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Jun 26, 2019 4:35 PM
demon cam lands in the alteriverse
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"A handicap." Will relentless sarcasm save him from the yawning maw of horror that is mindreaders? Let's find out. Or he could just tell the summoner how to get rid of him but nope they have the circle on camera they can just do this again and again and he'd better be here to deal with that. "I don't suppose anybody can name any drugs that harmlessly knock them out or name a publication in which such a drug is described."

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" - I don't even actually know if they do being knocked out. I guess maybe there's a way to put them into premature hibernation, but I'd hardly call that harmless. There - might be someone on the outside who knows, but right now our only link to the outside is the psyon? We don't really have publications."

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"I can make things that have been written elsewhere in the world if I know which ones I want." Landsailor landsailor sail on time rain or shine I know you can cloudraker cloudraker -

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"We don't really write things." She glances down at her paper. "Obvious counterexample notwithstanding. I am sure the Alteri have written something relevant at some point, but - there are things I might suggest but I imagine if I sound like I'm about to say anything useful their best bet is going to be to kill me. Vaguely unclear on why they haven't killed me yet, honestly."

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"Maybe they don't want to make me angry." Little do they know that'd be a moot point shut UP mindreaders just sHUT UP

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" - I mean I imagine it's probably slightly late for that."

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"You know what, maybe there's a reasonable explanation for all this and the situations's salvageable. It could certainly get worse. For instance, maybe you're all actually serving the function of hostages, and if they kill you I have no reason not to wreck the ship."

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"Well, I mean, in theory they can always kill or neutralize everyone who offers you any information that might be useful for opposing them, and leave the others, but they're not, so - "

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"They're hoping you'll think of something that means you don't have to die."

The four-year-olds move out of range. Everyone is out of range now, actually. Either they're intentionally cutting Parael off or they're in the process of evacuating the ship.

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"I can find information on my own. It'll be a little inconvenient, that's all."

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"Cool! Neat. Our total strategic irrelevance probably ups our lifespans by, like, a whole hour or something."

She stands up and starts pacing. She's the only one.

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Cam certainly doesn't pace.

"I need to know more about what's going on. I could start doing it my way, but if I spook the aliens, maybe they get trigger-happy."

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"Right, OK, sure." She's definitely dead anyway, so she might as well be the one to keep talking. "You are on a spaceship orbiting Earth, in the living quarters of work crew seven, which is devoted to messing with the big metal space object over - it would be cool if I could point but the ship spins and I don't know how we're oriented right now. I have no idea where demons come from, so I don't know how much context you have on Earth's situation, but the relevant powers in the area are the Alteri, the Carthons, and some of the natives of the planet below - stop me if you have any follow-up questions - "

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"I have heard things about Earth but now believe most of them to be inaccurate and I'm not sure exactly how most and I don't know how much you know about its surface level politics."

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"Not a ton, they're mostly irrelevant to us up here. Um - up here we have the Alteri houses, I'm house Tellari and the psyon is House Atekri and those people over there are on loan from Festri and Nari, respectively. I don't think we have anyone from Somri. The ship belongs to Atekri."

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"That doesn't help me guess how much Earth knowledge I can use... I'm gonna conjure a newspaper, nobody panic," he says, and he does that.

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Nobody panics more than they already were.

Today is November 8th, 2029, and the newspaper is divided into normal newspaper sections like "Sports" and "Business" and "Politics"; politics is largely about how various figures in the American provincial government are being affected by the need to interface with the Carthons and the Alteri. There's also significant coverage of international news, though it isn't called that and isn't given its own section.

Various figures in the American government are lobbying to be allowed to stop accepting immigrants from various sub-saharan African countries. The Pillars have repeatedly refused this request, but assign various percent chances to conditions in a long list of African provinces improving such that the recent influx of refugees will become less overwhelming within six months. Various American authorities argue that more people should be sent to other countries. The article itself is carefully neutral on the subject.

There are no editorials. There are no comics. There is no entertainment section. Articles are written with the dry, matter-of-fact tone of a scientific paper, and each of them notes both a human writer and an editor whose name never sounds like anything you'd find on Earth.

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"Is -" Cam attempts to sound out an editorial name. "- an Alteri name? Do you know what the Pillars are?"

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"It's not one I've heard, but of course the names we call the Alteri aren't their real names anyway. The Pillars are the - Carthon central government? Right?" She gets a mix of blank stares and hesitant nods. "Right."

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"So the Carthons conquered the Earth or something? When? Who are the native players?"

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"Partially, not more than eleven years ago, and I dunno."

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"Okay. Maybe if this situation we're in right now blows up more than seems workable I go to Earth and see what's going on from up close."

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"OK. Solid. Good plan." So if they all die. She looks around at the walls and tries to think of something. 

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The walls have opinions now! They also have a different voice.

"97816 Tellari, sit down."

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She sits.

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