile, “and yet, it is there.” She waved her hand, and a huge image appeared upon the wall behind her.

“Whoah!” Burdous nearly fell out of his seat, “How did you do that?!

She opened her hand, “I have the remote.”

“Oh.”

A nod to Edgas, “do you know what this image is?”

He blinked, “um... everyone knows that picture, it’s famous. You don’t even have to be a nerd to—“

The Empress said nothing, only fixed him with that gaze. 

Edgas seemed to shrink just a little before it, “it’s, um, called the ‘Halls of Chaos,’ in the Artichoke Nebula. It’s the shockwave from a supernova destroying a stellar nursery. The Bubble Space Telescope took it over a decade ago, but I don’t see what—“

“And yet,” she stopped him, “this well-known image is a fabrication, is it not, child?”

“It’s not a fabrication,” Edgas protested, feeling a bit like, well, a child.

The Empress said nothing. 

This, somehow, drove Edgas to speak, “ok, it’s false color. The actual image is mostly in infrared, it’s been color-shifted to visible light so we can see it. That’s what gives the artichoke that green color, while the Halls look red and the black areas look shadowy. Then there’s the higher hydrogen alpha sensitivity, and the spectrographic—

The Empress held up a hand, “indeed. You know this well.”

“Um, yeah...” Edgas looked back and forth, feeling very uncomfortable. 

“Now then,” she gave the slightest raise of an eye... bulge, “how would you explain all that to one who was blind since birth?”

“I...” 

He... didn’t really have an answer to that. 

“You could spend your whole life explaining, Edgas Kerman, and yet such a person would gain only the most... nebulous, and likely incorrect concept of such a thing, because they are unable to perceive it at all.”

The hint of a smirk returned, “honey bees perceive their world in fuzzy ultraviolet rich with scents, cetaceans see with their ears in a world without light, and we, wise creatures, cannot see beyond our own perceptions, and the laws we have crafted to fit them.”

Beside him, Burdous breathed, “whoah...”

Edgas, too, struggled for words, “I... don’t understand.”

The Empress nodded, showing something that was nearly a real smile, “perhaps, first you must believe, before you can understand. I am sure I am not the... first person to say this to you.”

...and what have Ah told ya about that? Sometimes, ya just have to believe, and trust the understandin’ to come later...

For a long while, Edgas said nothing, staring at the quivering bubble of water hovering in the air.  The table rumbled again. Then the glasses began to clatter and clink, and Edgas realized it wasn’t his stomach. 

Before he could say anything, a sharp pain slashed across his head, “ah!” He pressed a hand against it. 

The shuddering grew worse. One of the mountains of rye bread partially collapsed, a few slices cascading down its side and into the table, knocking over a wine glass and sending a miniature crimson flood across the surface. 

But as quickly as it began, it ceased, leaving the huge chandelier high overhead swaying gently. 

Dibella watched it, “was... was that an earthquake?”

Roland and the Empress shared a look, but she said, “no. We do net get earthquakes this far north.”

“Dude,” Burdous pointed, “your face...”

Edgas brought his hand down, and saw that it was streaked with blood. 

Burdous peered at him, “I think that cut opened up again.”

“Are you all right?” Valentina rose, reaching out to him. 

“No, I’m... I’m fine, it’s just a scratch,” he waved her off. 

Are you, though?” the Empress gave Roland another glance, “would you like me to—“

“No. I’m fine. Really,” Edgas said, perhaps a little rougher than he meant to, “it's already stopped.”

Unprompted, several débarrasseurs appeared, and began clearing away any sodden food and wiping up the mess. No sooner had they left, than waiters brought fresh plates of steaming morsels. 

Edgas frowned at it all, trying to convince himself he wasn’t just grimacing from the pain in his head, “is this really necessary? I mean, there’s just six of us, we can’t possibly eat all this.”

Once again his stomach begged to differ. 

“It will not go to waste, if that is your concern,” the Empress resumed her serene, implacable demeanor, “the staff will have need of it.”

“‘Need of it?’” Edgas blinked. 

“Yes,” she said, with calm indifference, “in the morning I am sending them away. The world is coming to an end.”

Edgas leaned back in his seat, trying to shake the fuzziness from his head, “why..?”

“It will not be safe here for much longer.”

“No, why... why are you here? The both of you? All of this? If you can bring people back to life—“

“I cannot do that,” her eyes bored into him once again, “no one can Heal death; not I, not Roland, nor anyone else who has ever lived.”

“Ok, fine, but,” he rubbed one thumb against his temple, “you can heal horrible wounds, and this... this,” he waved the other hand at the blob of water, “this is surely just a party trick. If you can do things like that, and the world is ending, why are you just sitting here? Why are we all? There’s a plague, and people are hurting, and you’re just sitting here having dinner!”

The Empress’s face did not change, but the little globe of water wiggled more than it had been, yet it was Roland who answered, “and what would you have us do, hmm? You should speak with more care on matters you know nothing about, boy. Healing your friend, there, from the edge of death took so much out of me I cannot even do that for a week’s time,” he gestured to the water, “there is always a price.”

Edgas shrunk back in his seat a bit more. 

“And what after?” the Empress eyed him, “perhaps we help a handful of people. And now the whole world knows. You yourself have said that people are not ready for such things.”

“How did—?” his eyes grew wide at that, but she raised a hand. 

“People need their shell over reality, do they not? Lest they look upon the Light itself and go blind?” she raised an eye... bulge, “and the world is not always kind to those who are different. Especially when they come speaking the truth. You are a learnéd kerb, surely you know your own people’s history with such things.”

This drew a wince, and an elbow from Burdous. 

Yet the Empress now fixed her gaze on him, as well, “the Omorkians are not blameless, either. You, too, are a scholar, you know the true meaning behind the bonfires of Reaptide beneath the Harvest Mün. Did you ever cast lots with your friends to be the one who put the torch to Wicker-Maid, with her pointy hat and broom?” Burdous seemed to deflate as he sat there. 

The kerbelles were not spared her eyes either, “and we... must carry the guilt of the Troubles, and an entire people now made myth.”

She turned back to Edgas, “but worse, the principalities and powers of the world would know, those to whom people are no more than tools to be used and controlled.”

Edgas blinked, “why would they do that? You’re not bad people...”

“Because it wouldn’t take them long to realize, my boy,” Roland leaned in, “Healing wounds is far more difficult than creating them.”

“But still,” Edgas persisted, “what’re they gonna do, put a gun to your heads? Clap you in chains?” the water shuddered, “you’re demigods or something, how could they—?”

“We are not deities,” the Empress’s face did not change, yet the room suddenly felt colder, “far from it. But this is no longer a constructive line of conversation, let us speak no more on it tonight.”

“You could do... something, the world is hurting and you’re just hiding away up here!”

Her eyes narrowed, “bold words from one who has forged his own kingdom of isolation up in the snow.”

“I’m just some guy,” he threw his hands up, his voice raising with them, “but you could make a difference!”

The globe of water began to drip, forming little ice crystals where the drops fell. 

“Let it go,” one hand balled into a fist. 

“No! They could work something out, some sort of arrangement for your help.”

“Enough of this.” the Empress dropped her gaze. 

“If you’re so worried, maybe you do need some oversight!”

“I said, ENOUGH!” 

She slammed her hands down on the table as she rose, and the blob of water exploded, showering the four in an icy blast, “I will not be leashed again, I will NOT!”

For time, nothing made a sound, save for the soft plip... plip... plip... of water dripping off the table. The Empress stood at the head of the table, looking down, the slightest tremor in her shoulders. Roland reached out for one of her hands, but she snatched it away. 

Eventually, her calm, serene demeanor returned, but she did not look up, “please, eat your fill, then join us in the ballroom.” She turned, saying nothing more, one hand rubbing at the other, and Roland followed. 

The four could only look on in stunned silence... until Burdous reached over and slapped Edgas upside the head. 

“Nice going, doofus, you made her mad,” he crossed his arms, “now she's gonna turn us all into newts.”

 

Edited by CatastrophicFailure

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I like it when there's a new chapter. Transitions well from a humorous thing to Real Things(c) 

Am curious what the empress means by "leashed again"....

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5 hours ago, qzgy said:

Am curious what the empress means by "leashed again"....

I'm guessing that, when she was still under the thumb of the Union, they kept her powers contained somehow so that she wouldn't be able to mess with their plots and plans.

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24 minutes ago, IncongruousGoat said:

I'm guessing that, when she was still under the thumb of the Union, they kept her powers contained somehow so that she wouldn't be able to mess with their plots and plans.

That's actually a pretty reasonable explanation. Although, what if the union also used her powers? O.o

Also aren't there supposed to be magical objects somewhere? Feels like there should be...... 

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4 hours ago, qzgy said:

That's actually a pretty reasonable explanation. Although, what if the union also used her powers? O.o

Also aren't there supposed to be magical objects somewhere? Feels like there should be...... 

Munstones and Mystery Goo would count I think. From the last chapter, the Empress touched her munstone before creating that water globe, so I’m thinking it’s something like an angreal or sa’angreal from the Wheel of Time series. As for the Goo, we’ve already seen that it warns and protects against the Shadow. I expect that the Seals to the Shadowell are magical too. 

There are probably other examples. Sometimes it’s a bit hard to distinguish between magic, sufficiently advanced technology and humorous artistic license in the Kraken Trilogy. :)

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In the Interlude: Whispers of the Past, Shadows of the Future in Whispers of the Kraken, there is a relationship between the Empress’s münstone and a scepter. At the end of Whispers, Val has her münstone with her in the capsule. But as far as I know, Val’s münstone has not been mentioned in Revelations of the Kraken. Maybe she still has it, and could have the same powers as the Empress and Roland?

Edited by a_space_oddity

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Can’t say much... yet. <_<

But I can confirm that Val does indeed still have her Münstone, might have glossed over that. But thanks to Kerbal anatomy, losing a necklace is very difficult. :D

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On 10/28/2018 at 6:08 PM, KSK said:

Munstones and Mystery Goo would count I think. From the last chapter, the Empress touched her munstone before creating that water globe, so I’m thinking it’s something like an angreal or sa’angreal from the Wheel of Time series. As for the Goo, we’ve already seen that it warns and protects against the Shadow. I expect that the Seals to the Shadowell are magical too. 

There are probably other examples. Sometimes it’s a bit hard to distinguish between magic, sufficiently advanced technology and humorous artistic license in the Kraken Trilogy. :)

I can't really argue with you there that munstones and the like are probably magical, but I was honestly thinking of the Scepter and Crown of Worms I think that @a_space_oddity mentioned. Probably will turn up later in some form of Very Important Plot Device. Curious though who made them and how, and also why.

Yeah there's probably more. Also, give the Kraken Trilogy I would not be surprised if the three are actually the same.

13 hours ago, CatastrophicFailure said:

Can’t say much... yet. <_<

I'm going to go on the assumption stuff will be said later...... hopefully not long later.....

Also random musing - whats an average kerbal's life span barring any space accidents or  mystical space influence?

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9 hours ago, qzgy said:

I can't really argue with you there that munstones and the like are probably magical, but I was honestly thinking of the Scepter and Crown of Worms I think that @a_space_oddity mentioned. Probably will turn up later in some form of Very Important Plot Device. 

Maybe the scepter is the power source, and the münstones draw their power from it. In the interlude from Whispers I mentioned before, the münstone seemed to be drawing power from the scepter.

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13 hours ago, qzgy said:

Also random musing - whats an average kerbal's life span barring any space accidents or  mystical space influence?

It’s... complicated. :confused: I once tried to reconcile all my various timelines, and my brain rapidly began running out my ears. I’m not even entirely sure how long a “year” is (Stock KSP year? 6.4x year? Which 6.4x year?) The beer metric I can give is that, when her narrative starts, Val is still a fairly young hotshot test pilot, but has been around the ol’ hangar enough times to have a career of “some note.” Anastasia is just a toddler at this point. FF an unspecific time, and Val has fully come into her own while Anna is more or less a “teenager.”

Dibella is by far the eldest of the group, but she’s by no means “old.” The severity of her impending neck wattle is largely a matter of how much one trusts the opinion of Burdous Kerman, who’s yet to learn how to act his age. :confused:

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On 10/28/2018 at 3:28 AM, CatastrophicFailure said:

“Nice going, doofus, you made her mad,” he crossed his arms, “now she's gonna turn us all into newts.”

"A Newt?"

"I got better"

 

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On 10/30/2018 at 9:13 PM, CatastrophicFailure said:

Dibella is by far the eldest of the group, but she’s by no means “old.” The severity of her impending neck wattle is largely a matter of how much one trusts the opinion of Burdous Kerman, who’s yet to learn how to act his age. :confused:

In that case I'm going to take 'smoother than a kerbling's bottom' for $100. 

:)

 

Edited by KSK

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On 10/30/2018 at 5:13 PM, CatastrophicFailure said:

by far the eldest of the group

Not the empress? I guess the empress isn't quite main cast though.

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