Dear Mom and Dad.
I hope you’re both okay, I know this is a long shot, but I don’t know any other way to get in contact with you. I’m alive, Garth is too. We’re on an alien planet, if you can believe it, fighting monsters for some Colonial alien regime. We’re both doing okay. Garth is doing better than me, if you can believe it. He seems to have found his calling, taking to all this crazy shit like a fish to water. I’ve jumped six ranks in their whole military ranking scheme. I’m a one star Copper soldier, whatever that means. I think it’s some sort of enlistment bonus for having so many people sign up to fight with me. I still get the feeling that I’m just a little fish, but my pay is better, at least, along with some rank privileges.
The work they’re forcing us to do is dangerous, and when I think about the future, I get a real bad feeling, but I think I can make it. I’ve got a backup plan. I’m more worried about you and dad. I’m sending this letter out to each of you, with five thousand Credits, a map, and a return service. There’s space on the back of the letter, Write me back, get to an outpost on the map, buy a Status Band that’s Ethernet capable, and you can get in contact with me.
New York was probably hell that day, but I hope that through some kindness of fate that you’re both alive and together. I love you both.
-Sincerely, Jim Daniels
Yo Clark, still alive?
I may have gotten sucked up by aliens, but I’m still doing alright. With this letter, you’ll find a bunch of physical reinforcement Heartstones, a map and an enchanted tube. Take one of each kind of Heartstone every four hours, we gotta get you beefy if you’re gonna backpack fifty pounds of pot across the desert by yourself. I also managed to find an enchanted water-dispenser. Suck on the business end of the tube and it’ll turn the mana in the air into water.
Should be enough to walk twenty miles through the desert.
Bandits might be a problem as you approach the outpost. Let them search you for Mythic Cores if they come across you. Don’t give them any reason to think you might be hiding some, and for god’s sake don’t try to outrun them. Your best bet is to get inside the outpost as quickly as possible. If they steal all your shit, do your damnedest to walk away alive. Beg, borrow, or steal enough money to send me a letter, and I’ll get you hooked up with enough cash to get yourself a class, spells, some clothes and a place to stay.
Things here are starting to pick up, so get that class as soon as possible. I’m juggling so many projects here I’m starting to lose track of them. Having another Phytomagus on the team would be amazing.
I know you’re probably not the kind of guy that wants to work for anyone, but hear me out. I need someone to be in charge of all the new exciting drugs that will be developed and spread across the west coast. I know you were around for the sixties, you old codger. I’m building a new America, and it’s gonna make the free-love generation look like a nunnery.
Think on it.
Dear Mr. Daniels:
As your representative, it has come to our attention that your citizenship request has been suspended pending a further investigation. As per GalCode: 60-403-267, you are not eligible for citizenship until a thorough investigation into your recent financial situation has concluded. In acting in your best interests, it has come to our attention that you have recently started receiving a tithe from certain parties on your plant, and GalCode: 40-266-1557 states that unusual income must be vetted before citizenship can be granted.
In our ongoing goal of providing the best representation possible, you should be aware that an ongoing fiscal audit takes at minimum four cycles, or 32.57 rotations around your planet’s sun before the investigation can be closed. As such, you should be aware that GalCode: 3-5-20178 provides citizenship incentive for those who provide meritorious service in the ongoing battle with the Kipling, with citizenship following a full cycle of service, or achievement of Gold rank in Our Distinguished Few.
It is possible for us to petition for an expedited hearing for your citizenship request, but the first available appoint time is in 2 cycles or 16.285 rotations around your planet. As you are a new client, please find attached a convenient 2,786 page pocket document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, as well as the method for members of a newly introduced species to gain full citizenship.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to send a message to our office.
It has been our pleasure to serve you.
-- Obhai Law Firm--
By: --Kinereth Unjali--
--Seceretary 3rd class--
Mr. Daniels, We regret to inform you that after reviewing your situation, the Hertai Law Firm is unable to continue to pursue the expediting of your naturalization at this time. Your case for citizenship has been dismissed by a judge of the higher courts, as a result of a suspicion of unlawful activity in your background check. When you have achieved a higher rank in the Inner Sphere, we are confident your case may be able to push through the courts with more ease. Unfortunately our partner who handled your case, one Entria Sorgoth, has taken an unexpected early retirement. We are still searching for a replacement, and do not have the manpower to handle your case currently.
For a bit of candid advice, if you still wish to pursue Citizenship, I recommend choosing a smaller firm more desperate for money or recognition, as your case might be perceived as toxic by larger, more well established law firms.
-- Hertai Law Firm--
-Best Wishes, Hogar Kelista
--associate 1st class—
“Welp, that blows.” Garth said, tossing another letter into the trash.
Garth was in his underwear, sitting in a self-made wooden rocking chair, leafing through a stack of letters about as thick as his wrist while Wilson made notes on an imaginary notebook. Half of the letters were from alien law firms, explaining to him why they couldn’t make his citizenship happen faster. Garth pitched those across the room with callous disregard, while the other half were from people he’d tapped in other parts of the country to supply him with interesting plants, usually with the seeds taped to the letter itself or in a little plastic baggie.
“Sequoia, nice.” Garth said, peering at the seeds about the size of a fingernail taped to the front of the letter. He flipped to the next letter, and blinked twice. “Ooooh, Curare.” Now there was an alkaloid with which you did not want to fuck. The seeds, according to their Moonseed namesake, looked a bit like little crescent moons. The seeds whispered of death by asphyxiation into his ears as he looked at them with voices that sounded like the soft hisses of a venomous snake.
Wow, this was the first time he’d heard a plant with such a wildly different voice. Dodder sounded kinda shifty to Garth’s ear, like that relative that won’t move out, but Garth’s first experience with truly poisonous plants made the hair on his neck stand up.
Definitely less friendly to mammals than Marijuana. Marijuana, wheat, fruits…basically anything cultivated by man to make food or be tame sounded like Beladia. It was probably all in his head as he interpreted the Plant Analysis, though.
“Make a note to try engineering Dodder to create and inject Curare into the creatures it’s restraining. A paralytic poison should boost its efficacy tremendously.
“Ayup.” Wilson jotted down a note. “Also see if safrole can be converted into MDMA inside marijuana.”
“I guess you could, but that would seriously cut into the production of THC and CBD. I’m not sure one plant would be able to handle both processes efficiently enough.”
“You could probably develop a strain that could do it in a matter of a time, but it might be faster to create a symbiotic relationship between two species that could handle the chemical production separately, but grow together in the same space.” Wilson suggested
“Interesting.” Garth said as he flipped through the letters. Oh, nice, good old pine trees. They have crazy flammable sap.
“Flammable grass beds with pine sap?” Garth pontificated, and Wilson made a note.
“Anyway, I don’t think you have to concentrate on MDMA specifically. All we have to do is isolate and improve an empathogen in the mana hardwiring of a plant, and I think there’s a lot of room for work to that effect in cannabis. If MDMA doesn’t exist in nature, I’m probably not going to be able to transfer the trait of producing it over to another plant. Cocaine works because the Coca plant makes cocaine, Sassafrass makes Safrole, not molly.”
“We’ll figure it out, maybe Clark can make steps that direction. Bull-oak armor?”
“Might work, could be too brittle, modify with something more flexible perhaps?” Wilson said, making a note.
“how about a shoreside grass modified to have decent sized edible fruit on the end?”
“Like a pineapple?”
“A bit smaller. We’ll call them shoreapples. Beach-apples? Whatever. Just looking for some easy ways to keep a beachside city in food and water with little to no access to imported goods and services.”
“Ah, you want a variety of highly nutritious, tasty weeds.”
“Got it. You realize that might cause pest infestations, though?”
“It’s either that or making all food production only come from a handful of highly guarded sources. We’re going to do that anyway, but this will allow people to be less dependent on the farms. If they’re attacked, people can eat beach-apples. Damn, that needs a better name. on the disease spreading vermin front, I’m sure I can make the weeds pest proof.”
“What if the people won’t eat GMOs?” Wilson asked, looking him dead in the eye from the end table beside Garth’s chair.
They burst out laughing.
“Another thing we’re going to need, a sanitation system.”
“I think I could fix some kind of Mega-cactus to filter sewage back into potable water.”
“Ooh, good one.”
“Need to find a spell with voice activated triggers so I can modify Delay Spell to key in on certain words and phrases, and allow people to use seeds on command more reliably rather than just throwing them down.”
“You think antipersonnel and security field spells might have what you’re looking for? They have to let people in and out, so they probably use command phrases, if not something more advanced to separate friend from foe.”
“On a more important note, I’m going to need to investigate enchantments and very long term spells, most specifically curses, along with magic that can affect a person’s state of mind.” Garth said
“Oh? Planning on going that last step and getting Mind Control?”
“No. Social engineering. Gotta have to have some way of encouraging appropriate behavior.”
“Sounds scary.” Wilson said, making a note.
“Not really, think of it as positive and negative reinforcement that subtly nudges people as soon as they commit a few specific acts I have in mind. I’m not always going to be around to slap people’s wrists and nobody is going to respect each other right off the bat, So I’m planning to curse the town whores with a recursive spell that spreads through touch and rewards good behavior with a boost of oxycontin about the same level as a hug from two naked ladies,”
“Sweet. All for that.”
“and discourages derision, slander and especially violence, with a mild case of anxiety. On the flip side, whores who sign up will get off when they do their jobs.”
“Sandi got you thinking about that, huh?” Wilson asked.
“Kinda. If I’m not wrong, it should gradually steer behavior without anyone getting hurt, or even knowing how it happened. It’ll probably take a few years, maybe as many as an entire generation before whoring is a respected side-job. Plus they’ll act as an excellent vector for the social engineering spell.”
“Gonna tell anyone about this?”
“The curse isn’t going to cause any more than slight anxiety, so no. Training on humans is most effective when it’s consistent, and when they don’t know it’s happening. I had a psychology teacher who taught a student to spin in circles while scratching his head for M&Ms because he didn’t know she was doing it.”
“Me too.” Wilson said, and Garth rolled his eyes. They were the same person, so of course they had the same psychology teacher.
“I’m thinking about stealing some of the people-searching magic tech from the postal service to have whores who sign the employment form fall under the curse, and have it broken when they sign their release forms.” Garth said.
“Seems a bit…fascist?”
“Quality of life of future generations, man. I don’t think I’m gonna be around that long, I need some method of control and direction over these people, and we need people pumping out people as fast as possible. It’s been proven time and again that rewards are more motivating than punishment.” Garth stopped to think about what he was saying.
“God I sound evil. Is it bad that I get off on the idea of messing with people’s heads?”
“Probably.” Wilson said, scratching his lizard chin.
“And you know, with Nat I-“ Garth stopped and swallowed that thought, getting his mind back on track.
“I’m all for free love, but this seems like it might blow up in your face. Just off the top of my head, I can see you going mad with power. You know how you get when cheat codes are activated.” Wilson said.
“Let’s make a rule right here and now to prevent me from going bat-shit insane. Operant conditioning only. No direct tinkering with civilian’s heads.”
“Jawoll, mein fuhrer.” Wilson saluted and jotted down the note. “But, just to be fair, you should at the very least put this stuff in the fine print of the whore’s contracts if they’re going to be your sexy secret police.”
“Fine.” Garth said, drumming his fingers on the rocking chair. “Of course we’re going to test the technique on Tyler to be sure it’s safe for human consumption.”
“Hah, yeah, fuck that guy.” Wilson said cheerfully.
A knocking came from the door, and Garth glanced up from his stack of letters. A second later, Sandi peered in the door, glancing at the half-finished Great White sized dental gag in the corner of the room and blushing. She stepped inside.
“General Kenra says the troops have been sorted by company and we’ve got our next assignment.”
Ah well, there’ll be plenty of time to worry about social engineering our boyhood wet dream and darkest desires when people aren’t actively trying to get us killed. Garth put his musings aside and turned his attention to Sandi.
“How many did we get?”
“A hundred and twenty-five.” More than he’d thought. Must be the minotaur cock cold open.
“Excellent.” Garth said, coming to his feet.