Nov 12, 2019 8:15 AM
Link turns Fabulous
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Does SCIENCE! have any tentative explanations for magic, swarms, and the like, which she can find in a few quick searches? Probably not, but it doesn't hurt to check.

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People work on it, but apart from some guesses at a massively polygenic genetic component to who becomes a magical girl, observations that magical girls don't break lightspeed, and analyses of what's in swarm goo, science is not super helpful about why evil bugs started spontaneously generating all over the world hundreds of years ago only to be near-immediately countered by specifically girls with the powers and drive to fight back.

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...Maybe there is something to Thaumatology, but she also remembers her quip about Apollo.

She puts it out of mind, though, and instead ends up in a six-hour rabbit hole of researching, from the history of magical girl fashion, to Paladin design trends and equipment, to the origin and evolution of magical sports.

 

She should contribute to science. Science is supposed to make everything better in the long run. She should at least do that survey they make you give magical girl ID to take.

So she ends up at the DMV with her parents next Wednesday - it being closed on Monday and having the school club on Tuesday, and wades through the bureaucracy, and then sees what the magical girl survey asks her.

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It wants to know so many things about her and her powers and has she signed up for 23andMe? and what is her outfit like? Freeform or spell-like? Swarmsense range?

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She can tell them all the things! Her outfit is like this but before she saw an amateur stylist it was like that, she puts the previous one in the notes section for that question. Freeform lightning! (She really should see if she can use it to make electricity...) She has a good idea of her swarmsense range from the patrols. She has no idea what 23andMe is, and therefore hasn't signed up for it.

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There is a link and they encourage her to click it and do the thing. Her magical girl ID will get her a small discount.

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Sure why not.

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It's a genome sequencing service. For $100 ($85 for her) they'll send you a spit kit.

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...She asks her parents about the genome thing, because this seems vaguely suspicious somehow. They think it's fine, if she wants to. So she orders the thing and finishes the science survey. Is she supposed to come back to the survey when she gets it, or what? Do they maybe want to see what her lightning can do or anything?

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She can authorize the study to use her 23andMe data once it's in, and they'll match her up with her survey by magical girl ID number.

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Alright, then.

Any other scientists looking to do science at magical girls? She can fly somewhere if it's within a few hours on the wing.

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Looks like they're concentrated in the vicinity of Baltimore.

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That's not within a few hours on the wing. More like a plane ride.

 

...The next day she tries to find a robotics or electronics club and/or teacher after school, and demonstrates little sparks, and asks if there's something they can do to - measure it maybe? Or figure out if it's actual electricity or something else. She can make tiny little safe sparks to test with just fine, see, tiny zap right there.

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They have a voltmeter?

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She has money to replace the voltmeter if she breaks it.

Tiny zap on one electrode...?

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Yup, it's real electricity.

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"Cool. Thanks! I did some research and I don't know if it's AC or DC or what, I'm kind of curious if there's a way to charge batteries or run a microwave or something with it. I'm not sure how to figure that out though."

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"I'm not really sure how to tell that kinda thing," says one of the robotics club kids. "We mostly use premade parts."

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"Yeah, makes sense. I'll look into it on my own, maybe. Thanks for letting me borrow the voltmeter."

 

...Actually, it occurs to her later, does the internet know anything about magical-girl-powered-lightning harvesting? Probably some youtube videos doing experiments if nothing else?

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There are youtube videos, most prominently by a girl who styles herself "Alessandra Volta"! They contain facts that one must know things about electricity to reliably produce.

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Is anyone selling kits to do the same stuff as Alessandra Volta? Or at least a basic version.

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She does mention where to get her stuff but it doesn't come in kits.

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After a bunch of researching, she buys a few things and experiments a bit between everything else. It turns out she'd need a lot of fairly expensive stuff and probably blow up some of it by accident along the way, to turn lightning into battery-charging. Maybe later.

 

She gets around to signing up for and attending a Flock Girls meet soon after.

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Flock Girls is sort of like a sports league but is really more like several that have collapsed into one due to shared demographics. There are monthly general meetings to handle administrative business (such as registering Laura's existence), but other than that the events are independent. They have three race formats (relay, short, and long), Olympic-style obstacle courses and "art flight" or "air dancing" routines, Quidditch, air soccer, and both pullup dive and water dive.

The races are what they sound like. The obstacle courses vary and include slalom around poles at various angles, getting through hoops, tunnels, and narrow passages. Both "art flight" and "air dancing" involve flying prettily in a defined volume, usually to music, but they have slightly different scoring rules, only air dancing can be done in pairs, and art flight allows touchdowns and takeoffs during the routine while air dancing doesn't. Quidditch is played without Bludger or Snitch, but still has three hoops, a Keeper, and Chasers handling a Quaffle. Air soccer, like normal soccer, has a no-hands rule. Pullup dive dives for the ground and grades on speed, closeness to the ground at the bottom of the dive, and gracefulness of the abort; water dive plunges straight into the water and grades on speed and form.

All of these sports are played in regulation ugly Spandex so there is no question of cheating with magic.

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Ugly spandex is ugly but she sees the logic.

She tries to make friends at the organizational meet, particularly Quidditch or air soccer friends. Team games like that sound like the most fun to her, though the obstacle courses are neat too. And she'll have a chance at the actual events if nobody's friendly here and now, anyway.

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