The Power of Ten: Sama Rantha Chapter 441: Far Future Ch. 151 – Things are Happening
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It was quickly decided that the exploring Ranthas would try to make their way to the closest node cities of the drow. From there, it would be much less difficult to either arrange passage to Gloomheart and link up, or come out from Gloomheart.
There wasn't a huge amount of concern, as the number of people doing the exploring was under ten at this point, having other obligations, worries, and opportunistic harvesting of karmic excitement going on to distract them. Once they got some of their Curselines up and running, however...
The shadow demon was still squirming a bit. Chalice bit in, and shadowfire began the process of transforming it into more of the Gloom. The demon didn't seem to like the process much, what with the flailing and squealing, but it converted in the end. Heh!
Our little trips in the tunnels within a thousand miles of the Fane had been entertaining and informative. The numerous hyn clans spread out in the nooks and crannies of the place were starting their transformations, and Shadowknives were extending their reaches as they touched on the disciplines of Void Brothers.
My Queen and the Princes had actually attended a conclave of the Shadowknives, and while they had spoken in Markspace, the hyn were still astounded to experience the fact that there were more beings like them, yet subtly different. They were also delighted to be called 'Elder Brothers' by the bigger humans, as My Queen had not been a Void anywhere near as long as any of them had.
They did all confirm that they had powerful instincts and obligations to the lands of their birth, which meant that the Shadowknives would not be leaving the Gloom. Any hyn who grew up to be one would be drawn back to the Gloom if they left, meaning only hyn conceived and born on another world would be able to stay there.
The fact their younger generations could leave the Gloom for the mortal world was a source of wonder, and with the Markspace, they could see what all those mortal worlds were like... and they could get colorful cloth, especially blankets, to hold a piece of those worlds closer in this shadowy world of greys.
Keva was already popping the Rift open to the portal here, a lost contraption stuck in a wall and watched over by a confluence of undead shadows, possessed Umbvar, and Shadow Demons under one of their boosted leaders. All were now dead and burning in shadowfire, being returned to the Gloom.
-Hello!- /said Keva from the other side, and we all turned to look, including the Brother. We all converged on it, and even the Brother stepped through, even if he couldn't stay there long.
The sky was kind of greenish, the star was more orange then old Sol, and the vegetation was more brown than green, the forests more primitive and palmlike... but the air was breathable, the climate was temperate, and there were no perceptible contagions in the air.
"Interesting." I looked around at the thick forest around us, sniffed at the air. "I smell big lizard. Is this some sort of primitive world?"
"More to the point, are the elvar here? The Portal is old and hasn't been used for millennia, judging by its position," Celestia replied, studying the area. "Fliers. Looks like primitive feathered." We all looked that way, zoomed in with our Masks, and studied the big glider with its rough patterns of bright feathers here and there. Not completely avian yet, maybe a few thousand generations away, and still had a toothed muzzle, not a beak.
-Get me a location.- Chalice spewed out the spatial coordinates into Markspace, I read them and had a rough fix, but astronomical data was pretty precise, even for the untold millions of stars the Empire had not visited.
The return was pretty quick, a dim yellow-orange star on the fringe of known space, judged unlikely to have habitable worlds from a great distance, and so far out nobody was much interested in it. There were known storms and tides in the Warp that far out on the fringe, and so nobody traveled there without damn good reason, because they probably weren't coming back. It was over four thousand light years from Janus III, so not on the immediate travel plans... but it was on them.
Whether or not there were elvar here, in the end made very little difference, but it was better to be safe than sorry. Given how buried the Portal was in a narrow capillary, it had definitely been long disused... and now that we had the lock, we weren't going to be using it anyways.
That would be for the Brothers, to get their Weapons Named and up to Riftcutting, and open the ways for their people out of here.
Scouting this place out would be the job of Colby, her Curseline, and the hyn who would want to move here.
Forty-seven Portals, this was the first one leading to a habitable world. It was a place that could be built up, outside the Empire's direct zone of influence... which naturally would not be at all amenable to the Empire's intentions.
But if it could support the hyn, and was intrinsically less deadly than Gloom, than their population could explode. With technological and psionic training, their society could advance very quickly, as they built it from the bottom up.
Not that the Empire would give a shit if they discovered them; it would be knuckle under or die. So, secrecy was definitely going to be a thing.
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I inhaled and looked at the odd sun, while plans were rolling in the back of my head about just how I was going to expand and try to build a new and better society, while the ponderous, crushing weight of the old, as well as all the enemies it had made, tried to stomp it out of existence.
Skulking out in the stars... I sighed, thinking of the scale of what I had to do and the daunting task before me, and shrugged.
It had to get done, so there it was. Start small, and let the kids and followers make it grow. As long as the primary might of the Empire couldn't come here, I should be able to really make a go of things... and that was what was required to be done to bring down the Warp Gods.
Still, first habitable world... it was a landmark goal, and got some quiet cheering...
The deal with the Elvar for Void Osmium was ongoing. At the same time, alternate sources or substitutes for the metal were also ongoing, and if that meant locating a singularity and making a forge station there, well, it was all on the table... and not totally impossible for the Celestial Tribute to design.
For now, they were just making more Harmonic Drives for the new Angel-class or GMAT improved cruisers, destroyers, and frigates being designed and put to service, while down on the planet massive mining operations on dozens of sites were underway to fuel a ship-building boom that would not have been out of place on a major forge world, and certainly was badly startling the Mechanicus with how suddenly and thoroughly the Rantha Corps and their grip on the Vakker Tech was expanding.
The destruction of the Mekker sites by demonic forces had thrown a huge shadow over their operations on Janus III, resulting in unprecedented curtailment of their activities and power by the Imperial government, and investigations into their dealings and activities by extremely nosy and alarmingly adept Juris Forensic teams who seemed unprecedentedly talented into furrowing into all the places the Mekkers wanted concealed. It seemed their attempts to cover up what was going on at those sites didn't work quite as well as they thought, and abruptly a whole swathe of senior Mekker management went missing, sometimes explosively and with a large number of associates.
The Guild was naturally intent on sending over replacements, except the Umbrans were kind enough to promptly start investigating the backgrounds of such senior executives and observers, and finding things not to their liking. Causal chains of relationships began to link up those executives, and the weight of the Empire's observation was now upon them, especially for concealing the fact they knew of multiple elvar World-Portals and hadn't bothered to inform the military authorities of the planet they were on.
Naturally the hunt for more hidden secrets went on, and got so intense the Mekkers began sabotaging their own services to safeguard things, which only got them into more trouble and inspired more purgings of the managers who gave such orders, much to the outrage of their superiors.
The Umbrans were having none of it, especially when they started revealing some of the things the Mekkers had done, and multiple affronted parties starting demanding more, happily kicking the technologists while they were down.
In the meantime, living non-cybered officials were moving into the absent positions of authority the Mekkers had been forced to vacate, and to the astonishment of the cyborgs, production started to increase!
Padded labor rolls done to appease the masses were cut, and instead new production lines for extra parts were put into place, pay rebalanced to reflect job and output, and those who didn't work were put down to starvation levels on the Imperial Dole and decided they should actually work and make things to kill the xenos who had killed so many of their friends and relatives.
Morale higher than it had ever been under their cybered masters, work crews slowly and steadily getting Marked among their numbers started fine-tuning the production lines in ways the cybered Mekkers had never bothered to with their unemotional focus on pure efficiency, offset only by the required inefficiency of organics to prevent axiomatic events from occurring.
The effect of reducing Mekker control and increasing production and results made even more suspicion fall down upon the Mekkers, as now it looked like they were actually sabotaging production for the long term for some unknown agenda. These discoveries rippled throughout the subsector and into the wider sector, especially to the superiors of all involved, and began making some deeper waves at higher levels.
The Strategos Council was convening with a lot of ancillary Ranthas joining in, as the subject of new systems to explore and new fights to get into was something near and dear to so many of our hearts. We had so many places to go and fight, that even with tens of thousands of us around, there was still work to do, and there only remained Leveling and catching up with enough assets to do such things.
The Briggs Brothers had moved into the mining business in a trillion-credit way, and were exploiting vein after vein of materials quietly and thoroughly, quite upsetting the noble houses and merchant clans who were finding it impossible to buy land for speculative purposes, and trying to get proper surveys done was, if anything, even more dangerous than before. The only ones who could seem to do them right were the same people also arranging for the sophisticated mobile mine factories and smelters putting out all sorts of new output one after another, and ignoring the killing atmosphere and alkalines with their workforce without having to buy anti-corrosive Amulets or put in a Shield.
Naturally they weren't happy, but slacking off on their own production wasn't a wise idea. The Rantha Corp didn't intrude on their own mines, and seemed very happy to meet and discuss things with intruders in their own mines. Excited, even. Then there were several sudden absences of high-level managers, several more disappearances of high-level investors and backers, some mercenary groups with solid reputations went missing, and Rantha Corp's holdings expanded after some unwelcome news of that sort was picked up by those looking for it, stock prices dropped, and were calmly snatched up on short sales. It got worse when jRaztl cults were found here and there among the executives, and at least one of the mining unions was infiltrated by Riggibuhl, as if Janus III didn't have enough problems.
This mining engine was fueling Janus III in a massive resurgence, as the money wasn't going into just a few deep pockets, but being distributed in decent wages and income for many, many people... people who were looking for Levels and Gear of their own, and definitely willing to work to get it, get the raw components for it all, and make it.
This naturally drove the Crafters who could make better Gear both tech and psi-wise, and kept the engine churning to full. The demand for what everyone could do and pull off was unending, and to the young and the Null Psions, this truly seemed like a good future had finally arrived.
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