Interesting revelations in terms of Charlie's back-room manipulation, and a much more direct association between Saline's fall and Parson's current inability to find Gobwins. I'd considered Charlie a canny opportunist using the situation to his advantage, but it begins to appear as if he may well have engineered the situation specifically in order to later take advantage. Clever indeed.
Between this and a few of the other recent updates though, I'm having some strange thoughts begin to percolate, all unbidden, from my subconscious (like Charlie's potential non-existence, Jillian as a natural ally to Gobwins, or the notion of setting up a Link between 3 archons). Nice that we're finally getting some notion of Charlie's capabilities and tendencies, though it raises as many questions as it resolves.
There's definitely something afoot with Charlie relative to the Knob and its surroundings; I don't think any of us give that 8% much credibility. He's doing something to eliminate, mask or confuse/bribe/adopt the gobwins (e.g. "attack the larger marbit tribe", illusion:marbit, "the gems are greener on the other side of the hex border") but that only really affects infantry levels and mining capability. I'm not sure he bought Parson's "diminishing Schmuckers" line any more than we did, but it may drive some overconfidence if he thinks that the economic denial side of his ploy is working out. In any case though, my suspicion is that Jillian's mission may involve picking up (or picking off) the Gobwins that Charlie's been hiding from GK.
Side note - Giants popping 9 at a time, ugh.
Do they vanish in a puff of greasy black smoke when they miss a target 3 times in a row?
Other side note - I find myself wondering just how insurmountable is the loyalty produced by decryption; I see three possibilities. If it's literally an extrapolation of a mindless undead (or uncroaked, if you prefer) devotion to its creator/master, it may be reasonable that a croakamancer could successfully turn their allegiance. If it's a proprietary effect of the pliers, then separating the pliers, Wanda or the decrypted unit from the Side might either break allegiance, revert them to standard uncroaked or dust them instantly. Finally, if it's a natural Thinkamancy or similar effect, it should be able to be broken in the same manner as any other normal loyalty, though (possibly) with a higher degree of difficulty. I know if I were Charlie, I'd be working on ways to find out more - in which case Jillian may be tasked with getting him some experimental subjects, which is most likely to include Ansom.
Catching Ansom should be easy if the Archons have been observing his path; set Jill's big air stack in the right place, use the Foolamancer to make 'em look innocuous, and take Ansom down - making sure to catch him in a central hex where neither of GK's larger forces can assist.
Offhand thought (thanks to Dancing Cthulhu - Presuming that (like units) a volcano can only be uncroaked once and then is "dead-dead", I wonder if, given another dead volcano anywhere, Wanda, Sizemore and Maggie could link to Decrypt it. Or would that pretty much be Ragnarok? (assuming it'd just keep on gushing molten rock permanently)
TL;DR version - Jillian's either pasting or hiring the gobwins, or she's trying to capture Ansom. Charlie's not stupid enough to have her suicide on a recon-in-force to Wanda's stack or GK.