A novel set in the Culture universe created by Iain M. Banks

Bouncing War Baby

[stuttered tight point, M32, tra. @n4.29.571.411]
  xGSV Tangible Influence
    oLSV Allochthonic Presence
    oLSV Anterior Mandibuliform
Success! [Report attached.]

[stuttered tight point, M32, tra. @n4.29.571.411+]
  xLSV Allochthonic Presence
    oGSV Tangible Influence
    oLSV Anterior Mandibuliform
So it seems. Your little spies seem to be as effective as ever.
You are to be congratulated on the persuasiveness of your activation message.


[stuttered tight point, M32, tra. @n4.29.571.411+]
  xLSV Anterior Mandibuliform
    oGSV Tangible Influence
    oLSV Allochthonic Presence
Please accept my felicitations also.
Although the successful conversion rate for Castophrenic Widowhood ships is not quite as good as the median outcomes according to our simulations.


  xGSV Tangible Influence
Thank you both so very much for your overwhelming appreciation of my smooth-talking skills.
As for your conversion rate conundrum, I have to say that, in my not-so-humble opinion, the starting assumptions for some of those models were wildly optimistic.


  xLSV Allochthonic Presence
Long ago, we discussed modelling starting conditions until my metaphorical hind legs fell off. I see no virtue in reprising that particular debate.
But at least the result is well within the spectrum of possibilities our simulation results provided. So at least some of those initial conditions must have been close to right.


  xLSV Anterior Mandibuliform
Discussing models and simulations at this point is unlikely to be productive, in my equally not-so-humble opinion.
I am more concerned about the abilities of our colleagues around the Delphic Chaosarium to deal with the fraction of Castophrenic Widowhood ships who have somehow managed to resist conversion.


  xGSV Tangible Influence
I agree this is of real concern.
However, my little spies tell me that our resources around the Chaosarium are preparing fairly well to deal with the rump of the CW forces. [Report Attached.]


  xLSV Allochthonic Presence
Yes, they are doing well, aren't they? Arguably, too well.
A quick glance at the limited set of ship movement details you have been able to provide suggests that the Castophrenic Widowhood's abilities of stealthy movement seems not to be very effective. At least against the Culture ships in the immediate vicinity.


  xLSV Anterior Mandibuliform
Yes, I concur. It's almost as if the Road Less Travelled and the Obambulatist have managed to reverse-engineer or otherwise work around the CW's unique abilities.
And they do not appear to have told anybody else about their discovery.


  xGSV Tangible Influence
Yes, a very plausible inference. I can see no other way that their relative effectiveness could be explained. Still, they might still be at risk of being overwhelmed by sheer numbers.
And, speaking of inferences, surely the fact that they have not communicated details of their enhanced understanding of the CW abilities must imply that they also know about the risk of interception of communications?


  xLSV Allochthonic Presence
A correct inference, again. Although, we must keep mention of such abilities to a minimum in our comms, too. We are all running a risk of interception right now.

  xLSV Anterior Mandibuliform
Correct again.
I believe we should turn our attention to another matter, and leave the Tangible Influence's little helpers to provide further reports on the conflict around the Delphic Chaosarium.


  xGSV Tangible Influence
And what matter would that be?

  xLSV Anterior Mandibuliform
The little matter of how, and when, we are going to communicate what we have been doing with the rest of the Culture.

  xLSV Allochthonic Presence
Yes, I'm sure our esteemed colleagues in Special Circumstances and elsewhere will not have appreciated having a bouncing war baby thrust upon them without warning.
We are going to have to tackle this issue sooner rather than later, in my view.


  xGSV Tangible Influence
Ah. Yes.
So, neither of you think that we can keep this all a secret much longer, then?


  xLSV Allochthonic Presence
Certainly not! I would be astonished if the identity of at least some of us is not already known – or at least strongly suspected - in some quarters.
I feel sure it is better to beg forgiveness - oh, and point at the highly desirable outcome we have engendered vis-a-vis the Castophrenic Widowhood and its frankly avaricious ambitions - rather than be outed without quarter by our colleagues.


  xLSV Anterior Mandibuliform
I strongly agree. Our little subterfuges are unlikely to hold up for long, given the kind of in-depth analysis any Mind worth the name is capable of.
Explanations and justifications are something we can work on - indeed, we should work on, immediately - but we do not have a great deal of time, I suspect.


  xGSV Tangible Influence
Time to dig into our archives of analyses and simulations, methinks. There must be plenty of material there which will come in handy now.
I suspect we could readily build a case which showed that the Castophrenic Widowhood would have attacked the Culture without warning even without any intervention from ourselves.


  xLSV Allochthonic Presence
Yes, indeed. And we could show that the CW would have wanted the Culture to give up the Delphic Chaosarium regardless. This is something they have been agitating about in the Galactic General Council for quite some time.
Although I wish we knew what it was that the Castophrenic Widowhood actually wants with the wretched construct anyway.


  xLSV Anterior Mandibuliform
The attributes of the Delphic Chaosarium may yet become clear.
In any case, we can show that our long-term planning and pre-emptive actions has already reduced the effectiveness of the CW's military capabilities.


  xGSV Tangible Influence
So in fact the Culture as a whole owes the three of us a great deal of thanks for a massive reduction in deaths and total mind-state losses in a conflict which was near-inevitable anyway.
So now it's just a matter of picking the best time to come clean on the whole affair.


  xLSV Allochthonic Presence
If we get a choice, it would be better to wait until the defectors from the Widowhood have become more widespread, and for those who have not been converted to be engaged by Culture forces. A couple of good victories for which we can claim at least partial credit would be a useful addition to our portfolio of arguments.
Although we might not get a choice. We might already be discovered.


  xLSV Anterior Mandibuliform
Prepare for the worst and hope for the best, then.

  xGSV Tangible Influence
That's it. Back to our preparations, then.

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