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 Post Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 10:59 pm 
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After a beat or two, Spot changes the subject. "Have there been any rumors of this man using tools or weapons from other worlds? Aside from the three robots?"

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 Post Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:34 am 
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"There have been no substantiated rumours of him seen using any other devices which could not have been obtained in Dominia." states the Queen. "Except for the falling machine which bought him to that land in the first place, of course; though rumour has it that that device is now heavily damaged and has been stripped of anything useful. Anything he did not take himself, would by now have been taken by the people of Dree. I do not believe that it will be able to ever fly again."

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:38 pm 
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"It does not sound like he intends to leave, then. Not that way." After a moment, Spot continues: "He may have such devices or weapons in reserve, but at least we will not need to worry about him using them freely. There are some, your highness, which could not be built here but which would probably work here. I would rather not have any of them used on me."

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:34 am 
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"He may indeed." agrees the Queen. "Do any of you have any further questions?"

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 Post Posted: Wed Mar 06, 2013 7:13 pm 
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"Yes." Spot goes on: "What is this other country, Dominia, getting from him in return for everything? Did he arrive with a large pile of money? Did he promise them something to get them to pay for everything?"

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:55 am 
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"I can not say for certain." replies the Queen, cautiously. "It may be that he arrived with some quantity of precious metals, or similarly valuable items, which he traded for Dominia's aid. It may be that he made use of some device, the nature of which I would not know, which could somehow compel agreement to his terms. It may be that he promised some result to the rulers of Dominia - whatever it was, diplomatic channels have pretty much closed down entirely, so it's hard to know for sure."

"Pardon me, Your Majesty." Steve raises a hand. "You say it's hard to know for sure, and we appreciate that. But we're strangers in this land; we know nothing of the leadership of Dominia, of how they react to different forms of inducement. You, on the other hand, know them well; you say they've shut down diplomatic channels, and you'd know in what circumstances they are likely to do that, which we, being strangers here, do not know. Can I ask for your best guess?"

"My best guess?" asks the Queen. "If you like. For the last several decades, thanks to proper management of our natural resources, and in particular the Elevator from Heaven, Celestia has been economically, militarily, and culturally superior to Dominia. Not by much, you understand, particularly in the case of the military. Dominia has resented this, but been unable to do anything about it. I think that this Forsaken Man has offered them some way to change that situation; promised them, perhaps, some resource - perhaps some method of locating new ore deposits to mine, perhaps some device that merely produces, say -" the queen waves a hand vaguely - "corn, or whatever, in sufficient quantity to be economical. Some way to produce a permanent improvement in their economy. Not a once-off payment, in any form - if they had that, I'd expect them to flaunt it. No, I think that what Dominia gets from this is something that they haven't got in their hands yet, so to speak. That's what I hope it is, something to give them an economic boost. What I fear it might be, is something to give Dominia a military boost; some sort of fearsome weapon. If suddenly in possession of a much stronger military, well, then there are certainly factions amongst the Dominian people that would favour a direct strike upon Celestia, with the aim of capturing the Elevator to Heaven and incorporating it within their territory."

"Whatever it is that he has promised them," continues the Queen, "I think that they are very convinced of his ability to deliver. I don't think that they are as convinced of his willingness to deliver, and they are probably keeping a very careful eye on him, so that they'll know when the bit they want is done."

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 Post Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:25 pm 
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Spot considers this for a couple of seconds, and likes none of what it decides. Then it says "Two things, if I may. First, is Dominia a country with a lot of visitors or travelers moving around, or are such people rare? Second, so far as you have heard, do the other robots look exactly like me?"

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 Post Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 10:05 am 
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"There won't be many visitors - they've closed down all the official border crossings." says the Queen. "It's still possible to cross the border, but not officially. However, there are quite a few classes of people that move around on a fairly continual basis. Traders, mainly, but also teachers and entertainers; also on occasion thieves and conmen, who usually pretend to be traders or entertainers. People whose livelihood is not tied to the land. Unknown visitors are unlikely to receive much comment, but are likely to be noticed, in case they turn out to be thieves. I'm afraid the only description I have of the other robots is that they are metal balls with a hundred legs; a description that fits you as well, but I can't tell if you are exactly the same. There may well be some minor but obvious difference in your appearance."

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 Post Posted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:05 pm 
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"I see. Thank you, your majesty." Spot then shifts so it's more obviously addressing it's colleagues: "Do we have anything we can trade for the local money?"

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 Post Posted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 1:06 am 
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"Probably, yes." says Steve, before Wilshire can say anything. "It depends somewhat on exactly what the local economy considers valuable, of course." Turning to the Queen, he asks "Yourajesty, are gemstones considered valuable here?"

"Yes," she says. "Moreso if made into some form of jewellery."

"Excellent, thank you." replies Steve. "I'd want to have a look around a jeweller's shop first, so I know what the right sort of price to ask for is, but yes, I can trade for some of the local currency."

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 Post Posted: Wed May 08, 2013 8:06 pm 
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After a few beats, Spot says "Then I suppose all we need is someone to talk to about Dominian habits and customs, and we can be on our way. If you will permit it, your majesties."

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 Post Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 6:11 am 
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"Tom." says the Queen, nodding at the page with the trumpet. "Go along with them, answer their questions, keep out of trouble. Try to maintain Celestia's good name. Above all else, get back safely."

King Edward is sitting on his throne with his arms folded, and is looking extremely cross and more than a little sulky.

Tom the trumpeter stands smartly to attention. "Yes, ma'am." he says.

"Leave the trumpet behind," adds the Queen, "and take one of the Brown Bags."

"Yes, ma'am. Understood." He nods smartly, puts the trumpet down, then turns around. "This way, please, gentlemen." he says to Spot and group, leading them out of the throne room.

"And best of luck." adds the Queen, as they leave. The King gives Spot a dirty look.

"Thank you, ma'am." says Tom, from the doorway.

--------------

The Brown Bag, as it turns out, is a small leather travelling case. It is brown, naturally, and seems to contain basic travelling supplies - warm clothes, a bar of soap, that sort of thing. Tom removes his distinctive royal surcoat, leaving it in the palace and replacing it with a somewhat worn and faded leather cloak. For the moment, he leaves the hood down, and escorts the group out of the palace via an unremarkable side entrance.

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 Post Posted: Mon May 27, 2013 9:16 pm 
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Knowing there's essentially no chance of them traveling unremarked, Spot asks Tom: "Does the Queen make a lot of the decisions?"

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 Post Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 2:12 pm 
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"Oh, yes." nods Tom. "The King mainly dresses up, gives speeches, and opens hospitals. The, um, public part of ruling, so to speak. The Queen's a lot smarter, so she makes all the important decisions."

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 Post Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:23 pm 
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"That's very reasonable." After another second, Spot goes on: "She picked you very quickly. Have you done anything like this before?"

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