USS: Earth Scourge Anomaly Report 73
Warden:Scynil Assigned to TyrantSporeGreaterNode:Captured
Scourge:GreyLegion engaged by Crusader:Scynil
Contact with Crusader:Scynil lost
UNKNOWN Scourge Entity Discovered
Analyzing.... Foreign resource Injected to Planet:Earth through Method:Unknown
Summoning Authorities... Two responses. Two Authorities engaged in priority tasks. Reprioritizing... Summoning Authorities... All Authorities present.
Delivering Incident report.
Commencing USS Earth Council #21
Hand on the Scales (Surprised Interest): Ah... something is contesting an Enclave's Fold Web? Lines are being severed across the area's relative space by odd fluctuations faster than they can connect. Troubling, communications and User manna hub abilities will suffer.
Gazers Grin (Pale Bewildered Scrutiny): And System wants us to... classify this threat? Puzzling, why does it need our aid when it is the source of all our information on this creature. I am in the process of exterminating a Rebel Instrument contamination, not the kind of thing you want to do distracted. If even one infected node survives, it could plague us for decades.
Merciful Heavens(Alarmed Confusion): Such high chaos in this Enclave. A Warden both dispatched and lost so soon... Is it even possible to cut off a piece of System network?
It That Rewards Savagery (Fanged Yawning Exhalation): Clearly it is. Hmmmmm. I've seen it done by Feral Artisans, but this is not the work of that alien breed. Both the methods and reasoning are very different.
Gazers Grin (Bewildered Scrutiny): Oh, a familiar face. This report is interesting reading... pardon my slowness, I'm gaining access to information that the system had put beyond my Authority. I had no inkling of any of these local events. Derrick the Red, how fitting. Your work senior?
It That Rewards Savagery (Feral Grin): Yes, a great jest. He has been an amusing and rewarding subject of my... research. Rare is the neophyte User that catches the notice of three Authorities at three different times.
Hand on the Scales (Distracted): Four, I briefly and indirectly became aware of him myself while working toward my primary task. What is a Dungeon? The System informs me one is in the contested area.
Merciful Heavens(Alarmed Confusion): A complication this world does not need.
It That Rewards Savagery (Feral Grin): A god, bound and broken. Chained beneath the Earth so that we may suck the marrow from its bones and drink the truth of its blood. A good omen of things to come.
Gazers Grin (Strained Patience): It's an auril farm. Produced by the only creatures that can make it. They are very rare, requiring a rare form of Node, luck and an even rarer set of skills. So, it is no surprise you have not heard of them. Last I checked, about a century ago, there were only fifty-two in existence and all of those were created by worlds on the cusp of victory over Scourge infestations. Created by Wardens sent to those worlds for just that purpose. Why was a Warden even among the first wave of Crusader's sent to this world?
It That Rewards Savagery (Eye Rolling): She is level 3.9. Amusingly, she seeks glory and advancement beyond the roles currently offered to her. It does not seem like she has found much glory.
Hand on the Scales (Enlightenment): Ah, so this is why we were summoned, because of the attack on the soon to be Dungeon.
Merciful Heavens(Alarmed Confusion): If the area cannot hold, perhaps it is best if we abandon it. This world is hardly civilized enough for access to such a potent resource, especially considering their unfortunate auril sensitivity.
Gazers Grin (Disbelief): This Grey Legion attack is not a coincidence. You believe they brought a powerful and undiscovered manna using soldier of unknown capabilities to attack this resource just as it was created by accident? No, they aren't here to destroy it. They are stealing it. Which is troublesome on many levels.
Hand on the Scales (Enlightenment): Not the least of which is, how did they know about it? Either they have auril capabilities far beyond what we've seen so far, or they have infiltrated the System itself. I have detected no sign of the later. None.
It That Rewards Savagery (Hungry Focus): That doesn't make it impossible. They are showing their hand. Revealing capabilities we had no clue existed. They must have hidden this from us for centuries, only to reveal it now. Why?
Gazers Grin (Musing): From the beginning, the Legion have shown an atypical and inefficient dedication of resources to the capture of this world. Throwing away resources is one thing, revealing secrets is another. They want this world badly. Odd, beyond the dominant sentient's auril sensitivity and a diverse and rugged biosphere, there is nothing interesting or valuable about this world.
Merciful Heavens(Sullen Contemplation): If this new form of the Legion can indeed take a dungeon from us. How did they get it here so fast? Such a specialist could not have been manufactured in under seven local days unless they utilized a system like our own Crusaders. Even then, it defies credibility that it just happened to be in exactly the right place to make a play for the Dungeon. It is coincidence enough that we had such an asset in place, the Legion as well? No, it was sent.
It That Rewards Savagery (Hungry Focus): Has there been any Injections into the local area recently?
Merciful Heavens(Incredulous): You can't be suggesting they Injected it directly and precisely from outside the solar system, that defies...
Gazers Grin (Grim Certainty): Yes. One Injection, just two point three hours ago and three miles away, confirmed Grey Legion signature, though with a number of irregularities.
Hand on the Scales (Neutral): Confirmed.
It That Rewards Savagery (Hungry Focus): Irregularities like the Injection being larger and far more precise than should be possible for a source light years away?
Hand on the Scales (Neutral): Just irregularities. I lack the data to say more.
Merciful Heavens(Incredulous): They cannot have such a capability. To suggest that their technology surpasses the System's so completely is madness. The System has refined itself over countless ages, it touches the limit of understanding.
Gazers Grin (Grim Certainty): So, this is what? An elaborate deception? To suggest that is greater madness.
It That Rewards Savagery (Consideration): You are both correct. If this Scourge possesses such an ability is must have heavy restrictions. The ability to bend the rules of Injection is not unheard of, all Crusaders have achieved this to some degree. It is an ability even the System cannot duplicate and why Crusaders exist. Which suggests it is this creature's own mastery of manna that has brought it here. We are probably looking at the secret behind the Grey Legion's fast expansion. A rare and powerful resource.
Gazers Grin (Engaged): That would be outside even extreme projections of manna manipulation. It would at least require preparations planet-side. Meaning that its Injection point must be at the local Grey Legion base. Revealing their most well-hidden nest and what must be one of their greatest assets?
Merciful Heavens(Incredulous): Or we have simply caught them off guard. They clearly didn't mean to reveal themselves. Gazer's Grin, do you still have examples of the native’s arsenal available?
Gazers Grin (Smugly Amused): Yes, a few saved for emergency, and I think I understand what you are implying. I will decline though, unless ordered by the System. You forget our purpose, oh merciful one. We are not here to remove threats to other System worlds at the expense of the natives.
Hand on the Scales (Neutral): Seniors, we can not be sure such an attack would work. I doubt the Legion is unaware of how tempting a target this makes them. We have to assume they will have contingencies and counters in place. Indeed, bringing down our network may have been to cover its retreat.
Gazers Grin (Engaged): We could send a scouting force using simple short ranged communications.
It That Rewards Savagery (Command): Of course, ready your stolen weapons as well. We need not strike impatiently; we will slither and watch. If the network remains disrupted or the drones reveal a poor outcome, we will bare our sharpest fangs at this new threat. Ending this unknown is worth the loss of the Dungeons defenders or even a single Enclave. The Dungeon itself will likely survive anything you throw at the surface. It would be best if you tried to limit damage to it though, lest its prisoner escape.
Gazers Grin (Stalks Bowing): Of course. I will add that it is important that we do this without aggravating the System by failing either the spirit or word of its laws. It has already made its displeasure known and will have many eyes turned our way.
Hand on the Scales (Formal Agreement): Agreed, and while we’re gathered, I would take this opportunity to beg knowledge from my seniors. My first question is about Disciples. I have chosen one, simply a User who was in the right place to help my work. It is an interesting change in perspective from an Authority’s usual interactions. ITRS is clearly in the process of choosing his own, have any other Disciples been chosen? And why?
Merciful Heavens(Warmth): I have chosen three. The First is a member of the Velorie Undercast I will be guiding to help integrate with the natives. Two are competent administrators working to preserve the native civilization. Each has displayed leadership, a respect for order, and compassion. Traits I hope will guide this world to victory a place in the System.
Gazers Grin (Amused Disdain): All with a complete lack of auril sensitivity I'm sure.
Merciful Heavens(Cool Disregard): You would be incorrect. I have taken my reprimand to heart. I understand that trying to stamp out that affliction will only seal this world's fate. As distasteful as I find them, auril sensitives are nothing compared to what the Scourges will make of this world. One of my chosen does in fact have talents in that area. What of you? What guidance do you offer the natives?
Gazer's Grin (Smug): None. I care nothing for imposing rules on others or the shaping of civilizations. Let them be guided by their own vision.
Hand on the Scales (Polite Puzzlement): You have taken no Disciples? You seemed enthusiastic about the option earlier.
Gazer's Grin (Smug): I did not say that. I have, in fact chosen a dozen disciples from all across this planet. One, who is in fact in area we were just discussing. I have simply chosen my Disciples for their vision and knowledge. They will need no guidance from me, instead I will whisper secrets in their tiny and near deaf ears.
Merciful Heavens(Cool Disregard): Splinter-minds. A dangerous gift for such a simple people, a people who find themselves enmeshed in such chaos. That gift of the System has always led to... volatility among those so gifted.
Gazer's Grin (Preening): Hardly simple. Some of what they created before the Scourges is inspired, I would know, I have infiltrated and pilfered their civilization's records completely. You judge them simple because you have been looking down on their ruins. The splinter-minds will inspire them and preserve the spark of scientific passion some of them have.
Hand on the Scales (Formal Agreement): Their world does appear more primitive than records suggest they really were. The robust nature of the biosphere, many discordant political groups and plus the high speed of their development gives their civilization a veneer of savagery.
It That Rewards Savagery (Yawning): They were both those and many other things too. If your questions are answered, I believe we are done here.