173 Bureaucracies And Mischief
By the time the needed five minutes had passed and the doors to the government building were seconds from opening I had made several dozen new worshipers. They were of course all vermin of some sort or another. The vast majority of them were mosquitoes and rats, the rats being creatures that lived and lurked in the government building.
I quite enjoyed awakening the animals, and upon awakening them they lavished me with love and praise. I quite liked their adoration and their heartfelt worship. I was indiscriminate when it came to being loved, and with them, I had no qualms about using my powers to turn their love towards me. They were only sapient because of me after all, it wasn't the same as an independently sapient creature's will.
I was a bit surprised when I heard a distinct clicking noise, as the doors to the government building electronically unlocked. I hadn't realized that the lock to the building was electric. It had been many years since Saoirse, Seamus, and Geoffrey all visited this building and the last time they did the locks were not electric but instead were traditional and required keys.
I walked towards the building and opened the door that would lead me inside effortlessly, a grin on my face.
The inside of the building that I stepped into was a cold, grey place. There was a long, fairly wide hallway in front of me, that ended in a number of doors and a cordoned pathway that led to a number of booths. All of these booths were manned by dour-looking people who were separated from those they engaged with by a thick glass screen. I could see cameras off in the distance and hidden in places that those who placed them probably thought would be undetectable and in fairness probably would have been impossible for a mortal to see. That said, I was not a mortal.
As I took my first steps into the hallway, two things happened at once. The first was that I heard static crackle over an old public announcement system, an instant before a voice was transmitted over the same system. "Please step forward and come to one of the booths. Thank you." The voice said, sounding tired even though it was eight in the morning.
The second thing was that I received a surprising notification out of the blue. I read the thing as I stepped towards the cordoned pathway and the booths behind it.
[Alert: Technological Update
You are in a moderately medium-tech world for the first time in your life. Had you not earned influence over the trinity of domains and subdomains that disliked truth and detection you wouldn't have received this notification at all but since you have it's worth noting that you can only be detected by cameras, or set off mundane alarms if you wish to. From here on out whenever a camera could detect you you'll be subconsciously alerted and asked if you want to be detected.
Right now cameras can see you but if you don't want them to be in the future, you can opt to simply not be detected by such technologies. High-tech worlds have greater technologies that require you to obtain more influence over a number of domains to be able to do this, but in this world with these sorts of normal cameras, none of this is difficult.
Gods of things like trickery and lies are much harder to detect and keep an eye on if they don't want to be seen. Keep that in mind as you go about your daily activities.]
I read through the notification and was both delighted and surprised to learn what it told me. It was nice to be able to choose when I could be seen by technology in this technology-riddled world.
I quietly made my way to the cordoned pathway and then through it. When I was done I found myself standing beside a seat and in front of a bookish-looking woman who was seated in front of a small computer. She was separated from me by the thick glass sheets that this place used to prevent people who come here from hurting the employees.
The instant before she turned to face me, I activated one of my new love powers, turning on "Mesmerizing presence" and fully unleashed "Absolute beauty". I was a man on a mission and I was determined to be fully efficient with the time I spent here. I wasn't going to allow my time to be wasted by unnecessary questions or overly thorough bureaucrats.
The woman seated in front of me had long, unkempt, dark brown hair, fair skin, and was dressed in a way that screamed "college professor" to me, or at least in a manner very similar to the college professors at the university that Saoirse had attended had dressed. She wore an outfit made up of professional, khaki-pants, and a tweed vest. She had thick glasses on her face, glasses which hid grey eyes, and before her face had begun to slack like Geoffrey's had when he first laid eyes on me she had been lightly frowning. Not that that frown persisted as her gaze fell upon my chest.
By the time her gaze fell upon my face her cheeks were rosy from blushing, which was a charming look on such a pale woman. She must have spent nearly fifteen seconds just staring at me in awe before I chuckled and greeted her.
"Good morning, my name is Cian Finigan and I am here to file a request for some paperwork." I told her, smiling at the smart-looking woman. My words knocked her out of her silenced and awed state, and she began to speak a moment later, after lightly shaking her head.
"Oh, good morning! My name is Ciara, Ciara O'Rourke and I am happy to help you. Please, sit down." She told me, which I did so after laughing softly.
"Yes, you can do that here. What sort of paperwork are you going to need to request today?" She asked, speaking quickly and nervously. It was clear that she at least had what the humans of this world referred to as a light crush on me. I chuckled lightly, grinning as I prepared to tell her my "awkward" tale.
"So my situation is a bit funny. As a resident of Glendale, I'm sure you at least know of my relative, Geoffrey, and his totally fair reputation as a hermit. Well, he and his children are positively social by the standards of our other relatives. Sadly, some of the least social of us include my mother and father and so I was a home-birth and I was raised 'off the grid' so to speak." I explained.
I bashfully placed my hands behind my neck and prepared to speak a bit sheepishly. I was weaving together a somewhat plausible lie given the culture of this part of "New Sol", where hermits weren't exactly unknown and I was doing myself a favor by pretending to be related to one. That said I had powers I could use if I needed too, if my lies weren't believable enough so I wasn't hugely worried.
"I need both my birth registration form, and my social identification code to be created." I "confessed" doing my best to look embarrassed about my situation. Ciara's face lit up in sympathy and in understanding, and I could sense that she was eating up my lies, which was a relief. She waved her hand at me, and began to reassure me with both her eyes and her words.
"Oh that's no problem! So, I don't want to assume but you're new to all of this right?" She said, beaming at me as she realized that she had a potent means by which she could help me. I nodded back at her.
"As new as I can be! My parents passed away a few days ago and I came to live with my uncle." I told her, which I felt was plausible enough. It made sense that someone who was raised in the remote countryside and who recently lost their parents would come to live with another relative, in a relatively rural area like Glendale. That said Ciara's eyes widened in shock and sympathy when she heard my explanation.
"Oh no! I'm so... sorry to hear that!" She exclaimed, truly distressed. I smiled sadly at her and reassured her that it was fine, before turning back to the topic at hand.
"I'm still recovering, emotionally, but I will be fine. I appreciate you helping me as I enter this next stage in my life. It's hard, but I've been surrounded by kindness and people who are ready to help uplift me. I've even opted to assist my uncle on his farm while I adjust to... I suppose a more social way of life." I explained.
"But yes, I am completely new to this." I told her, speaking a bit nervously this time. My nervousness was a bit sincere, as I knew that I was about to be asked a few questions in rapid succession. And I wasn't wrong.
Over the next ten minutes I'd be subjected to dozens of questions. I'd be asked about my date of birth, my "parents", where I lived before, where I was born, my education, and more. By the time it was done, Ciara grinned at me, knowing more about "me" than I had known when I first made up this identity for myself.
"Well... That's it!" She said, excitedly, after I answered the last question she had which she admitted was a personal curiosity of hers: she inquired about my ambitions, and I told her the truth. I told her I wanted to understand more about Glendale and the world at large. I was one of the first people she had ever met who was "raised by a true hermit" so I understood her curiosity.
"Now that that's done, you should just know that we'll issue you temporary copies of the forms you requested and then in a few days a package will be delivered to the farm you live on that are your real documents." She explained, beaming at me. I gratefully smiled at her before she dove into a brief explanation of the nature of the temporary forms.
"With these temporary forms, you can do most of the stuff you could do with your real forms. You can get a driver's license, a bank account, a cellphone, and stuff like that. You can't file to run for office with these forms, nor can you apply for social security programs. But most other stuff is on the table if you have these forms." She told me, speaking seriously for a moment. I could tell that she took her job seriously, even if she was infatuated with me.
I politely thanked her for her time and she told me to wait a moment while she went and grabbed the forms, after typing a few more things onto her computer. It was while she was grabbing the forms that I began to have some fun.
While Ciara was off grabbing the forms I began to plant my "gifts" throughout the government building. I was going to stay in the building for a bit, but I wanted to go ahead and begin to inflict some chaos here. The first thing I did was set the stage so that I could infect many people aside from Ciara, with a number of diseases. To protect her I stealthily blessed her and granted her immunity to diseases.
I targeted small objects throughout the area behind the glass-like water bottles and even staplers and infected them with a number of unpleasant diseases, ranging from mundane ones like the flu to more exotic ones like mumps. I also quietly infected a single person with demonic infection, but I didn't go ahead and unleash a praereptor demon just yet.
That said I intended to do so later today. The man I infected was one of the head administrators of the building and thus a relatively high-ranking government official within the town. He and whichever demon possessed him would be treated specially.
I had special plans for anyone in this building who became diseased by my "gifts". The plans I had for them were plans I had begun to initially formed while on my way towards the diner, and then refined while I was waiting for this building to open. I would turn those who were diseased into people addicted to serving me, who sought the relief I bestowed anyone who obeyed me.
Between "Subjugative illnesses", "Symptom manipulation", and the powers I wielded that allowed me to make people obsess over spreading their diseases, I had a number of ways to make even a single victim of an infectious disease become an incredibly potent spreader of the illness. And I found myself quite liking the idea of that.
The more I thought about it, and the more I learned about this world, the more I realized that the domain of disease was correct when it sagely predicted that diseases could be a critical weapon of mine here. With them, I could stealthily take over this world, just by infecting the right people. And in gaining greater powers over disease I would be able to further manipulate the diseases I already controlled.
I would spend the next two hours doing miscellaneous things. I got a driver's license after taking a test at a computer and then driving a car for a few minutes, and I got both a cellphone and a bank account. I didn't really need to get any of these things, but the fact of the matter was that both Seamus and Saoirse had memories of applying for jobs and things and needing an array of forms so I wanted to be preemptive and have everything on hand. I also kept being mischievous and creating new fonts of disease for more people to become infected.
In the minutes after I grabbed my driver's license I left the building and as soon as I was out of sight I teleported myself deep into the forest that surrounded the town. I found myself surrounded by dense trees, in a shaded grove and breathing fresh air. I was delighted by scenery that surrounded me and so I began to think aloud.
"I guess it's time for me to begin to really experiment. And to finally make some valuable allies." I muttered, grinning as I thought about how to mix and match my powers over conjuration with my powers over love, which worked on even extraplanar beings. I turned and selected a dense tree at random, before pointing at it and activating one of my conjuration subdomain abilities: "Multidimensional portals".
The dense tree I had targeted began to shudder and shake violently. It was like that for a few moments, before the part of the tree's trunk that connected to the ground began to radiate a crimson mist. I detected the fel-energies that it radiated and shook slightly. It was pleasant to me, but chaotic and dark, truly sinister energy. The energy of the dreaded "Heart of Darkness". It was at this point that a door abruptly appeared in the tree, the result of my power taking hold.
I had successfully created a portal to the nightmarish land known as the "Heart of Darkness".