Sayaka has this Martyr complex that's going to make training her extremely difficult. Things will go south, one way or the other. Here's some more: ============================ “FA-SCI-NA-TING.” Sec reviewed the scans from the souls taken from the Grief Seeds, as well as measurements of Grief Seeds themselves. The readings form the Grief Seeds were nearly identical, clearly due to mass production. The material was a mystery, but it seemed to be a processing unit, as well as some form of data storage. There were gaps in the information, places in the data that simply didn’t make sense. For example, how could witches create their barriers? There had to be some mechanism for the generation of a bubble universe, yet Sec couldn't find any indication of one. As for the Soul Gems, the superficial scan of Homura’s own had concluded that the gem was a storage crystal, and not much else. Clearly the more complex mechanisms were held in the surrounding structure, which the Incubator recycled into the next Soul Gem. Following that theory, it meant that every Soul Gem had once been a Grief seed, just like every Grief Seed was once a Soul Gem. Here the theory moved into shaky ground. Familiars, born from witches, could separate themselves from them and become witches themselves, who also gave Grief Seeds on death… But of course! That was how the Incubator produced new Soul Gems to add to the system: rather than produce new frameworks to replace lost units or fit an expanding population, the witches themselves would produce new frameworks, using devoured humans as raw materials (Just what those raw materials were stumped Sec. He didn’t like being stumped.). The five people a familiar kills to become a witch must provide it with the energy needed to jump start the device, bringing forth a new witch, almost identical to the old one. The Incubators, or their masters in this “Coalition”, couldn’t have made more than a few frameworks themselves, after that, the system would supply itself. There must have been two of them per region: one to give to a girl doomed to become the first witch, and a second, given after the original witch had produced enough familiars, to hunt those witches, and give the Incubators the materials needed to expand. He inspected the sphere of an empty Grief Seed through the disembodied vision of a jury-rigged electron microscope. His casing’s systems monitored the security feeds from the outside and the satellite imagery of Sayaka Miki’s household, as well as the current location of Kyouko Sakura, where Homura was currently located. He wondered if the visual appearance of Soul Gems and Grief Seeds varied from region to region. This was his element. He may be the last Dalek, alone, shot by his own people and dropped into an alien universe, but as long as he had his laboratory, his research his science, he didn’t care. He was about to order Jast to obtain a quantum circuit interface, when he remembered that Jast wasn’t by his side, watching closely. Jast wasn’t even in the same universe, and was most likely dead. In fact, there wasn’t anyone in the warehouse. Only him, and a mish-mash of electronics and computers to keep him company. He was alone. -Has that ever happened to you, Sec-san?- Yes. It has. He quickly banished that line of thought, shifting his focus into crafting as adequate a quantum circuit interface with what he had, what he could buy, and what he could fabricate. He checked the surveillance feed, Homura would arrive in a matter of minutes. He readied the equipment necessary for making a quantum circuit interface, putting an online order for the missing material, sending an outraged letter to the companies that had failed to deliver, and settled down to wait. He idly hovered towards the one computer which hadn’t been cannibalized. He had done research into human media, most of which he didn’t find interesting. There seemed to be a large amount of electronic games, with an emphasis on storytelling and graphics, none of which he could be bother with. One, however, had caught his attention. It was supposedly ludicrously complex, generating an entire world at random, populating it with unique inhabitants and keeping track of their health, relationships, and history through long periods. Sec was actually intrigued by those claims, so he acquired it from the developer’s website and installed it on the computer. Having nothing better to do, he decided to try it out. ========================== You have no points for guessing what happens next. I've decided to cut this chapter in half, since it is getting LOOOOONG. Unfortunately, this means that some of the things I've posted here will not be finished until the next chapter. Also, I need a proper, corny, "The [NOUN] of [SCARY NOUN]" name for this one.