Dec 11, 2019 5:22 PM
New Dover gets bigger
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"I think I'll talk with the ones who were getting into fights - that includes the duels - and I understand that in your world people take certain kinds of promises really seriously, do you think it'd be okay to have them all swear to follow Hari law or would that be a bad idea for some reason?"

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Nod, nod. "That would work. Keep in mind that some people take oaths more seriously than others. But asking folk to swear to God or on their honor and life that they intend to be peaceful citizens of Ira Sani and follow the law has no hidden flaws as a plan that I can think of. Perhaps not children under six, there are a few families with those."

They can just get that started, then. Some people have been peaceful and will gladly, eagerly even, swear to those terms. They shake Valanda's hand and thank him for the opportunity. Most of the rest are a bit more neutral about it.

There are five people who've been in fights or duels and have to explain themselves to him. Their explanations, in order, are 'my husband is a selfish idiot who was trying to control me I just want to be where he's not', 'it was the heat of the moment, I was in the wrong, it was only one punch but if you bar me for that so be it', 'he challenged me to a duel over this stupid old painting what was I supposed to do???', 'we were celebrating the good news by drinking and we argued a bit and I don't remember anything after that - I'll stop drinking', and 'I wasn't just going to lie there and get wailed on I don't regret putting that bastard in his place'.

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He likes all of them as people, anyway. He lets them know that Har doesn't have marriage, does have command magic that can be used for addictions, and understands the idea of self-defense. He watches how they react to that.

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...How does not having marriage even work? Well, she'll be glad to be divorced anyway.

The second guy just nods without any particular expression.

Duels are probably illegal there, right?

Maybe he ought to get that done for his drinking. He does like beer but he doesn't like who he is on beer.

Good, because that was totally self-defense.

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Wanting to be friends with all of them was totally not the goal. Whoops.

Yeah, they can come, they might all be less violent in better circumstances.

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Yay!

The door to New Dover opens to let hundreds of people through, annoying the other bar patrons. A few people go home with said other bar patrons - the ones who volunteered to take a refugee or five, anyway. They're going to hold the door for a while to let everyone who just went through get sorted and settled a bit and to cart through Milliways purchases.

Non-Frostworld-or-Har people slowly clear out and nobody else seems to be coming in. "I wonder if the door slows down external traffic when people do things like this?"

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"I guess no one could come in while the door is open."

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"We've been letting it stay closed for a few hours at a time here and there... Well, I think we can still accomplish our goals even if we stop meeting new people. I think we're off to a good start."

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"Seems like it, yeah."

 

And meanwhile the force mages are ready to get flying.

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They have a big staff sitting in a crowded office with lots of telecom equipment telling them where to fly! They've even practiced this a bit with more local flights already, just to get the coordination down.

Force mages can fly all over the place, but especially north. There are a lot more small groups of people than big groups, but the big groups are so much larger that they account for most of the actual surviving population. The prioritization system aims for those who seem likely to be most in need first, though. Mostly it goes well. Force mages drop off liaisons and supplies and let them get to explaining all the weird stuff going on lately. A few of the groups they contact react badly and shoot at the force mages' levitating cabin things with those cheap-excuse-for-a-force-mage weapons called 'guns' they all got briefed on.

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One of the force mages getting shot at decides to spell out "SEIHRA WAS HERE" in the sky with broken pieces of guns. Any more attacks?

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Running and taking cover, mostly!

A few of them are trying to do something with a large machine that doesn't look like a gun...

The person she's supposed to be dropping off here is talking to control, "Shooting at us, yes - Seihra destroyed the guns - Roger that. Seihra, control says to get out of here!"

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Well, that's no fun, but off they go.

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The guy talks to control for a while. "...Control says they have some kind of exotic weapon, probably that big machine, and they're pretty hostile. Don't seem to be starving or anything. Better just to leave 'em alone, they're not even close to anyone else, good riddance."

Force mages can go to places that don't shoot at them. And shooty places' neighbors can get some weapons for self defense, too. They can take their time a little bit on this end of the door.

When it comes to the door back into Har, they get screened people through the door as fast as they can, opening it for thirty seconds and rushing forty or more people through, and slamming it again. If they're done by the time the Imperial Government can so much as show up to object, so much the better.

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The imperial government notices eventually. They have a force mage in the air already by the time the last of the immigrants are through... but nowhere near Ira Sani yet.

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Katherine is in the main bar area buying books, computers, construction equipment, food, and other such things and getting them out the door as fast as possible.

...They don't want the imperial government in control of the door. They could be a lot worse, but they're paranoid and authoritarian and might be a disaster. When they get a radio call from a lookout that someone is approaching New Dover at speed, Katherine tells everybody that it's all in Har who's going to Har.

No other visitors have come in yet. She shuts the door relaxes a bit from the fast-paced ordeal that was that big evacuation - and it's not even over yet, they have to build homes for everyone on the other side. She would like to wait here for years and years, looking for someone who agrees with her and could bully the Imperial Government into figuring out something else to do with all the slaves - but she'd get old, and so very bored, too.

She unwinds for one last day. Nimo and Valanda have all the time they could want in Milliways, and then she exits too and lets the door close behind her. At this rate, she's probably going to see Milliways again eventually, anyway.

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Valanda and Nimo both come out with lots of otherworldly books. Nimo is months older.

"Well, I guess shutting it is one way to settle things. Want me to try to talk to them for you or do you want to do that yourself?" Valanda asks.

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"Well. That was an adventure, but what happens now... I probably look like the mastermind behind this no matter what you say to them. But they like you better, I think. I'll talk to them if they want, but let's have you do it first?"

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Out he goes.

"Hey, did the empire send you?"

"Yes," the belul force mage flashes a badge, "where's the door?"

"Closed now. And all the immigrants were vetted and shouldn't be any more likely to be criminal than anyone else. They're from the world that invented the automata, I thought some of them might have valuable skills. And they shouldn't be much of a danger even if anything goes wrong, they can't use our magic."

"Where are you putting this many homeless people?"

"I'll make New Dover handle that."

"Uh-huh. They want to see you in Mar Geru in three days. They'll cover travel expenses."

"Sure, I'll be there. Thanks for checking up on things, a bunch of people coming in could've been bad."

And back he goes to check in with Katherine and see if anything's gone wrong yet.

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Nothing has obviously gone wrong yet. But there are literally thousands of homeless people wandering around the outskirts of New Dover, but most of them brought blankets and a few other essentials through Milliways, and they're already getting started on arranging for people to sleep in rows in every house, church, factory floor, and even the heat-enchanted park gazebo - as well as starting construction on a sort of tent city just outside town. There's some grumbling, but there's also a lot of celebrating. Katherine is in the thick of it - organizing a trip to the mainland to buy a hundred tons of food, currently.

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Well, that's better than it could be. Probably shouldn't interrupt her.

Is Liane anywhere findable?

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She is sharing automaton operation tricks with some of the locals! Her voice carries pretty well, so probably findable!

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And he'll have to try to speak English, without having any shared language or translation effect to fall back on. Great. That's terrifying.

"Um. Excuse me, Liane? Found a list of jobs to you, they don't need good Hari or magic or legs."

He offers her a few sheets of paper stapled together.

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"Oh, thanks. You doin' alright? The Lord-y types bother you much? Wait, this is a democracy, just a slave-democracy, so they're not Lords..."

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"They don't bother me much, I talk to them soon. If you need a Lord-y type talk to me."

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