3.2 Layered Cake

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The Commander of All Living Things stood motionless, her shroud billowing in the hot, gritty wind, as she listened to the mental symphonies of the Megacosm.

Conversations clustered in nebulas. They birthed ideas, improving reality, in a process as beautiful and powerful as the universe itself. The Commander didn't understand why anyone ever wanted a tranquility mesh, when they could simply admire the universe.

The Swift Killer shredded her inner contemplation. We are ready for battle. Let's pump the ground full of toxic gas and force the enemies out so We can disable (capture) (and kill) them.

She was in the jungle, far from the Commander, with an army of Red Ranks and equipment, but millions of listeners amplified her thoughts to anyone who was tuned in.

Wait, the Commander of All commanded.

Why? the Swift Killer demanded. Just because that fat girl wants to double-check her facts? We have plenty of proof that the enemies are here. She swatted a gas bug away from her sweaty face. They're probably cowering in the mine shafts.

The Commander of All walked along the edge of a terrace, so high up, she could see beyond the city, to the hazy yellow curve of the horizon. She liked edges. A stray gust of wind in the wrong direction could push her to her death, but danger made her blood pump faster, as if she had more life.

A massive audience rode inside her. She had to remain impartial and emotionless. If she lost her balance inside the Megacosm, she would be sentenced to death. It was another edge.

Stand by, she commanded the army.

But—

Stand by. She sensed a change in the perceptions of her nearby slaves; a change she had been waiting for. A certain obese girl floated onto the terrace, attended by her own slaves and bodyguards.

I have a meeting, the Commander told her army. Stand by and wait. If there was one thing a lengthy life had taught her, it was that immediate gratification was never important. The army would wait. The Swift Killer would simmer with frustration, but she probably had enough self-control to keep her emotions from boiling into primitive rage.

The Commander dropped out of the Megacosm, and waited.

If the Upward Governess wanted a private conversation, she would need to float closer, into telepathic range. But she lingered near the glass slider door. It seemed she wrongly, stupidly, expected the Commander to come to her.

The Commander was losing patience with the super-genius who made blunders.

Perhaps the Upward Governess realized how wrong her hesitance was, because she floated forward, bowing as best as she was able.

Great One, she thought as soon as she was within range. Thank You for agreeing to meet in person (for privacy).

The Commander of All resisted her urge to step away from the girl's disgustingly colossal mind. No one should contain so much information. I expect you to have an extraordinarily good reason to delay the battle, she thought.

I have several good reasons. The Upward Governess dry-washed her pudgy hands. Reasons whizzed through her mind, too fast and too complex for the Commander to grasp. For one thing, do You think it's wise to put an unstable and flawed clone in charge of the upcoming battle?

The Commander withheld her defensiveness. The Swift Killer did have some flaws, but she was a Servant of All, with all the training that entailed, and she had volunteered for this task before anyone else. She was independent-minded enough to lead, and very motivated to win.

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