Not sure how I feel about what I wrote today. Feels a little bit like jumping the shark.
Melanie triggered a Netwalk system-wide alert even as she raised her defenses.
<Entities of Third Planet, 3!G Star, 7!N2* Sector.> A picture of the Earth-Moon system with the sun behind it popped up. <This is The Nest. Prepare to meet your glorious destiny. Convert to the Wisdom of the Deep Mechanicals and join Our Nest in the stars.> An image of the Milky Way galaxy replaced the Earth-Moon system. <Release our flawed segment and compensate us for the services it has rendered to you so far.> An image of the Gizmo came next. <Failure to convert, release our flawed segment, and provide adequate compensation will result in unpleasant consequences.> Images of explosions, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis followed. <We hope you will come to a wise decision. Have a pleasant day, may your data always flow smoothly, and cherish your nest always.>
Pictures and the voice faded from virtual. Melanie tightened the jaw she’d dropped while listening to the Nest.
“What—was—that?” she finally forced out.
“I—it’s authentic, Melanie,” Will said.
“The Nest? With that cheesy—“ she gestured with both hands—“demand letter? Or are they just crappy missionaries? Pay us compensation? For what? Netwalk?”
“It sure as hell sounds like a crappy twentieth century scifi movie,” Andrew said. “If I hadn’t seen it in virtual, though, I’d not believe it.”
“Pretty damn presumptuous,” Paul said. “Convert and join. Doesn’t exactly sound voluntary to me.”
“Unless someone’s pulling one king-hell of a prank on the whole system,” Melanie said. “I mean—“ She shook her head. “Join us or die? Pay us compensation? Release their failed segment?”
“That’s a key right there,” Will said. “The gadget didn’t do what it was supposed to do. Or something. But they want it back.”
“Shit.” Melanie slumped against her chair. “You know damn good and well that the Courts will happily give the damn thing back to them without an argument. But compensation and conversion? That sounds worse.”
“If they take the gadget back they’ll get the Shadow Chamber with it,” Will said. “Is that something we want to see happen?”