(23a) Addendum to (23)
The Nightshade Campaign (274-1122)
Robert Conducts his Inspection
Robert appears elsewhere. He's in a
room with about 20 black-robed people around. The place this most
resembles is the bridge of Nightshade, although it's
substantially larger -- the same length, but square. There are
various holographic displays and many consoles.
About a dozen of the black-robed people are in sparkly pink.
Glyphs are on the displays, and there are conversations going on in
script language. Of course, without the background, the
conversations are almost unintelligible; the subject seems very
The man who brought him here walks over to a console
and brings up a display, as large as the command display on Nightshade.
It shows a starmap of this area with several points labeled.
Robert tries interpreting it in a background related
to "the enemy", then they are potential sites of interest. In
turn he points out to the robed man what he calls an abandoned site,
the dig on Victoria.
He notes that the point with the data record fragment is marked, along
three other similar ones: one each in Whitestar, Foreven, and the
Spinward Marches. He tries to memorize the systems; one will be
easy (Foreven), while the others won't be at all easy, but he at least
should be able to narrow them down.
The man says that things appear to be stable right
now. The enemy's students are contained. He indicates an
area in Whitestar sector. He says there have been no reports of
the enemy anywhere, and asks what Robert has seen.
Robert says that the Imperial personnel are digging
ruins at Victoria and are trying to look into the technology
there. He adds that they will be investigating/infiltrating the
team themselves next year, to slow their research and find how far
their knowledge has expanded.
The man asks if Robert knows when the next courier
will be back.
Robert replies that he does not.
He asks how <those left behind who are still here
who are supposed to be here, including as two distinct but jointly
classed entities the Arden Society and the Janns, collectively they are
the same but also distinct> are doing.
Robert tells him that they're doing very well.
The Janns are fine, the liaison between the Janns and the Arden Society
is walking a fine line between them but they are in contact and
watching those proceedings.
This seems to please the black-robed man. He
asks about <reference to some other One, the background isn't quite
all there; someone who's related to the previous classification and has
<reference> come out and appeared occasionally or
<reference> is still in hiding>.
Robert isn't sure what this reference might
be. Had it been humanoid, there would have been a reference
concept to that, so it isn't human. It's related in time terms to
the Janns and Arden Society, with a past link convergence in
time. It's not an opposing party; it's neutral, not <reference
to us> like the Janns, and not opposing like the enemy.
Possibly a second party to the original contract, that would be
consistent with the convergence concepts. He says simply that he
has had no news of <reference>.
The man says there have been no reports of any enemy
beings or ships seen. He adds that his people are here and
Robert thanks and praises his people.
The man adds that the last courier left a device for
all that came along. The jumpspace link has been overcome, he
says, and he will deliver the box to integrate into the ship. The
nuances of meaning that he puts with box is almost "sacred object" from
his point of view.
This gives Robert the distinct impression that these
people are essentially acolytes. They don't really know how or
why the technology works. They have a religious meaning to it and
this is what they're supposed to do. Applying that as a
background element, a lot of what they're saying and what is displayed
starts to make sense. Robert muses that the klatrin has enhanced
their ability to communicate this way, but they're not long-lived like
Lap'da's people. There's a tradition here. Obviously
they're thinking like real people as they're using the real language
natively -- there are no monkeys here. They're staffing this as
some sort of communications and relay center. The caches were
labeled simply as something like "information;" the one Nightshade
removed is still indicated, so they don't know it's not there
anymore. Nor would they probably care -- they're here to gather
information and report, not to care. So now Robert knows some
areas to avoid, and the rough locations of some possibly interesting
In conclusion, the man indicates to the other black
robed figures here that they are permitted to come along and meet
The acolytes come along one by one to pay their respects to him, and
are clearly quite keen to meet this important person. The man
asks Robert if there's anything they require.
Robert says that part of what they need to do is to
look like they're Imperial to allay suspicions, so they'll lay over
here for a couple of days and then continue on their way.
The man asks him if he'd like to return to his ship
now. At Robert's affirmative, the two of them teleport out of the
room and to the bridge of Nightshade.