The fact that Dragon’s system could divine these details, as always, unnerved her.  This time, in light of recent events, it unsettled her all the more.

So wait. Does it (she) pull up new questions like these each time?

She typed in the words ‘Slaughterhouse Nine’ and watched as information began appearing in lists.  News items, sorted by relevance and date, profiles, records.  Lists of names.  Casualty reports.

I wonder to what extent she’s interacting directly with Dragon without knowing it.

I mean, surely they have regular systems too, but…

Also it just occurred to me why stealing data is such a personal violation to Dragon. From Dragon’s perspective, the Undersiders stole memories from her brain.

Emily clicked through the records.  Sorting as a timeline, she found the entry muddled with Armsmaster’s simulation records on the fighting abilities of the Nine.

I suppose if it wasn’t entirely clear that it was simulation data, that could be an issue.

No reason to throw it out if it’s not a problem like that or the simulation being dangerously inaccurate, though.

He’d been preparing to fight them.  A double-check of the modification dates showed he’d seen the entries recently.

…coddammit, Army, did you not learn from Leviathan?

This would be a battle won with preparation, and for that, she needed information.

Hey, look, it’s that good old theme again!

It took her a moment to adjust to the smaller keyboard.  She entered her passwords, and answered the personal questions that Dragon’s subsystem posed to her.  Why is your nephew named Gavin?

Maybe her sibling was a huge fan of Rooster Teeth.

Your favorite color?  Irritating- she didn’t even know her favorite color, but the algorithms had figured it out before she did.

Ahaha! That’s not how favorites work, Dragon!

All information divined from the countless pieces of data about her that were in official emails, photographs and surveillance footage from the PRT buildings.  It was with a moment of trepidation that she typed in For Gawain, knight of the round table.  Silver.

Well, that answers my unstated question earlier about what Public Image’s fur color should be. Now we just need a mane color and style (I’m thinking denim blue, short with big buns), and a cutie mark that looks something like 📺, and we’re set!

“The next patrol shift is in…”  She turned to find the clock, “Twenty minutes?”

“Twenty minutes, yeah.  Vista, with Clockblocker babysitting.  Weld and Flechette are out right now, patrolling separately.”

A little disrespectful to Vista there, but I get it. She is thirteen.

“Postpone the next patrol, and tell Weld and Flechette to take it easy, but to be ready to report at a moment’s notice.  With the consoles up, we’ll be ready to act.  Pass on word to Miss Militia as well.

Oh, neat! How fitting, then, if Skitter’s message comes in just about now.

I believe she’s taking the next patrol shift.”

“Yes ma’am.”

The laptop would do little to help in her war against the paperwork until she had access to a printer.

…fair enough.

PRT divisions and precincts in neighboring cities were all too willing to send along staff and officers to assist, but her firm requests for the fundamentals -for computers, printers, satellite hookups, electricians and IT teams- were ignored all too often.

Funny how that works, huh.

She cleared space on her desk and started up the laptop.  It would be good to have access to the files on the locals and ‘guests’ alike.  She would handle the paperwork better after a moment’s break, while she focused on other things that needed doing.  She was barely registering the words, at this point.

Yeah, you do deserve to focus on something else for a bit.

“Wait.”

Kid, internally: “fuck fuck fuck fuck”

She could see his shoulders drop, slightly, in the same way a dog’s tail drooped when ashamed or expecting reprimand.  Emily Piggot wasn’t good with kids, or even young adults.  She knew it.  Outside of the time she had played with dolls as a small child, she’d never entertained the notion of being a mother.  She didn’t even like kids.

I never suspected she did, honestly.

It was the rare youth that she actually respected, now, and those few tended to be the ones who saw her firm leadership and respected her, first.  Now she was in charge of some of the most powerful children in the city.

I suppose that is a pretty motherlike role.

I can’t help but imagine Piggot trying to take care of this little demon:

This little baby filly, Flurry Heart, is one of the most powerful magic users in Equestria, which naturally leads to antics.

And Piggot – director Public Image – would definitely be an earth pony, so she wouldn’t even have magic or wings of her own to help her deal with Flurry. Codspeed, Public Image. Codspeed.

“They’re done.  Or almost done, for communications.  They expect to be up and running in two hours, but they have all the computers they need.”

Nice.

“Good.  Access to the central database is up?”

“Everything except the highest security feeds.”

That exception could come back to bite them in the ass before they get them up.

Disappointing.  “I’ll make do, I suppose.  Thank you.”

So what did you have in mind that you wanted highest security feeds for?

Kid Win seemed almost relieved to hand her the laptop.  It meant he could get out of her presence sooner.  He was turning to leave the instant the laptop was out of his hands.

I mean, we know she’s been strict with him specifically, but he seems more skittish around her than usual. Maybe he’s had or heard of a bad experience with distracting an overly stressed Jemily from her work?

Of all the crazy situations in Worm that could prompt me to reference that speech (for the first time), I end up calmly reciting part of it in response to someone turning down a laptop.

“Yes?”

He raised the laptop he carried in his hands.  “The guys in CS asked me to bring this to you.”

SWEET DIGITAL RELEASE FOR WORN-OUT WRISTS

She shook her head, refusing the offer, “For now, every computer that comes in is supposed to be used for setting up the consoles and communications.”

I appreciate it… but look what you’re dealing with, woman.

You gotta draw the line somewhere. You gotta draw a fucking line in the sand, dude. You gotta make a statement.

You gotta look inside of yourself and say, “What am I willing to put up with today?

NOT HANDWRITTEN PAPERWORK

So very few of them knew it, but they were counting on her.

Looks like someone has a high estimate of her own importance in events.

It might not be entirely wrong, but I don’t think it’s entirely correct either. The PRT, aside from arranging supplies, has been looking pretty useless for a while.

Though it’s understandable that some of that is because they’re swamped with work right as their infrastructure gets shattered.

She heaved herself out of her chair and made her way to the coffee machine to refill her mug.

“Director?”

Oh, hey, another person. What’s up…

…Weld? Clockblocker?

She turned to see Kid Win standing in the doorway.  He looked intimidated.

Dang it, he was my third guess.