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Sheridan transported to the world with a conscience problem

Sheridan would consider herself fairly well acquainted with the house she's in. If it had secret passages or the like she'd not found, this wouldn't particularly surprise her, but not needing to risk a beating to walk around means a few days is more than sufficient to establish knowledge of the overt areas.

It does not, of course, require being acquainted with a house to know that purple-blue-black apparently-not-especially-amenable-to-vision whirlpool-like things are not generally present above the kitchen table. 

This one is there when she turns around. It proceeds to swallow her.


The place she sees around her when she is no longer swallowed is not one she is acquainted with in the least.

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And now she's sharing a tiny apartment with a very startled person. The walls are white, one wall has a tall narrow window, if she looks behind herself she'll see that the only door latches from the inside. The whole room is four feet by four feet, made even smaller by the railing along one wall that might be for someone to hold onto for balance. There's a pile of necklaces in one corner and a quilt on the floor. The room's other occupant, when they get over their shock, leaps to their feet glaring murderously and says something very angry in a tonal language.


No citizen's card (not odd - plenty of people who didn't have estates didn't wear them at home); the carriage and way-of-speaking doesn't give her a clear indication of stratum. What is he wearing and the like?

She's still in her slave collar, because that's the law and they're risking quite sufficient trouble already; doesn't drop her cover body language when she's in public areas. Gofer-type uniform rather than domestic. Convenient, at the moment.

Something incredibly bizarre and fascinating just occurred and she would of course like nothing better than to attempt to gather more about it, but handling acute problems has the precedence. 

She does not look behind herself. She looks demurely down.

"My apologies, sir."

(Details on the necklace and quilt? Can she see out the window?)


The necklaces in the pile are strings of metal beads that seem to be painted, except that the colors change constantly. Several of the beads are the same color or pattern at any given time. Out the window is a five-storey building painted in some kind of abstract foresty design in green and brown. Here and there are balconies whose railings are being used as trellises for grapes and other vines. The person who lives here is wearing loose calf-length pants and a loose sleeveless shirt. No shoes, though there's a pair by the door, but socks.

The apologetic tone seems to mean something to them, because they don't shout any more. They echo the words carefully as if they've never heard them before. Hesitantly they try a question in another language.


That is a desirable outcome.

Her brain process does not produce any information or associations on color-changing beads, this architecture style, this clothing style, or either language. Hair style? Scars, calluses, fingernail style, signs of anything on their clothes or skin, and such like? Details of the quilt?

She can further attempt the several languages she is fluent in and then the several more she knows some amount of.


Valanda's hair is in a ponytail. Nails short, hands not callused at all, clothes apparently undyed. The quilt is made of rejected, streakily dyed dull yellow wool. Or maybe it's just carefully, artfully designed to look like that. The squares and the stitching are vaguely irregular like it's handmade. Sloppily handmade.

Hearing more unfamiliar languages makes Valanda very happy for some reason. He turns around and reaches under the pile of necklaces for a charcoal pencil and a notebook. He opens it to a clean page, draws something that might be a map of an island or continent, then looks at her expectantly.


Neat ponytail, messy ponytail? Can she see what it's tied up with? Dirt under nails? Details of the stitching?

Details of the pencil and notebook? Anything else that indicates something else lying under it?

She also looks at the island/continent.


Dirty hands, but clean nails. He might be an artist who blends sketches with his fingers. The ponytail may have suffered a little in the last few hours, seems to be tied with string. The quilt is lumpy like it might be hiding things. The stitching was not done with a sewing machine and on closer inspection the thread seems not to have been dyed. The pencil is less a precisely-manufactured art supply and more like a stick of charcoal partly wrapped up to keep it from marking everything. The notebook has a metal spiral binding and the pages aren't white paper. The pages he flipped through on his way to this one were used very efficiently like he was trying to cram as much stuff into as little space as possible.

The continent is almost U-shaped but sort of squarish and thick-bottomed and has an extra bite taken out of it. There's a mountain range. It's not drawn with any great degree of artistry. The smoothness of the coastlines suggests it may have been drawn from a vague memory. The longer the stranger looks at the map, the more pleased Valanda seems about something.


Available data continues to not produce many larger associations. The dirt on hands seems to be from the charcoal or the like?

Anything she can tell about what the items under the quilt might be? Anything she can see from the pages given the time she had to see them?

Pleasedness is generally better than not, though it is considerably better if she knows what exactly it is responding to than not.

That is not evoking any islands or continents she recognizes. None of the languages got responses; she shrugs at the map and shakes her head.


It sure does seem to be from the charcoal. There are a couple small smudges of the same on the quilt, in fact. It's not obvious what's under the quilt except that the unobviousness means there isn't anything very big and solid. Maybe just more fabric. The pages had obscure diagrams or illustrations or something and cramped writing with no paragraph breaks.

Valanda gestures for her to have a seat if she'd like and starts putting on necklaces from the pile.


She sits and takes this opportunity to in fact look around at what had previously been behind her. (Details on latch, door, railing, window, and shoes?)


The latch is large and looks like it would be possible for someone without much manual dexterity to operate. The rail is varnished wood and seems to serve no function except to make the room even smaller. The shoes are leather and seem to be wearing out. The window has a shutter, currently open, but no glass.

When Valanda is absurdly blinged out with all his necklaces and three bracelets, where the pile was there's a flat metal rectangle, not apparently color-changing or even unusually-colored at all.

Squatting down in front of her, Valanda speaks softly just to get her attention. He mimes eating. He raises his eyebrows. He gestures at her. Assuming she's as human as she looks and eats with her mouth, which is a big assumption, she should probably understand that as "are you hungry?"


As a slave it is prudent to be in the habit of not refusing food when offered, but her recent access to such has been more than sufficient. And there are multiple compelling reasons not to immediately take the food of strangely-and-possibly-not-well-provisioned people in whose closets she unexpectedly appeared. 

She smiles and shakes her head.


Nod, smile. He tries asking her if she's thirsty.


Smile, headshake. (It would be unfortunate if he were from a culture where her accepting is a necessary social ritual, but by her knowledge and conjecture that would have been more likely to involve an attempt to give her the materials in question, rather than inquire about them.) 


Nod, again. Valanda gestures for her to stay put. He points to himself, mimes walking away and coming back. Gestures again for her to stay put. Raises his eyebrows as if to ask if this is okay with her.


Smile, nod.


Excellent. Valanda leaves, shutting the door behind him.


Decision factors:

  • She is currently to observation physically able to leave.
  • Arguments for:
    • doing so could potentially enable her to more quickly determine where she is.
    • whether she was transported by someone's intention or not, the local person could have negative intentions with respect to her.
    • if the transportation is secret and this is not desirable, she might have a higher opportunity to expose it.
  • Arguments against:
    • if she was transported by someone's intention, measures of control she was not aware of could be present, such as guards on call.
    • if she was transported sufficiently far away, she might be in violation of some law pertaining to slave behavior, and this would be noticed if she started wandering outside. Attempting to address this with stealth is not likely to be successful on a street she has no familiarity with in full daylight, and considerably likely to bring trouble.
    • Myna is likely to be able to get her out of trouble, but not without unpleasantness in the interim, and not without expenditure.
    • if the transportation is secret and this is desirable, this still raises the chances of exposing it.
    • there could be some reason non-negative reason she was transported here and to this person in particular.
    • there could be a negative reason but she will have more opportunity to learn about it.

Altogether it does not seem a better path-selection to attempt to leave than to stay, so she stays. Nothing in the room appears worth the risk of moving or touching it, so she stays where she is. 

She redirects her brain's central analysis to the transportation itself.

Theorizing without data is not desirable, but she is limited in data. A foundation of possibilities will serve her whether she can acquire more or not. She sorts them out.

  • Those behind it could be the Imperial government, or a different party.
  • This could have been done on purpose or by accident. The Imperial government + on purpose is not likely.
  • 'A different party' heads a large variety. Myna's people + on purpose is not likely. 
  • Different parties have a spectrum of positivity and negativity that cannot be easily collapsed into axes.

As such: the Imperial government or Myna's people, by accident (experiment gone wrong, the like). Some other party, on purpose with some intention, or by accident.

The effect could also be easily reproducible, or not (this can approximate to an axis).


That is as far as she is likely to get without further data. She looks around the room for anything she may have overlooked, and for further detail out the window.


If she looks down at the street below she will see that there are furry quadrupeds going about their business, most of them wearing strings of the same color-changing beads Valanda has, some of them parasitized by large color-changing leech-like creatures. There are also some snakes, some of which are accompanied by floating bead necklaces. She'll have to watch for a while to see any humanoids.


That. Is. Not expected. At all.

She runs a standard diagnostic for whether she is hallucinating; returns 'either no or it is still best path-selection to proceed as though no'.

She proceeds.

It is not completely impossible that the Imperial government or some other group is running a very extensive successful secret experiment in biological engineering. It is not, altogether, very likely. A priori, 'transportation to another world' and similar events are also at the least, not likely. But popular reaction notwithstanding it it quite the opposite of scientific to proclaim occurring events to be impossible. (Color-changing beads, no clear strata, the unfamiliar island - observations move to connections.)

Tabula rasa. If that is the case, she cannot make assumptions about patterns she is accustomed to applying being applicable or true, must observe without expectation. The brain will easily fall into familiar patterns, underproduce the very strange. A bias to keep in mind, and to oppose.

As simpler beginning, she considers her previous reasoning set.

'On purpose' is less likely. There might be some reasons to attempt experimental translocation on a slave not one's own. There are far less to send such one to a different world. The layout of accident possibilities remain possibilities. Additional possibility that it was done from this world, and not hers. That could be on purpose still; she does not know what motivations they might hold. If most anyone in the world had discovered and was aware of another, Myra would have known, and so she would have known. Not certainty. But sufficient probability.

She lacks data about what this world may hold and how to act in it. This current situation at the least appears stable.

She continues to stay.


Valanda returns after less than an hour, wearing far fewer necklaces and carrying a potted flowering plant, a glass bottle, a pair of gold bracelets, and an iridescent blue-green hummingbird. He greets her warmly in a language she won't understand, sets down the plant, locks the door, and offers her the bracelets. They're close to the right size for her.


Details on the items?

If she is in another world, they are unlikely to be familiar with the slavery laws and signifiers from hers. But politeness is still advantageous.

Smile. Headshake.


Valanda accepts the refusal with all the good grace you don't expect of someone whose plot to magically enslave someone has just been foiled. Everything about how he moves, how he speaks, the expressions he makes all suggest that he's trying to be welcoming and helpful and is very sorry for shouting at her earlier.

The bracelets are very plain and fasten shut rather than being large enough to slip over a hand. The plant has a cluster of drab small flowers surrounded by floral-looking white sepals.

The bird says something in a quiet, high-pitched voice. Valanda uncorks the bottle for the bird to drink from and says something to the bird, then turns back to Sheridan and asks a question.


She can think of benevolent reasons to be offered bracelets (a law that all black-haired individuals should wear bracelets, for instance). She can also think of non-benevolent ones. He has not responded in either anger or worry (real or feigned) so that is not the highest priority for further understanding, at the present.

Welcoming affect is generally more positive than not, but can, of course, also be feigned. 

She does not understand the bird (if applicable), or the question.


The lack of response isn't helpful. He makes a vague circley gesture in front of his lips and points to her. If he can get her talking, the bird can translate, one way at least, but no magic he knows of can translate silence.

Of course, when he woke up today, he didn't know of any magic that could teleport someone. Who knows what they've learned to do on her undiscovered continent presumably somewhere in the antipodes.

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