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Aug 22, 2019 6:57 PM
a Margaret in Whateley
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Upload fidgets with a hex nut on her wrist, unscrewing it half a turn and then screwing it back. "I'm sorry you had to deal with that. Even though it sounds like you dealt with it really well."

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"Yeah, I'm doing fine. Even got new parents out of it!"

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"Parents are good to have. Mine weren't super sure how to deal with me suddenly being a robot, but I bet they'll have gotten over their nerves about it by Christmas."

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"Oh yeah, you weren't always a robot. It suits you, though!"

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"It really does! I get why more people don't do it, but I wouldn't go human again if you paid me. And it's only going to get better; I'm working on a really nice new body. Whateley's lab supply budget is the best!"

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"So I hear! Sally loves it, even though she's not really a Gadgeteer, she gets gold and silver at way below market rate and it turns out you need a lot of shiny stuff if you want to design artifacts. Oh, pro tip, if you want gemstones for any reason they're cheap as dirt, the De Beers cartel holds no sway at Whateley. Sally uses them for mystic refinement but I know there's tech applications for diamonds and corundum and shit like that. Or if you just want, like, a really sparkly chassis, I don't know your life."

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"Ooh, good tip. I definitely have more than zero interest in being sparkly, but mostly I'm thinking really nice cutting tools. How about you, do you end up using materials for things or is all your coolness self-contained?"

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"Yeah, I'm pretty much all my own thing. I mean, I could learn to enchant objects, and then I'd need materials, but I don't really know why I'd bother when Sally's right there, you know? I'd rather learn practical magic and be useful than be redundant to somebody who's better than me."

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"Yeah, for sure. It's a good thing Gadgeteers instinctively specialize; makes it a lot easier to find a comparative advantage."

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"It's nice to have a niche. What's yours?"

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"Cybernetics! Especially stuff that interfaces with people. Exoskeletons, prosthetic limbs, remote-piloted extra bodies you can use to experience skydiving without risking your meat, stuff like that. When I graduate I'm going to open a business and do fancy custom jobs."

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"Good mix of combat and noncombat viability, nice. I'll keep you in mind for if I get an arm cut off somehow."

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"Or for if you decide two isn't enough! After all, isn't it Whateley custom to go around heavily armed?"

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Ariel snickers. "Pun taken, but my body's already a deadly weapon, and I dunno if I'd be able to convince my power that an extra pair of arms deserved a share of the TK field. Plus I'd have to learn to incorporate them in my fighting style and my casting style, and Arjun might think I was copying his whole steeze." She pauses. "Speaking of steeze, I've got a question you're gonna be getting a lot of - are you planning on joining the serried ranks of Gadgeteers who've branched out into, uh, recreational design? Because you'd make a mint."

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"Recreation and making a mint both sound good, but I get the sense that I'm totally missing a double entendre."

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Ariel makes a mystifying gesture.

"She means strapons," Lucy sighs.

Ariel nods. "Sorry for ignoring you, by the way," she says in Lucy's direction.

"I don't mind," Lucy says, returning to her sandwich.

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"Oh! Yeah, I would totally sell those. As long as people are willing to buy them without wanting to know if I use my own product, as it were." Upload can't blush, but she can fail to make "eye" contact.

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"Reasonable! What kind of prices are you thinking?"

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"I'll probably start out charging slightly less than what other people do for similar stuff to compensate for not having a reputation yet. I haven't put specific numbers on anything yet since I expect to learn a lot between now and then. There's probably a career office around here somewhere that advises on these things, isn't there."

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"Yeah, that all sounds good. There's totally a career office, it's in Schuster. And hey, long as you've got a price sheet by the time Weapons Fair rolls around, you'll be fine."

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"Weapons Fair, huh? I must have missed the memo, unless that's just slang for the weeks leading up to combat finals."

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"Nnnnnot exactly. Officially it is extremely forbidden by the faculty, so somebody might've thought you'd narc or something if they told you. Or maybe everybody just forgot you didn't already know, that sounds like Workshop. But it's basically just the official unofficial showcase of everybody in Workshop's latest toys, for sale at various reasonable and less reasonable prices."

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"Oh. I hope I don't come off as the sort of person who narcs on stuff. Thanks for the heads up, I'll be sure to have some cool stuff and an idea of what I want for it. Is it only weapons, or just mostly?"

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“Aw, I bet it wasn’t that, just it was the first thing to come to mind. It’s called the Weapons Fair because that’s how it started out, and it’s still a pretty high weapon-to-utility ratio because, like, Workshop, but no, you can sell just about anything.”

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"Cool. Weapons aren't really my comparative advantage, especially around here."

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