Oct 23, 2018 8:26 PM
i wasn't looking for this
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"Oh, good, I'd feel really awkward about just dumping grain and soy on people, you gotta have your oats and lentils and whatnot." And then he makes the things.

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The things appear off by no more than two inches from where government people expected them.

The government of Ixia would like to give Cam a line of credit, which they are hoping he does not already have and could use to hire people or similar things, to make some more things for them. Jones, as the United Systems' representative, looks like he would have really liked to block that message but has been ordered not to.
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"Something wrong?" Cam asks Jones.

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"Ah, not really. Just worried you'll pick one system and leave the rest behind. Or, well, interested parties are also worried that a sharp spike in the supply of anything could have unpredictable effects on the galactic economy."

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"Well, that happens when you suddenly inflate the money supply, so I'll stay out of counterfeiting, but as far as I know suddenly discovering a natural resource does not have this property. Anyway, I feel no strong pull to settle down."

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Jones doesn't say that the rapidly increasing population of Ixia is a bit of a problem for his favored political party.

Instead he suggests either a visit to the planet Yod, which is a large planet with close-to-Earth gravity in the ideal solar zone around a remarkably stable star that unfortunately lacks any topsoil or atmosphere whatsoever and is home only to a few speculative mining firms and geologists and the like who can be evacuated and compensated in a jiffy, or to Mars to speed up terraforming for its approximately 2.3 billion citizens. The latter would be more immediately beneficial but the former would be quicker and easier to hear Cam tell it.
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Cam can do Yod in a few weeks on his own while somebody gets him suitable specs for thoroughly inhabited Mars. He doesn't want to fuck up the Martian whatever-passes-for-a-climate on bad info.

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Excellent.

On the way there, Jones asks about other things the United Systems might like. Patrol ships (armed only with towing equipment) according to these blueprints, large numbers of copies of prefab space station parts and non-terraformed-planet colony infrastructure, empty Gateships that can be loaded up with entanglements and sent on their way to increase the number of connected systems and the number of internal connections, lost historical treasures and artwork...
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Sounds right up Cam's alley, all of it!

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They express their appreciation with the combination of profuse thanks, reserved politeness, and slight smugness that only politicians seem to manage.

It's a long string of jumps to Yod, five in total. They stop along the way to add new living space and hydroponics to a space station.


Here is Yod! The mining companies have been bribed off the planet, as well as most of the geologists, but one stubbornly refuses to leave and the United Systems is not going to forcibly remove her.
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Cam can go land near her and warn her that things are about to get weird outside, then, but he's pretty sure as long as he knows where she is and she stays indoors she'll be okay.

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"Experimental terraforming methods will ruin irreplacable geologic history! Yod is tectonically unique, a rare chance to study early planet formation! At least give me a week to collect as many samples as I can!"

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"...If you would like another Yod, somewhere out of the way, I can do that too. Would you like a mini desktop Yod as a consolation prize in the meantime? Or just whatever samples you were going to fetch, conjured up?"

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"....Uh, what? You can't just-"

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"...Yeah I can. They sent me to terraform this entire planet by myself, I totally can."

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"If you can give me accurate core samples in a systematic grid over a few areas - depth too - with extra focus on one or two spots, I'll be gone in two hours. Map, where's my map..." The map is quickly mailed to Cam's copy of their tablet-things. "Rocky, er, the ship, has space for them, the university gave me a big old cruiser because it was available."

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"Sure, just show me where you want 'em," Cam says, looking over the map she sent. Wag wag.

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"Well, first a copy of this core sample right here. I already dug it up and I want to make sure it matches. I'll probably get skeptics saying they're invalid samples anyway, but that's academics for you."

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Cam dupes the sample.

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She pokes it with a thing and looks at the results. "Match. Ace! This way to the cargo bay." She grabs a sterile sample container for him to appear them in along the way.

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And in short order her cargo bay is full of sterile sample containers containing bits of Yod.

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She seems bit torn between having been saved a lot of work and lower academic prospects, but she thanks him and lifts off, leaving the planet a clean slate for terraforming.

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Lovely.

Cam gets aloft and starts filling the place with topsoil and water and plants and dumb plant-supporting bugs.
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He'll need to do the atmosphere first, actually. It's a bit difficult for plants to survive hard vacuum.

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Yes, yes, air too. Air as he goes. At least the place has the gravity to hold it.

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