Jan 19, 2020 8:02 AM
Aether at Whateley
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Morty winces. May have been trying to put that off. In retrospect Hartford probably isn't going to have me thrown off a cliff by wild horses, but she is probably going to rip me a shiny new asshole. If that's an idiom you have.

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I mean, of things that could happen to me this is much better than being eaten by a ghoul or something, so I'm not really mad at you, if that helps.

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It might! Somewhat! But there's still, like, the punishment element. The fact that accidentally plucking unsuspecting victims from their home universes into a world they never made is a bad thing. He waves a hand self-deprecatingly. That old saw.

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Yes, I imagine most people you could have grabbed would be more upset about it.

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I get the feeling that's how they'll put it. And I'm very contrite! I recognize the potential consequences of my actions! ...Now that I'm no longer making them.

He gets up and makes his way phonewards.

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Bella looks curiously at the phone but figures this isn't the time to ask.

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With palpable dread, he picks up the phone.

"Ms. Hartford! Um. How- yes, okay. Could I- yes. Could I speak to Mrs. Carson? I- yes, but- Code 8236? ...no, that's- dimensional summons. Accidental. Yes. Thank you."

He puts the handset down as gently as he can, much as one might a venomous snake. Well, she's in fine form. An administrator will be here in a minute or so, apparently.

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Okay. Um, any tips on how I should act? I don't know if your administrators are like mine.

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Try not to seem like an extradimensional threat? You're probably good, the procedure for humanoids is "innocent unless obviously intending to murder someone".

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...So if I were not a humanoid...?

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He shrugs. Minimally intrusive brain scan? They might want to do that anyway, but I don't think they'll stress the point, you don't seem very cagey. We're not, like, lizardperson racist, it's just easier to read people when they look more like us, and the folks in charge want to be sure when they're dealing with potential interdimensional shit. And if you had tentacles or something you might have your movements restricted a bit so the normies didn't see you and freak out, but that's just a practical concern.

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I see. Well, I'm just a human. A subtle artist human who objects to brain scans. My shields are good enough for everyday at home, are they liable to be tested here...?

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Uh, psychics aren't supposed to read people or poke their brains without consent, but around campus it's... not as well enforced as you might want? If you're worried I'd go to Fubar and have him shoot some probes at you. He's, I think the most powerful psychic in the world? And he can probably do something like testing you against a Psi-1 and a Psi-2 and so on up the scale. He can't keep himself from getting a low-power impression of everyone around him, but pretty much any amount of shielding can keep that out, so I wouldn't worry.

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Okay, sounds like a plan. Ugh, I didn't like having my shields rated the first time, but better under friendly circumstances.

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He's very nice. Probably you'll barely feel it, unless you've got some kind of psychic sensitivity, in which case I guess you might. But I get counseling from him sometimes, and I forget he's even reading me until he answers a question I didn't ask.

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Sounds like he's good, then. If receptively uncontrolled.

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Yeah. Fringe benefits of turning into a horrible fish-monster, I guess. ...no, wait, actually he was psychic before he turned into a horrible fish-monster. Scratch that.

There is a knock at the window. Morty sighs and opens the blinds, revealing Mrs. Carson hovering in the air bearing a glowing platinum scepter.

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Bella blinks at the hovering glowing-scepter lady, then bows politely as a hedge and attempts to figure out the window mechanism.

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Morty helps! The window opens sufficiently for Carson to swoop through.

"She doesn't speak English, but she's a telepath, so you can-"

"Thank you, Mr. Halliwell, that will be all," she says sharply. He wisely shuts up.

Hello. My name is Elizabeth Carson; I apologize for all of this, and promise that I will do everything in my power to set it right. Do you have any pressing needs?

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Isabella Swan, ma'am. If it's at all convenient I'd like my parents not to be too alarmed about my disappearance; they'll probably think I did something really stupid and got eaten either literally or metaphorically, otherwise. I don't know how long I'll be staying but I haven't seen anything that makes it look like I have locally unusual needs, since I'm a human. Morty suggested that I get my shields tested against local psi, which sounds like a good idea.

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Carson sighs. It would not be strictly impossible, but the effort involved in getting a message across the dimensional border would be almost as much as getting you across, so we would probably prefer to just get you home. Unless you'd like to stay here for longer than a few weeks, in which case arrangements can be made. If you're identical to local humans, that does simplify accommodating you somewhat. We can test your shields at your convenience, though there are some more urgent matters, such as vaccinating you against various local illnesses and making sure you aren't carrying anything serious yourself.

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If you're going to do science things to me it probably is not safe for me to go home again. And I was considering staying anyway.

Bella bounces Carson's contributions to Morty and includes him in her own as a courtesy.
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Carson blinks.

I may need that sentence unpacked a bit.

Thanks, Morty "whispers".

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It sounds to me from what Morty's told me that you have a very friendly universe which lets you get away with a lot of science and doesn't kill you, just occasionally drops novel sorts of magic on you to give you a new challenge. Where I'm from, vaccinations are a science fiction thing and anybody trying a stunt like that in real life is lucky if all that happens is they get the disease they were trying to ward off and find it mysteriously resistant to ordinary magical healing.

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Carson takes a moment to process this.

Would that still apply to a disease with no equivalent in your world? she asks. We can waive the standard flu shots and such on practical grounds, but what we're really concerned with is airborne Ebola, hyperplague, that sort of thing. Profoundly lethal, extremely quick onset, and only existing due to very specific events in our universe. Do you think your... world... would object to that?
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