Jan 17, 2018 7:02 PM
executor of estate
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"It can't break the laws of physics but we do call the tech antigravity, yes."

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“I’ll have to see just what can be done with that sometime.”

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"You wanna stop somewhere they do engineering too?"

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“I doubt I'd understand what they were talking about! But, I mean, I was a pilot, you know, and this is just going to upset so much of what I learned about what you can and can't do in the air with a practical flying machine. Uh, probably including not having whatever problem got me.”

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"People fly stuff other than zoomers still. Zoomers are just popular."

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“—surely you're not saying that zoomers are the only thing that flies with antigravity?”

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"Nah, lotsa stuff flies with antigravity, but if you wanna get back in a plane or take up zeppelin-piloting..."

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“I wanna see what new things people have come up with! But not right this second, carry on, are we there yet?”

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"Biking to the city'll take a bit, there's wildernessy stuff in the way."

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“Okay!”

Onward.

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"Left," she says, when the path branches.

And they round a hill and can see a city! It's tall, but in an irregular churchy-architecture way more than in a blocks-of-skyscrapers way. There's a few little houses along the path between them and the more dense buildings.

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Architecture! Anything eye-catching about the houses?

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Yup, they're pretty weird houses. Treehouse. Hobbit-hole. Transparent-exterior spiral tower. Rustic A-frame. Cob house honeycombed with stained glass sprouting berries from the roof and lavender in the yard. Weirder houses still, some hard to recognize as houses and not art installations at first.

"People who don't care much about what their homes look like from outside can get apartments in the city and be closer to stuff, but if you want the space and customization you can get a place like this. I live in a castle, it's a ways that way up in the mountains, see? And it's fast enough to get anywhere that you don't really need to be in a city unless you just plain like 'em."

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“Can you have an apartment with literally perfect soundproofing? Move your living space without having to pack up the contents? Have a flying house?”

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"The soundproofing is really good but if you get extra hearing buffs I'm not sure which would win. You can get robots to move your stuff. You could do a floating house but things can't be quite invisible so there's a few rules about where you can fly."

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“I was trying to think of ways to, like, be around people or not-around-people whenever you wanted.”

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"You can have two places if you want."

They're now close enough to the city to see rowhouses. These are less pervasively strange; they have color and character but manage not to clash awfully with one another. There are pedestrians and people on low-flying zoomers and a skateboarder. Everyone is young and pretty in sort of the way everyone in a Hollywood movie is young and pretty, complete with occasional elf ears and blue skin, except that there is also racial diversity. There are people in cozy looking sweatpants; there are people in elaborate evening gowns or outfits that would look in place at an anime convention; there is someone strolling along stark naked and festooned with slowly shifting tattoos. One of the tall buildings has a slide spiraling down from the top. A little boy has a unicorn on a leash. A little museum of glass art is nestled in between some houses.

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He is staring at all of the things. (Except maybe not staring at the naked person?? but maybe they don't mind because if something is going to be animated then people have to look for a while to see what it is about right oh there go the signs of embarrassment again.)

“So uh tell me about buffs! And body mods or whatever the proper term is these days! What's the range of possibilities?” he says somewhat hastily.

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"You still have to mostly run on biology. People call that kinda thing 'cosmetics' but they'll know what you mean if you say body mod. If you want anything really weird you might have to pay for it - you have a starting fund - but you might be surprised what's common enough you can get it free. You're lots more durable and you have an emergency freeze thing if you get badly hurt. You won't get sick or age, you're stronger and faster and won't tremble or anything, you can get a complete list but it's pretty long. You have basic augmented reality implants but they're off till you want them on."

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“So I get the idea it doesn't really extend to extra limbs? Functional wings? Stuff that would require rearranging bones and muscles and organs, in general?”

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"You can rearrange a little but brain stuff is hard and most of it can't get under Sing's safety tolerances yet and that means you wouldn't be able to move anything that didn't map pretty well onto what you've got. That having been said, you can do very cool things with haptics and mechanical prostheses."

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“Ooh!”

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"And Sing's working on the brain stuff, it's just it can't do trials of it safely, so it's not as fast as most of what it works on."

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“Okay, but specifically, can you get functional flapping wings even if they aren't technically part of your body?”

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"If you don't want to have arms or you do want to put in the effort to learn to control them with your hands or feet or jaw or something absolutely."

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