Book 2 - Text Updates 013

Book 2 - Text Updates 013

It all required an ordered brain.

Gobwin Knob's side now spanned fifteen cities, and about 9400 units. Among these were over eight thousand speaking units, any one of whom could request Maggie's attention via intense concentration. Similarly, she could reach out to these units herself, to relay orders or request status. Scouting units in all directions, some of them hundreds of hexes away, passed along terrain and encounter information to her as they moved. And with Archons out there in the field, she had other, primitive Thinkamancers to manage as well.

Some (mercifully subconscious) part of Maggie's mind was always sorting and prioritizing the incoming and outgoing messages, making little decisions which added up to bigger ones.

That was at the quietest of times. Before and during a major battle, it was more than she could fully process, more than she had the juice for. However structured and competent her mind might be, she was still only an Adept class Thinkamancer. Even a Mastermind would be taxed under these conditions.

Ah, even so. One did one's best.

Her primary concern at the moment was juice. This battle and this turn would represent (at best) only half the day's likely demand on her services. Even if it all went swimmingly and Chief Warlord Ansom seized his former capital with ease, there was a long day yet ahead.

Gobwin Knob's natural spot in the turn order came fairly early, before all nearby sides except Charlescomm and Transylvito. Transylvito was allied with the Coalition, so it currently took its turn with Jetstone. Today, Gobwin Knob's turn had begun at dawn, which meant Charlescomm was either absent from the battlespace or allied with a side that took its turn later.

The upshot of all of that was that all other enemy sides would take their turns before she could regain her juice. A Coalition counterstrike was nearly inevitable, so juice conservation was in order.

She was conserving now, but that worried her too. She had entirely too little idea what was happening.

The strike force was definitely in the city, but there had been no word from them for more than twenty minutes. She spent a tiny bit of juice to confirm the existence and status of the major units there, but did not open a Thinkagram. At least one Archon was supposed to send a full picture Thinkagram, once the engagement began. But it appeared that...

That subconscious part of her brain poked her in the ribs. She checked the Chief Warlord's location again.

"Oh dear," she whispered, very quietly.

Parson heard her. "What's going on?" he asked. The Situation Room had been silent for several minutes, ever since a brief discussion between Stanley and Parson about the color scheme of the tactical figurines had ended snappishly.

Maggie cleared her throat. "I don't know, Lord Hamster." Her Duty here was slightly vague. Clearly both Lord Stanley and Lord Parson would want to know that Ansom was not among the attackers. She particularly didn't care to mislead Parson any more than necessary. But if she told them, they would certainly give her orders which would involve spending more juice.

Even under a Ruler like Stanley, decisions on the battlefield were usually left to the field Commanders. If Ansom didn't want to lead this attack, that was his prerogative.

But it was decidedly odd, after that business at the bridge.

Yes, entirely too.

"I think," she said evenly and carefully, "that there may be an irregularity with the battle plan."