A bit of a transitional scene this week, but there’s some interesting things going on. Let’s unpack.
“The War Effort”
I wrote last week about the Penny Gnomes not being overly fond of the wider world. The truth is, many Gnomes are beginning to call for a Gnomexit 1 from The Realm. They see their Pennies leave the Fifty Peaks, along with their children, and all they get back is death and political bickering. They also can’t stand the Elves, but in that they aren’t alone — everyone hates them.
Sills is a partially burnt-out public servant, but is loyal to the idea of The Realm. She’s also aware what a Penny Gnome secession would mean. The Realm would be bankrupted over night, the Firewall would come completely down, and it would be overrun by lawyers in about a week. The gnomes might be able to hole up in the Fifty Peaks Mountains for a time, but eventually the hoard would overwhelm them and end imagination as we know it.
So she was diplomatic. Partly because it was easier to placate the Mayor 2, and partly because she’s afraid of what Nobody might blurt out in the council chambers. It was far safer for her to remove Nobody from Gnomish custody quickly than leave him in front the the mayor without a gag. If he blurted out anything about a penny ore detonator, for example, it would have taken the Gnomes less than a day to have rise up en masse to secede.
The Governors did, indeed, give Bug and Nobody unquestioned access to anything in The Realm 3. It was an utterly reckless and irresponsible thing to do, but please remember two things.
First, The Realm is currently fighting a losing battle with a rampaging hoard of lawyers. “Reckless and irresponsible” probably seems like pure wisdom at this point.
Second, it’s an imaginary bureaucracy. Real world bureaucracies are apt to do many things which make absolutely no sense whatsoever. It’s practically what they’re for. While real world bureaucracies don’t typically do things as reckless as give a gnome with a penchent for experimental mergers between potato chips and assault rifles, they do tend to stretch the limits of common sense into interesting shapes 4.
Even so, no one could have anticipated their most gifted munitions developer would think to bring a real worlder into The Realm. That was something no well-balanced gnome would ever have considered. Unfortunately for the war board, they weren’t dealing with well-balanced gnomes.
While Nobody has contributed mightily to the war effort, the Governors have become increasingly impatient with Nobody’s work on the Penny Ore detonator. It’s already four months behind schedule and the Governors want to use its existence in the upcoming round of peace talks with the Hoard. Unbeknownst to anyone, even Bug, Nobody had finished the device on schedule, but had a brief bout of social awareness and decided to search for an alternate way to stop the Hoard. This search is what led him to search for Will.
The Governor’s summons is Nobody’s ultimatum. He has to deliver on his promise or his funding will be cut completely. He’s in a bit of a rough spot.
The Big Secret
Nobody can’t actually remember what the secret was that crashed all the rail service in Great Roll. As he never told Sills or Bug, they don’t know either. Sindy, on the other hand, had to walk to work every day on an eight mile round trip until the service was restored. She is not happy.
I must confess. I want one of Nobody’s wallets. I don’t care if he’s left a missile launcher in it, I just want one. By the end of the war bottomless wallets will become one of the best selling gnomish products of all time.
- I have no idea how to pronounce that, please don’t ask. ↩
- Who is not in favor of a Gnomexit, despite his animosity toward The Empty Throne. ↩
- This is where Nobody got the capital to begin his snack chip business. ↩
- I call this “The Bureaucratic Nightmare.” It works this way. In a Bureaucracy specific departments or individuals have particular buttons to press. They will polish the buttons, make sure the switches are in working order, and see to it that they protect the turf around their buttons. As long as the buttons continue to be pressed, all is right with the world, and nothing will tell those responsible for the buttons otherwise. This goes on for years, until the last remaining bureaucrat finally presses the buttons so much they all become irreparable. At that moment this last survivor looks up and realizes the bureaucracy which employed them went out of business six years earlier. They’d been wondering why the parking lot was so empty. These are the type of people who hired Professor Cooly Nobody. ↩