B009.7 Family Matters

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5th November, Early Morning

The morning had actually turned out warmer than expected – Basil still had to wear a jacket and a scarf, but at least there was not any new snow. Not that he disliked snow – far from it – frozen surfaces were bad for his grappling hooks and, subsequently, bad for him.

And I will have a lot less protection than before, once I have reworked my armor into something lighter and cheaper. He really had to get more money. Maybe I should have asked Mister Karlson for a job, he thought with a smirk no one saw.

He walked on past a fast food restaurant as he thought about yesterday evening – he had tried to talk to Amy, but she had been in a weird mood, and he had decided to wait for a better opportunity to take his first step in… well, he did not know if it could be called redeeming, but perhaps reigning her in? He should have talked to her at once, made his position clear, set boundaries…

Except the mere idea of getting into a fight with her made him physically ill. Just looking at Amy at breakfast had made him feel both ashamed, angry and wistful, all once, remembering the good old days.

I wonder if this is how Lady Light feels, every time she looks at the Dark. Was that what he was doomed to do? Spend the rest of his life trying to reign a mostly insane – and he could not deny it, Amy was not all right in the head (but neither was he, so he could not really throw stones) – supervillain in, always trying to preserve those beautiful memories of better days, trying to bring them back to life?

Maybe he was assuming too much – there probably were other, better reasons, more noble ideals and goals, maybe even something tied to Point Zero and their powers involved – but that would explain a lot of things. He only had a few years of those really good memories, and they were rather normal – Lady Light had a full score of years, an entire lifetime of being together with him, through an entire world war even before they got powers, and everything since then… Maybe that was the reason for conceiving Irene? A desperate attempt to draw them closer, to pull him back onto the side of the angels? It certainly seemed to work, he had never been as mellow and restrained as during the past decade.

Or perhaps a weapon to stop her older sister… because there certainly seems to be no other way besides bringing overwhelming power to bear against her.

But that, too was just speculation.

I would sure like to talk to them both. First, though, I need to stop distracting myself from the issue at hand. Amy.

He walked by the alley next to the restaurant just as he finished these thoughts, and caught a movement out of the corner of his eye. A trash can’s lid had moved.

I found Grimalkin in a place like this, he thought, and suddenly he hoped… maybe he would find him again? He sure missed that crazy red-brown eyed furball of a cat. Despite what it had done to Amy’s underwear drawer. Or maybe because of it. It had been rather funny, after the horror had worn off. I could keep him in my hideout now, so Amy could not object.

Reaching out, he lifted the trash lid – and a rat jumped out and scuttled away. So not Grimalkin. He put the lid back down and walked on towards his hideout.

I wonder what happened to him – where he is by now.

Shaking his head, Basil continued on his way to his hideout. There was a lot of work to be done. And maybe, tonight, he would feel up to confronting Amy.



* * *


The lift went down into the lair, and Basil was not surprised to find Vasiliki already there, in her winter school uniform, sitting on the couch.

“You know, your perfume is nice, but you wear too much of it,” he said in lieu of a greeting.

She looked up from her book (she was always reading something) and gave him a deadpan look. “It’s supposed to be noticable,” she said as she closed her book and stood up. “And I didn’t come here to discuss cosmetics.”

He shrugged, taking his jacket and boots off. “Why did you come here? You don’t usually come in the morning.”

“Since I don’t have school this week – again – I’ll be working in one of our restaurants, and I drew the afternoon shift,” she explained, brushing a few stray strands of hair behind her ear. “Anyway, I wanted to try an experiment with y-“

His head whipped around from where he’d been switching into his labcoat. “Experiment! Tell me more!”

“Weeeeeeell… you know how they say, Contriving and Gadgeteering can’t go together? I thought, maybe, there’s a way to get around that. Here’s what I was thinking…”



* * *


“Oh God, I think it’s alive!”


“What in the name of God are you doing!?”

“I always swore to myself I would laugh madly if this happened! I have been practicing the laugh ever since I got my powers!”

“Are you c- Oh shit, it’s trying to escape! Quick, we have to stop it before it gets out!”



* * *


“Let us never do this again,” she sighed, falling down onto her butt.


“Let us never speak of this to anyone,” she added.

“Agreed. I guess there IS a good reason why people do not do these experiments anymore. Though I have to say, it was rather… sporting, do you not think so?” he replied, sitting down next to her, looking very deliberately away from her.

“Well… yeah, but… how come I always end up indecent after these things!? Thank God I wasn’t wearing my costume, because I only have one left!” she replied, glad that he was not the peeping type (sometimes she thought he didn’t have a sex drive to begin with).

“Here, take my coat,” he said, giving her his labcoat. Of course he’d gotten out of it unharmed – though Vasiliki had to admit, his reaction time was insane to begin with. In fact, they should probably test him sometime, in case he had some kind of secondary power that sped them up.

Because it was either that, or being a grizzled veteran with finely honed instincts in disguise. And that was too ridiculous to consider, really.

Basil was many things, but not grizzled.

“Do you want a dragonskin suit? I should have enough material for one more,” he offered.

She thought it over. She really didn’t want to impose on his fading resources, but… her current costume was basically just fabric – she could only enchant objects she’d customized to meet her standards, and doing that to a fullbody skin-tight suit took time.

“I’ll take it. I insist on paying you back, though. If only in rates,” she said, giving him a look that dared him to give it to her for free.

To her surprise, he just nodded, his expression understanding. “Alright. We will work something out. How about you pay me in meals at your restaurant? Haven’t ever been there, but I hear the chain’s great. And I love Greek food.”

She shrugged. “Suits me. I’ll give you a card, then they’ll be putting it on my name.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You actually have a system for giving out free meals to people?”

She raised her nose up. “Paying people with food is common Hellenic family tradition.”

“Think I can join your family?”

She looked away. “D-don’t be ridiculous!”

“Huh? Why are you blushing?”



* * *


Around Noon

Melody stumbled back into her room, yawning. She really shouldn’t have gone drinking with Irene. They were too young! And she’d never even touched alcohol before, except for a sip of wine during Christmas or such. Of course, her body could take it – she’d emptied half a bottle of… something Irene had given her, and had barely felt her fingertips and toes prickle.

But still, they’d really lost track of time, and she’d never even considered the damage Irene might have caused if she got drunk – but she turned out to be the most pleasant drunk Melody could imagine (it turned out her power didn’t protect her from alcohol at all unless she wanted it to, and sometimes not even then). She’d just gotten quieter and quieter, and then fallen asleep.

Of course, that meant they were stuck in Italy, two underage girls without passports or anything. And Irene wouldn’t wake up.

She could have gone to the local United Heroes chapter, but… somehow, she really didn’t want this to become official.

Finally, she’d done something she never thought she would – she’d taken Irene’s cellphone and called her father (she didn’t want to disturb Lady Light at work, and something told her the Dark would be more understanding of the situation – besides, anything to distract him from doing Evil).

And… well, travel by Darkwraith was definitely not something she ever wanted to do again. He’d been a perfect gentleman, even seemed to find it funny what had happened – apparently, he already knew how Irene reacted to alcohol – and had taken her straight back here, dropping her off in the nearest alley, out of sight, telling her to ‘be a good girl’.

Look who’s talking, she thought as she pulled her sticky clothes off – the first half of a bottle hadn’t done much, but the following nine bottles of Italian spirit had done a number on her senses.

She stumbled out of her room in a bathrobe and into the showers, passing by a disgustingly chipper Aimi (who began to say something, then saw how messed up Melody was and wisely shut her mouth), and all but falling under the first showerhead, turning it on to ice-cold.

Brrrrr! Now, that helped better than any other remedy against a hangover… or whatever one would call her state. Not her field of expertise.

How did we even get the idea to try out Italian alcoholic drinks? Had it been Irene’s idea, or hers? She couldn’t quite remember…

Maybe Irene would remember, whenever she woke up. Her father had said it might take time, though.

I should probably go to sleep, she thought. No school this week, anyway. She turned the shower off, put the bathrobe on, and walked back into her room, wet and dripping. There wasn’t much chance of her catching a cold, but… she still sat down to dry her hair.

Turns out, she shouldn’t have, because someone knocked.

“Melody? It’s me, Sarah!” her handler said in a soft voice.

Oh, please don’t tell me I have an appointment. She at least couldn’t remember one.

“You have an appointment with Mister Patrid and Mister Gerden, from the Board of Directors.”

Dratz, why can’t they let me- wait, the Board of Directors!? What do they want with me!?



* * *


Later that evening

Dalia raised her glass high, shouting along with the other people in the club. The band had gotten a call-response thing going, and though she couldn’t, for the life of her, tell what she was supposed to say in response, she just shouted along with the others. The intervals were just big enough to take another draw from her drink, or call for a new one, and it was awesome.

She never could have gotten into a place like this! No way, even if she hadn’t so obviously been underage. Now the bouncers didn’t care if she was underage or not – she was hot, she was dressed up and obviously up for a party, so she was just waved in.

Suck on that, Zara! Bet’ya you never got to skip the line just for being hot! she thought in triumph as she emptied her glass and put it back on the counter, calling for a new one. Another advantage of being her, she could take a lot. As in, she was on her ninth drink, and she barely noticed a buzz – when she’d tried some alcohol back then, she’d dropped after just one drink! Now, her vision was a little weird and unfocused, but she could still tell where everything was and all!

And the guys. They were all looking at her when she danced by them, looked her body up and down, feasting on every bit of skin she was showing off… It made her feel so much more like a woman than she ever had before!

And, as if she wasn’t feeling good enough already, just then, she saw her. Good God, was she hot. She’d known that before, of course, but she’d never seen her dressed up for partying before!

Grabbing her new drink – something blue and gold and sparkly, with a name she couldn’t even pronounce – she danced her way through the crowd – I fucking love this – I don’t even need training to dance, it just works and towards her. There was already a throng of guys around her, trying to dance her up, but she just danced by all of them, teasing, playing.

She’d already taken the dancefloor over, as people began to dance around her, she had that much presence.

I should hate her for stealing my thunder. But she had to admit, she still had to learn a lot, and here was a chance for some of it.

“Didn’t ecssspect to find yyyyyou here,” she said, not noticing the slur in her own voice. “How come yyyyou can dshuust come in here and make everyone pay attentschion like that?”

She turned, looking at her, eyes and lips sparkling brightly. “I just do it!” she replied. “And aren’t you a little young for a Fleur de Lune?” she asked, taking Dalia’s drink and emptying it in one draft!

And yet, I just want to kiss her. How does she do that? “I can take ik!” Dalia said proudly. “I lick alcohol! Never knew it wash thish goot!” she continued, giggling.

She smirked, and took her hand. “I think I can do better than some alcohol! Come, let’s dance!”

Dalia was so focused on the warmth and softness of her hand, she barely noticed when she pulled her onto the dance floor, held her hand up in hers, put her other hand on her hip and started to move.

It started slow, in tune with the slowly winding up song the band was just getting into, and then sped up along with it.

And Dalia was keeping up. She’d never have believed it, but her every step was perfect, keeping up with her as they whirled around the floor, two unbelievably hot babes dancing in a way that was just barely out of the realm of indecency.

She was so warm, and she smelled so nice, and the room was so hot and loud and full and just…

The world whirled around them, and Dalia couldn’t even really tell what they were talking about, just that she felt so… fuzzy…



* * *


“Well, this is awkward,” Amy whispered as she twirled with the barely conscious girl, getting her off the dance floor without making a scene. She was emitting gentle waves of don’t notice us, and once she was sure they were unobserved, she picked her up like a baby (she weighed about as much to her) and carried her out of the club through the backdoor.

“Basil would kill me if I didn’t take care of you now, you know? What a bothersome girl…” She looked down at the pretty face with the badly applied make-up. “A cutie, though.”

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118 thoughts on “B009.7 Family Matters

      • While I’m in no position to deny it, I was just commenting for the fun of it and to list all possibilities within reason, and I want to clarify that with the couch and the base, I meant that Amy leaves her sleeping on her couch and goes to tell Basil or takes her to their base so whoever is there takes care of her…. Besides, aren’t we all perverts anyways?

      • don’t take me too seriously😉

        Grimalkin used to be Basil#s cat, but was thrown out by Amy after an incident involving her underwear drawer, a bottle of seventy-year-old scotch, a towel and a few other things.

        She still has nightmares

      • Finally, someone else who’s sick and tired of tsunderes always getting their way instead of more deserving characters

      • Well for me there are two maybe three exceptions to the well deserved standard for hating tsundere characters. First is the heroine from a manga called Inu Boku X Secret Service and her “tsun tsun” mode is never violent and while her speech is arrogant its only barely abusive plus anytime she does manage to say somthing mean she always sends hand writen apology letters that are like twenty pages long and are described as sincere and heartfelt (or somthing to that effect). Second, some people consider Senjogahara from Bakemonogatari to be a tsundere, I dont but I’ll include her anyway. And the third is from a manga I’ve nevere actually read and can’t remember the name of but from what I understand its about a realistic world setting (not so much cartoony manga absurdity and melodrama) where there is this rare disease (it actally exists and doctors are aware of it) that causes uncontrollable tsundere uh …ness in people like some kind of super extra messed turrets syndrome.

      • It does seem ridiculous, but I once had a female “player” tell me that repeated “come here / go away” reversals would get serious attention from a significant proportion of guys. And once you had their attention…

  1. Now she the bouncers didn’t care if she was underage or not

    i think its supposed to be, Now the bouncers didn’t care if she was underage or not

  2. I just had this thought. Since both Basil’s and Vasiliki’s powers involve lots of preparation, why not just use their abilities to power up Dalia, and have her go out solo? With her luck powers and some dedicated training, she would be able to utilize Vasiliki’s trinkets and Basil’s gadgets much more effectively than either of them.

    • Contrivances tend to go out of control more easily for others than the creator, and Dalia’s probability manipulation might make that worse still.

      Also, Hecate would not trust anyone else with her valuable creations

      • Ok, looks like you are preparing to make some sort of “Charlie’s Angels” team of three hot girls that get their orders from some guy talking through a box (raven or headset in this particular case).

        By the way, what is Amy’s Physique rating? I remember her having one, but I don’t think you ever specified.

    • I investigated a bit, here’s a passage from wikipedia:
      “A grimalkin (also called a greymalkin) is an old or evil-looking female cat. The term stems from “grey” (the color) plus “malkin”, an archaic term for a cat, derived from a hypocoristic form of the female name Maud.[1] Scottish legend makes reference to the grimalkin as a faery cat that dwells in the highlands”.

  3. To me, the money thing is frustrating. He gave away EMP without compensation. He gives hospital machinery out but refuses help on that front. He gives gadgets to Dalia but refuses help there to. It is like he does not understand a team is a group of people helping each other. Outside of this, I think the story is great and look forward to the next installment. Maybe Basil can get a scrapyard and recycle things

    • the thing about teams supporting each other is a very good point especially given that they all benefit from his being well suplied and well equiped. Plus Dalia has access to a big ass pile of free money called the lottery, though I can understand his reluctance where Priscas money is conserned I mean mixing money mooching and romance is a very good way to ruin a relationship in addition to the mom seeming like she already doesn’t like him.

  4. I want Prisca to die, might finally get Basil to get his act together instead of pissing about. All he needs to do is patent some of his more basic designs get money create manufacturing machines. At least stop farting away every advantage he seems to have. Last thing does he know what the word secret means especially when everyone and their mother seems to be psychic, INVENT SOMETHING ALREADY FOR THAT BASIL.

    • Why do you think Amy got bumped up to S-Class? I mean, compare her to Hastur, or some of the other S-threats introduced – she’s nowhere NEAR that level, yet she rates the same rank. That’s because there simple ISN’T a reliable, mass-producible means of blocking psychics!

      If anyone ever found a gadgeteer capable of producing such a machine, they’d lock them up in the most luxurious super-fortress and have them build that gadget all day, every day. Basil is NOWHERE near the level you’d need to even approach that field

    • mousefu……with all due espect….. FUCK YOU MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      wanting Prisca to die???????
      I can’t even begin to describe how fucked up that is, as if she hadn’t suffered enough, and on the Basil side, there are myriad ways to “get his act togheter”, for example, FUNDING, think for a second WHY can’t he patent anything, it would give him away, suddenly, thousands of people would know exactly where to find him, or could trace the products back to his location, to his base.
      On the “farting every advantage” thing, what the hell are you even talking about, he did not give away his ceramic armor nor his raven drones, and sharing tecnology critical to the survival of your allies with them is considered standard practice in alliances.
      Finally, the only THREE mind readers we know he has met are Amy and Irene,both of whom respect his privacy, and The Dark, who got inside his mind ONCE and he doesn’t even know it, I believe secrecy is whithin acceptable parameters for this kind of universe.
      Seriously, your comment has me, and I’m sure many others, trembling with indignation

      • Congratulations! Tieshaunn, this is the mark of a true writer! When your audience gets into heated argument about your story, you know you are doing a good job. Keep it up!

      • I’m sorry for the way I…. expressed myself, I lost myself in anger.
        You’re right Ties, everyone is entitled to their own opinion and posting my anger will only make people uncomfortable, I will strive to avoid it in the future

    • It’s been repeatedly mentioned that mass producing Gadgets is incredibly difficult, and what with all the attempts to do good, it’s understandable that Basil hasn’t got round to it. I’m not sure exactly how his power works, but it seems to mostly come up with military hardware, which has a rather small and inquisitive market. You don’t want the government coming after you!
      He could just rob criminals again, that worked before.

      • Somehow, I’m not convinced that would work again, back then, Basil was unknown, Brennus was unknown, now, it’s riskier, although, that could provide oportunity for Magnus to learn of Basil being Brennus

  5. What happened to Contrivers that figured out they were contrivers losing their powers/gaining new powers/creations going on a rampage. I thought people just humored them when contrivers said they were magic or using real science and there were only like two contrivers who figured out they were contrivers and stayed contrivers and got even stronger.

  6. To Nafram don’t worry about the outburst it’s good to see other people emotionally involved in the story as mush as I am. I guess I am just annoyed at Basils lack of direction and think Prisca’s death would give him some drive and direction. Last thing even though you told me to fuck off it’s not like you attacked me personally commenting on appearance personality etc and I think as long as things like that are not brought up then it’s good to get in a heated argument it shows just how good a book when people care about it to the extent that they are willing to tell some one to fuck off.

    • Thanks for being so understanding, I also agree that heated discussions are a good thing, however, I was still a bit out of line there, I could have said the same things in a much more civil way, you know, a la Joseph Ducreux

      • This has turned out to be the nicest argument / clash of opinions I’ve ever had in an online discussion. Kind of a twilight moment *meaning the scifi twilight* great tv series.

      • well, clearly, it has been scientifically proven by the staff of Atlus that Twilight the novel is actually a weapon designed to inflict pain upon the reador, just look up Persona 4 Twilight, I’m sure it will come up

      • And about the argument, it is true that most arguments tend to become personal fights over trivial matters for no apparent reason, reaching a point where it becomes more about dishing out insults, mocking and what not, than about the original subject, it’s a pain to watch

      • What i meant with the twilight comment is that it is surreal no connection to those things that people call a book series. However stephenie meyers can write I read her book called Host phenomenal real.

      • I wouldn’t know about that, I despise the horror genre, maybe due to my habit of overthinking stuff, apply that and horror takes a whole new meaning

  7. She wrote a book called host which is not horror or supernatural and is actually scifi. It is called host and she has a sequel that I have not yet read. I believe that she tried to get host turned into a movie but couldn’t which is why she wrote twilight to get the publicity of tweens every where and is now turning host into a movie. Don’t judge her talent on twilight I think they were a means to an end.

      • The story in twilight is crap but it is still well put together crap I know I read them all.
        You can’t call something shit unless you have actually watched and or read it all. I have the story made me want to claw my eyes out, sparkly vampires will never be forgiven, NEVER. But it was still well put together.

      • I’ve read all four books, and watched the first two movies, and I can honestly say, both story, premise, mood and character presentation SUCK. In my humble opinion

      • I read the saga as well, and watched the first movie, then, I decided that it was a sappy love story that made no actual sense whatsoever with characters who angsted for no reason, no real plot, sparkly vampires, and a really disapointing excuse of a final battle

    • I think we should judge her writing ability by Twilight. Whether she intended it or not, Host did not appeal – but Twilight, for some demented reason, did appeal; on some level, it is certainly superior to Host. Also, even if the two were equally successful, this is obviously a work she felt comfortable enough with to publish (some of my missed updates are because I wasn’t comfortable releasing them in their then current state), and thus, are obviously writing of hers she considers good enough to publish.

      Honestly, if you put it out there, then you will and should be judged by it. It’s the law of the jungle, dudes.

    • I think we should judge her writing ability by Twilight. Whether she intended it or not, Host did not appeal – but Twilight, for some demented reason, did appeal; on some level, it is certainly superior to Host. Also, even if the two were equally successful, this is obviously a work she felt comfortable enough with to publish (some of my missed updates are because I wasn’t comfortable releasing them in their then current state), and thus, are obviously writing of hers she considers good enough to publish.

      Honestly, if you put it out there, then you will and should be judged by it. It’s the law of the jungle, dudes.

      • I have never yet found a movie made from a book that did not suck. Artistic license goes too far.

  8. Of course I have watched Lord of The rings, what kind of fantasy lover would I be if I never. Ok I will definately give LOT even watched the the uncut version where saruman falls off his tower and gets impaled.ha he deserved it.Fine thats the only good movie adaption.

    • So just to be a dick there’s Lord of the Flies, Blade Runner, Jackie Brown, uhmm oh yeah Fight club and I haven’t actually seen No Country For Old Men but I hear its awesome.

      • if we are mentioning non movie adaptations I understand that Game of Thrones is doing alright, and for a tv show adaptation that actually managed to suck WORSE then the books I give you the Sword of Truth. Yes they really did make a Sword of Truth tv show and yes it was suuuper awful.

  9. I just feel the need to point out that I’m glad Basil (and Vasiliki) did try to mix gadgetteering with contriving. He would’ve lost a lot of nerd-cred if he hadn’t tried it at least once.

    If I had access to people with those powers, I’d probably keep trying to mix them until something went wrong horribly enough to convince me not to do any more experiments. I figure that’s exactly what happened here.

    All that being said, I still don’t understand why certain mixtures won’t work. Since gadgets are real science, I don’t see why it would be any worse to ‘enchant’ them than any other technological item. And even if contrivances break the laws of reality, they seem to work in a consistant manner, so I don’t see what’s to stop a gadgeteer from using them as black-box components in something else.

    • it’s not quite black and white.

      There is only one absolute: Mixing the actual creation process WILL go wrong. No question. You see this here, with Basil and Vasiliki – they tried to create something together, and it went horribly (if amusingly) wrong.

      Now, if you do things seperately and then combine the finished products? that can work – sometimes. It depends a lot on what you combine.

      For example (gadget, here, can be used interchangeably with normal tech):

      contrived program + gadget pc = horrible glitches, errors and other issues, piling up until it’s ruined; the program does not actually work, and at every point where its imaginary code interacts with the actual code of the computer, glitches are created, faults inserted

      contrived power armor + gadget gun = mounting the gun on the armor is no problem. POWERING, say, a laser gun may or may not work, depending on what kind of energy the contrivance produces (depends on the theme of the contriver), but any divergence will slowly burn it out (or immediately blow it up)

      contrived cloak of invisibility + gadget jetpack = no direct interaction, so both can be used without issue

      etc. Basically, the more the two interact, the more chances for the unreal stuff of a contrivance to mess up the real technology. using, say, contrived bolts with a gadget crossbow is not an issue, since all it does is launch them. contrived bullets in a normal gun may destroy it, depending on their make up/effect; contrived rockets synched to a gadget rocket launcher/control system WILL go horribly wrong at some point.

      • That makes sense. I was going to ask how complicated it could be to make a gadget gun that could handle power from contrived armor. Then I realized the implications contrivances breaking the laws of reality. You might literally get a complex voltage, like 200 + 100i volts. And I don’t mean the imaginary numbers that are used in AC calculations.

        I get the impression that it would be possible to specially make gadgets to work with a specific contriver’s work, but that it would be a pain in the ass. And since it wouldn’t work with any other contrivances, generally not worth the effort. Especially if the contriver died in a car accident or something.

        My thoughts were partially inspired by something from The Descendents. A group of cybernetic enthusiasts acquire some weapons that they can’t understand, because they’re magitech. One guy decides that it doesn’t matter if he can understand them, he uses them as a power supply anyway. I remember that he was quite effective, but I have to question the sanity of implanting yourself with devices that your knowledge says should not work.

      • yeah, that’s pretty stupid. especially since contrivances are prone to breaking down even while the contriver lives. and they WILL break down at his death.

        and if you look at falling hearts, you’ll see what might happen to contrivances which are left unattended by their maker for too long

      • I think that what we saw in Falling Hearts was only the start of it. A Dark Day made me really understand exactly why contrivers are almost guaranteed to lose it eventually.

        Normal people constantly re-adjust their perspective in response to the world around them. That keeps them from getting too delusional, since they are bound by how the world is. Contrivers depend on not re-adjusting their perspective when the universe proves them wrong about something. So on some level, contrivers can’t learn from their mistakes.

        Oh, sure, they can learn little things, like that attacking UH headquarters was not a good idea… But I’m guessing that they can’t learn from any mistake related to the delusions their powers depend on. And over the course of decades, those failed learning experiences start to compound, until they’ve made a complete break from reality.

        This would mean that the more versatile a contriver is, the more elements of his life are related to his delusion. And to continue my financial analogue, that would mean a higher ‘interest rate’ on the compounding delusions.

      • Wonky brain chemistry as an explanation has always struck me as… contrived. (Sorry about the pun; had to say it)

        That’s mostly my own issue, though. I heard too much about depression in real life being caused by “a chemical imbalance in the brain”, and decided that it was BS. Given the effectiveness of meds, I don’t doubt that there’s a correlation, but I think they mixed up cause and effect. I still feel that we could get more useful knowledge by tracking down the cause of the imbalance, rather than saying that it came ex nihilo.

        In story, though, tracking down the cause of contrivers’ brain chemistry probably hasn’t borne any fruit (yet). I largely say this because I’d expect those discoveries to come with the invention of drugs that either de-power contrivers, or make them sane (and possibly gadgeteers).

      • even if there were drugs like that, there’s no way in hell “turned into a gadgeteer” would be a possible side effect. the two power-sets have almost nothing in common, aside from creating devices of some kind.

        you’re right, the brain chemistry is a symptom, not the cause – the problem is that the cause lies with the power, which regular science just hasn’t been able to touch.

      • the problem is that the cause lies with the power, which regular science just hasn’t been able to touch. yet

        There we go. I distinctly recall that Point Zero was caused by two scientists, before powers even existed. Therefore, mundane science can do something in regards to powers. The field just hasn’t come into it’s own yet. Or the people who made discoveries are being kept cloistered away by the Dark or the Companions.

        The reason I’d thought they might be a chance that contrivers would get gadgeteering is that contrivers create devices that work according to thier interpretation of reality. So if that exact description stayed true, but the interpretation of reality changed to being the same one everyone else has, functionally I’d expect the ‘contrivances’ to be nearly indistinguishable from gadgets.

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