Sep 18, 2019 5:13 AM
Rockeye's alien mercenary Kaiva meets dilnu's Sapphire
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...Those particularly skilled in the school of Mainfestation could, perhaps, enter dream-worlds. Subjective time dialation would be under Redaction, I believe?

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I don't physically enter dreamworlds. I can just play in them while paying less attention to the outside world, and once or twice I've shared them.

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That is not how Kaiva's psionics work. At all.

I wish to experience this, if you do not mind the effort.

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Sure, I'll try to leave you able to split your attention but if it doesn't work just let me know and I'll stop.

In what might be a slightly dizzying transition, Kaiva is on a platform in a forest in addition to the strange bar. There's birds chirping in the background and an astonishing variety of flowers blooming in the trees around them. The air is warm and slightly humid.

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This is exceedingly strange. It certainly feels like a powerful foreign psion's doing.

She spreads her wings and stretches out, intending to do so only in the mindscape but mirroring the motion in reality.

Interesting. Your forest has trees smaller than the ones I know.

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It took me a lot of practice before I could move in the dreamworld without moving outside. Trees on Earth vary in size, some of them get pretty big.

Some of the trees vanish and in their place a giant redwood tree a full eight meters in diameter and eighty-five meters tall appears.

Is that more like the size you're used to?

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Yes, these are excellent. Just like home.

She remembers glittering cities. Not built into the treetops, exactly, but certainly through and around them. Great towers that splay out at the top like the boughs of a Mother-Tree.

This sort of thing could perhaps be used for interrogation... Ah, but can Kaiva allow herself to simply enjoy for a moment?

It really is a fascinating ability.

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If you want I can take a memory like that and display it this way, it's hard to do people inside this but locations are something I'm good at.

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Not the temples. But... The spaceport at Cyfexi. More art installation than industrial area, though it served plenty well as the latter. Surrounded by the finest parks and the most swoopy and sleek, gaudiest architecture the Morrigi can produce, to impress visiting males.

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The scene transforms, leaving them on a landing pad in the spaceport.

Like that?

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Apart from the lack of traffic, it is very well reproduced. Again, impressive.

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It's very pretty. I could maybe do the traffic but not while maintaining your awareness in the bar and you couldn't talk to anyone. I can't imagine up characters in real time like that.

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You do not know enough about my people yet in any case. I am an outlier. This comes with a note of wry amusement/defiance/resignedment.

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I've gotten that sense from some of the feelings you've had. Your society seems very segregated along gender lines. This comes with feelings of wistfulness, distaste and sadness. I grew up somewhere like that. It wasn't a good fit for me either. There's a bit of pain and also determination.

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Our gender segregation is backed by ten thousand years of self-selective evolution. Females build nests, inhabit planets. Males fly the winds, and live on ships. Females are better at withstanding gravity, larger, slower to react, better at planning. As a Harpy, a female warrior, I am not very accepted by either side. Is your society so extreme?

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The society I grew up in no longer exists. I destroyed it, indirectly, by telling the society I live in now about it. There's a sense of resolve, of a decision made long ago that time has affirmed. They found its practices distasteful, for good reason. The society I live in now is biased in favor of women having some jobs and men others but there are virtually no fields which are the exclusive domain of one or the other.

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But there are not measurable, physical differences like we have? For example, I would easily outweigh any three average males?

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There are, our military is largely staffed by men and men similarly predominate many other fields requiring brute strength. Women possess greater dexterity on average but for whatever reason there aren't many occupations which take advantage of this in a way that leads to women predominating. Women tend to predominate in many possessions associated with raising children and other caring or emotional fields, there's much debate about whether this is due to cultural biases or innate differences.

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Gender matters quite a bit for all the species I know except the [dolphins].

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I wonder why that is. It seems like it should become less relevant with better technology.

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Undoing millennia of evolution is neither easy nor a particularly high priority for us.

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What evolution do you think you'd need to undo? You exist, clearly there are females of your species that want to do the sorts of things males typically do and my impression is that you're capable.

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I will almost certainly never have children.

That's... Not quite regret. Regret with a side of defiance?

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There's sympathy. I'm sorry your society forces you to choose between your dreams and the chance to be a mother.

A note of confusion and regret. In my current society women who wish to have a child but lack a mate can do so with the aid of certain medical interventions. It's unfortunate that your society doesn't offer the same.

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...Ancestors guard me, such a practice would shred our society to its roots. Children without a landing ceremony. How would they grow up without a proper set of ancestor spirits guarding them? Why would any wanderer fleets take the male children if they were not of their own flesh?

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