Interlude Amidst Scheming

<< The Simulacrum of Dread

“The Maker’s get, literally in his grasp. He lost it. He’s worse than useless.”

“Now, now, West. Niall made the effort; he had little enough assistance.”

“And you never compelled him to it, of course.”

“Dearie, if I’d compelled him, I wouldn’t have let him leave without his bauble. Nothing short of absolute success. Otherwise, we’d lose both his wonderfully cunning independence and the toy, and that would’ve been like… well, like your Providence without her weapons.”

“Unlike Providence, we can’t even use Count to ram through a gas giant if we feel the need.”

“Not yet. However, I think we can get more out of him with a little work-”

“Oh damnation, you’re keeping him ali… what IS that below his waist?”

“That’s a little gift from our lovely Comedian East to keep him operable, dearie.”

“Woman, I respect you greatly, but if you’re going to insist on diminutives, I’m going to insist on you getting to the point or killing this failure and moving on. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m quite busy just now.”

“My, West. The point in question is that your experiments with repurposing Beasts might bear fruit beneficial to Niall’s utilizable lifespan.”


“Before you ask, I consulted Domino. She saw a positive quilt of successes if you plied your technique with Count as subject. She said that you need to, and I quote, ‘put the morphites aside for now and go back to using scuds’ if you want to get the best returns.”

“While the advice is appreciated, if utterly unasked-for, the morphite experiments are a masterwork in progress. Rejection’s asymptotically but rapidly approaching zero. Ten or twelve days at most, and I’ll have that travesty of East’s replaced with something wonderful. The abstracted batch clones won’t have trouble with accepting a graft at that liminal portion, any more than the Hiek machine confluences that make him a birth atypical.”

“But the process won’t be ready in time for the big festivities, dearie! We’re looking at only thirty or forty quadrillion strong for our distraction if you begin stamping out replicas the instant you finish ten or twelve days from now.”

“And thirty or forty quadrillion of exceptional quality are that much worse than innumerable more that could be called ‘acceptable’ at best?”

“Technician West, we need numbers, not quality. Even if we fail, you can toy with a specimen of your choosing at a later time. If we claim the Device…”

“Ms. Nightjar… hmmmph. Your advising displeases me. However, it speaks for itself cogently enough, which is more than I can normally say.”

“Oh, you flatterer.”

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