James sat at his desk, his brow furrowed in concentration as he probed the inner workings of the system stone before him. The object gave off a faint shine in response to his energies, but he ignored it. Right now, he was working on how to isolate the system energy within the stone, that way he would be able to develop the suppression field that he had been wanting to create.
At the same time, the other members of the research team were tackling the aspect from different angles, each trying to find some connection to the intrinsic system that would allow them to create an isolation field. Each member of the team was hard at work running various simulations on their own terminals, trying out different combinations that could theoretically work.
Whenever they had an idea that they thought was sound, they sent the blueprint file to Blank, who was cooperating in their research. With his abilities, he could create a digital representation of their blueprint within one of the many game worlds he was in charge of. If the device worked in the environment he provided for them, they began testing it in reality. However, as of yet, there had not been a single attempt that passed this second round of testing.
Chel crossed her arms, staring at the holographic screen in front of herself. Had she still been a system companion, she surely would have known the answer to this problem. Whether or not she’d be able to show that answer to James was up for debate, but at the very least it would not have stumped her. Thus, she eventually closed her eyes, her body seeming to relax slightly.
Scarlet, Aurivy, Leowynn and myself were all watching the TV within the Admin Room, seeing how the Terra twins were just on the verge of completing their final trial for Lifre. I had to admit, it was an interesting experience. If Lifre was able to come up with more comprehensive trials, it would not be out of the question for her to drastically increase the strength of even a god.
As I was thinking about that, I saw Chel walk into the living room, arms stretching out at her sides. "Something the matter?" I asked curiously, as Chel rarely left her room. Furthermore, she had a tired expression on her face, appearing physically and mentally exhausted.
"Yeah." She nodded her head, huffing as she walked over to stand in front of me. "We’ve hit a roadblock with the suppression field. Normally, I’d let James work it out himself, even if it took a while, but I remembered something."
"What’s that?" I asked, blinking as I looked up at her petite form from my seated position.
"Didn’t Oldbeard promise to get you a suppression field when you visited her?" Chel asked, causing me to think back. Once the memory hit me, my eyes went wide. It wasn’t something that I had specifically requested, and instead was one that Oldbeard herself had offered as a present for introducing her to Sarah.
When she instead gave me the System Stones, which seemed a better deal in every way, I had forgotten about the original promise. "Right… let me call her up to ask." I nodded my head, opening a chat window and sending a chat request to Oldbeard.
Oldbeard: Hey! What’s up? I trust you got everything okay
EarthForceOne: Yeah, there’s not a problem with that. Instead, I had a question that I wanted to ask you about
Oldbeard: Oh? What’s that
EarthForceOne: Originally, you were going to send me the tech for a suppression field, weren’t you? I was just wondering why it had changed to those system stones
Oldbeard: Oh! Is that it? Yeah, we developed a new suppression field using the system stones while I was waiting for the invasion clock to cycle over, so I sent a shipment of those instead. I figured that a more advanced version would generally be better. Why, are you having some problems with it
EarthForceOne: In a sense. My researcher can’t figure out the method that the stones connect to the world’s system energy to build the field
Oldbeard: Ah, that’s where they’ve got it all wrong! The stone itself is the basis for the field. If you insert it into a field projector, it will create the suppression field on its own after about an hour or so
Oldbeard: Think about it this way. The stone itself saves the local system energy inside its structure. Plug that into a field projector, and it projects that system energy outwards. At that point, the energy it is reading is more like a copy of the world’s game system, so that is what gets saved to the stone, and then projected. Eventually, it is copying the copies so much that the image becomes degraded, and the system shuts down around it. After that, there is no longer a system for it to copy, so what it projects is a ‘null’ area where the system can’t reach
Oldbeard: Honestly, we discovered this mostly by accident. A lot of our spherical engineering tools can be mistaken for one another if they don’t use the identification system, so someone tossed a system stone into the field projector by mistake. By the time anyone noticed, it was already projecting the null field. Sorry, I probably should have included the field projector as well, huh? Figured that was something you likely would have already had.
EarthForceOne: Right, thanks for the tip. I’ll pass it on to my people, and hopefully we can get the matter squared away.
I gave a satisfied nod as I closed the chat. There was a distinct difference with how Oldbeard talked now compared with what she was like before. She was clearly more energetic after meeting with Sarah, and far more outgoing.
When Chel saw that I had finished the chat, she gave me a questioning look. I relayed the information that I had learned from Oldbeard, and watched as the pieces began to click in her head. Once I had finished with my explanation, her eyes had gone wide. Without even sparing an extra word, she turned and ran towards her room. I could hear the sound of a door slamming into the distance, and chuckled to myself. At least, until I felt Scarlet tugging on my sleeve, nodding towards the television. "They’re almost done, dad." She whispered, turning my attention back towards the screen.
"I’ve got it!" Chel said as she suddenly opened her eyes, standing straight up from her chair. Several of the other researchers flinched at her sudden shout, glancing over warily at the nine-tailed fox girl.
"You figured something out?" Nora asked hopefully, having just scrapped another of her own designs that failed the testing stage.
Chel nodded her head, reaching into her pocket and grabbing her omnitool. It activated with a whir as she waved it at each of the terminals in the room, displaying a blueprint on each screen. When James saw the blueprint, he began putting it together in his head, imagining how it would work. "This is just a field projector with a spherical input. Won’t this do the exact opposite of what we want, and create a field with the world’s game system?"
Chel gave a mischievous grin at that. "An imperfect field." She emphasized, causing James to furrow his brow, before things suddenly seemed to click.
"You mean… a feedback loop? Will that really work out that way?" James asked, Chel nodding her head in confirmation.
"Wait, doesn’t that mean that the system being given with the stones is imperfect? Won’t that cause problems?" Thea asked, eyes going wide. However, James shook his head, already filling the blanks in.
"No, the system is perfect, but only when it is fully focused on a specific individual. Once you radiate that energy out into a larger field, imperfections will begin appearing, which are copied onto the stone in real time and spread to the rest of the field. Once enough form… if Chel’s right, it would remove the system itself within the field’s range."
"I’d rather we make sure everyone’s outside the field while it’s being tested." Nora said with a shake of her head. "We don’t want anyone inside to lose their system permanently because the imperfect forms were being copied onto them while it was going through that process."
"That shouldn’t happen." James refuted, though Treisha only gave a bitter grin.
"Like how mortals and gods having children shouldn’t produce flesh and blood offspring?" She asked, the kitsune sisters nodding their heads. However, James just looked at them in confusion.
"What are you talking about?" He asked, sounding genuinely befuddled.
"You said a while back when you released that special energy to let gods have children. If a god and a mortal had an offspring, they would be a naturally-born energy being." Treisha reminded, causing James to nod.
"That’s right, what about it?" He clearly remembered that conversation, but didn’t know what they were getting at.
"We’ve gotten a few records here and there of demigods being born… and all of them have organic bodies." Nora asked, as if embarrassed to point it out. "None of them were born with energy bodies like you said."
"And they weren’t the product of a union with the Greater Pantheon?" James asked for clarification, the three girls aware of the situation shaking their heads. "That doesn’t make any sense. That’s how it worked for me… is it an energy deviation based on different world laws?"
Chel simply chuckled as she watched James lower his head in thought. "It seems even our high and mighty researcher doesn’t always know what he is talking about." She said smugly. Though, the truth was that she was also unaware of this deviation. All of her attention had basically been devoted to James, so she rarely spared a thought to the world beyond the lab, thus not knowing about the demigods being born.
If she had been asked before this conversation, she would have entirely agreed with James’s previous assessment, as that was how it had truly worked in their old world. At the same time, she could figure out in her mind why it didn’t work the same way in this one. In her own world, the people living there were not naturally capable of handling large amounts of energy. Thus, an unborn baby would be forced to evolve into an energy body before even being born.
Here, on the other hand, people were capable of wielding massive amounts of power, and that power capacity was passed down through the generations. In that sense, it was entirely possible that a baby would be able to handle the fraction of a god’s divinity that they were naturally born with, without having to change.
Of course, she wasn’t going to let anyone know that she had been equally unaware, and would vehemently deny any accusations of such. Thus, she didn’t say anything about it and began working on the materials needed for them to create their field projector. In truth, they had several of such items simply laying around, but none with a spherical input.
Most of their field containers operated with primary energy crystals, the energies being fed through a set of circuits meant to fuse them into the specific arrangement required. Thus, for this device they needed to simply remove those extra steps, and modify the design to handle the system stone as the input.
Thankfully, that was actually pretty easy for them to design, hence how she had created the blueprint so quickly with her omnitool. All that was really left was to get the parts and put it together. And all the while, James kept muttering to himself, trying to figure out the specific deviations that had caused his previous confidence to be misplaced. Much to the amusement of the rest of the research staff, who rarely got the chance to see the mighty researcher so flustered about something.