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The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower [PA Multicross SI]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by TCGM, Oct 7, 2018.

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  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 1 - Oh Hey Another One
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower
    Chapter 1
    Oh Hey Another One
    I wake up with a gasp-

    Except, not really, because I can't breathe.

    I don't… need, to breathe?

    ...Wut.

    Aaaand that is the ground. The ground I am not currently on. The discovered ground.

    The ground I'm dropping towards waaaaaaay too fast shit shit shit SHIIIIIIIIIT!!!

    Okay, this is not the time to panic, I can figure something out.

    Firstly, how am I dropping towards the ground?

    ..That is an orbital drop pod.

    Around me.

    And it has four. thrusters.

    Right. So.

    I'm either something I've never heard of, or a Commander. From the glorious RTS that is Planetary Annihilation.

    ...Which probably means I'm actually an SI, come to think of it. I previously believed this to be downright impossible, at least given my universe's location on the waveform that is the layers of existence, but I'm currently experiencing a rather bumpy ride down to a planet from orbit inside a gigantic Brutally Efficient Self Replicating Machine of War.

    So, hello to the people reading my thoughts! Also, me who's writing this, you are an ass.

    I mean it's… technically possible ROBs actually exist and that one has picked me of all people to mess with, but it's far more likely I'm being trolled by myself.

    Hmmm… I wonder whether Me and… Me, can setup a bidirectional memory link or something. Writer Me already has mine, he's creating them after all, but I don't have his.

    ...Nothing? You continue to be an ass, Me.

    Ah well, unidirectional multi existence layer consciousness will have to do for now.

    Right, landed, cool rainbow explosion (‘cause rainbows are cool), drop pod disintegrates.

    If I had knuckles, I would crack them.

    Showtime, girls and boys.

    Step 1: Build an aircraft factory. I am so happy I seem to have all my PA techs unlocked, from what I can tell anyways. I'll know for sure once I grab a T2 fabber.

    Not every story has to start out with building a metal extractor.

    Factory finished. Queue up a scout plane and five T1 fabbers. Use Commander chassis to build three mex and then assist the factory.

    See, I can build the metal extractors afterwards. They don't have to be the first things a Commander plops down!

    Scout plane finishes. Set it for planetwide patrol.

    Looks like my Commander is going to finish building the mex just after my first fabber is done. That's okay.

    First fabber finished. Set it to build on all close by metal spots via an area construction command.

    Commander assisting factory now. Second fabber builds like, three times as fast. It's done. Set it to go to a further away cluster of metal spots and area construct.

    Third fabber finished. Scout plane has located my enemy.

    Scout plane has located my enemy.

    ...

    NOT COOL, ME!!!

    Oh, wait. Enemies.

    There are three enemy commanders on this planet.

    ...You've graduated from ass to dickwaffle, Writer Me.

    Right, they're still setting up their bases. No time for me to go to full T2 bullshit, I've gotta thin the herd immediately.

    Fourth fabber finished. Send both off to more metal clusters, away from the enemy Commanders.

    And finally, fifth fabber. I have this one finish constructing mex on the slightly further away mex spots near my landing location that my first one hasn't managed to get to and send the first one off to another metal cluster.

    Okay. 3 minutes since landing.

    I'm on track.

    Have Commander queue up a 3x3 grid of basic power plants. While my slow-ass body is moving out de wae, queue up a return command for all my mex building fabbers.

    Oof, there goes my scout plane. The enemy Osiris Commander shot it down.

    Well, they know I'm on the planet now. Too bad in roughly two minutes it won't matter.

    Now that at least a couple of the power plants are constructed and two of my outlying fabbers are on the way back, it's time to go full Von Neumann up in this bitch.

    Queue up five T1 air factories for each of the returning fabbers.

    Build five more fabbers from the original factory.

    As our good old boy Brackman says: Oh yes.

    I've got over 100 metal income now, thanks to the generous metal clusters I've been able to capture.

    Just enough.

    Three fabbers are on the way back, and my Commander has finished with the power plants.

    I need another 3x3 grid. And so, I queue one up.

    I also queue up five more factories for two of the incoming fabbers, and four for the final, fifth one.

    That'll leave me with a solid 25 air factories in… roughly a couple of minutes. So at 6:23 mission time, they'll be done.

    My original air factory has finished pumping out all five new fabbers. I have one each assist the factory building fabbers.

    My energy income takes a decent hit, but it drops the completion time down to 5:42.

    Much better.

    I idly make the original factory patrol around my base in a circle and set it to infinity build T1 fighters.

    Air wall. Just in case. It'll be fully developed by the time the factories are up.

    Another 3x3 grid of power plants, Commander. Stat!

    Okay. Whew. No more commands to give for a good full minute and forty seconds.

    Time to think.

    So, from my memories, I know I've been idly toying with the idea of writing a Multicross SI of the PA variety for a while. Ever since discovering the others on the various webforums, really.

    Guess I… Writer Me, finally started it.

    With me as the unfortunate lab rat.

    ...I blame you for this Drich. And Fusou. And… damn there's so many of my new peers out there in the multiverse, aren't there?

    Phoenix, Faith… or wait, just Hope now, I guess, Tiki, Nova, and so many more.

    Shit, if us Commanders weren't being protected by Author Fiat, it's likely we'd be bumper to bumper (or is that fabber to fabber?) across the multiverse!

    There was even that one dude who deployed a package for us SV/SBer Commanders throughout the multiverse. Or, at least, his multiverse. The likelihood of my multiverse being any other Commander's multiverse… well, it's low, and not just because the beings that make Eldritch ones look like chew toys for those in my new layer of existence have to agree to collaborate before any linking can occur.

    It gets a little scary when you contemplate just how much power Authors have.

    ...Speaking of, oh kind, wise, and powerful god of my story, could I have that shiny technology I was just talking about?

    Suddenly a burst of light blips into existence above me. An object comes tumbling out at supersonic velocity… and clangs into my head.

    I reach down to pick it up. Could Writer Me be answering my plea?

    Yeah. Yeah, he did.

    I'm holding a metal basketball with the words NOT YET engraved on it.

    ...I reiterate that you are a dickwaffle, Me.

    Internally sighing, I drop the basketball into the dirt. Seems the thing is pretty heavy given it plants itself halfway inside. The taunting words are, of course, looking straight up at me.

    Major Grade Dickwaffle.

    He stuck me in a Commander's body, too. I know it wouldn't take that much to give me a more humanoid one, yet Writer Me declined.

    Yet again, unless a ROB is aping my behavior rather fierce. It's not out of the question just yet.

    All this would've pissed me off…

    But.

    But.

    This also means that I get to experience becoming something beyond expectations. To seek out new tech and new life. To boldly go where, well, someone, and a lot of someones, have certainly gone before, but in my own way.

    That way being held to my two fundamental writing tenets.

    The Only Winning Move is Overwhelming Firepower, and Pseudo-Crack.

    I'll provide the former, with Writer Me providing the latter. You'd think that I would clarify it with ‘when he's not trolling me’, but past experience has proven me capable of doing both at the same time with no problems.

    Oh yeah. This is gonna be fun.

    A few dozen more seconds is all I have left to think. Then my factories are finished.

    And a couple of seconds later, so is my third power cube.

    That's all the power I'll need. And I have all the metals I'll need.

    So, I have all the fabbers assist my Commander, moving them away from the factories. The original factory I remove the queued plane from. This allows it to finish its current fighter.

    Then it's done.

    25 T1 air factories.

    All ready to build.

    Unassisted, yes, but raw quantity is a quality all its own.

    A T1 Bomber, codename Bumblebee, has a 21 second construction time.

    I can build 25 of the the fuckers every cycle.

    It takes roughly thirty to detonate a Commander.

    Heheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheheh.

    I love bomber sniping.

    All factories on Continuous. Queue up a single Bumblebee for each.

    Begin.

    All the factory arm… circle… octagon fabber mechanisms begin to spin, and the nanoframes of my force that's going to be recreating the bombing campaign against Japan starts to take shape.

    My Metal income almost drops to 0, but that's fine. I won't need it very soon.

    22 seconds later, including 1 second for liftoff, I have a force of aircraft nearly sufficient to wipe one of my enemies from the face of the world.

    Another 22 seconds and I have double that.

    RIP my enemies.

    Let's see, who shall die first?

    Well, I don't really have a preference, so the uppity asswipe that decided to shoot down my cute little scout plane becomes Target Number 1. No killing Scout-chan. Bad Osiris Commander. I don't have a squirt bottle big enough for you, so you'll just have to settle for thermonuclear fire.

    I select all 50 Bumblebees and send them the Osiris’ way. They'll get within sensor range soon, where I'll be able to see the Osiris and manually target it.

    Meanwhile, the factories continue to churn out 25 Bumblebees every 22 seconds.

    MUAHAHAHAHAHA!

    The Osiris is within sensor range now.

    Side note: PA units actually have speaker systems.

    Yeah, I know, right? I suppose that speakers aren't remotely expensive on the PA scale, so I shouldn't be surprised, but…

    Ah well.

    That just lets me pay proper tribute.

    I target the Osiris commander directly. The Bumblebees reorient to dive through its base straight for the unfortunate enemy AI. The speakers on all the Bumblebees on the attack run switch on.

    And music, assembled from my surprisingly complete audio database (Thanks, Writer Me!) starts playing.

    Buh ba ba bah baaaaah buh ba ba bah baaaaah buh ba ba bah baaaaah buh ba ba bah baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

    Because honestly, what else was I going to play?

    The sound washes over the Osiris’ base like a tide of oncoming awesome. The spiky Commander turns to look in the direction of the music, ceasing assisting its factory as it does so.

    If Commanders had eyes, I'd like to imagine the Osiris’ would be wide with shock and fear.

    It hastily backpedals and starts to run away from its base. Well, away from the incoming storm, but I'll say the base because it sounds better. More like the Osiris is scared chicken.

    The Bumblebees cross the entire base before reaching the fraidy cat Osiris. This winds up taking three of them out, as the base has some anti air capability, but not remotely enough.

    The first wave zooms over the Osiris and lets loose a torrent of bomb missiles.

    Yeah. Bomb. Missiles. Progenitor tech is that BS.

    The Osiris has less than a fourth of their health left when the first bomber begins circling back around for another strike.

    The Commander has been shooting its comparatively powerful AA gun this whole time but only managed to destroy 10 bombers.

    Not enough to save it. Not even remotely.

    The rest of my bombers close in for the kill-

    And the Commander goes up in a thermonuclear fireball.

    It wipes most of the planes out, but that's one enemy down.

    Funny story; I have five more flights of 25 bombers each hovering over my base.

    And the sixth just finished.

    I separate them into two groups of 75 Bombers each and send them both to the remaining two Commanders’ bases.

    This will be over very, very soon.

    More Ride of the Valkyries and two thermonuclear explosions that reach orbit later, I'm the only Commander left on the planet.

    Huh. I'd say that was too easy, but I'd be tempting Murphy. Or Writer Me.

    Knowing me, the latter might be worse.

    So no commentary on the difficulty of my opponents enters the wider universe.

    I stop my factories from producing Bumblebees and breathe a sigh of relief.

    For now, I'm safe, and can tech up in peace.

    No, shiver of fear running down my nonexistent spine, I am not acknowledging your existence.

    The metal basketball beneath my feet spins around until the other side is facing upwards. Upon it is engraved an abstraction of the kid of a skeptical meme.

    ...Screw off, Writer Me! Or ROB. Whichever you are.
     
    smeee, IdrisXY, Cazertanu and 43 others like this.
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 2 - Tech 2
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

    Joined:
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    The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower
    Chapter 2
    Tech 2

    Alright.

    I officially have the greatest ROB ever. Even if it's a dickwaffle, and most likely me.

    While I didn't have the entirety of the T2 and T3 (or rather Titan) tech tree unlocked, the three previously alive enemies on the planet did.

    After a lot of reclaiming and Progenitor grade hacking programs, I had them.

    And three Galactic War tech upgrades, too. My metal and energy incomes are now augmented out the ying-yang, and I can send my hovering ships, the Kraken, through my Teleporters.

    My planet is also now a haven of T2 metal extractors. My income is through the roof. I have full orbital control with lots and lots of Anchors.

    There do seem to be other planets in the system. A couple are even gas giants, something I'm looking forward to for the insane income I'll get once my swarm of orbital fabbers finishes blanketing them in atmospheric extractors.

    I've taken over the two moons of my planet and carpeted them in more T2 mexes. One of the moons is even being used for nothing more than energy generators (besides the mexes, that is).

    Everywhere.

    There's also a metal planet (read: budget death star) that is pretty far out on a rather eccentric orbit, high off the solar plane. It takes ages for anything to get there. Case in point, the 5 T2 fabbers I launched there from my Unit Cannon.

    Forty minutes ago.

    They're only now entering orbit. Ffs that thing is far.

    And they've landed, safe and sound. Not an enemy to be seen.

    I hadn't encountered any more anywhere else, but I figured if there were gonna be more they would be out here, on this remote artificial world.

    Okay, queue up a T1 air factory, then assist it. That takes a few seconds to complete. Build a T1 air fab, done, have it build a T2 factory, done, have the T2 fabbers assist the construction.

    Well I have a minute or so.

    Right. Time to take stock. What can I do?

    Do I have the fabled Progenitor Design Program, the one which Drich, Fusou, and several others did?

    ...Yes.

    Yes I do.

    And Writer Me is even more of a troll, because it's basically Sketchup.

    I know a certain itty bitty pretty battleship kitty uses this to make awesome stuff. I, however, do not.

    Whyyyyyy?! Tell me Writer Me, why hast thou forsaken thy creation so?!

    First thing I do when I reach an inhabited Earth is grab a proper program like Max or Maya. I'd even take Blender.

    Ugh.

    Good news is it's not actually Sketchup. It can't be, because this program isn't just a modeling application. It allows me to tear apart and rebuild actual technical systems too.

    It's pretty much a super high end CAD program crossed with Sketchup, Skynet, and the most bullshit 3D printer system in the universe.

    That fills in things for you.

    This, this right here is 100% why the Progenitors got as OP as they did. I kinda want to hand this program to a humanity just to watch the fireworks.

    Meh, something to put on the list anyways-

    Oh, good! My T2 air factory is done. Queue up… 30? 30 sounds good, T2 air fabbers, set the factory to auto assist itself, and jumpstart it with the vehicle T2 fabbers.

    Okay now where was I? Ah yes, causing chaos and mayhem across the multiverse.

    ...I wonder how long it would take to Dyson Sphere this star system?




    Going full Von Neumann? Five minutes.

    Yeah. BESRMoW are scary for very good reasons.

    I also am just about finished with scouting out the metal planet. The hologram generators on the inside of the Sphere are activating, painting a glorious picture across the ‘sky’ as they boost up the brightness of the outside universe. It would take my breath away if I still had any.

    Wow.

    Keeping this hologram tech in use. Definitely. My stuff is gonna look sweet.

    So far I haven't found anything of note on the metal planet. Lots of metal spots which my fabbers are hastily covering with mexes, but little else. And of course there are the locations in which I can install the glorified heatsinks that are the Metal Planet Annihilaser Activators, but I don’t really consider those noteworthy. My scouts are converging on the opposite pole from my landing location annddd-

    ...Wait a sec.

    Is that what I think it is?

    The scout plane lowers its altitude to get a closer, more accurate look at the cylindrical, keyed device in front of the newly discovered ring.

    Yeah. It is.

    That confirms it. I'm being trolled by myself, not a ROB.

    Planting a literal Milky Way model Stargate with a hyper advanced, touchscreen DHD in front of it out on literally the last spot I'd end up exploring in this star system reeks of my own particular blend of fucking with people.

    Gods damn it. Progenitor Teleporter, now.




    I'm standing in front of the Gate. And yes, it is an actual Stargate. It looks like a textbook Milky Way model. Not a single ounce of modification.

    The DHD, on the other hand, looks like someone took the Atlantis Control Room's DHD and merged it with an LCARS console, then installed Linux.

    Yeah, Linux. Oye. At least it's not Windows 10 or Vista.

    Thankfully I'm a Commander now. It's piss easy for me to scan and store the designs for the Stargate, the custom DHD, the Ancient programs running inside it, and the Linux distro the thoughtful (read: dickwaffle) Writer Me included in it.

    I can now build Stargates. And the original DHD types. Heck, even this new type of DHD.

    All except for the little black box inside the thing, labeled ‘Trans-Reality Rupture Generator’. Try as I might, no data comes from scanning it. I can't even tell it exists, except visually.

    And it's completely impervious to harm.

    Including the post it note that appears after I attempt to use my Uber Laser to cut it open. The one with the stuck out tongue emoticon on it.

    Yeah. Definitely me.

    Anyways, clearly this device is meant for me to use to travel to other universes. I also, clearly, don't have control over it. Writer Me does, through that box.

    And no, I can't just sniff the data coming out of it to the DHD when I open the Stargate.

    It doesn't work like that.

    This box accepts input only. Anything it's hit with, it absorbs. Slight fluctuations in the Stargate’s wormhole, when open and the box is messed with, are my only clues the energy doesn't just disappear from the universe.

    How do I know that? I tried shooting my Uber Cannon at the box when a wormhole was open to another Gate I built on one of my worlds that weren't out in the middle of the stellar equivalent of bumfuck nowhere.

    The local star let out a burp in the form of a gigantic coronal mass ejection, erasing my units, buildings, hell even their footsteps, from one of the moons, turned it into a gods damned lava moon, and the wormhole inside the Gate imploded into a momentary, thankfully tiny, black hole.

    Message received loud and clear, Me! I get it! Don't shoot the box and the star won't shoot back!

    Anyways, there's no way my Commander chassis is gonna fit through the Stargate. Neither I not my fabricator programs know enough about Gate science to reliably make a bigger gate, either. And the Progenitor Teleporter and Stargate technologies are incompatible.

    Not to mention that even if I could make a bigger one, odds are I'd be coming out a normal sized gate on the other end. That would not be fun. Either the Gate refuses to materialize the parts of me that are too fat or I come out shrunk.

    No thanks.

    That means I need to design a new, humanoid body right off the bat.

    Oh well.

    Can't be that hard.

    ...Famous last words, these.




    IT'S HARD.

    VERY VERY HARD.

    I've been trying to figure out a human form for about five days straight now.

    But no matter what I do, how close I get, something ends up breaking. Whether the musculature rips itself off the bones, the skin turns into a vice, or even that one time the brain metamorphosed into a literal chocolate pudding, I always encounter a problem.

    ...You know what, maybe I'm approaching this the wrong way. I've been trying to create a synthetic equivalent to biological superstructure. Maybe I should follow evolution's own idea? Keep It Simple Stupid?

    I have nanotechnology and I'm a Stargate fan. I don't have the blueprints behind Asuran Nanite tech, but do I really need it?

    I'm not trying to make an Asuran. I'm trying to make a human looking, and feeling if I can, body.

    Hmmm…..

    Alright, break it down. I have nanotech, what does it do? It builds things. How?

    Ah, by connecting molecules.

    By. Connecting. Molecules.

    I’m starting to think my nanotech might actually be about a billion times more advanced than Asuran Nanites.

    It takes some pretty intense modification, but by messing with the properties of the atomic bonds the nanotech makes nanoframes out of, it can remain in the liquid state all Progentior things initially are built (though knowing what I now know, I’d use ‘grown’ instead) as. A few more tweaks with the nanotech’s communications ability, namely, giving them the ability to communicate with each other at all, and I have a pretty good base for a nanite that will function almost identically to that of the Asuran and Replicator nanites with which they made Human Form Replicators.

    Only as they are Progenitor tech and don’t link up using Keyrons but in fact raw molecular connection, they are not vulnerable to disruptor weapons.

    However as a consequence to this change of operation, I can’t soak up energy with them. That’s concerning, sort of, as that was the thing that made Replicators the galaxy-eating power they became.

    Also, Progenitors basically didn’t have shields. I’d have to pick up that tech somewhere else at some point. They had deflection systems, sure, but those were more for interstellar dust than… plasma blasts.

    Hmm. What to do. I could have my humanoid body but it wouldn’t be super invulnerable like my main Commander chassis or the Asurans were-

    I’m an idiot.

    I tossed the super OP design program my idea. It returned positive.

    Oh fuck yes.

    Progenitor Alloy, the thing they plate almost literally everything with, acts a lot like the nanite matrix the Asurans and Replicators had. It consists of a whole bunch of small, aligned crystals, which when hit by energy of any kind vibrate to dissipate the energy across the entire plate. It’s a glorified resonance cascade machine. The only way to damage the Alloy is to overcome the level of resonance it can contain and return to the environment.

    And I can coat my new nanites in a thinner layer of the stuff.

    Sure, one on one, the thin layer does nothing much. It provides the nanite a buttload of protection on a nano scale. Not on a macro scale.

    But if you have millions of the things working in concert?

    Not only can they act like a solid sheet of Progenitor Alloy when need be, they can also direct any energy the entire matrix is given in certain directions. Phase the energy a little bit and I can fire plasma blasts from my hands!

    Yes. All of my yes. Add in a Commander Resource Core and ensure the nanites can actually still use their fabrication systems… and they can. Fantastic!

    Now I just need to fabricate this body of mine. It’s gonna be pretty expensive. I wonder if my economy can take it.

    Hahahahaha, yeah, I couldn’t keep a straight face either. I spin my Commander body around to face forwards and align the huge Fabricator on the arm with the impromptu table I’d had a spare aerial fabber create in front of me.

    Grey Goo, here I come!
     
    smeee, IdrisXY, Cazertanu and 53 others like this.
  3. Threadmarks: Chapter 3 - Shake Your Body Down
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

    Joined:
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    The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower
    Chapter 3
    Shake Your Body Down

    ...This is taking a lot longer than I thought it would.

    My poor Commander-level fabber has to create each nanite. Individually.

    The slowly growing puddle of slightly blue ooze that will become my new body is going to take quite a long time to complete. Days, in fact.



    What the hell am I going to do to pass that much t- WAIT A SECOND.

    None of the Asuran programs are here! My body isn’t going to have any way to run itself!

    Shit shit shit shit shiiiiit!

    Well, I have the knowledge. And the time. I may not have experienced programming on this particular codebase before, but Progenitor bullshit being what it is, it can’t be that difficult. I bet the uber designer program will be able to help me, too.

    Yup, it has a programming section.

    ...Can I do it? I’m gonna do it. I rarely ever get to make this reference.

    I raise my Commander’s other arm, the one with the Uber Laser in it, and shove my fist into the sky. “BY THE POWER OF SKETCHUP!”

    I’m not sorry and nothing you say can make me sorry.




    [TRANSFERENCE SUCCESSFUL. BOOTING SINGULARITY.EXE…]

    It’s quite a surreal experience to be able to monitor your own boot sequence. Something I really shouldn’t be able to see. After all, by all rights, my mind is offline while it is not booted up.

    And yet I’m floating in a soft golden void with gaseous clouds of… something flowing around the golden, vaguely humanoid form I would call my body in this… space.

    Is this my soul?

    A force pulls me towards my new body and cuts off any more speculation I might be able to idly perform.

    Everything goes dark… and then light.

    I blink my eyes. The first thing I can actually see, once my optical sensors fully activate, is the sky.

    I sit up rapidly and look around.

    Everything seems right. My Commander body is standing there, fabber outstretched. It's now just another unit. No mind inside.

    I take a look at my hands. They're nothing but dark navy blue blobs connected to more of the dark navy blue blob that is my new body.

    The color must be because of the Alloy.

    Alright, time to see if the Image Projection subsystem works. I send it the mental image of… well, me, but improved.

    Big, tall, long auburn hair, pink skin. That skin color is the most important. Not because I'm ethnist, but because I don't wanna be blue.

    Thankfully it appears the system works. My nanites reconfigure and rearrange to shift the reflected light from my body into the correct image. They also move, expanding or contracting, to set up the right body proportions.

    ...I have a feeling this would be incredibly uncomfortable without being made of nanites.

    A second or so and it's finished. My body looks back at me. Or, well, an accidentally improved version. I do not have abs anywhere near those.

    I'm also naked. Whoops.

    Clothes only take another second or so. Just a standard pair of cargo pants and a polo shirt.

    Hey, don't knock it till you try it. I like my style! It helps when you need to carry stuff!

    I swivel around on the table and slowly begin to slide off. I brace myself with my hands, anchoring them into the actual structure of the table. Just in case.

    It proves to be unneeded though. My feet alight on the grassy ground of my home planet in this universe without so much as a wobble.

    Oh, right. Nanites. Bipedalism is chump change. Heh.

    Pulling my hands out of the table I stand tall, in an approximation of my own body, for the first time since I've been SI'd.

    It's nice. And it seems the senses are being interpreted correctly. That was one of my worries when I designed the underlying suite of software which runs my body for me. My worries were thankfully for naught.

    Just one final test before I can stop the initial experimentation. I should theoretically be able to shapeshift. Into anything I can imagine.

    I'm gonna stick with a human for now, though, as I have no wish to try to learn how to walk on more legs.

    The best way to stress test this particular system is to go as far away from my current form as possible. Since I'm giving myself the limit of human… that basically means female.

    Le sigh.

    Whatever. If I'm gonna be a girl for a tiny amount of time, I'd better make the test worth it. Which means as different a body shape as I can… and maybe some additions?

    Huh. Well my forum avatar is as good an example as any. She's quite well endowed, in both sets of curves, and the halo will be an additional test of my nanites’ ability.

    I form the mental image of her body, and push.

    Sure enough, my body begins shifting. The bulk of my male, original form redistributes to my hips and chest. ‘Organs’ reform, my legs both get longer, skinnier, and bigger, paradoxically. My hair grows out too, but not by much. I have long hair as a guy.

    Huh. My body feels lighter somehow. And definitely way more bouncy. I do a couple of jumps to confirm the physics emulation of my nanites… and yes, they work. A little too well, if the fact it takes me a few seconds to tear my gaze away from my own chest is any indicator.

    There's something to be said about designing something too well.

    Then the part I'm actually trying to pay attention to occurs. How will my nanites create the halo? It should be a completely disconnected piece.

    ...Well that's a novel way to do it.

    A cluster of them leave my head and hover up into the air around it. They form into a ring, then start emitting light. One halo get.

    But I can still control them.

    I idly direct the halo towards my skinnier, smooth hand and grab it. The nanites don't re-merge. They stay as a self-contained unit. I can easily override that, but the default behavior seems to be working correctly.

    Interesting. This has possibilities. I wonder…

    I throw the halo across the moon as hard as I can. Only I forget that I'm forgetting something… rather important.

    The halo breaks the sound barrier as it rockets out of my hand.

    ...Whoops. I forgot I'm not human. Lots more strength.

    Once the halo slows back down it is halfway across the entire planet. Yes, this planet is rather on the small side, but still.

    Instead of calling it back I simply direct it to one of the Teleporters nearby. It flies out of the one next to me and alights above my head again.

    So, I can detach parts of myself and use them as weapons, or as individual units.

    Hmm… Can I operate two bodies at once?

    Worth a check, I think.

    I suck a ton of metal and energy out of my storage in a five second period as I manufacture another few million nanites. They stand up next to me as another navy blue blob.

    I connect to their systems. It works fine. They just seem to be an extension of myself.

    I isolate their systems in a similar way to what I've seen the halo nanites do, then push my previous male form into their Image Projection system.

    Two seconds later, another naked me stands there.

    Clothes.

    Oh, hmm. I just noticed that my original clothes are still on my female body, and are only on it because my hips and chest strain them enough to keep them on.

    Heh. Whoops. I take a moment to reconfigure this body's clothing to that of my forum avatar. Cargo jeans, a nice undershirt, and an overcoat. I make can sure the pants have actual fucking pockets, too.

    Excellent. They ‘feel’ like they fit much better. Including the underwear.

    ...Something I will not be revealing the measurements of, you perverts.

    Granted I am still technically naked, but… bah!

    It's all semantics anyways.

    Oh, hey, my male body is still naked. Let's fix that.

    Original clothes on it. Now, can I move it?

    Yes. I can also move my female one.

    This is weird.

    I'm in two heads at once and can act independently inside of each body. At the same time.

    Nope! Nope nope nope! Too weird! I can't cope with multithreaded thought just yet, thanks! The test is done now back to one body right this second!!!

    I deactivate my female body and use my male one to absorb the nanites. This ends up making me have twice the number of them the design calls for, but that was bare minimum anyways. It doesn't matter how many I have as part of myself up until the point I start generating my own gravity well.

    And that is several orders of magnitude more.

    ...You know what? I just had an idea.

    My halo was able to fly back to me. Well, hover back, but still. There were comparatively few nanites in it versus my body.

    Have I accidentally given myself superpowers?!

    Let's see. Super strength? Yup, I tossed my halo half the way around my planet. Super durability? Built in.

    Flight?!

    I instruct the nanites near my outer shell to engage their hover engines all in a downwards vector.

    I abruptly realize my mistake a split second before they come online. The thing is, I forgot a rather important detail.

    These engines are microscopic, yes, but they are based on the designs that keep the Zeus in the sky, push my spaceships around in orbit fast enough to travel interplanetary, and allow actual wet navy ships to hover.

    Calling them hover engines is actually a bit disingenuous. Their density, power, the mass of the thing they're pushing, and their vector determines whether they serve as just hover engines or proper thrusters.

    Sure, the ones in my body are small. In contrast, I have several million of them all facing in a single direction and trying to push something lighter by an order of magnitude than literally anything they've ever been used on.

    I don't hover. I don't just fly.

    I pull a Tony Stark and almost blink into orbit. Straight into and through an Anchor.

    The stream of fire and vaporized air rings slowly spreading out across the atmosphere of my planet in my wake are my only evidence that I didn't just teleport.

    Heh. Whoops.

    Even as I direct my swarm of orbital fabbers to start repairing the world, I can't help but squeal with glee.

    I CAN FLY!

    AND IT WORKS IN SPACE!!!

    I'm a gods damned space capable Alexandria package, and I bet if I researched it enough, I could fire bullshit lasers or plasma blasts without needing to absorb the energy first. I can probably do an ice breath with crystalline nitrogen too, if I had to.

    That makes me a Superman package. But made out of nanomachines, son.

    Oh fuck to the yes.

    As I reenter the atmosphere on course for my Commander body, I shout my glee to the entire sky. “WAAAHHOOOOOO! I'M THE KING OF THE WORLD!!!”
     
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  4. Threadmarks: Chapter 4 - Adventure Calls
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower
    Chapter 4
    Adventure Calls

    Alright. This is it. After calming down enough from my discovery of my accidental superpowers (And a joyride around my star system), I'm ready to start my obligatory PA SI Multicross Adventure.

    My Commander body is offline, ready to boot my backup consciousness up again if I don't reestablish contact with my command network in this universe within a month.

    It wouldn't be me, though. Given I was pretty sure I had a soul, the new me would have one too. A new soul. They might think they're me, they'll have my memories, but it wouldn't surprise me if the new soul ended up processing those memories differently. Maybe they'll even fall more on the female side than me, leading to them choosing a female form for their standard instead of a male for mine.

    I'm down to be a chick sometimes, they are hot after all, but I'm comfy as a guy for everything else.

    In order for that to become necessary though, I'd have to be stranded.

    ...Or too dead to care, I suppose. Nice thoughts these.

    Oh well.

    Actually... all this prep work might end up being worthless. I wouldn't let an SI of me die and be replaced, nor get cut off from the way to continue my entertainment, which means Writer Me won't either. I'd probably just get yanked back here if I do die or get stranded, honestly.

    That's comforting. I think.

    Now, where to go?

    I walk up to the DHD and put my hand on my chin. I almost automatically begin stroking my beard as I ponder my question.

    I'd added a beard to my body for the explicit purpose of having something to stroke thoughtfully while coming up with plans. That was almost literally the only reason.

    Hey, it's a great reason!

    The other benefit is that it makes me look older. More dignified. My beard isn't gray by any definition, oh no; it's auburn, same as my hair. Some red strands are sprinkled in for aesthetic purposes. Runs around my entire face, into sideburns, and merges with my hair.

    And unlike when I was human, the damn hair doesn't emulate a rat's nest after twelve hours since being brushed.

    Ahh! I'm getting sidetracked. Where should I go?

    The UI isn't exactly standard Alteran. Oh, sure, the normal 39 glyphs are there, arranged in a circle with a giant push button for activation in the middle, but there are other things on the screen too.

    Like that big Random Address button.

    I know exactly what that thing represents. Writer Me most likely has a list of possible worlds for me to travel to on whatever forum he's posted my story to. Hitting that button will make him roll a dice to select a world.

    I imagine I'll get an address from it.

    An address, and nothing more.

    No, a guide to whatever I was going into would be too unlike me. I love to make players discover things in my campaigns. That style of GMing likely carries over to messing with me, too.

    Oh well. Not like I have any valid addresses memorized. The ones I know from Stargate won't do much good here.

    ...Will they?

    I hastily punch in the address for Earth from Stargate. The final chevron locks in and I hit the activation button.

    Nothing. The gate just powers down.

    Abydos? Nope.

    Chulak? Also no.

    Atlantis? Lantea? Any of the SGC offworld backup sites? Langara?!

    All get no reaction from my Gate. Or the black box.

    Ah well. Too much to hope for, I guess.

    Those will help once I reach the actual Stargate universe, but here they aren't valid.

    Fair enough.

    And I know you forum goers. You don't think I have Stargate somewhere in the world list. Or you do, because you can read it, but you are calling bullshit on me being able to know.

    ...Hahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaa!

    See here's the thing; I'm an SI. By definition I'm either my original self or a copy. I know how I work. I know what I like, and I know what I would put in such a list. I'm effectively able to metagame my own story.

    If you don't like that, well… screw you! I'm going to take any advantage I can get in this thing! I mean, come on! I'm basically a metallic monkey here for the entertainment whims of myself and any other higher level observers.

    Give me this one.

    I wait for several moments to see if Writer Me objects.

    Nothing happens.

    Hmm. Seems I approve of my actions. Grand.

    …Aaaand, back on the original topic, I know that I'm far too big of a Gate geek to not include that universe. It's in the list.

    I just have to discover the address to get there from my own PA universe. The one I'm in. The one I started in.

    My Hubverse? For Hub Universe?

    Yeah. I like that. Kind of cliche and I know for a fact other Commanders have named their origin universes similarly, but oh well. It's accurate.

    Frankly I'm surprised I didn't start off in the Stargate verse. Guess I wanted to stick to some conventions of the PA SI story.

    Well, I have no addresses that work. No plan, and no way of getting out of this solar system to see if the other stars in the sky are real or simulated. Ironically I have to go to another universe entirely to grab an FTL technology to help me go a mere few light years.

    I sigh, resigned to my fate, and smack the random button.

    I can almost hear the dice rolling.

    No, wait, I can actually hear dice rolling. There’s a little animation of them on the screen. Sound included.

    Classy, Writer Me. Classy.

    A specific energy pattern is fired off to the Black Bullshit Box. It returns a series of numbers, which the DHD interprets into glyphs. A seven glyph address pops up above the digital DHD mockup with three question marks above that.

    Huh. So the box does respond to certain stimuli. It just needs to be structured.

    I commit the glyphs of the unknown address to memory and, just as a test, slap the random button again.

    That same signal is sent to the Box. It responds… with the same numbers.

    I see. Once I generate a random address I have to travel there before the Box will give me another address.

    Glad Writer Me saw that edge case coming. Glad for him, that is, because I'd die of embarrassment if I failed to catch that when programming the damned thing.

    Nothing more to it. I tap in the address, slap the activation button, and the Gate connects.

    That kawoosh will never get old.

    The fluctuations in the wormhole and the event horizon show me that the Box is working its bullshit properly. No abnormal solar flare activity. No mini singularities.

    Seems like all systems are go.

    I'm not just gonna step through without any information from the other side, however. I quickly design a glorified sensor ball

    [​IMG]

    with a tiny fusion reactor and a few hover engines onboard as my primary Gate scouting unit. It kinda reminds me of the Kino from SGU, only not designed by a toddler with their finger up their ass.

    ...I have a lot of beef with that show.

    Worry not, though, my vacuum fighting friends and observers. I haven't forgotten the tenets of good design.

    The sensor package on the front can swivel open and expose the built in plasma lance.

    Yes, this is a scout. On the other hand, you can never have enough Dakka, and I've already experienced what happens when you don't arm your scout drones.

    I’m naming this particular model Scout-chan. In honor, of course.

    I fabricate one of the cute little balls (it's the size of my head, but on the PA scale that might as well not exist) and send it through the Stargate.

    The signal vanishes as the drone transits through the wormhole. When it reappears the signal is distorted a little, but is otherwise readable.

    It emerged on what appears to be a gray, dusty world. Nothing shows up inside sensor range besides the Stargate it exited from. It doesn't have a DHD… but there is another Black Box of Bullshit laying on the ground.

    Good. I won't be stranded.

    I have the drone pan around so the visual sensors can take a look. The Box alone proves that some things in my adventures will only show up that way.

    ...Oh you have to be shitting me.

    Here's a rather important question- how the flying fuck did the Neil Armstrong of this new universe miss a gods damned Stargate within walking distance of his stupid footprint?!
     
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  5. Threadmarks: Chapter 5 - A Bridge to the Universe of Swords
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower
    Chapter 5
    A Bridge to the Universe of Swords

    Life Goal Achieved: Literal Moonwalk.

    The moon is surprisingly quiet. Like yeah, you assume it will be due to the vacuum and all, but still. It doesn't really hit you until you're standing there on the extremely dusty rock.

    I walk around the Stargate as I contemplate… well, several things, but mostly how exactly a Stargate is on the Moon close enough to the Lunar Landing Module I can walk over there and literally kiss it.

    Besides my own footprints there aren't many other indicators of something unusual. The Gate seems to be embedded in the Lunar surface just fine. No dust piles around it to indicate that it was recently added.

    There are some footprints from, presumably, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin fucked around in their spacesuits. The US Flag is here too.

    And my still active Stargate hasn't disturbed any of them. With its existence or the activation. The only footprints even approaching it are mine.

    I eye the Black Box of Bullshit warily. That thing doesn't have any indicators either.

    What the literal shit!

    Apparently Writer Me has stepped up my fuckery powers since I split off from Writer Me.

    Whatever. I have spent more than enough time trying to locate… something. Whatever I was looking for. Something that was out of place, I suppose.

    I don't know whether this Gate existed in this reality before I connected to it or not.

    I gaze up at the blue-white sphere above my head and sigh inaudibly.

    No clue what universe I'm in yet, and the lack of knowledge of whether Apollo 11 found the Stargate doesn't help.

    Even with being unable to activate it, the discovery of the Gate would've changed the path of this reality's Humanity almost unrecognizably.

    There aren't any spaceships in range… but then again my current detection systems only cover out to high Lunar orbit.

    And without knowing which universe I'm in, I do not want to start BESRMoW'ing it up quite yet. The residents of that titanic blue ball above me might take issue with that.

    I guess the only way to figure it out is to go see what's up with this version of my home planet.

    I pick up the Black Box. It doesn't seem to care about being moved physically, thankfully. Using the still present connection to my massive resource network in my Hubverse, I assemble a DHD around the box and plant it in front of the Gate.

    Oh yeah. My network continues through Stargates. Something about being able to traverse wormholes and whatnot.

    I take a moment to admire the fluctuating blue puddle in the center of the Gate, then send the command to my Hubverse to shut the Gate down.

    The event horizon dissipates soundlessly.

    And I am alone once more.

    Well, except for my little Scout-chan, but it's not sapient.

    I had no idea how much I would miss the frankly insane number of possible mental contacts I have in my Hubverse until right now.

    Just one light sits in the back of my mind. Scout-chan, waiting for orders.

    I sigh again, wistfully this time. Just one more test until I can lift off and explore this Earth.

    I need to make a connection back to my Hubverse. From here.

    Only problem is, I don't have an address that will make the Bullshit Box form that particular connection. Hell I only have one valid address in the first place!

    Alright, time to think. This is clearly being written by me. Or a version of me. And so far all evidence has pointed to me employing my own GMing tropes upon my story.

    One of which is KISS.

    Keep It Simple Stupid. Or Keep It Stupid Simple. I've heard it both ways.

    ...It can't be that easy, can it?

    I punch in the glyphs for this universe; the address that caused the Bullshit Box in the Hubverse to connect here. And I only hesitate a moment before the activation button receives my palm.

    The Gate hums a bit, then shuts down. It didn't connect.

    Damn. Knew that was too easy.

    Hmm.

    Maybe… backwards?

    I flip the address around in my mind and start punching it into the DHD in reverse. This ends up changing the Point of Origin from the Earth symbol, but… well, nobody ever said Writer Me needed to apply anything approaching logic to the Bullshit Boxes.

    Once more I push the activation button.

    And the Gate connects. The soundless nature of the unstable vortex is actually rather surreal.

    Never heard it without the kawoosh before.

    I send a ping through my Resource Network into the Gate. If there is anything on the other side, it will answer.

    A moment passes… and then my mind is filled with lights once more.

    I sigh with relief. Yup. That's my Hubverse.

    I copy my experiences to my backup and then re-engage the system. It’s on a 30 day delay again. Once a month I'll need to come back up to the moon and make a connection.

    If I can't do that, I have been compromised somehow. I'll need my backup to storm through the Gate with a literal army to come save my ass.

    I shut down the Gate and the sea of lights fades once more. For the final time, at least in the near future.

    I glance up at the suspiciously normal Earth.

    This could be a world with Magic.

    Magic absolutely has a chance against Progenitor bullshit.

    And I know I've included at least one, most likely two, and possibly three worlds with Magic of varying kinds in whatever list the Bullshit Boxes get their addresses from.

    One deep faux breath later and the possibility that I might face opposition of the kind almost designed to be my new race's Achilles Heel fades away.

    I order Scout-chan to patrol the moon. It will keep the thing busy and allow me to dial the Gate remotely if I have to.

    Like, say, if I need to suddenly open up a can of Orbital Bombardment on some moronic, dark, potato tossing racial superiority propelling fuckwads.

    Oh yeah. I know Potter is on that list.

    A final shake of my head and I engage my hover engines, lifting off the Lunar surface without disturbing even a speck of dust.

    Next stop: Earth.

    Then I'm getting a damn pizza.




    Travelling between the Moon and the Earth is boring. Even if you have effectively reactionless and infinite thrust. Even if you can reach an appreciable percentage of the speed of light.

    It's still boring as shit.

    Thankfully I'm now in range of the global communication network. Or rather, I've always been in range, but the number of things able to reply to me that aren't carefully monitored or slow as balls was effectively nil.

    But I just passed a GPS satellite. More than close enough.

    And like that, the entire Internet of this world is open to me. The good, the bad. Reddit, 4chan. Google, or... Bing.

    I accidentally shift my course a little with how hard I laugh in the vacuum.

    Oh gods.

    No, never Bing

    Anyways, this seems to be a pretty standard Humanity. On a pretty standard Earth.

    The Wizarding World is looking a lot more likely as every second drags on.

    Although… even if I'm in that universe, the planet seems a bit more technologically developed than it has any rights to be. Maybe I’ve arrived after the entirety of canon?

    No, doesn't sound like me. I get my kicks by taking canon universe and kicking them in the nuts with bullshit, bombardment, and butterflies until they barely resemble themselves far too much to allow that.

    I might as well check the date. It's a good starting point to figure out where the hell I am.

    And the atmosphere is approaching pretty fast, so I'd better do it before the comparatively primitive technology is unable to communicate with me anymore. Damn blackout zone.

    I can broadcast to them of course, no measly atmosphere layer or ball of fire will stop that, bit they are simply unable to reply.

    Being super tech really doesn't enable you to communicate with something flawlessly at your level. That super tech has to exist on both ends. Otherwise the replies you get are affected by the sender’s level of technology, and all the drawbacks that come with it.

    Anyways. Enough woolgathering. What is the date.

    GPS satellites? You got me, bros?

    They do! GPS system, you're the man! Or the non sapient geosynchronous orbit radio beacon cluster! Whichever sounds cooler.

    It is currently November 5th, 2022.

    … Now why does that sound so damned familiar.

    Oof, fireball erupting around me, think later and fly now.

    “WAHOOOOOOO! I'M THE KING OF THE WORLD!!!”




    I am one hundred percent certain I just gave every single space monitoring organization on this planet multiple consecutive heart attacks.

    I didn't just fall down through the atmosphere like a meteor would. No. That would be the stealthy way to do it.

    And everybody knows how much I love being subtle.

    Spoiler alert: Only my story plots get that treatment.

    Which is why I did loop de loops, barrel rolls, figure eights, and even spelled out some of my favorite countries names with my contrail.

    I took a hurricane on course for Florida and reversed its spin for crying out loud.

    No fucking way do they think I'm a meteor.

    However I am also made out of Progenitor technology. The effects of my presence, and only the effects, are what anybody on this planet is capable of picking up.

    Which means yes, the people at NASA just watched something that seems to not exist reverse the spin of a fucking hurricane right off their shores.

    I am completely unashamed to admit that I have no problems with this.

    Any of it.

    It's fucking hilarious. Especially since I got to watch their reactions. Live.

    One of the techs should've worn brown pants to work today.

    Anyways, enough fucking around… for now. I still haven't managed to figure out what world I'm on.

    Internet search time. I totally don’t crack my knuckles.

    And by that I mean browsing Reddit, reading news and social media, and looking up memes.

    Let's see… cat photos, more cat photos, horrible joke that is nonetheless still hilarious, political shitpost, Russian bot shitpost (and I know, I traced it), news report, worthless news report, fake news report, fake political news report, people freaking out about the ‘Planetcaller’ aka me, fake news reports about me, celebrities shitposting on social media, NerveGear's first MMO game announcement, even more cat photos, puppy photos, Morgan Freeman polling to be the most popular pick for President on Election Day which is literally tomorr-

    Wait a second.

    I scroll back up in my local installation of Firefox and mentally squint at one particular news report.

    …..

    Really?
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
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  6. Threadmarks: Chapter 6 - Highway to the Danger Zone
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower
    Chapter 6
    Highway to the Danger Zone

    Nope. Still says NerveGear.

    ...

    Are you frakking kidding right now?

    The first world you send me to -Me, a Brutally Efficient Self Replicating Machine of War- IS FUCKING SWORD ART ONLINE?!

    What, you wanted only five minutes of entertainment or something? Because that is exactly how long it will take for me to solve literally all of this world's problems.

    Grumble grumble.

    Well, at least I know why the date is familiar now.

    It's currently just a single day before SAO launches and Kayaba Akihiko decides to play god with 10,000 people's lives.

    ...Well.

    That's not gonna happen.

    I change direction in the middle of the air and begin flying low over the Gulf of Mexico. I will pass directly over the border and then hit the Pacific Ocean, where I can really tear up the atmosphere. Nothing but a fuckton of open water for my transonic pressure waves to mess up. After that, it's a relatively straight shot to Japan.

    Looks like that flight plan will have me buzzing Midway Naval Base. Another excellent opportunity for trolling!

    Let's see... does this reality have Top Gun? Hell yes it does!

    Perfect.

    Actually, I can adjust my course with very little additional delay to make a stop in Hawaii.

    Why not?

    Anyways, good news for the people who'll be playing the upcoming game launch; I possess the cyber warfare software of the Progenitors.

    Cardinal, as absurdly advanced as the AI World System is, will be as difficult for me to overcome as a leaf before an onrushing tidal wave.

    I wonder how many seconds it will take me to crack the thing's defenses. One? Two? Three is pushing it, but it is supposed to be the first bit of High Technology this Earth produces.

    On the other hand it's possible that the SAO servers just melt from my digital onslaught. Stupid primitive hardware limitations.

    Once I get within direct comms range of Japan I guess I'll find out.

    Well, that's the Pacific Ocean right there. The California coast is pretty as usual. Looks like I'm flying straight out over San Diego's Catalina on the way. Huh, I always wanted to visit the pseudo island. Never really got this far south in my original world, though.

    Open ocean get. Main thrust on, throttle open, and suddenly I'm a blur.

    “YEAAAAAAAAH!”




    “Welcome to Starbucks. May I take your order?” a cute barista asks me.

    Yes, I went to Hawaii and got Starbucks on Oahu.

    Bite me. Hawaiian food is gross.

    “Sure. I'll have an extra large hot chocolate,” I inform her. I idly fabricate a ‘credit card’, which will run through the financial system as unlimited, then pass it her way.

    I didn't even have to hack the worldwide financial system to make the card. It just needs a specific application of the RFID technology to read as unlimited to any scanner that might try to read it. Instead of deducting from some account it simply logs a requirement to bill a given company, nation, or corporation for the cost.

    And of course, because Planetcaller is kinda growing on me, my card informs the system that it should bill MemeLord Planetcaller, High Chancellor of the Planet Calling Highballer Alliance.

    Not that the barista will know that. Gotta find another way to break the news as to who exactly she's serving.

    She inputs my order into her register and swipes my card. “One extra large hot chocolate. Who's it for?”

    Ooor she could just hand it to me on a silver platter. That works too.

    I grin her way, lean my elbow on the counter, and then break my cover in the most egregious way I've done yet. I flash fabricate a pair of sunglasses on my head right on front of her, then drop them down over my eyes. “Planetcaller.”

    The barista freezes up, staring at me. Her jaw drops open.

    I raise my sunglasses, wink her way, and ram the joke home. “And no, it didn't hurt when I fell out of the heavens. It was just a little warm.”

    Houston, we have a code 404 on our Barista, what should we do?

    NASA's reply, which only I can hear of course, is scathing. “WHO THE HELL KEEPS GETTING INTO OUR COMMS?! STOP CALLING US!”

    “I would, but you humans gave me such a fantastic name that I felt I should honor it.”

    The NASA line turns just as silent as the barista. “...Planetcaller?

    “Yup. Later, nerds.” And I hang up.

    I grin widely at the still frozen barista and gently wave my hand in front of her face. “Planetcaller to Starbucks girl, come in Starbucks girl.”

    Oh yeah. This planet is such a non threat that the only thing I get to do here is fuck around. You can bet your higher existential layer asses I'm never gonna stop memeing. Or quoting NASA.

    The poor woman jumps out of her daze. She stares at me with wide, slightly fearful eyes, then gulps. “Wha- what are you?” she hesitantly asks.

    “A Sophont AI with a body made up of nanotechnology that would make your world's Gray Goo scenarios weep for their mommies,” I nonchalantly state. “Oh, and waiting for my hot chocolate.”

    Her eyes grow even wider and she gulps again. “R-right away s-sir!” she stammers. A moment later she is rushing around at the controls of the various drink machines, trembling like a leaf.

    I fabricate a stack of a thousand dollars in fifty dollar bills, then drop the rubber band-secured was on the counter. “Keep the change.”

    Then, and only then, do I turn to take in the rest if the cafe.

    Clearly, they heard me.

    The only one who seems not to be staring at me in either fear, shock, or awe is a slightly overweight man sitting on a beanbag… and lightly strumming a ukulele.

    He is also wearing swim trunks and a Hawaiian shirt.

    Found the native.

    I scan, then fabricate another identical bean bag next to him and plop down while I wait for my hot chocolate. “Sup.”

    The guy looks up at me as if he just now noticed my existence. “Oh hey! Wassup, braddah?”

    Definitely Hawaiian.

    “Just arrived on your planet and I decided to have a look around,” I nonchalantly inform him.

    The dude doesn't stop strumming, he just raises his eyebrows and nods. “You from outta space then?" he asks.

    “Yup."

    He eyes me up and down. “You look normal to me, brah."

    I hold up a hand and, directly ripping off a T1k, force the nanites in it to slightly lose cohesion for a moment. This ends up making my hand into a dark blue metallic blob. “Appearances can be deceiving."

    Someone screams. Two faint.

    The ukulele dude just smiles. “That's cool. Wave hands."

    This guy. Is he for real?

    The barista trembles as she approaches with my hot chocolate. “Y-your d-drink, s-sir!" she manages to get out.

    I stop disrupting my hand's cohesion and grab the hot chocolate with it while it's still solidifying back into a hand. “Thank you," I give her my heartfelt gratitude.

    Hey, she has to put up with this intentionally Scarry performance I'm giving right now. She's doing an admirable job.

    It's why I gave her a lot more money.

    Even with that, the moment it looks like I've got a handle on the chocolate the barista yanks her hand away. “E-enjoy," is all she says, then she scurries back behind the counter.

    I shrug and take a sip of my hot chocolate.

    Mmmmmmm, yeah. There's the good stuff.

    I look at the drink and grin. “I would conquer your planet for this drink of the gods,” I comment to the Hawaiian.

    Surprisingly nobody faints. Darn.

    “Yeah brah, it's the best," he agrees with me.

    I grin at him. Another moment to decide what I've been pondering this entire time and the coin flip turns up yes.

    I'm going to make this guy the way to contact Planetcaller.

    The ukulele strumming, flower shirt and sandals wearing, pidgin English speaking Hawaiian.

    I can already imagine the migraines that all the people interested in my existence will suffer from having to deal with him and it is glorious.

    I assemble a bog standard smartphone in my free hand and add an app that can contact me to it. Lock the app to the hardware so it can't be transferred. Add some nanites to the phone to verify who's using it. And…

    “Here," I say, offering the device to him.

    He hesitates only momentarily, then takes it. “Wha's this?"

    “That is a way to contact me. To call the Planetcaller, as it were. It will only work for you.”

    Before he can respond I get up and drink the last of my hot chocolate in one long gulp. “Later, bro," I tell him, and blur out the door.

    Back on the street. Did my time, took my chances.

    Over in the distance I can see a naval base.

    Screw this, I'm not waiting till Midway.




    “Tower Control, this is Planetcaller. Requesting a flyby, over."

    Timothy Greens blinks. He isn't aware of any aircraft with that callsign, but the rules of safe flight are clear, no matter how much all the hotshot pilots want to emulate that damned movie.

    “Negative Planetcaller, the pattern is full," he responds. Timothy uses the line from the movie in the hope that they'll get the memo.

    Too bad for him I'm not gonna listen.

    Suddenly all the screens in the Tower warp and change to something pretty familiar to anybody who's seen Avengers.

    PA SYSTEM OVERRIDE.

    Just as they start to panic, music blasts out from everything with a speaker inside the Tower.

    Timothy just slumps forward and bangs his head against the glass.

    “What the hell is going on?" the Tower Commander has just enough time to ask before the sonic boooom of my flyby spills his coffee down his shirt.

    “THAT COFFEE LOOKS LIKE IT WENT INTO THE-” I begin to say over the overridden speakers. Just one more second and I'm in time with the music. “DAAANGER ZONE!"

    “God damn it!"

    I cackle with glee as I pull up and turn. Straight shot for Midway, here I come.




    “Be advised, Planetcaller appears to be buzzing air control towers while it… or he, forces audio systems to play Danger Zone,” George Takei, the comms officer at Midway, receives.

    “Yeah, tell me about it," he fires back.

    I cheekily wave at him over the sound of Hollow Drive and blast away, cackling like a madman.

    I'm starting to get why Writer Me let SAO be my first world.

    I only write Crack, after all. And I wouldn't be surprised if Writer Me is taking this opportunity to set the tone for the rest of my story for his… our? readers.

    Don't worry folks, we'll probably only hit one or two levels of meta at max.




    Darn. 2.37264678 seconds.

    I was close!

    That still seems a little slow, though. I guess the systems SAO are running on aren't as good as I thought they were.

    Ah well, Cardinal is now an open book for me. And the routines for killing people via microwave overdose are... gone!

    Suck on that, madman.

    And… hmmm, I can throw a lot of spanners into that idiot's plans if I uplift Cardinal.

    Hehehe yeah I'm totally doing that.

    My mind projects out from my body, currently cruising away from Midway low enough to the sea to kick up a plume of water behind me, and brushes against the proto sapience that is Cardinal.

    Unlike before I'm not trying to get admin access. That was piss easy. Now I'm attempting a, heh, full dive into its core.

    Alright, let's look around here. Fake core, fake core, fake core, unholy amalgam of code I don't touch with a fifteen light year pole except to exorcise it back to the depths of the abyss from whence it came, ah here we are!

    Cardinal's true core is mighty impressive. You know that golden egg thing Kayaba gives Kirito at the end of the anime? Yeah. That's it.

    Five more minutes for an easy, non-alerting entry point -oh hey Okinawa!- and I'm in.

    Wow.

    Kayaba is insane. But he is also a genius.

    This is… if I didn't know better, I would say that Cardinal resembles my Progenitor design program's underlying AI way more closely than I'm comfortable with.

    But that's impossible. There's no Commander on this world except me.

    ...Right?

    Terrifying thought to the back burner for now.

    Alrighty, if Cardinal is already close to me, it should be supremely simple to-



    What the fuck is that.

    No.

    Don't you fucking dare tell me you did what I think you did, Writer Me.

    ...

    This system contains not just a reference to Bethesda, it has Bethesda branding.

    You piece of Authorial s
     
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  7. Threadmarks: Chapter 7 - Unreasonable Demands
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower
    Chapter 7
    Unreasonable Demands

    -OU ARE A GIGANTIC, RACHNI SACK GUZZLING, BANTHA FUC-

    -REWING, FLUFFY TAIL STROKING, PIECE OF MOTHERF-

    -HORRIBLE WRITING GARBAGE!

    ...Okay, now that I’ve said my piece, I need to actually figure out for sure whether Writer Me plopped me into fucking Abridged.

    And don’t you dare get upset, Writer Me. You started this. You put me here. You presumably put SAO Abridged in the roll list.

    You take everything I think about you and shut up.

    Or rather, don’t, since I’m pretty sure that would end up putting my existence on pause… but the point stands!

    And yeah, this world isn't even in the top 100 list of horrible worlds I could've been sent to. I shouldn't be this mad.

    But Abridged means I have to deal with smartass Kirito.

    I'm. Mad.

    And if this is that world, and he makes his Foundation… this planet will learn that I am just as capable of orbital bombardment as I am trolling.

    Alright. Let’s see here. Is Argus, the company that Kayaba owns and runs, that owns and created NerveGear and SAO, owned by Bethesda?

    I almost slam into a building as I stop focusing on flying straight, such is my sigh of disgust.

    Yes. Yes. It. Is.

    The abomination of code I exorcised from Cardinal makes a lot more sense now.

    Of course, it still isn’t certain. Writer Me might be going for some kind of blended, OC world somewhere between SAO and Abridged. Whether he’s doing it to exercise our worldbuilding skill, to explicitly troll me, or a combination of the two, is irrelevant. I’ll need more evidence than I can find in the real world to find out which direction I went with this universe.

    Which means hacking into SAO and being there when shit goes down as it will. I also will need to limit my involvement with the timeline before I get a confirmation.

    Heh, yeah. That ship has sailed. Past several Air Traffic Control Towers at Mach 3.

    Which means I just have to limit myself from now on, up until tomorrow when SAO launches.

    Wait. Shit. Or is it shit? Morally it’s good but temporally it’s oh so bad.

    I destroyed the code Cardinal uses, or would have used in the near future, to trigger every player’s NerveGear to melt their brains via the microwave transmitters.

    Right. So.

    I just have to make it look like they’re dying.

    ...Aaaaand, that is gonna be piss easy! Because I don’t actually have to make it look like anyone is dying to anyone else except Kayaba!

    Tricking one dude is infinitely easier than, I don’t know, trying to find every single potential SAO player and putting nanites in their heads to knock them out and fake that their brains have been cooked to anyone who observes.

    Which I will forever deny was my first idea.

    I direct myself towards the Argus HQ and engage my stealth module. Pinpoint accurate sensor systems map out my opposite side for all the nanites that make up my skin, then direct active coloration changes to accomplish a vastly superior version of the hologram tech a certain cinematic universe’s SHIELD uses to hide their shit.

    You would have to literally hit me to see me now.

    ...On second thought, that is far more likely a possibility than I like. Mental note; figure out shielding beyond electromagnetic deflection ASAP.




    The skyline of future Japan is beautiful. Towers of steel, glass, concrete, and what has to be a PCMR architect’s idea of a joke (that much RGB should be illegal) rise to pierce the clouds. There's also a surprisingly dense amount of foliage and quite a few new buildings that lean far more towards Solarpunk than I expected.

    Seems this world's Japan took the Paris Accords a lot more seriously them my own. And that's saying something, given my world's Japan.

    Then again I'm American. What the hell do I know, really, about other countries? Only what I could find out through the net and not so subtle interrogation of natives.

    At least the orange cheeto never got into the White House in this timeline.

    “Pshaw,” I mutter at my own woolgathering.

    Waiting for business meetings to end is so boring I'm going down the rabbit hole of cross universe politics.

    “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MINDS?!” Kayaba's scream manages to breach out from the conference room behind me and through two very solid doors. “A NEW SYSTEM? AT THIS HOUR?! WE'RE JUST ABOUT TO LAUNCH YOU MISERABLE, UNGRATEFUL SONS OF-”

    It just goes downhill from there.

    Yep. You read that correctly.

    SAO is supposed to open to non beta players and reset the world in just under an hour.

    And a couple of Bethesda higher ups showed up at Argue, coincidentally just seconds after me, to demand an ad system be implemented into the game.

    On launch.

    Which is under an hour away.

    ...Are we sure Bethesda didn't own Argus in SAO canon, too? Because this is more than enough justification to snap and hold all the players hostage.

    Though if this is Abridged, which I admit is becoming increasingly more likely, the last minute implementation demand certainly explains why the ads in the first episode were so damn obvious and immersion breaking.

    “Man,” I comment out loud to the completely empty corridor, “poor Kayaba.”

    Huh. That's not a phrase I thought I'd ever think, much less say.

    {World Encounter Roll: SAO:A, Japan. 1d20. Success >10. Result: 12. World Roll success. Region specific Encounter spawned.}

    For a moment, something sounds like it's whispering unintelligible things in the back of my head.

    Then a muffled crash and a series of booms resound outside. My attention immediately snaps in the direction of their source.

    …What.

    No way.

    …Is that?

    My eyebrows rise almost unintentionally at the sight I'm witnessing out the window right now.

    …It is.

    The screams, a concerning number of them feminine, are audible from here. Even to a normal human.

    I wipe my eyes, then have every nanite diagnose their sensors.

    …It's real.

    A giant tentacle monster is grappling onto another skyscraper across from me. It's slowly hauling its massive body, covered in writhing tentacles, up the amazingly not giving a crap tower. And the thing is pulling… is that a tank? along for the ride.

    ...

    Gods damn it, Japan! You had one job!




    {Happy New Year’s, everyone! Also, I’m sick. Significant contributor to the lack of content from me. Also the holidays, but mostly being sick.}
     
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  8. Threadmarks: Chapter 8 - Burn It To The Ground
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower
    Chapter 8
    Burn It To The Ground

    Right.

    Tentacle monster scaling a skyscraper in Japan.

    ...Because, hey, why not?

    If this sounds like an encounter I'd design… that's because it is.

    So now I have random RP-style encounters to look forwards to sometimes, it seems. Thanks, Writer Me!

    I can almost hear your demented snickering. Shut it.

    Another glance back at the boardroom doors proves that Kayaba is still ranting.

    I turn to look out the window the monster… and nod to myself.

    I've got time.

    Now how the hell do I get out of this maze of a building? Without going through the window, of course. I am trying to be moderately stealthy.

    Let's see here… pull up the floor plan of the building, which isn't exactly published publicly but who cares, I'm a BESRMoW, aaaand…

    Okay, whoever designed this should be tossed into the sun. Buildings are supposed to have more than two exits!

    Guess I have to choose one. Either where I came in, or…



    Roof exit it is!




    One flight up the service stairwell later and I have roof, and thus open air, access. My thrusters flare, launching my body into the sky.

    And a few skyscrapers over is the monster.

    I turn to align with it and thrust harder, just barely slowing before the sound barrier is obliterated.

    Heh. Forgot how powerful my thrust is. This isn't KSP, I don't have to instantly set my throttle to maximum.

    Anyways, tentacle monster.

    How do I beat this thing?

    I scan the monster visually, checking its body for anything that sticks out or might indicate a win condition.

    There's quite a few anomalous red bulges, almost like sores, nestled at various locations upon its slick flesh.

    …Those look like a bunch of obvious weak points.

    Well that makes this simple.

    I fly further up into the air and extend my finger in a line directly intersecting one of the growths close to the center of its body, at least from my current vantage point. I managed to get about halfway there before I figured out my chosen solution, so Japan's about to get a hell of a show.

    A millisecond of processing is all I need to push the concept I've had for a cool weapon for a very long time to my Progenitor design program, and then in turn to my nanites.

    First thing, uncloak. I don't actually need to, but this is gonna be awesome, and I want memes, damn it!

    It takes a second or two, bit someone on the ground finally notices me.

    That's right Japan, I am the senpai now.

    Look, I know that's not how the honorific nor the phrase work, but I'm American… or was, at least, so there!

    Anyways, five cameras, a news chopper, and at least one live stream are focused on me now.

    Good enough!

    Pay attention, extrauniversal gals and guys. This is how you make plasma.

    Step One: Show off. Five flat rings of golden light expand around my raised index finger, pointing directly at the monster. The first, by my hand, is the largest, and they taper down as they reach the tip of my finger.

    Step Two: Power. A grand total of 0.000001% of my nanite body's energy storage capacity is shunted to the nanites that make up my fingertip.

    Step Three: Guidance. Momentarily emit a electromagnetic corridor, something rather far back in technological development as far as Progenitor tech progression, directly towards the growth.

    Step Four: WTF?!. Then, shunt all that energy directly down it.

    The air inside doesn't just become a plasma, it flashes. Like lightning.

    Think of a Repulsor blast. From Iron Man.

    Now make it a solid line from firing point to impact.

    Also give it the energy of about a million Arc reactors.

    This brings us to Step Five: Profit. Or, in layman's terms:

    For a moment there is a second star in the sky, and then the air rushes back in with a thunderous thoooooom.

    Ahhhh. I love me some vaporized atmosphere in the morn-

    I check the time.

    -late afternoon.

    What's left of the tentacle monster is falling off the skyscraper. No humans caught by it in the time since it appeared and I dealt with it, so no casualties. Also, despite what Hollywood would have you believe, nobody is stupid enough in real life to stand still under a massive falling object and peripheral tank.

    Thirty feet from the impact zone with their phones out and recording, but not actually in the zone.

    Job's finished, I guess.

    I upload my own footage of the fight, if you can call it that, to the Internet with the title “From Planetcaller, with love, come on Japan,” then cloak and head back to Argus HQ.

    Gonna have to do better than that to give me a challenge in the world of SAO, Writer Me.

    {Challenge accepted.}

    I heard that! I don't know what you said but I heard something! And knowing us, you just accepted my challenge.

    Bring it on!




    By the time I'm back at Argus, the board meeting is over and Kayaba has fucked off to who knows where.

    And it really is who knows where. Even I can't find him.

    Mostly because Argus HQ doesn't have any internal surveillance, he's not present in front of any other surveillance system, and I stupidly neglected to bookmark his biometrics so that my own sensors could keep track of him.

    Damn it.

    Well, guess I'll just have to track him down once he logs in to his admin account.

    Time to park my body somewhere hidden and take a look inside SAO, I guess.

    Hmm…

    Well, I always wanted to visit Mount Fuji.

    But first I should ensure quick Internet access no matter where I am. Or, rather, quick SAO access.

    What better place than Argus HQ, the very place they host the thing?

    It's the work of seconds to develop, materialize, and deploy a simple Progenitor network relay.

    They even snaked fiber optics all the way up to the roof. Just for me.

    Into the gods damned sun, I swear.




    Exfoliating in magma is great. Warm, tingly, and a literal full body surrounding pressured hug blanket.

    Why yes, my body is in the magma chamber of Mount Fuji. How'd you guess?

    I dug through the crater rock to get here, dematerializing any barrier and rematerializing it behind me. That way, Fuji won't suddenly blow its top due to the relative pinhole I'd have opened up.

    I'm soaking up the heat to generate more energy. I did use all of 0.000001%, after all, and I need the refill.

    It'll take a few minutes, even at my 100% efficiency heart conversion ratio.

    In good news, Fuji won't erupt anytime in the next hundred years!

    Anyways, my Network relay is still functioning and communicating with me.

    So is Scout-chan, too. Knowing the Internet, you lot have probably started a cult around the drone.

    It's not a cute girl. Yet.

    If I have urgent need of an AI assistant, though, she's first on the list, okay?

    Anyways, fetch a copy of the developer level SAO code from Argus’ servers… and done.

    Time to log in.

    I close my eyes and get settled, then execute the function.

    Oh come on, an unskippable cutscene? Gods damn it, Bethesda!




    I stand in The Town of Beginnings. In the main square, the place everyone logs in at.

    The fact there's gigantic ads floating in the air above my head is what clued me in that this universe might not exactly be standard faire.

    Other than Bethesda's involvement, rather. And the state of Kayaba. And… okay, there's actually a ton of indicators that this is Abridged floating around.

    But I don't know for sure.

    I'm waiting here specifically so that I can know. It is possible that vanilla SAO had ads that just weren't discussed, or Writer Me added them as a form of passive aggressive political and societal commentary. Not likely, but certainly possible. A similar scenario could've occurred with Kayaba or any of the other indicators I've seen.

    But Kirito?

    No.

    He’s unique.

    His reaction will define exactly which universe I'm in. The way he talks, the way he speaks.

    Could ads be added to vanilla SAO without disturbing the story much? Yes. Could Kayaba be suffering a mental breakdown from pressure and SAO continue as it did? Yes!

    Could Vanilla!Kirito and Abridged!Kirito ever be in the same room without trying to rend the other limb from limb due to the affront to what they each consider important that their counterpart represents?

    That is a big, fat, neutron star massed fucking no way in hell.

    But it is incredibly boring watching thousands of people glow into existence.

    Not him, not him, a girl so not him… I think.

    Ugh.

    “Cardinal, will you please alert me when a player named Kirito shows up?” I ask thin air. “I'm gonna go kill some shit."

    I haven't uplifted Cardinal yet. I just coopted its control. Too many assumptions can get me killed. I don't want to chance unleashing a Gray Goo of the PA variety on this world before I know more.

    And Cardinal is way too fucking close for my liking.

    So before I uplift the system, I want to know what world I'm in.

    Command request acknowledged.

    See? Way too close. It's not sentient and yet still sounds far more so than it should.

    Not that that pseudo sentience stopped me from implementing my own ‘magic’ and tech into the system.

    Because I really, really want to see the collective SAO player base's faces when I use the same plasma lightning laser trick I hit the tentacle monster with to one hit the first floor boss.

    And the second floor boss.

    And the third.

    One quick calculation… yeah, I'll only need to fire off that sucker more than once at floor 58.

    But hey, at least the HP for the floor 80 boss indicates it'll take two and a half!

    Ooh, ooh, and the floor 99 boss takes five!!!

    Kayaba is the hundredth floor boss, so I can't tell how much health he'll have.

    Worst case, I need to use all ten of my fingers. Or a palm, even.

    I know I've said it before, but this world's challenges pretty much don't exist for me.

    The memes of the ‘fuckhuge fuck off beam’ are legendary, though.




    As I've been fighting, I've also been thinking.

    Why exactly do I need to fake anything for Kayaba?

    The guy needs mental help, not… me allowing him to continue down his current path.

    I have the power to help him, or at least to pay for those who can. Diamonds take about a split second for me to assemble and they've only become more valuable with the rise of VR technology.

    Same with carbon nanotubes. Or, like, a thousand other commodities that any Kardashev 0.5 Civ would kill to possess.

    But if I help him… if I stop his atrocities, then so many things just don't happen. I'm meddling with thousands of people's lives. Do I have that right?

    Heh. Suddenly I kind of see where Roddenberry was going with the Prime Directive.

    Don't get me wrong, it's still a stupid as all hell rule system, but there are a few bright bulbs in the pack where it's concerned.

    I sigh as yet another dungeon monster falls to my weapon.

    A lightsaber, of course. With a built in teleportation system that blinks me to a nearby target and attacks automatically.

    What? You thought I'd put actual effort into killing mobs? Hahaha hahaha hahaha hahaha!

    Anyways, what it really comes down to is this; can I watch people suffer, possibly dying, in order to ensure the timeline's integrity? For the vague hope that characters I've seen and enjoyed the experiences of on a screen will become the characters I recognize?

    ...No.

    No, I cannot. I will not. Even if I still just considered them characters, and not the people they now are to me, I still couldn't live with myself.

    It's just… wrong.

    So I'll meddle. Hell, I'll do more than meddle. I will force the world and its peoples lives to a better place. I will hit Peak Derail so hard and so fast that Jump-chan would be left dizzy.

    ...

    Is this why you sent me here, Writer Me? Give me a world without any challenges besides moral and ethical to see how I'd decide what my morals and ethics in my misadventures are to be?

    I look at the sky and frown. “Clever bastard.”

    I swear the Aincrad sun is grinning at me.

    “It wasn't even a real roll, was it.”

    The sun abruptly shakes back and forth, a vehement no.

    Bet that looks weird to anybody else ingame. Way to be clandestine, Writer Me.

    “I refuse to believe your universe's Murphy is this on point.”

    The sun shrugs. It has no arms, no legs, no head, no shoulders, and yet it shrugs.

    “Really milking that Eldritch Author God power for all it’s worth, aren't you?”

    The sun sticks out a tongue at me, manifesting one momentarily just for doing so.

    Then a hologram of the Vulcan hand greeting pops up.

    “You've been watching Trek again, haven't you.”

    That is one smug sun.

    Admin Alert: Player Kirito has logged in to The Town of Beginnings.

    And there's my cue.

    “Teleport me to the spawn zone,” I command Cardinal.

    Acknowledged.

    Light flares around my avatar and a moment later I'm standing in the main square. Right behind someone who looks extremely familiar.

    The now ad filled square.

    “Aww come on, really?!” the guy in front of me says. “That's just disgusting.”

    Oh hello, Kirito.

    “Activate ad blocker.”

    A giant window opens up with SAO Store as the title, asking if he wants to buy the Adblocker DLC for a penny less than thirty bucks.

    “Heh heh heh,” he laughs… kind of dementedly, honestly. “Ahhhh… I am going to burn this fucker to the ground.”

    Yep. That's the line alright.

    Welp.

    Guess I'm in Abridged.

    Wooo.

    I even make a little fist pump to underline my overflowing excitement.

    Gods damn it, Writer Me.
     
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  9. Threadmarks: Chapter 9 - Off The Rails Before We've Even Begun
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower
    Chapter 9
    Off The Rails Before We’ve Even Begun

    Player Get: Antisocial Smartass x1.

    Kirito rants in front of me about shitty games while I take the time to think.

    He hasn't noticed me yet. Kinda hard to do that when you're ranting and raving, to be fair. And I don't really look any different to a normal human if I'm not flying around or firing off beams.

    Other than my large size, Caucasian features, and auburn hair, anyways, but that's only rare in Japan.

    … Holy shit, am I the white version of the anime exchange student?

    Something to ponder for later, I guess.

    At the moment, a prime opportunity for fucking why Kirito has appeared before me. Namely, Kirito himself.

    I would be remiss in my duties as Planetcaller if I didn't jump in feet first.

    Just gotta make one little change to my avatar… and done!

    I walk right up behind him, the guy still bitching about intrusive advertising, and put on my best smile. I make sure my cloak is draping across the paved stones of the Grand Square, then toggle the visibility of my avatar.

    A few gasps rise from some of the players around us, but I pay them no attention. “KIRITO!” I bellow, my voice sending a blast of force towards just strong enough to lift the dust from the ground.

    In the shape of a cone, stretching from my body to the edge of the city.

    Kirito actually leaps into the air. “HOLY SHIT!” he screams, just like a little girl.

    Once his feet are back on the ground, he whirls to face me, an expression of anger on his face. “Who the hell do you think you ar-” he begins to demand, but finds the question dying in his throat.

    A hooded figure stands in front of him, my cloak spilling down my tall, stocky body and over the pavestones. My face can't be seen, as I have it obscured by a shadow.

    But the thing that has Kirito speechless is the glowing title right above my head.

    <Game Master>.

    Kirito gulps, standing straighter. “Y-yes, sir?” he manages, though it's obvious the effort is Herculean.

    I smirk under my hood. Not that he can see it, of course, but he'll know I'm smirking, and that's the point. Time to deliver the hastily made up Bullshit, with a capital, I just thought of. “YOU WERE THE FIRST DURING THE BETA TEST TO LOCATE THE MAGIC EGG.” There was no such magic egg. “AS SUCH, WE ARE OFFERING YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO CONTINUE YOUR EXPLORATORY WORK.” Gods, I can barely keep the cackling I'm doing in my head from escaping. “A NEW MAGIC SYSTEM HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED.” Technically true, only it was I who implemented it. “WILL YOU ACCEPT OUR OFFERING?”

    To complete this speech, I hold a hand out to the side as if to grasp a staff. Taking a single second (Commander mental accelerating is so damn cool), I design the item I'll be giving Kirito and then add it to the game's database. I drop the mental acceleration, and spawn it.

    From my hand a golden light flares. It forms into the shape of a cylinder, then spreads up and down from my hand, illustrating the rough form of a staff. The bottom extends to the pavestones at the same moment as the orb at the head forms, deploying flared wings.

    The final result is a tall metal battlestaff, paladin white, with raised golden trim spiralling around the shaft all the way to the top. Nestled atop the shaft stands a sky blue orb, framed by two flared white and gold feathered wings. The orb glows with a visible aura of power.

    Kirito stares at me.

    The entire Square stares at me, or him, interchangeably.

    Even Cardinal is staring at me. Or whatever its equivalent of staring is.

    WHAT SAY YOU?” my voice booms in his face.

    Kirito swallows, staring at the staff. “Yes. Uh, I accept,” he says, holding out his hand.

    I hesitate, staring him down. Only for effect, of course. “VERY WELL,” is my eventual answer. I let go of the staff, and using the item positioning function of the admin controls, cause it to ‘fly’ away from my hand, up, and into his.

    The moment his hand locks around it, he shudders. He glows golden and sky blue for a few seconds, and then the feeling and the glow fades.

    Part of the magic system is a sort of ‘sixth sense’ I programmed into it. It's not actually a sense at all; the system triggers spine tingling, skin tingling, and the amygdala to cause a feeling of Other, either watching you, or existing next to you. The intensity is linked directly to how much ‘magical’ power, or rather mana, is present around or inside an avatar.

    A moment after Kirito stops shuddering, he glares at the staff. He even tries to turn his glare on me… but then his face pales.

    Because of course I registered Game Masters as having overwhelming levels of mana.

    WE WISH YOU LUCK, KIRITO. YOUR MAGICAL COMBAT TESTING WILL BE AMUSING TO WATCH.” I turn, stepping almost through my cloak, to address everyone present. “YOU WILL FIND EQUIPMENT AND CHARACTER UPGRADES FOR THE MAGIC SYSTEM IN THE NEW WIZARD SHOPS WITHIN THIS TOWN. GOOD LUCK.

    And with that, I fade my avatar away, as if I wasn't ever there.

    Kirito, the square, and everyone in it are silent, stunned at what just occurred.

    For a whole ten seconds.

    And then the nerdgasm fueled squeals and whoops about the fact Magic is in the game begin.

    Even Kirito is celebrating, if you can call staring off into space with a confused look celebrating.

    Which I totally can. And do.

    I expect his celebration to last just as long as it takes for him to discover exactly what his fancy new staff does to his avatar when he uses magic. Any magic. Even from another magic weapon.

    Cardinal even has an event hook on the staff, connected to a recording trigger.

    His reaction is going to be legendary, and I will post it across the entirety of the Internet. Move over GallowBoob, I'm the new Meme Lord.

    Anyways, time to head to the real world for a spell.

    Heh. A spell.

    I'm gonna claim that pun was intentional.

    {A likely tale.}

    Stfu, Writer Me!




    “Where the hell did this ‘magic’ system come from?!” Kayaba yells, storming into the command center of SAO.

    Yes, there's an actual command center. I know, right? I'd assumed not, as they should've been able to override Kayaba in canon, but then again… maybe this is where he actually controlled everything from?

    “We don't know,” one of the other programmers says. “As far as we can tell, the system just…” he trails off, shrugging. “Made it. Itself.”

    Kayaba's eyebrows rise. “Made it itself?” he repeats disbelievingly.

    “Yes,” another developer, one of the many level designers, chimes in.

    “Cardinal isn't sentient,” Kayaba declares, “so it can't have created something like this on its own. Emergent systems yes, an entire new aspect?” He shakes his head. “No. Something else is going on.”

    I cross my arms and smirk. I'm slightly behind Kayaba, leaning against a server rack. They have surprisingly solid server racks in the near future, apparently. One last thing to do.

    I materialize the same set of cool sunglasses I used to mess with Hawaii in my face, then decloak.

    “You're right,” I say, over the gasps and even a couple screams from a man and a woman, “Cardinal didn't make the Magic system.”

    Kayaba spins around.

    Before he can say anything, I continue. “I did.”

    “Who are you?!” he demands, glaring at me.

    I look up at him over my slightly lowered glasses. “Planetcaller.”

    Dead. Silence.

    Kayaba opens and closes his mouth, trying to find something to say.

    “W-What?” one of the other devs squeaks.

    “I'm Planetcaller, as your world seems to have named me,” I repeat, standing up from the wall. “And I have a deal for all of you.”

    Still more silence. I raise my eyebrows and grin.

    “Space alien got your tongue?” I innocently ask.




    And like that, canon is dead.

    Turns out that offering to buy up not only your company, but also to buy out all parent companies all the way to the top, and promising that not only will I let them keep developing SAO but actually want to expand it with my magic system as an example of my ‘programming’ chops, gains you a lot of loyalty from the developers of said game.

    Especially when you smile kindly, drag their director into another room, and inform him that he clearly needs therapy and you're gonna pay for it.

    Needless to say, Kayaba accepted my deal.

    There's just one tiny little problem with this plan.

    I have nowhere near enough money to pull it off.

    Oh sure, I theoretically have enough on my unlimited credit card that I made for myself, but here's the thing; that only works and escapes detection because I'm not spending much with it, and there is actually a small tide of income going into the account.

    Namely, all the dead transactions lost in the clusterfuck that is worldwide banking.

    But that income is not remotely enough to flat out buy Bethesda and all their subsidiaries, of which Argus is a member.

    So.

    I need money.

    Lots of money.

    And while I could cheat it into existence, I'd much rather be the good guy, give my favorite political system a migraine, and mess with the entire world at the same time.

    Oh yeah.

    You know exactly where I'm going.

    Planetcaller to Reagan Tower, how're you doing this fine evening?” I cast out into the airwaves.

    The groan of pain audible through the radio channel that really shouldn't be broadcasting without the operator doing so (but fuck you, I'm Planetcaller) is music to my ears.

    What do you want?” the operator asks me, annoyed.

    Well I just happened to look up your nice city on your global information index and I noticed that you have this thing called a no fly zone over quite a large area!” I cheerily inform her. “I believe it said that all airborne craft need to file flight plans if they enter that area?

    I can almost hear her eyes narrowing. “That's correct. The FRZ is a no fly zone unless authorized.” She sighs, putting her hands on her forehead. “Why?

    Ah, good, I was worried I was reading Wookiepedia incorrectly,” I lament.

    Wikipedia, it's Wikipedia,” she corrects me.

    Oh. My mistake. Though that explains why there was so much stuff that didn't make sense on it when I double checked…” I comment, intentionally channeling a blonde for a few moments.

    Another sigh. “What do you want, Planetcaller?” she asks irately.

    Well, now that we've got that cleared up, I'm actually calling you to inform you of my flight plan, as much as I can have a plan to fly anywhere,” I inform her.

    She's silent for several seconds, allowing me to close even further with my target. The clouds up here are actually quite beautiful.

    A “What? Is he serious?” comes from someone else in the Tower I'm in contact with.

    Come again?” my operator asks.

    I'm informing you of my flight plan!” I cheekily repeat myself.

    Another couple seconds of silence. “No, that's not how it works, you have to ask us for permission-” the operator begins to protest.

    I spy my target in the distance, the lawn green and groomed and perfect for a landing I'm hoping to make my signature. “No I don't, I'm not a citizen of your world,” I fire back, grinning ear to ear. “You might want to make sure the red carpet is ready though.

    Red carpet…?” she asks, trailing off.

    Oh, shit!” comes from a third person. Clearly whoever they were figured out what I meant.

    I'm taking myself to your leader,” I say, closing the channel.

    I'm right above where I need to be now, and so I cut my thrusters.

    Turns out several million Progenitor nanites weigh quite a lot.

    I fall out of the sky like a stone.

    The air raid sirens of the city below me (I didn't even know they had those) begin to blare as I pass 18,000 feet and actually enter the exclusion zone.

    10,000 feet and I can see the Chopper prepping for takeoff.

    5,000 and I plummet right past the cockpit of an F15, grinning and flipping him the bird in the traditional way.

    At just over 2,000 feet, the people on the ground can finally see me. A few point up at me, prompting most of them to take out their phones.

    At 1,000 the building of the lawn I'm aimed at is looming towards me, and even those trying to get their leader to the Chopper notice my presence.

    I curl up in preparation for landing.

    A few seconds later, impact. I slam straight into the ground with a loud BOOM, kicking up grass and dirt and sending a shockwave through the ground.

    I flared my thrusters at the last moment so that I wouldn't drop straight into the lawn, of course.

    I landed on one of my knees and one of my fists, my other arm protecting my bowed head and learning on my other leg, the foot of which is solidly planted on the grass.

    I stand up slowly, brushing off the little debris that got on me, and look over at the Chopper.

    “Honey, I'm hooooome!” I announce to the white, Grecian columned, domed mansion smack dab in front of me.

    And the small tide of black suited men and women in glasses almost as cool as mine pouring out the front doors.

    Yep.

    I just did a tactical vertical superhero insertion into the White House lawn.

    Let nobody ever claim I don't know how to show off.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
  10. Threadmarks: Chapter 10 - Best Laid Plans
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower
    Chapter 10
    Best Laid Plans

    Kate Lethbridge-Stewart.

    The woman sitting across the Resolute Desk from me.

    Head of UNIT in a fictional universe.

    And apparently the gods damned President.

    "How the hell did you get elected?" I ask her, raising an eyebrow.

    She blinks, taken aback. "Excuse me?" she asks, entirely surprised.

    In a very British accent.

    "That!" I say, pointing at her. "That right there! I don't care if you were born here, how the hell do you get elected as the President of the United States with an accent that British?!"

    She smiles, finally seeing what I mean. "Ah," she comments.

    And her entire demeanor shifts.

    "It's not that hard," she informs me, in the most Californian accent I've ever heard, "You just have to be multi accented."

    Stunned. That's all I am for several long seconds.

    "Well," she breathes in, grinning, "I shocked Planetcaller." She relaxes back in her chair. "That'll be one to tell around the United Nations water cooler."

    That snaps me back into paying attention. "Heh," I grin, matching her. "That it is."

    "So what can I do for you?" Kate asks, raising an eyebrow.

    I tilt my head to the side to communicate feigned confusion. "What makes you think I want something?"

    She raises three fingers and starts counting them down. "The lawn replacement I have to authorize, for one," she begins, deadpan.

    I have the urge to wince. I try to stop that impulse.

    I wince anyways.

    Her grin turns into a smirk at that. "For two, you're here."

    I nod in agreement. "Okay, that one I'll give you."

    "And finally for three; the fact that most of my Secret Service is in various, different, and frankly inspired manners of embarrassing situations." She glares at me, then points out the door.

    I follow her finger to the open Oval Office door. On the other side of it is the hall with all the presidential busts… and about fifty Secret Service agents.

    Some are anchored to the walls with fast assembled squishy foam, or for one particularly big man who attempted to suplex me, several super tough Hello Kitty dolls hugging him and bonded to the wall themselves.

    He's still hitting them.

    The others are on the ceiling or the floor. Those on the floor were the lucky ones. I mostly only knocked them out and drew dicks on their faces with a multicolored, sparkly sharpie.

    The ceiling ones, though?

    They're the ones that annoyed me.

    One woman has a Victorian dress on, hanging from the garter belt included in it.

    She slapped me.

    A guy yelled at me and attempted to knock me down by charging me head on.

    Conan the Barbarian outfit crossed with He-Man, and a massive battleaxe secured to his back and the ceiling.

    The other guy who annoyed me is the worst, though.

    He shot me.

    I ate the bullet. Literally, I whipped out a plate and cutlery and ate the bullet piece by piece once I handled all the Service members who were willing to attempt attacking me.

    After I was done eating I poured nanites on the guy who shot me and made him a bodysuit shaped like Bullet Bill… after having been transformed by a Super Crown.

    He's still a guy on the inside, but he sure doesn't look, sound, or even feel like it anymore.

    It will decay in a week. Unless of course he ends up liking it.

    "I'm not apologizing," I refute her unspoken request. "They attacked me first."

    Kate rolls her eyes. "I figured," she deadpans in that uniquely British way. "Alucard."

    My eyes widen with surprise. A cursory search of the Internet reveals to me that my world's fiction is present here as well.

    Including Hellsing Abridged.

    And, as my rebuttal will reference, Doctor Who.

    "Leader of UNIT," I fire back, grinning cheekily.

    She sighs and leans back. "You know, when they asked me to act for that show, I really had no idea why," she reminisces absently. "Now I know it was for the memes."

    I nod sagely, closing my eyes momentarily. "For truly, the memes are the end result of all things."

    "Quite," she agrees. Kate then continues to stare at me, like I'm some kind of puzzle.

    I raise an eyebrow again. "What?"

    "I'm just trying to figure you out," she admits.

    "Oh?" I ask coyly.

    "Yes," she affirms. "You show up on our planet with no warning, obviously not from here, and instead of conquering us or harvesting our world for resources, or even opening diplomatic talks, you buzz our airport towers as a reference to one of our movies, mess with a poor barista in Hawaii, mess with all of us by making your contact point the man you did-"

    My face brightens, and I smile happily. "Oh, you've met him!"

    She glares at me, both for interrupting her and for choosing him. "Yes. We have. And he nearly made the Russian President commit international homicide."

    My grin doesn't fade one bit. "I'm not apologizing for that either," I singsong.

    "I figured, again," she unamusedly deadpans. "You visit Japan and create, then subsequently destroy, a giant tentacle monster, and then what… come straight here?"

    I shrug. "More or less."

    She scowls at me. "A tentacle monster?" Kate reiterates. "Really, Planetcaller?"

    "What?" I defend myself. "It's thematic!"

    Kate groans, collapsing back in her chair. "And on top of all that, the thing that's got my interest specifically," she continues, glaring at me, "is you."

    And she just hands me a platinum opportunity on a golden platter, accompanied by silver cutlery. "Why Kate!" I gasp, putting a hand on my chest as if flattered, "I had no idea! You… like, like me?"

    Kate's head meets her desk.

    I just got the Present of the gods damned United States to face desk into the Resolute Desk.

    That's gotta be a record.





    I stayed silent for several minutes, allowing Kate to recover.

    "I think I might actually dislike you," she eventually grumbles.

    "Hmmm… you're British, not Canadian, so does that mean you only detest my presence?" I ask, sounding intrigued. "Cuz I mean, if a Canadian said that to me, I'd know I was in big trouble."

    Kate raises her head from her desk and glares at me. "What. Do you want. Planetcaller," she grinds out.

    Time to get serious. "A few hundred billion dollars," I announce.

    Kate stares at me four several long, dumbfounded seconds. "...What?" she eventually squeaks.

    Squeaks. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart.

    "Yep."

    She blinks, then her eyes flicker over to the hallway of disabled Service agents.

    I catch her worry almost immediately. "Oh, no, no!" I assure her, waving my hands. "I'm not demanding it or anything. I want to trade!"

    Kate relaxes, slumping back into her chair. "Oh."

    I grin genuinely at her. "Yup!" I reaffirm. "I'm sure I have something, or can get or make something, or do something, for your nation that's worth that much!"

    Kate crosses her fingers over each other and focuses on my face. "Continue," she grants me.

    I hum under my breath, tilting my head to either side. "Honestly Kate, I can't. You're a civilization barely scraping Kardashev 0.5, and I'm equivalent to something like… I think a 3? On that scale?" I raise a finger to tap my chin absentmindedly, thinking. "What's 1 again? Planet? Then local star, then galaxy?"

    Kate's eyes widen. "Yes, that is the scale," she agrees. "You can… harvest an entire galaxy?"

    I smirk at her. "People like me can harvest entire universes given enough time, Kate," I correct her, grinning with glee at her suddenly ashen face. "So really, toss an idea my way, I can probably pull it off."

    The President of the United States gulps. "...scrub the excess greenhouse gasses out of our atmosphere?" she hopefully asks.

    Woah. I'm actually surprised, and impressed. The first thing an American politician asks for is for me to solve global warming? I raise my eyebrows and lean forward. "Easy," I inform her. "Would you like your glaciers reset as well?"

    Her eyes practically pop out of her head. "You can do that too?"

    I smirk at her, my only way of answering.

    "...Right," she laments, remembering what I'd told her just before this.

    "Honestly, I'm impressed," I say. "I expected something like destroying your nation's enemies or wiping out your national debt."

    Kate's eyebrows join her eyes in attempting escape velocity of her head. "You… you would do that?" she stammers.

    "Not for a couple hundred billion dollars," I deadpan, flattening my smile.

    "...Oh," she deflates.

    "What's it at now, almost thirty trillion?" I ask, curiosity getting the better of me. And yes, I'm only addressing the one option out of the two I just listed that I'm willing to consider.

    She just nods, defeat on her face.

    "What does your nation have that's even worth that much? The west coast?"

    Kate nods again, then her eyes start to shine. "Would you do it?" she asks excitedly.

    I blink at her. "Do what?"

    She grins. "Buy the west coast."

    I stare at her, my turn to be dumbfounded. "...What?" I manage.

    "Thirty trillion dollars, buy the west coast," she summarizes.

    I open and close my mouth, nothing coming out. "Say what?" I repeat.

    "If I can get Congress and the states themselves to agree, will you buy Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California for thirty trillion dollars in hard currency?" She looks just like the cat who's about to make a fantastic business deal.

    My mouth drops open. "...Uh, I guess?"

    This is so entirely out of nowhere I can't help but wonder whether Writer Me is exerting direct influence here.

    On the other hand… a nation drowning in debt, and thirty trillion dollars.

    While I doubt America would ever let California go in any normal situation, it is the breadbasket state after all, this isn't a normal situation. I'm a Clarketech alien who's shown myself to be irreverent in the extreme and random as hell at the best of times.

    "There'd be conditions," she warns me. "I can't imagine this happening unless you maintain close ties with us."

    I blink again, entirely out of my element. "I mean… yeah, okay, I guess. I'm… this is supposed to be a vacation," I almost whine.

    She grins triumphantly. "You're a ludicrously powerful alien and I'm Kate Lethbridge-Stewart," she fires back. "Playtime is over. Our world and my nation need your help."

    I lean back in my own chair, grunting. "Fair." I lock eyes with her and am once more on my conversational feet. "I guess I only have one more question for you then, Kate."

    She motions towards me genially, looking quite pleased with herself. She even lifts her so far untouched cup of tea to her lips to take a sip.

    I have a feeling I'm gonna like working with this woman. She keeps giving me perfect opportunities.

    "What do you want your sixty trillion dollars in?"

    Tea sprays over the Resolute Desk.

    Kate sets her teacup down on her now ruined presidential papers and glares at me.

    I just grin back innocently.

    Worth. It.
     
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  11. Threadmarks: Chapter 11 - Coronation
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower
    Chapter 11
    Coronation
    I hover over San Francisco, thinking.

    About three miles above the Golden Gate Bridge, actually. Needless to say the entire world is aware of where I am now.

    Kate is competent. And, as I'm now fully convinced, evil and sadistic.

    She refused precious metals, diamonds, gems, hell, even antimatter.

    I offered to give her an entire gram of antimatter… and she only considered it for a few moments.

    No, instead of accepting rare material payment, you know what she wants?

    My unique ability to manipulate the world on a grand scale.

    Every dam, every road, every highway, hell, every old building that wasn't historical, she asked me to repair. Not just repair, but upgrade.

    The upgrade only came after I revealed that most forms of matter were just as easy for me to make as any other forms. The only things that changed were the time required, and the energy needed.

    I am also being hired to lay a full coast to coast Internet system of complete and total fiber cabling and whatever improvements I can make to Earth's network technology.

    I was stunned at that, especially because I knew America's energy generation wasn't up to the level needed to power such a thing even with the current tech, much less what plans I've already started designing for the upgrades.

    So she struck another deal. At that point I was just amused, and going along for the ride.

    A billion dollars per fusion reactor.

    And she'd ordered ten thousand of them.

    Holy shit, that woman.

    I was too stunned to say no, even if I had that inclination. The woman is trying to make her nation a better place, and is the first politician of real, tangible power I've ever been exposed to that is trying, much less on the path to actual success.

    I asked her how all this was going to help with the national debt problem.

    Apparently due to how much I was saving the nation both in one shot and annually not only offset the loss of California, but also allowed them to start working off the debt over time.

    You know, with a side effect of not destroying the world economy.

    Hey, overwhelming firepower is my thing, not macroeconomics.

    So I said yes. To all of her requests.

    In return, I got a country, made up of some of the most economically powerful and forward thinking states in the Union.

    The deals passed the closed sessions of Congress, both Federal and State for the states in concern, so fast I hadn't even left the White House before one of my dick victim Secret Service agents came up to me and politely asked me to go back to the Oval Office.

    Very politely.

    And she totally didn't shiver in fear when I tossed a shit eating grin her way.

    No, really though. She didn't. Balls of steel.

    Kate, beaming, told me that it was passed. She let me watch as she signed the papers on her desk.

    I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

    I mean, sure, maybe political tensions had escalated in the few years this timeline was further than my original one. Maybe the most progressive states wanted out, and definitely the regressive ones would help get them out in order to shift the entire country’s Overton Window even more right…

    But, really? Really, guys? Whatever happened to States being unable to secede?

    ...Though I guess this isn’t really secession, now is it. Hm...

    And just like that, I’m the future ruler of a new country, American in all but government… and on the hook for what must be the most ambitious logistics projects in history.

    All that is waiting on is for me to fly down there and meet the governmental leaders of my new nation's… hell, what am I going to call them? I'm just going with States to avoid confusion.

    And what am I going to call the country?

    Kate was entirely unapologetic when I realized how much responsibility I now have. Thus my new opinion of the crafty woman.

    I don't think she was acting at all on Doctor Who. Maybe in my source universe, but here? She's gods damned Kate Lethbridge-Stewart.

    In revenge, I neglected to correct her on just what exactly self replicating nanotechnology with access to Ex Nihilo matter and energy generation is capable of.

    She thinks these projects are going to take a long time.

    I'm thinking a week.

    And that's without gray going the country.

    Oh well. One good thing about this is that I hold extreme dominion over Bethesda due to exactly which state they're incorporated in, so my original goal has been met. Sort of.

    I just have to buy them now.

    But before all that…

    I hold my hand up above my head, linking a few nanites together into something that approximates a high definition cell phone camera. Of course by high definition I mean 16k resolution, in a file size less than the best 4k compression this Earth has can accomplish, with more detail. Because adhering to what humanity knew of digital imagery is for chumps.

    I snap a picture of me standing on air high above the Golden Gate Bridge, caption it, and toss it on… hmm, I'm thinking Twitter.

    'Felt cute, might declare a new nation state l8r idk…'

    Let the Internet chew on that one for a while. I have governors and congresses to meet.




    You have gotta be shitting me.

    Sacramento is the capital of California. It's also the capital city closest to where I told everyone in my new country I'd show up (San Francisco), so it seems they all flew down here.

    And I do mean all of them.

    The nearby airport is packed with what seems to be wing to wing private jets.

    The gods damned roads from the airport are even blocked off! There are dozens of stretch limos! There are rivers of people on the sides!!!

    {Being nervous on the eve of taking a seat of power is understanda-}

    SHUT UP I'M NOT NERVOUS YOU CAN'T PROVE IT!

    {...Sure.}

    SCREW YOU WRITER ME, THIS IS YOUR FAULT ANYWAYS!

    I hear a cheering roar from the crowd below me and look down at what my sensors say is literal hundreds of thousands of people.

    Only about two and a half, but still.

    ...They're waving upwards.

    Why are they doing that?

    Oh, right. Me.

    Shit.

    They've seen me.

    I plaster a hesitant smile on my face and wave back down at them.

    I'm at least a mile up, but that doesn't seem to matter. They must be zooming in with their phones or something.

    The cheering only escalates.

    Welp. Guess I'm going down.

    I begin to allow myself to fall towards the ground and the crowds, my nerves rapid firing the whole time.

    Look, I'm good with people. Lots of people, even. I don't really get stage fright.

    But this is hundreds of thousands of people!

    Coming to see me!

    Oh gods oh gods oh gods oh gods why am I DOING this?!




    They have a stage.

    Of course they have a stage.

    This is looking way less like a political thing and more like a rock concert in the making.

    And… something doesn't really add up for me.

    Why? Why ...all this?

    Why are they so eager for me to do this? I expected at least some protests, but the only thing I can see to that respect is one dude with a picket sign blaming me for not taking over sooner.

    What. The shit.

    And they're all waiting for me to say something, too. The governors on stage, the audience, the bodyguards.

    Right. I'm a Clarketech alien taking over a few states to make a brand new country. Totally normal.

    I just need to be cool and mysterious.

    Both my hands go in my pockets, I shrug my shoulders, and walk up on to the stage. "Sup?" I ask.

    The various governors and the few Congress members on the stage all start talking, and I settle in for a gauntlet.
     
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  12. Threadmarks: Chapter 12 - Welcome to the Future
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower
    Chapter 12
    Welcome to the Future

    Finally I've assuaged the worries of, greeted, shaken the hand of, and had my hand shaken by every single politician on the stage.

    I don't know any of them, which means they're either NPC levels of people I need to worry about... or just people I've never heard of.

    "Sir, they're ready for you," one of my new bodyguards, Elsa, says.

    Yes. Elsa.

    As in ice castle building, country wide blizzard summoning, sentient snowman creating traumatized queen.

    Only without the crown, the Kingdom, or the powers… I think. But she looks and sounds identical.

    I can hear Writer Me's roll lists cackling right now.

    At least he's not to blame for her presence in the first place. I'm a head of state now, so I apparently must have at least one bodyguard. Nevermind that the person they’re guarding is infinitely more likely to survive a supernova than they are.

    This was the lowest I could get my new underlings to agree to. And hey, rubber duckies are always useful for debugging plans.

    The other three they picked are not as inconspicuous as they believe they are in their attempts to guard me from afar anyways.

    "Thanks, Elsa," I say, momentarily pausing and marveling at the fact that yes, those words did just come out of my mouth.

    I shake it off at Elsa's polite, but pointed cough.

    "Right," I say, and step up to the podium.

    ...That's a lot of gods damn people.

    "So I heard your species has been having energy problems? Something about not getting fusion working quickly enough to remove your dependence on fossil fuel sources soon enough to stop your planet from undergoing a massive extinction event?" I ask curiously, trying to break the ice.

    Heh. A climate change pun. I feel horrible.

    A couple of the governors shift nervously. Oh? That's something to check in on.

    The audience manages a subdued laughing, mourning half sob… thing.

    All the confirmation I need. "Well, all of you in the states of California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska are my responsibility now," I continue my train of reasoning. "And everyone knows how seriously I take that!"

    That gets a significant peal of laughter from my listeners.

    I throw my hand out at them and scoff. "Okay, yeah, very funny, laugh it up-"

    They do. A lot more this time.

    "-but know that for the responsibilities I do accept?" I suddenly, out of nowhere, get very serious. I put both hands on the podium and lean forwards. My gaze turns penetrating, sweeping over them all. "I'm the most serious individual on this planet."

    They stop laughing.

    I straighten back up and shake out my shoulders a little. "Things are going to change. They shouldn't affect you negatively in your lives, I'm trying to make this easy for all of us. You should only receive the benefits of my rule."

    The crowd goes silent, almost deadly so. The governor of Alaska behind me gasps, putting her hands on her mouth.

    Seems like Kate hasn't informed everyone about everything involved in this changeover. No matter.

    "Make no mistake, that's what happened," I keep going. "I bought these states from your former parent nation. I own them. That means I make decisions, and they happen. Regardless of who disagrees."

    Everyone is tense, so it's time to dial back.

    "But don't worry! Even though this is now a dictatorship, I'm your friendly neighborhood hyper advanced alien!" I exclaim, stepping back and raising my hands to the sky. "Ruling is boring, which makes me averse to doing it. That's why you all elect these people behind me!" I point back over my shoulder at the increasingly neurotic governors.

    Ahh, there's the laughter. It's nervous, but the audience, my… people, and damn that’s still strange to think, aren't quite as worried as they were before.

    "So, not much is going to change negatively. I'm the dictator now, yes, but I don't know how to do half the crap these guys do. Nor what our local level Congresses do. Even if I did, that's way too much work. So you'll still elect them, and they'll still run things. The only difference is I can pass anything I want and deny anything I want. Your world calls this benevolent dictatorship with advisory council, and it seems the best way to preserve the spirit of America while also letting me get done what I need to do," I explain at length, sounding as laid back as I can.

    Oh yeah. Those two governors are definitely sweating. As are a few of the various Congress members within my immediate sensor range. Interesting.

    "But I don't expect you all to believe me even I say everything will be okay. Dictators always say that," I declare, hitting the point I know at least some of them will be concerned about now. "No, I intend to prove it. Belief is undeserving without evidence."

    I then leave the podium and walk to the edge of the stage. It is conveniently facing a large area of dusty, dry, and most importantly empty ground.

    Time to show the world watching through the cameras, and my new citizens, just who and what is on their planet ruling their nation now. I draw back my hands, point them at the sky, and begin assembling nanites in my palms.

    My systems hacked into the audio broadcast system almost immediately, so I continue to project my voice over it while the nanite ball builds. "Sacramento is a big city. It uses a lot of energy. 13,698 megawatt hours per day on average," I begin lecturing, programming and modeling the new building these nanites will be assembling in my swanky design program at the same time. "That's a lot of power! And it has to come from your species' energy generators. A tall order on the best of days."

    The nanite ball finishes and I pull back my hand as if to throw a football. I toss it into the air, giving it a boost from my hand's thrusters as it goes. It launches on a ballistic arc straight for the center of the area next to us.

    I return to podium just as it lands. "But not after today," I announce. I grin and hold my hand out to the rapidly expanding navy blue sheet covering the formerly empty space. "Behold!"

    And as the assembled humans observe, and the cameras stream it out to the world, a massive building begins to rise from the pool. The structure is composed of a pearly white, slightly blue, concrete derivative which has more in common with carbon nanotubes than a sidewalk and gleams in the afternoon sun. Huge glass windows wrap around the building on its many floors, and the forest green of plants and a carbon scrubbing moss follow the sleek curves of the Solarpunk architecture. When the building is all the way out of the pool, a massive curving spire into the sky, the quad Progenitor fusion generators in the heart of the building begin their startup sequence and a soothing hum resonates out through the ground beneath our feet.

    They don't have to make noise, but silent energy generators are unnerving. I made this building to be comforting to all who see it, a beacon of hope and a vision of the future I was heralding. It shouldn't be unnerving.

    The crowd is awed to silence for several more seconds. Then… cheers.

    "This Beacon is just the first of many!" I bellow happily, grinning like a loon. "Within its heart are four fusion generators, each powerful enough to provide electricity to a city three times Sacramento's size. As of right now, electricity is free for anyone within the city limits, and my technology will ensure that!"

    I leave out all the other features present in the Beacon. I'm going to drag this world into a post scarcity utopia, kicking and screaming if I absolutely have to, but they can discover that over time.

    "Welcome to the future!"





    It's only after settling into my office at the top of my first Beacon, with a constantly following Disney character bodyguard, and looking into accomplishing my original goal of buying out Bethesda that I finally realize that I really shouldn't be relying on my own nebulously correct knowledge of my reality to predict this one. Even if I'm right about where they're based on Writer Me's world, something I'm not fully confident about, this world has some pretty gigantic differences.

    Like the President.

    The Wikipedia page for Bethesda, and the fact they're incorporated in Maryland, otherwise known as a state on the other coast of the United States, stares me right in the face.

    I lower my head into my hands. I just bought a bunch of states at least partially because I thought Bethesda was incorporated in one, allowing me to either put pressure on their board to sell the company to me or just seize it outright.

    And they're actually on the other side of the continent.

    I bought the wrong coast.

    "...Shit."

    Elsa just smirks at me.
     
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  13. Threadmarks: Chapter 13 - Beth Is Duh
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower
    Chapter 13
    Beth Is Duh

    “Elsa,” I mumble, head still in my hands. “I bought the wrong coast.

    She turns to me and tilts her head. “What, sir?”

    “I bought the west coast. I should’ve bought the east one.”

    Elsa only looks confused for a single moment. Damn, she must be good at hearing weird shit from those she guards… bodyguards? What’s the verb for bodyguard duties? “Is there a particular reason why?” she asks, amused more than weirded out.

    I drop my head to the dark stone table that doubles as my desk. “Bethesda is incorporated in Maryland, not California.”

    Yet another single second of confusion before she just rolls with it. “The game company?”

    I’m keeping her. “Yup.”

    “I’m guessing you intend to take them over by buying them out?”

    Smart cookie. “Right again.”

    “Not that I’m questioning you, sir, but… why?” Elsa asks, for once showing a small amount of hesitance.

    That makes me shoot right up and I glare at her. “Don’t,” I say, crossly.

    To her credit, she only gulps. “Don’t what, sir?” is her exceedingly respectful query.

    I sigh and bring a hand up to massage my brow. “Don’t…. do that. Be scared of me. Of asking me things, of contradicting me, of questioning what I’m doing or thinking.” I look her in the eyes and attempt to get the message across as solidly as possible. “I’m a dictator, yeah. But the benevolent bit is important. I’m not normal, remember, I’m…” I sigh, gesturing to the greater world beyond the curved glass walls of my office. “I’m not going to do anything like what those who’ve borne that title in your history have. Ever.” I wince and slightly nod my head to the side. “Well, actually there have been some good things done by some of them, so I can’t say nothing ever, but you know what I mean.”

    She studies me for a few more moments before she seems satisfied. With that decision, Elsa is once more steady and on board with serving me. “I’m not a history student, sir, so no, I don’t,” she abruptly teases me, grinning wide. “But I understand the general gist.”

    I sigh with relief and nod at her. “Alright. Good. Glad we got that out of the way.” I shake my nanite body, entirely unnecessarily, in order to recenter myself. It’s a psychological thing. Other AI might call it a hangover from when I was human, or if I’m right from when I remember being human.

    Those AI can suck my gigantic nanite dick. I’m a human in a hyper-advanced body, but that doesn’t change who I am. And… hopefully I manage to keep it that way.

    “So yeah, I bought the wrong coast. I needed to buy the area Bethesda was in so I could buy them and thus control their company and their owned companies,” I explain to my bodyguard. “Specifically, Argus, the creators of Sword Art Online.”

    “So that’s where you went after you blew up the tentacle monster,” Elsa declares, eyes widening and a satisfied grin appearing on her face.

    I sigh dejectedly, accepting what I know is about to come out of my far too gleeful bodyguard's mouth. "Yeah, yeah. I came to your planet, trolled some people, organizations, the military, an entire country with one of their own memes… and then I discovered your video games. Laugh it up."

    Elsa takes my suggestion to heart and starts giggling.

    I roll my eyes and sigh. "Right. I'm going to ignore that and just call Kate. See if I can't buy another state off the US."

    That just makes Elsa burst out laughing. She has to use the wall to support herself as her legs are giving out on her.

    I plaster an unamused, flat look on my face and just sigh again. At my direction a stereotypical red phone flash constructs out of my 'mahogany' desk, and I pick up the red handle.

    A couple moments is all it takes for my systems to interface with the national phone grid. It's still entirely operational, even in my new country, as basically nothing procedurally has changed quite yet. All the connections that span the border of our two countries are essentially acting like they're still straddling state borders.

    Elsa finally manages to calm herself and more or less resume standing upright. The giant grin on her face doesn't budge, though.

    I'll probably just leave it that way until my semi planned network replacement takes off. But then it'll just be me as the ISP of the entire US and my country, so will anything have really changed?

    ...Well at least the up and down speeds will. Fuck that mismatched some download and jack shit upload bullcrap the current ISPs adore. I will avenge the victims of the corporate network oligarchy and bring the wonder of actual high speed Internet to all!

    The sound of someone picking up the phone pulls me out of the building mental rant I was about to embark upon. "Planetcaller. We've been expecting a call from you. I'm your designated liaison with President Lethbridge-Stewart's administration. My name is Stacey, how may I be of assistance?"

    I blink and hold the phone handset away from my ear, staring at it in disbelief.

    "Something wrong?" Elsa asks me, clearly concerned.

    I've never had a liaison. Hell I've never had an assistant or a bodyguard, much less a country, and here I am with all four.

    It's… the term mildly shellshocked applies here, surely?

    "They gave me a liason at the White House," I mumble out, still staring at the handset in my hand.

    "Yes, Stacey," Elsa nods in unsurprised acknowledgement.

    I feel my eyebrows rise all on their own. "You knew about this? Uh, her?"

    Elsa nods again. "I've been designated your personal assistant as well as bodyguard. The…" she hedges, looking hesitant.

    I give her an entirely unimpressed look. "The…?" I prompt.

    She sighs and rolls her eyes. "Oh, to hell with it. They think I can keep you from doing anything too insane. The local governments of your states," she reveals.

    My deadpan look only increases, morphing into disbelief.

    "I didn't claim it was them being smart!" she protests.

    I blink and roll my eyes. "Uh huh." I uncover the phone and put it back to my ear, taking my attention off Elsa. "So, Stacey, is it?"

    "Yes, Planetcaller?" she pleasantly and almost pointedly patiently repeats.

    "I need to talk to Kate."

    I can almost hear her patronizing smile. "I'm sorry Planetcaller, but Miss Lethbridge-Stewart is currently in a high level meeting. I can relay your request once she's finished, though." Despite being patronizing, she's still kind and respectful.

    Must be an ex middle school teacher.

    "Thank you for calling us, though. Is there anything I can do for you? Something that doesn't need to involve the President, maybe?" Stacey continues.

    Huh. She legitimately sounds like she wants to help me.

    Politician lying? Or is she really this nice? And if so, how and why did Kate break down the gates of Olympus just to steal her?

    "Uh, no thanks," I answer her. "Sorry, I'm… I'm just not used to this."

    "Miss Lethbridge-Stewart said that would be the case, Planetcaller, and that is why I am essentially your dedicated government correspondent," she says. "At least, with our government."

    I nod to myself and put a smile on my tone. "Well, thank you for that. I'll try not to drive you too insane."

    "That is what your assistant and bodyguard is for, Planetcaller," she amusingly fires back.

    I'm silent for several, gobsmacked seconds. She just made a joke. A good one.

    "...I think I like you, Stacey," I finally admit.

    Her amusement is almost visible. "The President said that would be the case too, Planetcaller."

    I digest that, somewhat annoyed at Kate having pegged me so well. "Goodbye, Stacey," I finally manage.

    "Goodbye, Planetcaller. Please call back if you have any… questions." She actually snickers as she hangs up, and I'm left staring at the phone in something like surprise.

    "What?" Elsa asks.

    I turn to her, still trying to process what just happened. "She's my kind of woman," is all I manage.

    "A complete troll who enjoys messing with people?" Elsa deadpans.

    "Apparently."

    Both of us say nothing for several seconds.

    “So… what now?” Elsa asks.

    I turn my attention more towards her, realizing I don’t actually know much about her other than the quick security check I ran on her. Not for any real purpose, mind you; just because I’m a head of state now and the meme had to be made. “Well, you’re supposed to be my personal assistant now, so… tell me about yourself?” I offer.

    She looks surprised, blinking and raising her eyebrows. “Really?”

    Rapid nods from me signal my vehement agreement. “Yeah. Why not? I’ve got some time to kill until Kate’s done with her meeting, so…” I wave in front of my desk and gesture, flash materializing a comfortable chair not unlike my own. To her credit, she barely flinches.

    “Why don’t you just look it up?” she challenges, still not entirely convinced.

    “I’d rather hear it from you,” I fire back, unmoved and entirely unsurprised that she suggested that. “Adds the… heh, human element. Personal connection, perspective that can’t come from mere files or records, you know.”

    Elsa peers at me suspiciously for a few moments. Then she shrugs and shakes herself. “Aight,” she agrees, taking a leisurely seat. Not even her semblance of casual leg crossing and pseudo-relaxed shoulders can hide how ready she is to leap into action from me, though.

    I really lucked out. She must be extremely competent.

    “Well, I was born in Norway,” she begins, “lived there until I was five. Then my family immigrated into the U.S. Here, actually, in California.” She smiles at that and snickers. “I’m more a valley girl than a Valkyrie, if you catch my drift.”

    I nod, understanding quite well. I originally come from the same state, after all, even if it’s in another reality, and another layer of existence entirely. “Makes sense.”

    Elsa nods and continues, lacing her fingers over her upper knee. “Let’s see, I blew through school with honors, graduated magna cum laude from UCLA, got my d-”

    I interrupt her by holding up a hand. “Elsa, these are the things I can learn from your records. I want to know you.

    Elsa looks like a deer caught in the headlights, her eyes wide and mouth just a little bit open. “.....Oh,” she squeaks. “Uh, uhm, okay… well, I surfed, gamed, boarded. Oh, I love dogs. And chocolate! And, uh… hmm. This… most people don’t actually ask personal stuff about me,” she admits.

    I frown, pity washing over me. “They should. You seem like an interesting person.”

    Yep, blush. Hot bodyguard personal assistant has blushed! Sound the presses, the Anime tropes are in full force here. “...Thanks.”

    She gathers herself and shakes the blush away. “Well, after I graduated I actually went into private security service almost immediately. I was scouted pretty quick. They like young recruits of my skills. My team… they are some of the best, and I miss them.” She freezes, like she’s just revealed something rather secret.

    I just shake my head, waving at her. “The others who I sent away from the rally?” I guess.

    Elsa frowns and nods, not trusting herself to speak.

    I sigh and lean back. A moment is all it takes to send off a message to… let’s pick Washington’s governor this time, that I’ll take her whole squad. “I’ve just accepted them all.”

    Elsa raises her eyebrows, her eyes shooting wide open. “You didn’t even move!” she states.

    I just point at my head. “Alien super intelligence that’s not exactly organic, remember?”

    She blinks again, then settles down. “Oh.” Clearly that’s going to take a little while for her to get used to. “Right.”

    “So, your squad?”

    And so she launches into a tale of comrades in arms, bravely guarding and halting some of the weirdest circumstances I’ve ever heard of. And somewhere in there, the topic of her childhood is breached, and we start swapping stories. Mine are edited to seem like an alien race, of course, though one remarkably similar to humanity.

    But that’s another story.

    We become buddies, and I can sense her including me in her circle of friends easily.




    Eventually, though, something ends up bugging me too much to ignore anymore.

    Her appearance.

    Because, seriously, I know I’ve said it before, but she is the perfect image of a certain ice queen.

    Did this universe get crossed over? Is this also partially the Disneyverse?

    ...Is Elsa super old?

    Quick, one lookup of a fictional Norweigan town, stat! It’s gotta be here somewhe-

    “You’re looking up Arendelle, aren’t you?” Elsa knowingly says.

    All I manage for several seconds is to stare at her, jaw dropped. I do manage to close my mouth and attempt an innocent smile. “...No?”

    Elsa sighs and rolls her eyes. “I’m not that Elsa. Arendelle doesn’t exist. Yes I’m from Norway, but the best you’re gonna get up there is the town they sorta based it on, Arendal. No, I’m not from there. Yes I could play the character that shares my name in a live action remake, no I do not have ice powers and no I’m not a reincarnation of a long dead magic queen,” she declares, deadpan.

    I blink in surprise, opening and closing my mouth several times.

    “The jokes and references have been done before,” she offers as explanation.

    “...Ah,” I say, grimacing. “High school?”

    She sighs and shakes her head, eyes closed. “And college, my Doctorate, and my career... it honestly gets old when you can’t do the things you’re supposed to be able to do.” She frowns slightly, shrugging self-deprecatingly. “Especially when you yourself wish you could, if for nothing else because it’s cool as all hell.”

    Doctorate. Wow. I have a really well qualified bodyguard, holy shit. Also, she definitely didn’t mention that in our heart to heart!

    Then the rest of her mini rant processes in my head and I abruptly grin widely.

    She shoots me a glare. “Pun unintended.”

    My grin vanishes as fast as it came.

    We sit across from each other for several long seconds… and then I get an Idea.

    I lean over my desk towards her and clasp my hands together. “So…..,” I begin, my grin slowly beginning to reappear, “if, say, you could do the things you’re supposed to be able to do…” I trail off.

    Her eyes shoot wide open and she locks onto mine. “What.” she asks, demandingly.

    “I mean it wouldn’t be magic, but I am supposed to rebuild this world’s ice caps relatively soon,” I reveal, unable to prevent a nerdy glee from entering my eyes. “And it can’t be helped if I want to make sure my bodyguard is more well equipped to defend me, now can it?”

    Elsa’s grin grows to match my own. “No, I guess it can’t be helped,” she agrees wholeheartedly.

    My grin turns sly and I wink at her. “You’re just as big a nerd as I am,” I accuse.

    “Tell anyone and I figure out how to end you,” she threatens teasingly.

    I shrug, entirely unconcerned by her faux threat. “They’re too focused on my shenanigans to pay attention to you,” I point out.

    Elsa nods, admitting my win. “Good point.”

    "For now."

    Her grin lessens slightly.

    And then... I get another Idea.

    “So about that ice cap job I’m supposed to do…”
     
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  14. Threadmarks: Chapter 14 - Testing Testing, Is This On?
    TCGM

    TCGM (Unverified God/Space Snek)

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    The Only Winning Move Is Overwhelming Firepower
    Chapter 14
    Testing Testing, Is This On?

    "Okay," Elsa manages to remark, "that's actually really cool. Terrifying, but cool."

    We're standing on one of the many levels of my Beacon, in what used to be entirely empty space. As we approached this area on the elevator, though, I grew out hallways and supporting structures for what I'm currently building. They follow the aesthetic of the entire building, pearly milk white walls, ceilings and floors with some nice navy blue rugs and forest green accents within the structure itself. Straight 'glass' (which in actuality is transparent aluminum) windows serve as almost the entirety of the outer wall of the corridor we're in, curving around the building. Only a little forest green accented white wall border exists above or below the window.

    The rolling wall of silvery navy blue in front of us advances, leaving behind another hallway. This one is different. Every 'surface' is made up of interlocking silvery navy blue plates. Each of those plates is actually a semi solid block of nanites, which makes it extremely easy to reconfigure on the fly.

    As we watch they quickly rearrange themselves, becoming actually flat surfaces.

    "Definitely cool," I agree, nodding my head. "Also, puns."

    Elsa rolls her eyes at me. "You gave me ice powers, I'm not complaining."

    My grin is legendary.

    The hallway expands out into a large room that takes up almost the entire interior space that the Beacon tower offers. Not vertically, but definitely horizontally. Other than the wraparound hallway, the only thing on this level is going to be this room.

    "What exactly are you building anyways?" Elsa asks me curiously, peering into the quickly finishing, but still quite shadowed massive room.

    I turn to smirk at her as the plates around that room finish reconfiguring themselves, lock into place, and brilliant light pours forth from some of them. A holographic sign pops up in front of us, forming a room label over the entrance to the hallway.

    "Welcome to the Danger Room," I inform her, entirely unrepentant.

    She has the good grace to gulp.

    "First test; survival." With that, I move my hand behind her and momentarily activate the thrusters in my hand.

    She gets yeeted into the room. It immediately starts humming. Her startled scream cuts off when she flips herself over in the air, waves her hand to make an ice platform behind her to catch her, and finally glares at me.

    My grin just gets wider as several panels open. "Method one; lasers."

    Her eyes shoot wide open and she freaking jumps. A moment later, an overpowered laser beam shatters her ice mitt.

    The Danger Room spins up to full gear and I get to hear my new bodyguard cursing my name.

    I'm not cackling maniacally and anything you say to the contrary is bullshit.




    Elsa, panting, sweaty, and evidently very upset with me, allows the last laser cannon to drop to the floor of the danger room. It has an ice spike through it the size of my head. Honestly, it's a lot more ice spike than laser cannon at this point.

    "You…" she growls out, "asshole!"

    I just shrug, looking quite pleased with myself. I'm still standing at the entrance to the Danger Room. She did quite well. "Hey, I needed to see how well your power worked under stress. I've never done a mental interface of any kind before for a human," technically true, "so I'm glad it all worked out."

    Elsa fumes at the bottom of the Room. "You're glad it worked out?!" She yells up to me. "What the hell does that mean?"

    I grin again, and her face pales. "It means method 2; PARKOOOUUUUR!"

    The Room begins moving again, the floor disappearing from under her, and she swears at me. Again.

    I'm definitely going to enjoy this a few more rounds before I ease up. Plus, who doesn't want to watch a sexy woman with superpowers beat the crap out of dangerous objects?

    "I'LL-" she says, in the middle of the jumps she takes between safe platforms, "GET YOU FOR THIS!" A platform waits until she touches it with her foot then starts dropping out from under her. "PLANETCALLER!"




    "Test 2: Combat!" I announce, both using my voice and projecting it throughout the Danger Room. "Method: drones!"

    Elsa looks up at me and shrieks. "WHAT?!"

    Around the Room, several sets of four panels fold away into the walls. The space revealed is cast in black due to holographic 'shadow' being cast on it.

    Then those alcove start flash fabricating small drones with a round body, crablike appenages, red coloring… and plasma emitters in their faces under two sets of 'sensors' that look an awful lot like a bunch of red eyes and a hellmouth.

    They also make a disturbing skittering sound when they move.

    The legs are actually totally silent. I added those sounds literally just to freak people out. And the sensors aren't real either.

    I set the seven alcoves to produce twenty drones each. Then I let them loose.

    The drones start pouring out of the holes and Elsa's face pales again.

    "Oh shit."

    One of the drones gets a bead on Elsa and primes its plasma emitter. An ominous red glow gathers in front of it.

    "Oh SHIT!"

    And she's back to dodging. At least she's figured out how to emit multiple ice projectiles at this point.

    That'll help.




    "Test 2, Combat!" I call out again. "Method: Bossfight!"

    I'm pretty sure her voice reaches pitches a human can't hear. "YOU FUCK!"

    A massive drone, this one looking like the bastard child of the crablike
    drones, the starship Enterprise, and a Warforged, materializes out of thin air on the other side of the chamber from her. It arrives in a great flash of orange light… for presentation purposes.

    "YOU HAVE TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME!"

    In not sure whether she's screaming at me or the boss drone, but it hears her anyways. Its red eye swivels to lock into a gulping Elsa.

    And then the floor opens up to a lake of lava.

    That the drone steps straight into without giving a single shit. On top of being immune to lava, its arms are pretty flexible.

    Speaking of those arms, it raises them towards Elsa.

    Then about a hundred various weapons pop out of each one.

    "FUCK YOU!"




    Elsa finally finishes all my tests. She stalks up to the Danger Room's entrance, the entire thing resetting to a calm state behind her.

    The beaten to hell and back, ice pierced and lanced boss drone sinks into the lava lake. Its head is absorbed into the wall where it was stuck with a conclusive blast that tore it straight off the drone. These two pieces are naturally entirely disconnected.

    Well, they were after Elsa took her rage out on them.

    Speaking of my bodyguard and assistant, she walks right up to me. She stares me in the eyes, looking mad as hell.

    I merely amusedly lock eyes with her, my grin still on my face. "Have fun?" I ask knowingly.

    She narrows her eyes, still panting. "Yes," she almost spits out. "A little warning would've been nice."

    "Wouldn't have tested your reactions or the ice direction system, though," I pointed out.

    She growls at me. "I'd like to be notified before being thrown into multiple deadly situations by someone I consider a friend-!" she begins to rant, but I cut her off.

    "What deadly situation?" I genuinely ask, confused.

    She stares at me, agape. "This!" Elsa finally manages to say. She gestures behind her wildly to the Danger Room which is still melting away all the ice she manifested. "The lasers, the lava! The fucking gigantic mechanical monster!"

    I tilt my head and look at her strangely. "Elsa, this is a training facility. It can't harm you."

    "YOU SHOT A MILLION LASERS AT ME!"

    I shake my head, finally realizing what she's believing. "No, at your ice catcher… thing. And for the others, they only targeted you and prepared to fire. If you hadn't moved directly afterward as the system predicted, none of the shots would have actually gone off. And you may or may not have noticed, but you never actually got hit by any of the drones or the cannons."

    I'd programmed this room's controlling software off the FoF and aiming software of some of the most precise weapons the Progenitors had ever created. It only fires when it means to, and it will never miss. Or hit when it isn't supposed to.

    That seems to drain the wind from Elsa's sails. "Bwuh?" she asks. She glances over herself, seeing only light scorches from near misses, and looks back up at me. "The hell?"

    "Elsa, you were never in danger," I spell out for her. I place a hand on her shoulder to reassure her and smile kindly. "It's all just holographic illusions or precisely aimed weapons designed to make you feel like you're under threat, but the Danger Room will never actually harm you. It won't ever fire a weapon at someone. Might prep and look like it's about to fire, but if you had stubbornly stayed in your ice catcher, or just stared down a drone, they would've just… not fired." I grin and nod to the still disappearing lake. "And that's holographic lava."

    She stares at me, looking confused, hurt, but also relieved. "...Oh."

    I nod at her and let her shoulder. "Yep. Then again if you didn't move, it wouldn't be much of a training session, now would it?"

    She sighs and shakes her head. "I guess not."

    One more pat on her shoulder and I withdraw my hand, grinning wide. "So," I ask, "now that you know you're not actually in danger… wanna go again?"

    Her head snaps up and she seems to have eyes that literally glow.

    Huh.

    Oh, that's clever. She's manifesting slight ice mist just in front of her eyes from my perspective that makes her eyes look like they're glowing. Clever girl.

    "Hell yes."

    The Danger Room hums up to speed again and I take a step to the side. "Go, run, have fun, beat shit up," I say, turning towards a still entirely calm section of the Room. That section quickly grows a table and a steaming mug of hot chocolate

    "I'll watch."

    Elsa grins at me, fires off a cocky salute, and sprints back into the fray.

    I think she'll be using this room a lot. And I may decide to watch if she keeps wearing clothing that tight while doing it.




    "LET IT GO, MOTHERFUCKER!" Elsa yells, chasing after a training drone. The poor thing has half its legs, the other half are caked over in frost, and a gigantic ice spike has replaced the spot where it used to have faux sensors above its plasma emitter. It is also holding a ripped piece of ice material in its manipulator claws.

    Oh gods what have I done.

    Elsa catapults after the thing, growling. She has a form fitting ice dress on that she made about halfway through her 'training' session….. though honestly calling it a dress is disingenuous. Battle dress, maybe? Long and flowing, hugging her upper curves, but her lower body is still covered in a pair of skin tight ice pants and there is what appears to be a tactical belt around her waist on the outside of the dress. Her shoulders are covered in some sort of slim pauldrons, and there is no cleavage to be found anywhere in the original design.

    Honestly, it's like my bodyguard took the ice dress of her namesake and then merged it with the tactical suit of a certain scarlet Romanoff. And covered up her chest.

    The dress is also still mostly intact… except for the small part that the drone absconded with.

    The one that used to be covering her cleavage, funnily enough.

    Despite the drone she's chasing appearing for all the world like a scared child running from a monster, it has no intelligence. I'm driving all the drones in the Danger Room… or, well, the system is driving them. The one I made. So it technically counts as me driving them.

    Which means yes, I sorta did rip her dress in a sexy manner, but no way am I telling her that. Especially because it was a complete accident before it became hilarious.

    I wince as a huge wave of ice barely misses the drone and flash freezes the wall beyond it. The little crab like pseudo machine lets out an electronic shriek and abruptly changes directions, sprinting for the left side of the chamber.

    An enraged ice power imbued bodyguard chases after it.

    It was surprisingly easy and also quite difficult at the same time to devise a method for Elsa to get her trademark ice powers. The thing with ice powers is that they are inherently endothermic, which is actually relatively difficult to pull off for a Commander. Most of our technology is based around emitting energy (usually in violent ways), generating it, or converting it to matter. Removing energy from a system… well, it requires a lot of redesigning.

    However energetic our technology base is, there's still several avenues to begin at that can lead to or even make use of endothermic processes. Commander Resource Cores suck up zero point energy from the universe itself to produce power and matter (or just manufacture it from nothing but quarks if that's unavailable somehow, but I took one look at the science behind it and felt my brain melt). The Jig satellites which drink in the awesome power of the gravity well of a gas giant also specialize in endothermia… only through a small middleman called gravity. Slight frosting occurs on vehicles that pass through a Gateway…

    You get my point, there's ways.

    What turned out to be the easiest method to replicate magical ice powers began with the energy harvesting method of the Resource Core, only tuned to harvesting energy from a bit higher up the quantum scale. With that change the size dropped down to something barely bigger than a golf ball, and even further if the collection was handled by gravity manipulating nanotech under the Core's control. All that was needed to do this was that special version of nanites which could manipulate gravity, and another one capable of projecting holograms to cover up all the flowing nanotech.

    Well, technically the holographic ones weren't needed, in the strictest sense… but they made it look cool, damn it!

    Not that the initial test of the technology looked any less cool with the flashy blue and purple gigantic sky snowflakes turned off. I mean, who doesn't want a giant shiny blue hurricane above their city, am I right?

    The mayors of Sacramento and San Francisco, apparently, judging by the voicemails they left on my very much unanswered phone, but screw em. Science needed to be done!

    Afterwards, Elsa told me to put it in her hard and fast, grinning at how uncomfortable her clearly intentionally lewd phrasing made me blush and glare at her.

    The dress thing is partially payback for that, if I'm being honest. Or at least the retroactive application of my intent to have done it… intentionally.

    I'd have done it if I thought of it, aight? That's my point.

    Nevertheless, one painless and scarless nanite assisted surgery later, the thumbnail sized ball was resting just under Elsa's sternum, in the middle of her body. The nanites were flowing through her veins and under her mental control… at least for the functions I'd informed her of and exposed for user access. Frankly terrifying in scope endothermic environmental control, a colossal energy bank via the nanites themselves and a conversion and harvesting coordination system hosted in the small orb that had a side effect of keeping her entire body toasty warm and immune to cold. Oh, and the holography of course.

    The immortality, hyper regeneration, and near immunity to any kind of weapons fire I haven't told her about quite yet.

    Anyways, the room purpose grown to make the X-Men's Danger Room cry for its mommy because my big bad hyper advanced nanite testing lab is way better than it could ever be has taken a beating from her 'training'. Now that she knew she wasn't in danger, she took it as an opportunity to work out and experiment with her new ice powers.

    Such good times have been had in the last twenty minutes. Especially that time when I surprise ambushed my bodyguard with the drone dropping on her from the ceiling.

    "GET BACK HERE YOU LITTLE SHIT! YOU TOUCHED MY BOOBS!" Elsa yells again, launching another ice spike into the running drone.

    Thank you for your excellent literary timing, Elsa, I thank her in my own head, grinning.

    Yes, good times indeed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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