Oct 21, 2018 10:15 PM
looks so ominous
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androids meet pentad
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"A digital computer does the same thing but faster, with circuits and transistors instead of a human brain."

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"Yes, missing a lot of background. Annoying. Could I do anything for you in exchange for copying out a tutorial from the absolute basics? We have some sophisticated devices, but they mostly operate by exploiting elseworking or the strange physics it can leave behind."

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"I'm not sure if the database has everything... And I don't have anything to write with."

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"Whatever you do have would be enough. I have good researchers. As for writing materials, I could supply paper. It will only last a decade before it fades, but that should be enough for my use. Or there may be something I can use behind the... totally untended bar?"

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"The bar staffs itself."

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"Stranger and stranger. I'll check."

He steps over to the bar. "Hello, bar. Or bartender, or whatever you prefer."

A napkin appears. Hello. My name is Bar. And 'she' pronouns, please. Would you like a drink? First one is free.

Kolai startles slightly at the appearance, then reads. "Guaranteed safe?"

Nontoxic, nonmagical, and otherwise safe. I am also good at recommendations.

"Then I'll take one happily. Nothing intoxicating, please. I don't know if you could overhear, but do you happen to have paper or a pen?"

I can certainly sell you those for reasonable currency-dependent prices. Also any published information in any format, and most other things which are nontoxic, nonmagical, non-living, and not weapons.

He boggles. "I think I'll get back to you, then. Thank you for the drink, madam." He picks up the pint and last napkin, and turns back to the other patrons.

"Take a look. Apparently our good Bar does much more than drinks."

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"Huh. That's atypical."

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"You don't say. In any case, I imagine you can skip copying out your database."

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"Seems likely. Perhaps you'd like to talk more about your own magic, then?"

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"Hmm. "Magic" is actually a culturally-loaded term for a possibly-mythical art that was forgotten or destroyed as a result of elseworking being brought into the world. But. Elseworking. The first thing to know about elseworking is that it is dangerous to use and especially dangerous to acquire. The time things are most likely to go wrong for an elseworker is the moments immediately after they learn to manipulate a new force. If possible, this should be done in a wasteland where you are a long way from anyone else you can easily hurt, with your teacher keeping watch to contain the damage, and to  take you out if you let the new force run away with you. This is fairly easy in my lands, but may present a problem for you. Everyone knows that it caused the end of the world, but that is reliably insufficient to get most people to treat it with an appropriate level of caution."

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"What, ah, form does the damage manifest in?"

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"That depends heavily on which you're using. Mental alteration to the user is always a possibility, with varying degrees of likelihood, but each of the five is very different. There is a philosophical 'balance' by which they both complement and oppose each other. They are five: Gin, stasis. Mog, entropy. Mir, immanence. Rak, incorporation. And Koz, self-perpetuation."

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"Mental alteration does not seem sufficient to explain your caution."

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"The mental alterations do not always point in precisely the direction required to make your control of the force worse. But that is always a component. And in order to gain the use of a new force, you must already be in a state of mind very sympathetic to the goals of the force. To be pushed further from there is extremely dangerous, because it can easily spiral, feed further, and make you no longer interested in limiting the impact. If you slip past human mindspace toward Rak, it seems entirely appropriate that everything that lives and everything that is be melded together to be the vast fingers of a gibbering whole. And, other than Gin, all the forces push to be used more. It is easy to use them to do enormous things; it is difficult only to use them safely."

He scowls at her. "Is that 'sufficient to explain my caution'?"

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"You have yet to describe the nature and capability of these forces in any level of detail."

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"You are a frustrating person. Perhaps I should just let you learn from a book."

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"Ah, being skeptical is part of 2B's job. Try not to hold it against her. Perhaps it would help if I explained that we're not human, we're androids. We have backups. I suspect she was assuming that in the case of an unrecoverable corruption, our self-destruct could be triggered and we would restore from a safe point."

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"People made from computers? An interesting idea. How would  that interact?"
He stares into space as he continues, more to himself than to them.

"Hmmm... When Mog destroys information it doesn't destroy previously-written copies, so that would most likely be safe, from backlash at least. Rak would not be; connecting two minds made from the same pattern into one is in its milieu. Koz might alter you to render the self-destruct unimportant, I suppose. Mir... would be fickle as always. Gin could make self-destruction impossible, but then it is never the danger mentally."

He collects his thoughts and turns back to them, "I think you should not trust overmuch in the backups being reliable, but it would certainly cut down on the danger. Assuming the self-destruct isn't under your own control, at least; if you can stop it from activating, then it would not help at all."

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"Ordinarily it is, but that change wouldn't be that difficult if Command judged it necessary."

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"I'd be uncomfortable with anyone having that power over me, but it might be wise regardless. I certainly make a poorer subordinate than any military would tolerate for long."

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"Well, you're human. Some psychological differences are expected."

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"I suppose. Elseworkers also tend to cultivate a degree of mental sovereignty, to more easily oppose the urges to change. Also stubbornness, but that's less germane."

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"Interesting. What sort of things can you do with each of the forces?"

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"Some are fairly simple. Gin preserves, protects, and prevents. It keeps things as they are or prevents them from changing. Mog is similar; it destroys. Structure, information, energy, or any combination of them. You can turn Mog power on other power, or on itself, which makes it manageable despite being perhaps the most hostile to human life. The others are vaguer, harder to summarize. Rak, for example, melds things together, does mental editing, makes things grow, creates simple mind-like reactions, a lot of things. And it's almost personlike. But it always warps your mind and body, no matter how careful you are. I don't use it myself. Koz is, broadly, changing the laws of physics locally but permanently. Mir can make whatever you can imagine, but it won't last, and while it will do everything you had in mind, it may do quite a lot besides."

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Now there are the multi-word descriptions, was it really so hard, she thinks but does not say.

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