Parson leans on the table in the war room of Spacerock. Jack sits on the table and projects a political map of the local part of Erfworld onto the table's surface. Ansom and Maggie stand on either side of Parson, examining the map with him.
Parson scribbled on the chalkboard, listing the names of all of the nearby sides they knew about. On the map table, Jack was sitting cross-legged on the blue felt, projecting a political map of everybody else in Gobwin Knob's neighborhood. Ansom and Maggie looked on.
Jack's map was not perfect. But considering how pathetic their field intelligence was, it was kind of a miracle how good it actually was.
It was Maggie's miracle, in fact.
That first night in Spacerock, she'd told Parson a whole lot about Thinkamancy. Or...tried to. Unfortunately for him, it was like being pulled out of a Psych 101 class and thrown into a graduate seminar on neurochemistry. He didn't understand the concepts or the terminology. Some of the things she was talking about didn't even have terminology. You had to be able to cast Thinkamancy to even know what they were, because that's the way the Great Minds wanted it.
His big takeaway from that evening (besides the idea that the Arkentools might be vulnerable to attack) was that Thinkamancy did a whole lot more than the Thinkamancers wanted anyone to know about. It dealt with intuition, identity, memory, personality...fuzzy but potentially powerful stuff like that. Maybe even the roots of reality itself.
He wasn't even close to understanding it yet, but he told her to hit him with any ideas she might have along the way. This map was her first one. It represented the collective spatial understanding and memory of the entire side, fed to Jack via some kind of shared Eyemancy channel.
Because of the post-volcano Decryption Coalition, Gobwin Knob had units from all over the place. And Stanley, Wanda and Ansom had all traveled pretty far afield. Apparently, Maggie could draw on their understanding of the map as a general function of her duties. Feeding this information to Jack under the pretense of a simple performance-enhancement spell led to the wide-area map he was looking at now.
"What do we know about Rightshoring?" Parson asked, chalking the name up on the board. For a side that almost bordered Gobwin Knob's new territory around Spacerock, Parson had barely even heard of them.
Parson nodded. "So...potential ally, potential threat. Let's put them near the top of the list."
He was trying to build a sensible "To Talk To" list. Maggie could only manage one long conversation per turn, or a few short ones. Yesterday, FoxMUD and Hyatt had refused her Thinkagram requests, and then she'd wasted the rest of her juice on a call to Hobbitm, Gobwin Knob's neighbor to the south. It was pretty clear that King Froblo only wanted the chance to chew out and insult somebody from Gobwin Knob, so Parson got nowhere with him. But he did learn that Erfworlders can say the word "peckernose."