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Updates Saturday at 8:30 PM EST
[Unichat log --]

/message GodsOfOlympus so this is how it's going to work.

/message GodsOfOlympus either you tell me what i want to know, or, sometime in the future, i'll leak one of your plans to your little coterie. i have my ways of getting information.

/message GodsOfOlympus fairly sure at least one of them is annoyed with you enough to put a spanner in it just by principle. also, if i find out you lied, i'll leak the info anyway.

/message GodsOfOlympus a hint of the kind of information i can get: i know why you chose that name.

/message GodsOfOlympus anyway, all i want to know is why you're really doing what you're doing. your choice!

/message GodsOfOlympus also, a headsup: panak is going to nuke Australia. just a freebie.

System: Incoming private message from user GodsOfOlympus:

(12:34)GodsOfOlympus: Trying to alias yourself against an administrator isn't a particularly effective strategy. I know exactly who you are, and where you're transmitting from.

System: Incoming private message from user GodsOfOlympus:

(12:34)GodsOfOlympus: I... have questions. I feel a pressing need for allies.

System: Incoming private message from user GodsOfOlympus:

(12:34)GodsOfOlympus: I'm looking for a ship, and I have reason to suspect your puppetmaster wants it as well. I want to know why.

System: Incoming private message from user GodsOfOlympus:

(12:34)GodsOfOlympus: In return, I'll tell you the real meaning behind my chosen alias.

/message GodsOfOlympus the alias was more for decoration anyway.

/message GodsOfOlympus i'm not actually interested in the real meaning; through my cynicism lenses, it's going to be something like 'the greek pantheon'.

/message GodsOfOlympus if you want allies, explain to me what you're doing and why you think it's the right thing to do. *then* i'll help you.

(12:35)System: User GodsOfOlympus is initiating a private chat.


(12:35)GodsOfOlympus: As much as I'd like to continue the cryptic persona, that was getting frustrating.

(12:35)SansTheComic: yeah.

(12:35)SansTheComic: why doesn't your chat client let people be in multiple channels at once?

(12:36)GodsOfOlympus: The underlying protocols are fantastically complex. Do you know why?

(12:36)SansTheComic: something something, etamnanki.

(12:37)GodsOfOlympus: How specific.

(12:37)SansTheComic: work with me here.

(12:37)GodsOfOlympus: The reason you should help me is simple. My organization represents humanity's best hope of survival.

(12:38)SansTheComic: unichat?

(12:38)GodsOfOlympus: Not as such, no. Unichat is only one offshoot of the larger operation, though a highly visible one.

(12:38)SansTheComic: seems like everyone's trying to save the world in some cryptic way these days.

(12:39)GodsOfOlympus: Have you been taking sarcasm lessons from Arbiter?

(12:41)SansTheComic: what?

(12:42)SansTheComic: no, arbiter's more like, "xeno, you, chuck censored norris, next thing you know pancake will be saying the world's under attack by a giant waffle and only i have the syrup reserves to sweeten it adequately".

(12:42)GodsOfOlympus: Chuck who?

(12:42)SansTheComic: never mind.

(12:42)SansTheComic: the point is, why should i trust you over xeno?

(12:43)GodsOfOlympus: Australia?

(12:44)SansTheComic: touche.

(12:44)SansTheComic: okay, how does a chat client help you save humanity?

(12:44)GodsOfOlympus: It doesn't, not directly. But widespread adoption of Unichat helps expose Gaian signaling into the local noosphere.

(12:45)SansTheComic: ...run that by me again.

(12:47)GodsOfOlympus: It's basically a man-in-the-middle attack. Gaia exists outside of any particular timeline; it needs Etamnanki communications to contact its material agents. Normally, that requires forcing its way through.

(12:47)GodsOfOlympus: The Unichat protocol allows Etamnanki signals to piggyback off it, and so it provides an easier way in. Much like electricity, Gaia seeks the path of least resistance - at least, in the absence of extenuating circumstances.

(12:48)SansTheComic: you're helping it.

(12:48)GodsOfOlympus: No, you misunderstand me.

(12:48)SansTheComic: okay, enlighten me.

(12:49)GodsOfOlympus: Gaia can get through no matter what, it's a question of how much processing power it needs to expend. We save it a miniscule amount - on the order of a tenth of a tenth of a percent - and in exchange we can read upwards of 90% of its communications.

(12:49)GodsOfOlympus: Of course, interpreting them is a different matter. >.>

(12:50)SansTheComic: i see.

(12:50)SansTheComic: what have you learned?

(12:51)GodsOfOlympus: One question at a time, please.

(12:52)GodsOfOlympus: I'm afraid there's nothing that can be done to save this timeline - "this" in the sense that I'm in it; as I understand it, you're merely observing. My hope, as always, is that my research here can be continued in another timeline.

(12:52)SansTheComic: so you're going to forward your findings to your alternate self?

(12:53)GodsOfOlympus: Not exactly. You see, there are a few of me running around, but I'm not as easily replicated as most people.

(12:53)GodsOfOlympus: And so I ask you again, Sans. What does Xenocartographer want with the Nauticus?

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[Unichat auxiliary records --]
Xenocartographer (Official Note): In other news, between Arbiter's little ploy and Becky being here for the week, I've finally seen Hot Fuzz. I'm still not entirely sure what a cornetto is.
Arbiter: Seabiscuit, you got her to watch Hot Fuzz?! I swear to God, every update of this comic finds a new way to fill me with joy.

Also, Xeno’s impression of Sans’ impression of my impression of Pancake is spot-on. 10/10 Adequately sweetened. edit delete reply
Seabiscuit: -snerk-

Not only that, I got her to watch the whole cornetto trilogy! Now her total movies watched count has increased to at least 18 ;)

Xeno says she's disappointed that you didn't pick up on the "obvious implication" on this page, "tell him he's a heathen traitor but also a disappointment" (I have no idea what implication she means hahaha) edit delete reply
FallenLeaves: Possibilities:
- Gods knows that Xeno is involved in Pancake's plan to blow up Australia. It's possible that I've just missed something, or that Gods has more sources than we know of.
- "I'm not as easily replicated as most people". Mystery time traveller? Rule 12! Oh my God this could explain so much! If this is true, I have so many questions.
- Questions on the nature of Gaia.
- To do with the name? There's no chance it could be literal is there? No...
- EDIT: The Nauticus? All I remember is that Gods mentioned the "Nauticus incident" to Rasputin on (59). I really need to finish my summary. (EDIT EDIT: this summary. All help is, as always, appreciated.)
- Something entirely different I haven't thought of.

I think it's most likely either that Gods is our Rule 12 object or something I haven't thought of. edit delete reply
SansTheComic: yeah, i trawled through the archives so i wouldn't screw up my reply too badly and all i could find was the thing with __RSPTN__. does GOO mean the iolanthe instead? the satirical? edit delete reply
Xenocartographer: Nope, he means the Nauticus. edit delete reply
Arbiter: “Disappointment”? Who are you, my dad? I’m the token dumb one, how come everybody expects me to solve riddles and shit?

What “obvious implication” was I supposed to pick up on? That Gods basically confirmed my theory about the admins? The fact that Gods knows about Xeno’s Australia plans, as well as my legendary sarcasm, despite the fact that neither of us have had very much dialogue with him, is likely because he can read 90% of Gaia’s communications and Gaia is listed as a member of the #vague-omnipresent-council channel? That Gods’ “larger operation”, the main purpose of which seems to be to monitor Gaia, is probably a continuation of the Etamnanki Project, meaning it’s not nearly as dead as MrE thought? The time travel thing? Or was it the fact that Gods asked about the Nauticus right after saying that the timeline can’t be saved and he isn’t planning to forward his research to another version of himself, which implies that the Nauticus is capable of travelling between timelines and he intends to use it to escape this one?

See, these are the kind of crackpot theories you get when you expect the comic relief to pick up on plot hints. edit delete reply
Xenocartographer: First off, on the off chance that I actually touched a nerve there: No, that's semi-in-character ribbing in the same vein as the traitor comments.

As for why people think you can solve things, you've had some good theories and even gotten some things right before (obviously, I'm not going to say which or how many). edit delete reply
Arbiter: No, you didn’t hurt my feelings, don’t worry. edit delete reply
Xenocartographer: Why would I worry about hurting a heathen traitor's feelings? edit delete reply
Arbiter: Aaaaaand we’re back. :) edit delete reply
FallenLeaves: Who wouldn't miss this?

1 internet point to anyone who gets the reference. edit delete reply
FallenLeaves: So. Xeno is willing to destroy Australia to get what she wants. Gods is willing to destroy this entire timeline. (Though I think I remember Author!Xeno telling us once that we couldn't destroy the timeline. I'm not sure on that.) As always, there are no good options.
That discussion of Unichat's existence is fascinating. So Gaia was a giant computer set up either in some other timeline (EDIT: "outside of any particular timeline" so no) or elsewhere entirely to prevent timeline cascades? Why? (Full disclosure here, I'm still not quite clear on the difference between what would happen with a missed shatterpoint. Are we talking basically a paradox with an infinite (or maybe even high finite? I'm not convinced with Gaia's merges that an infinite number would be possible) number of branches (I do not have the terminology to talk about this.)? Or is it some faster-growing problem? (Mathematically, I'm basically wondering whether O(f), where f is the number of timelines from the shatterpoint over metatime, is x or something greater.) I have explained this all really badly) Or is Gaia more abstract than that?
Oh, I think I've managed (from discussion with a friend) to get a handle on the basics of time travel. Would people like me to attempt to write up an explanation? edit delete reply
Xenocartographer: I (author!Xeno) was responding to concerns about how many PMs you could send without breaking the story. I was telling people not to worry about that.

And thanks! As for the time travel thing, I'd personally love to see what you came up with - fan theories are one of the few ways I can see the story from a reader's viewpoint, after all. And you friend should comment sometime! We're all one big, happy, world-destroying cult here. edit delete reply
Xenocartographer: And it would be something like O(max(1, N ^ (N * b))), where b is the timeline's branching factor. A shatterpoint occurs when b > 1. edit delete reply
SansTheComic: (all this is in the conversaton with GOO, just to be clear. don't want another incident like the one with meta.)
ok, cards on the table. you've told me more than necessary as a show of faith, so i'm finally going to reciprocate.
i don't know.
before i get smited with one of your many banhammers, note that there's a difference between not running an experiment and running an experiment. both times, someone can say 'there's no evidence!' but, in the second case, it's justified.
in all the logs i've seen, the only mention of the nauticus i've seen was in passing, and it was in your own conversation with __RSPTN__ a while back.
either xeno isn't actually involved with whatever happened, they deliberately didn't tell me so as not to show their true colours or they simply ignored it for the sake of telling a story. either way, i suggest you check your reasoning.
of course, i can try to find out, and i'll tell you immediately if i get anything, but i'm not optimistic.
anything else i can help you with, in the meantime? edit delete reply
Seabiscuit: /message SonjaOfTheMoon Hey, Sonja! I noticed you only mentioned two people that messaged you on the plane...
/message SonjaOfTheMoon There was actually way more! And a LOT of variations, check this out [i wanna send her the logs of plane spam >:3]
/message SonjaOfTheMoon Cool huh? I guess it's one of those, like, merge thingies edit delete reply
LightBringer: Well, this is certainly getting interesting. Still. Again. Continuously. FOREVER. edit delete reply