It's early in the morning, a little before sunrise outside the Beiter residence. Samantha, having had trouble sleeping and having been temporarily stymied in her attempts to make complete duplicates, sighs and leans up against her tree, waiting to see how quickly Melantha can get here after the telepathic summons.
Oryn swoops in and lands on Samantha's shoulder. Some moments later, a shadowy figure comes out of the forest at a somewhat fast pace, toward Samantha's tree.
Samantha scritches Oryn's eye-ridges. << Sorry to get you up like that, >> she projects to Melantha, << but I need some help with this, and it has to be both fast and by someone who won't talk about it. >>
Melantha comes up to Samantha, a little out of breath. <<No need to apologize.>> She takes a seat in one of the chairs, "What do you need?"
Oryn warbles happily at the scritches.
Samantha waves Melantha back. << It's in my workshop. >>
Melantha stands back up and grins, <<Lead the way.>>
Samantha leads Melantha back to the shop. << You might have heard about some of the odd figurines that were being sold not long ago... I've got a couple of them myself. >>
Melantha looks around curiously. <<I've heard a bit about it...but I've never seen them.>>
Samantha nods, and points to the set figurines lying on the shelf. << These were actually not like the normal ones... for some reason, they survived the breakdown that caused all the rest of them to crack. >> She then points to another, mostly identical set on her work table. << And those are the duplicates I'm trying to make. >>
Oryn jumps off Samantha's shoulder and glides to a table, looking for something to eat.
Melantha walks over and looks at the figures on the shelf, then goes over and examines the duplicates. << Ok..so what do you need me to do? >>
Samantha walks over to the work table. << I need duplicates for my son to take back to that deer and his family, who are behind much of this. >> She reaches up to the shelf, and pulls off one of the figurines, then tugs lightly on a catch on the base, opening it up and exposing the little 'card' inside. << This is the part that's giving me trouble. >>
Melantha reaches over and takes the card, then examines it, <<Why are you having trouble? >>
Melantha picks up one of the figurines on the table, << You did such a good job with these. >>
Samantha nods. << Thank you. But this is a little more complex, there's some active technology involved. Makes it difficult for me to duplicate it. Especially as I want something that doesn't work quite like the original did. >>
Melantha ohs and looks at the card again.
Samantha projects, << It seems to be a key of some sort, though I can't tell what lock it's for. I'd prefer something that looks the same, and acts mostly the same, but doesn't give the same information, making it useless. >>
Melantha sets the figurine down, << I may be able to help you with that...but for a good copy I'll need something. It is more difficult to try pulling matter out of thin air, not so difficult to transform something else. >>
Samantha nods, and pulls open the duplicate of the figurine, pulling out a card that looks identical until you hold it up to the light and watch the way the light reflects off it.
Melantha takes the duplicate card and examines it.
Samantha rubs one of the duplicate figurines. << That's what I've got so far. >>
Melantha holds both cards in her hands, looks at them both and then closes her eyes. She concentrates on the cards, shutting out everything else. At first, there doesn't seem to be anything happening but as the seconds pass bye, both cards start to glow yellow. The glow slowly gets brighter and brighter....almost blinding. After a few minutes, the glow disappears and Melantha slowly opens her eyes. She looks at the cards again and then hands the to Samantha.
Samantha is silent as she watches Melantha at work.
Samantha looks the second card over. << Looks pretty good. I've been trying to get these to be transmitters as well... the original figurines were, so it's not difficult, and I've got something that should work if they don't take too many precautions. After all, I want to catch these people with what they're doing. >>
Samantha grumbles. << I should have just let you eat him. >>
Melantha giggles. << Its not to late. Oryn is pretty hungry. >>
Oryn warbles? and then continues looking for a snack.
Samantha smirks. << Would still cause problems. >> She sits down. << Hopefully with all this set up we can get them to convict themselves. >>
Melantha nods. << So how will you get the figurines to them? >>
Samantha smirks. << That's the easy part. My son is going to 'steal' them from me and hand them over. >>
Melantha blinks? << Your son? >>
Samantha nods. << The squirrel who was with the deer that day after you arrived. He, unfortunately, is my son. Though it appears he's finally gained some sense as to his choice of plans to back. >>
Samantha sighs. << I must admit, I don't think I've ever seen him so seriously worried about what he was involved with. I missed out on most of the 'excitement' about these figurines, but what little I've seen of them here has me worried, too. Someone who wants to gain political power could be very dangerous with these. >>
Melantha nods. << What do you think they are for? >>
Samantha hmmms. << I'm not sure, exactly. But they all seem to be part of something larger, something that seems almost to have a mind of its own. They worry me, just in and of themselves, much less what somebody would do with them. They all seem to stay connected with each other, sharing information. Given how popular these things were before, anybody who could read the information from them could have spied on just about every major house in town. >>
Melantha blinks, << Really?! >>
Melantha looks back at the figurines on the wall.
Samantha nods. << Yes. That's why spying on them through these should be pretty easy... I just had to 'retune' them to work with something I had. >>
Samantha follows your gaze. << Don't worry, those ones I've already checked, they're blocked and fairly inert anyway. >>
Melantha turns back to Samantha, << So what do we do now? >>
Samantha stretches. << We get everything back together here, then go wake my son back up, and as for me, get some sleep before he gets to town. >>
Melantha yawns a little, << Ok. >>
Samantha nods. << You're welcome to rest here for a little while. >>
Melantha smiles. << Thank you. I could use a little nap. >>
Samantha stands up, and puts the real figurines back into a metal box, leaving the duplicates out on the work table.
Samantha leads Melantha back to the tree, then heads up to knock on Ankhl's door.
With a soft groan, and then some sounds of shuffling, the door is finally opened by the young squirrel.
Samantha sees Ankhl back out (and makes sure he doesn't take anything else but the figurines, though discretely), then heads back to bed to collapse for a few hours.
Melantha flops down on something soft and dozes off.
Ankhl walks briskly towards his rendezvous, nervous and scared. Afraid his mom's fakes will be detected. The only thing that calms him is that he's always nervous, so Arthur Dactyle XIII probably won't notice any odd behavior. Oy.