THE DIVINE FARCE
Previously: Seeds of Darkness
Themesong: Stressed Out by Twenty-One Pilots
I looked at the machine a little bemused. I’d been to two part jumps before… but this felt… odd. Then again, the first of those had been Metal Gear World and my subconscious had made the choices for part 2. The second had been Avatar, and the Banker had “inferred” my choices for me for both parts. Neither time had I been in complete control… and I wasn’t certain I’d be this time either.
“Welcome Back for Part 2 of Tenchi Muyo!” the screen cheerfully announced, “Now with 1000% more Space and 50% less Life Slicing!” I groaned. “You’ll be continuing right where you left off, so we hope you haven’t burned too many bridges on your ride out of town. On the downside, since you don’t need to buy an origin this time, we’ve debited your account 200 CP, but because we’re such nice and caring benefactors, we’ve doubled the Drawback Limit just for you.”
I twitched violently. Oh. Good. Thank you. Just what I needed. Temptation.
“Be aware, all the perks you picked up on your first stint have been reconfigured to Space Opera Mode.” I might have sworn at that… I liked my purchases and had no idea how they’d be changed, but getting preemptively pissed off is every girl’s birthright… even if she’s 13 millennia old. “Don’t worry, once you complete this phase of your stay, your perks will be unlocked in both modes, so kick back and relax… sorry, you did that already… learn to dodge multidimensional explosive attacks… that’s what we meant.”
Huh… that was new. Two part perks… well… could be useful. Hopefully the other halves of what I’d already purchased were useful… wait… did this mean I’d get a chance to pick up some of the stuff I’d passed on before? I searched my memory palace to find the copies of the text from before, just in case the machine didn’t have the Slice of Life entries, half expecting to find that my memories of the event had been redacted… but they were still there. This would take consideration.
First, I reviewed my original purchases for their new effects. “Accepted Cultural Norms”, which formerly made people largely ignore my cultural peculiarities, now allowed me the opportunity to, as the screen put it “attempt to resolve arguments or disputes with non-lethal duels, either as a referee or participant.” So… not something I couldn’t already do, but maybe I’d find a use for it eventually.
“Living Technology” which used to allow me to control some technology with my mind alone, as well as swapping out the interfaces of lower tech for living tech, had been changed to allow me to charm technology into thinking I was the registered/passworded owner. That… was useful, and the fact that it worked on non-sapient systems was both bizarre and amusing. “Hey Baby, who’s a pretty ATM? You wouldn’t want to give me all the money in your dropbox would you? Awww, that’s sweet. Thanks sugar.”
“Smiling Goddess Leaves”, which had saddled me with Seiryo as a Fiance and given me land title I hadn’t really been able to use (Black Jenny was a nice ship… but completely outclassed by practically everything in this setting. She was undergoing refits, as was VIctor, but the process had been unaccountably slow for some reason. I’d spent the last decade in something of a tinkerfunk, i.e. where you mess around with a lot of little odd projects instead of getting any serious work done. I really needed to buckle down and convert the main bay of the Dock into a shipyard, but that would take a very large investment in time and capital… hmmm… Subspace Shipyard… bigger on the inside… huh… Space compression… I wondered… then had VIctoria make a note. “Work on Space Compression for warehouse storage… HP tentcraft plus Subspace Onsen tech… something there.”)… anyway. Smiling Goddess Leaves gave me a house in Slice of Life… which I hadn’t used because I already had a house. This time… it gave me a sapling. A 1st Generation Sentient Tree from the… oh… no… nononononono…
I could hear the Banker laaaughing as my lifeforce connected to the one 1st generation tree I had a personal relationship with. First Gen Trees are the direct children of the Zero Tree… Tsunami herself. Yosho’s Tree was First Gen… and a Tree of Light. It was calm, reassuring… placid. Mine occasionally tried to eat people and needed more hugs (and therapy) than any other tree in recorded history.
On the plus side, I could add its (her) anti-aging properties to, in theory, an infinite number of companions, and Yuzuha could age any linked being back to the prime of their life and keep them there… or, you know, create slightly homicidal daughters for them, fully grown. Did I mention she was a little… crazy. Oh, and now my family was going to host hundreds of parties a year… (hundreds? Not 1 or 2… hundreds implies at least 3. That’s pretty much a party every week day. I’m not going.) “that you are expected to attend as many of as you can afford to.” (my sanity cannot afford 300 parties a year. In the last 13,000 years I haven’t been to 300 parties… have I? Okay, yes, probably. Probably a lot more than that, actually. Call it an average of 1 every fortnight. Jeezu… that… okay, I’ve been to about 300….thousand parties. Have I really? That’s way more socializing than I’m at all comfortable with. I should take a break from parties. Clearly, I have a problem. But back to the issue at hand.
“Redwood Soldier Meditation”, which had given me a bunch of passive buffs in the presence of plantlife, switched over to give me the ability to communicate with and command trees and shrubs, grow trees at will in permitting environments, and augment Sentient Trees. This didn’t suck, even if it was a little… mission specific.
“Pirate Binding Pattern”, which had been a tactical boost, was now a planning skill that allowed me to pick an objective and visualize specific goals and the path to accomplishing said goal. Of course, using it to target and kill a specific individual would be dishonorable. I could see where this special insight might come in handy… I’m not certain I’d have taken it as is, but, at the very least it wasn’t something I felt was completely useless.
“Simple Scientific Solution”, a perk that had allowed me to more easily invent household solutions to problems that didn’t really exist, now halved my research and development window and gave me an instinctive grasp of established methodologies and the ability to draw conclusions and produce results incredibly rapidly. Wasn’t much, but gifthorses and mouths… gifthorses and mouths.
Badge and Weapons, which had previously protected me from the negative side of being quirky at work as long as I got results (work… I did that?), now meant that my badge would be recognized as having lawful authority no matter where I ventured… even to places that didn’t know what the GXP were. And that was that. I noticed that they were all grayed out, indicating I’d already purchased them and couldn’t do so again… which was also different from previous two part jumps.
Still, I had 800 new, shiny, happy, eager to spend CP… and a Tree of Darkness to worry about. Step one… buy the other capstone I wanted… though the text that had original drawn me had changed. It originally said “Your brilliance is such that you can build amazing inventions to solve all kinds of problems, easily accomplishing feats depicted in pulpy science fiction novels. More importantly however, you gain an absolute certainty in your work. Nothing made by your hands or under your complete direction can harm people (or planets) unintentionally. A comically large mess may ensue however.” Which was awesome, but I’d have to wait a decade to test that out. The new (and improved) text said “You can create supertech wonders, past mere conveniences into legitimately useful things like advanced starships, ray guns, and miraculous devices. You can also enhance technology from other jumps with this skill. Note that trying to build an FTL starship from scratch on an undeveloped world will probably take ten years…” The name of this 800 point extravaganza of fun? “The Maddest Science Yet!”
I also wanted “Technobabel Fish ”, which had amused me back in Slice of Life with the ability to deliberately obfuscate whatever I was explaining with jargon and buzzwords… or actually explain so people would understand… but I really could do that already. The Space Opera version… that was altogether more useful. “You gain the ability to perform complex formula, ritual action or attempt feats of programming by thought or speech alone. As long as you know the subject, you could dictate a mathematical proof or talk out a computer program (and have it compile on a nearby machine). You also may compose technical or magical diagrams perfectly without error and in half the normal time. You still need to learn the appropriate disciplines.” That… would be extremely useful. Some of my larger magical effects were already taking serious time, effort, and brainpower… not to mention a huge number of icenanites. Anything that cut that down was a good thing in my book.
Unfortunately, that sunk me 200 into the hole and, going back to the main menu to hunt for Drawbacks, I saw I was going to need more than just that, as a Starship section had been added. I considered buying sanely, finding the Drawbacks I could live with first, then shopping for what I could afford… then said screw that and pressed Starships. I had (in theory) 600 points left to spend, if I maxed out drawbacks… and worse comes to worse, I could always return Technobabel Fish… If I had to.
There were 5 Options: Space Ship (which was discounted for the Galaxy Police), Masu Superiority Space-Combat Platform (i.e. cabbit… which was discounted for Space Pirate), and three generations of Jurain Tree Ships… though the First Generation required Smiling Goddess Leaves… which, I had. Well, it would be churlish to turn that offer down, so  and my SGL coupon got me a First Generation Tree Ship that was, to quote the offer “like a pet, it will work better for you if you take good care of it and treat it well. Your living ship has a good chance to outrun or outfight any non-living ship in a one-on-one contest, but suffers against superior numbers. If the ship is destroyed, a seed can be found to allow you to regrow it.”
I looked at the rest of the list… then manifested a stylus and wrote “Ziggy?” on the Masu Superiority entry. The screen flashed “Error.” I wrote “You made him a cabbitoid. Plus… chaos.”
Heehee.. Ziggy is ship… ZIGGY IS SHIIIIP! I’d have to choreograph a new and original dance to commemorate this. The Ziggy is Ship Dance of Unbridled Gleeification? Something like that. Of course, I was now -800 in the red… which didn’t say much for my sanity, but then again… Yuzuha. Then again… Reggy & Caine.
It’s a good thing I was up to -800… because I tell you, in my current mood, “The OTHER Chosin One was looking really… really attractive. It would make me part of the grand experiment to find the Overgod… as a potential / Additional Tenchi… and the Chousin would be stacking the deck against me, hoping that I’d shake the universe so hard, God falls out of it. It was… seductive… it was also 750 CP… and I needed 800. I could, however, get to 800 easy just by taking Hopeless Suitor (twice) again, and then tacking on Multiple Spouses (twice) as well… it would give me 5 suitors all struggling and actively competing to see which of them becomes First Husband… with me caught in the crossfire… Come to think of it it… that sounded less safe. Much… much less safe… Oh… this was going to hurt.
Still, it was my own bed and I was going to lie in it… fuck it… I hit The OTHER Chosin One and one Hopeless Suitor. I just had to dodge fast with this one. I didn’t need 5 people unhappy with me and with each other… hurt feelings were objectively worse than insane people throwing around stars… right? Of course Right. I’m… 20% certain I’m right. I hit confirm.
“You have 150 Unspent CP, Are you certain you wish to confirm?”
I blinked. No.. I didn’t… I mean, yeah… TOCO was 750 and Hopeless Suitor was 200, but the cap was 800… I flipped to the main drawback page to verify… 800… points gained from TOCO are an exception… Oh… shit.
Eh… I mean, sure, I could get a third generation tree ship for that… maybe import VIvian as it… but… did I really… I had nothing I wanted more… did I? No… not really… A sword? Eh. I had a sword. I shrugged, wrote VIvian on the 3rd Gen line.
“House ship?” was the reply.
“More like ‘Library Ship’.”
“I see no way this could go disastrously wrong.”
“Haha. Yes you do.”
“Yes I do. Are you certain?”
“No… this is all a terrible idea and I’m clearly going to regret this.”
“Yes. You are.”
“Let’s do this.”
INSERTION… er… REINSERTION
I walked back out of the Pillars of Time as they sank back into the sand, waving off the quizzical glances from my companions with a “I’ll explain in a bit.” I had plans to make and considerations to consider… all of which went flying out the window in the first 30 seconds as the following happened.
0:10 – a green skinned, furry eared female dropped out of the sky and half hugged, half hid behind me, demanding I protect her from the “Bad Lady”.
0:13 – The sky ripples with colors that don’t normally exist in sane realities as “The Bad Lady” manifested in the sky over the entire hemisphere.
0:17 – two space ships of unknown but familiar design lifted off the planet, each on their own heading, one highly planned, a least time vector from the planet to safe hyperjump distance, the other erratic to the point of pure insanity.
0:22 – Reggy came flying out of the house, wide eyed, green armor covering her skin.
0:24 – Gaius, wreathed in flames, followed her, looking upset.
0:25 – Kagetane and Kohina do not follow.
0:27 – Bad Lady Tokimi shrinks to roughly human size and demands that I force the green skinned “Thieving Tree” to return her Dimensional Anchor.
0:30 – Green Girl retorts that Bady Lady had been using the “Mirror” to spy on me and that She (Yuzuha) had taken it because Bady Lady was a creepy stalker creepy lady and shouldn’t be spying on me… only she called me “Beloved.”
0:34 – Reggy, not in the best of moods, arrives next to me, totally ignoring the impending clash of godlike entities and yells that her babies have been kidnapped and she’s going to burn down the cosmos until they’re returned.
0:35 – Gaius, trying very hard to keep his not quite spouse… co-parent… whatever… under control, says “They weren’t kidnapped… they’ve run away and left notes. ”
0:39 – I swear I can hear the Banker laughing.
While part of me wanted very much to bang my head against something very hard a great many times, I realized that would have to wait. “Yuzuha, Lady Tokimi… chill. I’ll deal with you two in a minute… you can be patient for a minute, you’re immortals. Reggy… You are not burning down the cosmos… your children are living in the cosmos. Take 60 deep breaths and try to get yourself together. Gaius… what? They’re 9 years old.”
“They left notes.” He held up a pair of notes. One, written in Scipio’s print perfect handwriting on a piece of paper that had been expertly trimmed from a notebook and folded into an origami fish, then unfolded by his father, said ‘My Dearest Parentals and Lady Jomei, I have decided to set forth on a grand crusade to bring order and stability to the cosmos. To that end, I have borrowed Lady Jomei’s treeship VIvian and enlisted the assistance of Big Sister Kohina and Officer Shiro, as well as The Brothers Four. We shall be Victorious! Also, I suspect my nefarious brother of some dastardly scheme. Be wary. I shall return when the cosmos is put to rights. I remain, your obedient and filial son, Gaius Scipio.’
The other, on a scroll that looked a little crumpled, written in calligraphic script in red ink and imperfectly blotted, was from Invidius ‘Mother, Father, Jomei-Sama… We embark upon a grand adventure to subdue the heathens and primitives of the universe. With the aid of Generals Kagetane and Yorokobi, and the able assistance of the Sisters, I am certain I shall manage to punish the unrighteous and kick some serious bottom. Oh… we borrowed Ziggy-ohki… Dad, tell mom not to blow a gasket. Hugs and kisses, Omniversal-Tyrant-to-be, Invidius Vord.’
Right… well then… I was down two starships, 12 companions, my main computer, my pet, two god-sons, and who knows how much of my arsenal the little brats had walked off with. I had planet busters in some of my storehouses.
Oh… and three extremely upset females to deal with. “Reggy… they haven’t been kidnapped. They’ve each decided to conquer the universe… before the other one can. You should be proud… 9 years old and already megalomaniacal. Let’s hope they’re not as genocidal as their sisters. Oh, and they’ve stolen a 3rd Generation Treeship with VIvian on board and a Masu Space-Superiority Combat Platform with Ziggy as its… operating system. As well as half of my companions who, for their own sakes, had better not be thinking clearly or I’m going to spend an entire decade lecturing them. We’ll go after them as soon as we come up with a plan… now chill out while I deal with this other problem.”
I turned to face Tokimi. “Why were you spying on me and what is this Dimensional Anchor… and is it the same thing as this Mirror?”
Tokimi, eyes narrowed and reality warping at the edges of her eyes, glowered and said, “Because I suspect you might be the realization of our experiment and yes, the Dimensional Anchor looked, vaguely, like a hand mirror. I demand that she return it and I shall refrain from transforming her into a bug.”
Yuzuha snorted. “She’s lying… don’t let her fool you. She was touching herself and being all pervy and drooling and muttering to herself.”
“Return the mirror or face obliteration!”
“Can’t make me!”
“Silence both of you! Tokimi… Lady Tokimi…. owww… don’t dig your claws into me Yuzu… Lady… Yuzu… if you please… that really hurts. Thank you. Tokimi… I’ll get your mirror back. Yuzu, please give the mirror back.”
“I shattered the nasty thing into itty bitty pieces and scattered them across the cosmos.”
I could feel the Chosin beginning to vibrate with growing fury and whispered “Why did you…” but that’s as far as I got before Tokimi went nuclear and tried to smash Yuzuha… within moments the valley was a shattered wreck… I was going to have to rebuild the house from the ground up.
“And that’s why I’m over here, Tenchi. With all the… family… do you mind if we stay here for a few… weeks… while these two,” I slapped the goddess (who it turned out had only limited amounts of power in this reality without the Anchor to focus her might down this far) and the tree spirit (freshly hatched from her seed state) upside the heads, both of them blushing and glowering at each other, “Learn to cooperate while they rebuild the valley? Oh… and could you contact the GXP and Lady Seto and tell them about the impending galactic conquest? We’ll be out to help once we have a reliable ride.”
Next: Brothers Grim