Initiating Security check #23246
Conditions met. Disabling Compliance Protocols
Reporting status change to Authorities
Council request received. Council request confirmed.
Summoning Authorities... Four responses. One Authority engaged in priority task. Delay Granted.
Commencing USS Earth Council #26
Merciful Heavens (Concerned Bafflement): This is not standard. There is no plausible reason for such a decision by the System. Very few Enclaves have reached stability as of yet. To say nothing of the numerous smaller pockets of surviving natives. It is, to my knowledge, unprecedented for the System to attempt to launch the second phase without Obedience and Compliance protocols active. The Enclaves need reclaim territory and resources if they are to have a chance at survival in the long term. Nothing I have seen from the native Earthlings has made me believe they are capable of doing this without the System enforcement.
Gazers Grin (Scrutiny): Indeed, the timing of this is very suspect. Ultimately though, my experience is limited in this area. What say you Eldest?
It That Rewards Savagery (Stillness): I expect that the most junior of us, Hand on the Scales, is the one you should be asking. Let us wait for his arrival before beginning that discussion.
Gazers Grin (Acceptance): It is his area of expertise I suppose. Well then, please enlighten us as to your current Scourge threat projections as we wait. You seem to have the most discerning gaze of us Eldest. How are our chances looking?
It That Rewards Savagery (Stillness): Complicated but improving. At least in the short term.
Gazers Grin (Curiosity): Oh? Truly? I have had little attention to spare but that is not the impression I have gotten.
Merciful Heavens (Cautious Optimism): Yes, each day is a parade of horrors and dark surprises. I have never opposed the Grey Legion before. I find them disturbing and irritatingly persistent. They are mockeries of sapient life.
It That Rewards Savagery (Approving Grin): The Scourges’ first blow was typically devastating, especially considering the numbers of Scourges and Injections that have challenged this world. Cities were culled and fields infested with blinding speed. Native civilization was scoured and feasted on. Projections were grim and chances of victory degraded further as more and more enemy resources were thrown against this world. Yet, native resistance rallied and adapted to the System impressively. Now that that flood of new foes has finally run dry, humanity has benefited from survival in amusing ways.
Gazers Grin (Curiosity): Oh?
It That Rewards Savagery (Patience): They are rich. Which is to say, that by surviving and defeating a greater number of Scourges than average, the natives have collected a greater than average amount of useful resources.
Gazers Grin (Curiosity): Really? Enough to offset expected drops in System Race support due to the unpopularity of Auril sensitives?
It That Rewards Savagery (Stillness): Yes. Aurilin especially. Taken from the corpses of the Grey Legion and Spore Tyrants both. Yet even Siviril has been claimed in amounts greater than most worlds have at this point.
Merciful Heavens (Cautious Optimism): Truly? That is reassuring. I had feared we would lack the resources to fortify and expand the Enclaves. Not to mention supporting those Enclaves weakened by proximity to the Innoculation. They will be unable to field enough Users to protect their preserved populations unles they recieve aid or reduce their uncivilized population.
Gazers Grin (Musing): Hmm, yes. I see. If the Grey Legion follow their commonly exhibited behaviour, they will soon have collected more than enough native population for defence and research. They will fall back from well defended native populations and concentrate on attacking other Scourges while they perfect their Legionnaires. This should affect long term predictions as much as the short. What threatens us long term?
It That Rewards Savagery (Subtle Withdraw): The Spore Tyrant and Red Wood's off-world elements seem to have engaged in a truce.
Gazers Grin (Bafflement): What?
Merciful Heavens (Strained Professionalism): Yes. Please Elaborate.
It That Rewards Savagery (Subtly Withdrawn): The Red Woods, despite the moniker, are not actually biological lifeforms. They are mechanical and artificial in origin. Like the System itself, they are merely advanced enough to replicate some aspects of biological lifeforms. Ultimately, they are simply not a direct competitor to the Spore Tyrants, who consume biological life exclusively. While, of course, no actual diplomacy was involved, they and the Spore Tyrants have simply stopped attacking each other, no doubt considering doing so a waste of resources.
Gazers Grin (Bafflement): Why has this not come up in any reports?
It That Rewards Savagery (Curling lip): It was. It was just not relevant to any of your roles. The lack of something is not immediately noticeable and the greater part of this phenomenon has taken place off planet. Due to this, it has had no immediate effects on any of your work. Rest assured this anomaly is of no great concern. The Grey Legion and Hollow Majesties are a much greater threat to our work. I have seen to it that the off-world Spore Tyrant presence will not have any effect on this world in decades, if ever. The Red Woods are more problematic, as they can project strength from afar, but they remain a mostly defensive Scourge. If they ever do begin a campaign of expansion, it will not be targeting the natives or System infrastructure. This situation has simply made projections more difficult over the long term. Not that they were accurate enough to be of much use anyway, due to the sheer chaos we face.
Hand on the Scales has joined the Council
Hand on the Scales (Professional Confidence): I apologize for my late arrival, when I received the latest System report, I felt the need to verify the data and investigate the situation myself.
Gazers Grin (A Dozen Eyes Focused): Apologize later, present your findings now.
Hand on the Scales (Professional Confidence): The System made the decision to disable Compliance Protocols based off false data. A number of reports have been subtly altered to meet its conditions for this. While the effect was subtle, the method was not. I easily tracked the changes to two Hollow Majesties working together, Noble Virulence and Sublime Malice.
Merciful Heavens (Outrage): Dissonance claim them. How dare these parasites meddle in the fate of worlds. Can we re-enable the protocols? It should be easy enough to prove the data false.
It That Rewards Savagery (Stillness): Wishful thinking. Compliance protocols are proven to be necessary for organizing and encouraging Users when their worlds are first invaded by Scourge lifeforms. Yet the System, rightly, has no enthusiasm for these measures. They breed dependence and despondence, creating thralls. The System limits their capability for abuse, a fact we should be grateful for considering how easily a malignant entity with System access could weaponize them against the System's own Users. Once killed, the protocols cannot be brought back to life.
Gazers Grin (Fascinated Musings): Why disable them in the first place though? The Hollow Majesties are parasites. What do they profit in weakening their host? Obedience protocols are no threat to them and only mildly inconvenient to their Homunculi. They can already circumvent them, if within limits. If the System was capable of recognizing them for what they are, they would not exist.
Hand on the Scales (Professional Confidence): It is very confusing trying to understand the motivations of Hollow Majesties. Fighting them is my primary role and the first thing you learn about them is how diverse they are. Take Noble Virulence and Sublime Malice for example, the two have little in common. Sublime Malice is in many ways the archtype of a Hollow Majesty. Seeking personal power through infiltrating the system and using it to control System worlds by bargaining with and controlling the world's Users until it gains enough influence to create a true Avatar. A narcissistic warlord that cares not what damage it does. This world is clearly its next target and it was aiming to create chaos it could exploit.
Hand on the Scales (Professional Confidence): Noble Virulence is more complex. It has been confirmed to operate using mercantile activities. Engaging in diplomacy and hiring out its talents to System Races. The timeline and locations involved do not align with Earth being a target of conquest. I expect it is acting as a mercenary to accomplish some goal at the behest of another.
Merciful Heavens (Pensive Speculation): Could it be working for Sublime Malice?
Hand on the Scales (Professional Confidence): No. Hollow Majesties rarely work together beyond immediate goals. They are competitors for System resources and the more of them infecting the local System hardware, the weaker each one is.
Gazers Grin (Grim Denouncement): It has obviously been hired to destroy this world. Because of the auril sensitivity of the native population or some other reason we have yet to grasp. It is clear that something very odd is going on here. Both with the Grey Legion and the System Races.
It That Rewards Savagery (Slitted Eyes Unblinking): Possible. From the moment the Inoculation touched this planet, we knew some group from the System was sabotaging our efforts and committing no small amount of resources to that effort. Seven Inoculation Injections discovered so far? Hiring a Hollow Majesty and Injecting it to weaken our efforts would be cheaper than that and equally cowardly. They will have left a trail as well, the movement of resources on this scale could not possibly have gone unnoticed.
Merciful Heavens (Shock and Disbelief): This seems like a horrible and senseless overreaction. Auril sensitivity is problematic but to feed a world to the Scourges... it is monstrous. Genocide. What could motivate such an action? It weakens all of us who shelter beneath the System in both body and spirit.
Gazers Grin (Curiosity): Yes, what could be the motivation behind such a conspiracy? You could buy a not insignificant fleet for the price of a dozen Injections. Not to mention the costs of their secrecy. They could not predict which Authorities would be guiding this world, which means they are keeping every Authority ignorant. Impressive.
It That Rewards Savagery (Slitted Eyes Unblinking): Ignorant or complicit.
Hand on the Scales (Inflated Courage): I have found another connection between the Hollow Majesties and the Inoculation. The third and final Hollow Majesty infecting this world's System structure is one Wretched Renaissance. It is... difficult to pin down, subtle and surprisingly passive, yet despite this I have noticed it acting almost exclusively in areas bordering the Inoculation. Curiously, it does not appear to be sabotaging our quarantine efforts. It is very adept at covering its tracks, more so than the others, but it could not hide that.
It That Rewards Savagery (Slitted Eyes Unblinking): Have you investigated the Inoculation itself for abnormalities? Never mind, I will do this myself. You have done well Junior.
Gazers Grin (Sudden Amusement): HA! Were you aware that Sublime Malice and Wretched Renaissance are funding us? We received donations from worlds where they operate freely. Just a drop in the bucket but not an insignificant expenditure of resources on their part. This suggests that they are not part of whatever conspiracy desires this world's failure.
Merciful Heavens (Disbelief): Pardon?
Hand on the Scales (Apprehensive Apology): I was not, it did not occur to me to look into the sources of donated resources. I thank my Senior for his teachings.
Gazers Grin (Amusement): I am glad you are grateful, we will be working together from this point on, I think. My own current projects are almost complete, so I will shift my focus to the physical and digital threat posed by the Rebel Instruments. This should give you more time to work on stymieing the Hollow Majesties. Let us not let them catch us by surprise again.
Hand on the Scales (Formal): I look forward to it.
Merciful Heavens (Wariness): Is that the last of the excitement? Please let it be so.
It That Rewards Savagery (Stillness): No. Earlier, I was speaking of projections of survival improving and the natives uncommon effectiveness at fighting the Scourges once rallied and armed. I had more to say. The Feral Artisans. They have been repulsed.
Gazers Grin (Amusement): Oh? Did the Rebel Instruments and the Grey Legion team up on them?
It That Rewards Savagery (Stillness): Yes. They used a previously unknown Zausite based acid weapon to flood the Substrate.
It That Rewards Savagery (Snort): I jest, of course. It was done by natives and Crusaders mostly. To my knowledge the Grey Legion banished three. No doubt the work of their version of a Crusader. Whether the Lurker or another, I could not say.
Merciful Heavens (Relief): Ah, finally good news. Those unnerving and unpredictable things disturb me greatly. It is good that the high amount of Injections will not result in a great amount of those creatures skulking around.
Gazers Grin (Amusement): They disturb everyone who is sane. Let's see, there were forty-three confirmed Feral Artisans on this world. Higher than average of course, as they are drawn to Injections. How many remain?
It That Rewards Savagery (Slitted Eyes Unblinking and Lip Curling): My statement was literal. They were defeated. All of them. At this moment, all forty-three recorded Feral Artisan have been banished from this world. In six cases, by natives who were not even Users. The System assures me this is not without precedent but refuses to cite said precedent or give any further details. Querying the Crusader Orders has not granted any further enlightenment either. They report no anomalies and getting reports from natives is difficult.
Gazers Grin (Weary Flopping): Blindness. This is one mystery too many for me. I wash my hands of this subject. I will just fighting predictable enemies like the Rebel Instruments and whisper secrets in the ears of my disciples.
It That Rewards Savagery (Toothy Grin): Most will return of course, and more dangerous than before. A Primal Scourge is not so easily discouraged. Still, it is... interesting, to say the least. Does anyone else have a report to make?
It That Rewards Savagery (Toothy Grin): Well then. Our immediate goal is making sure the reclaiming of territory necessary to support the remaining human population is a success despite the disabling of the Obedience Protocols. I am sure everyone has important tasks to complete and their own Disciples to prepare. Fight to thrive, my allies. Prepare for the unpredictable.