Feb 16, 2019 6:45 PM
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"Okay. So my first idea, although I won't say I couldn't eventually have a better one, is that you give everybody a personal concordance-like place that they can enter at will and invite or eject other people from."

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"...Interesting," she says. "That certainly has scope."

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"Maybe throw in the option to make properly joint concordances in case people want to live in mixed cities that don't have one person as the ultimate arbiter of who's in and who's out."

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"Interesting, but increasingly complicated. Suppose that every person has their own area with its own transit station. Should the areas be contiguous with one another and limited in size, or separate and infinite? What should each area contain to start with, besides at least one transit station?"

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"Air, something to stand on - how customizable past the defaults can you make 'em for people who aren't demons? Demons are covered if you give us vacuum, but not everyone's so lucky. If contiguous, does shooing people keep working if the owner of an area is asleep? And people change their minds about things, if the only ones of these places belong to individuals they'll be in a pickle if they let a little commune sprout on their turf and then get sick of their roommates."

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She considers briefly, then says, "Here is an example of a configuration I could achieve with minimal effort."

Cam, and the arbitrarily powerful woman in her chair, are transported to a new location. The sky above them is day-bright. The infinite plane on which they appear is made of the same dark grey rock from when Cam originally arrived.

To Cam's right, there is a building with a sign that reads "TRANSIT STATION 1:1" over the arched double doors. Just outside the building, there is some kind of kiosk, a waist-high shoulders-wide cylinder of unreflective black material with the words SELECT CATEGORY displayed above it in holographic white letters.
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"Select category?"
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"I have a very large available selection of structures categorized by size, function, and number of rooms both in total and by category. That interface will show you a random structure within your desired specifications of those parameters, and allow you to discard it, save it for later consideration, or instantiate it in a specified location."

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"Will it let you tweak it? Like, 'this is nice but lose the wallpaper and I want that loveseat to be a recliner'?"

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"That degree of specification is not available."

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"Okay, then this qualifies as, like, 'noticeably nicer than Limbo for most people' but there is room to improve it."

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"It is not apparent to me how the sorting between the sections is accomplished. Limbo is the one structured a plane, correct? The type of people who appear there do not have any magical ability to affect their surroundings. It is possible, although I will not know for sure until I have access to your universe, that I could offer those people a choice to re-sort themselves into whichever of the other three categories they would naturally occupy. That should reduce the amount of inconvenience involved. The problem with further specification of the library of structures is that someone would have to manually peruse the library to categorize all of the furniture and wall coverings, and I would need to design a rule to allow for the interchangeability of wallpaper."

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"I think Fairyland might be a plane too. Limbo is a boring plane, with, yes, no magic for the people. Limbo gets people who died without ever summoning daeva, is my current guess. Can you give these kiosks access to an extranet or extranet-like thing that will let demons design wallpaper and so on at them? Or angels or for that matter enterprising fairies and humans that want to do it the long way around."

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"The library is currently held in common between them. It would be possible to extend functionality to allow individuals to edit structures and share the results." She looks contemplative for a moment, then says, "Try that."

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Cam pokes the kiosk experimentally.

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"SELECT CATEGORY" sprouts a short list - 'Residential', 'Commercial', 'Industrial', 'Miscellaneous'. Each of these, if he desires more detail on it, will in turn sprout subcategories. If he gets as far as 'Residential: Multi-Residence Building' or 'Residential: House', more options appear, inviting him to specify size (in height/width/breadth or in square footage of usable area) and numbers of various categories of rooms. Once he has specified those parameters to his satisfaction, he can proceed to 'Display Random Structure' from either 'Base Library' or 'User Library (Empty)', the latter of which is greyed out and doesn't work. The interface is very fluid, responding to his intentions rather than to any physical input.

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"I like this interface."

He rolls up a random house and starts messing around with it by pure intention.

"Okay, now, in Hell we have this problem where everybody can make stuff and nobody can get rid of it. If I instantiated a house and this wasn't a test run would I just have it forever until I set it on fire and then have a pile of ash, or what?"
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(As soon as he makes a change, the interface invites him to save the variant to the user library. That option remains patiently available while he works.)

"If you instantiate a house and do not substantially alter it, you can remove it using the interface. If you do alter it, the interface will request that you first categorize its contents and any structural alterations and save the result to the user library, which may be somewhat tedious but can be skipped if you insist. It will also refuse to remove structures while they contain aware beings. The interface will also remove items and structures it did not create, but will insist that they be categorized and added to the user library first."
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"I can kick out any loitering aware beings from my own concordance-like thing if they're parked and won't shoo voluntarily, right?"

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"Yes. Although presently you will have to take my word for it, because you cannot do that to me."

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Cam laughs. "Wasn't planning to test it. Okay, so this is a perfectly nice house, but it's kinda dated, does the library have anything more twenty-first or twenty-second century?"

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"Structures are not presently filed by time, but it would be possible to do that." Brief thoughtful look. "I have done that."

There is now a 'Date of Sample' field which will allow him to specify month, year, and day - and a 'World of Origin' field just above it, which consists of a number. The world of origin for this particular house is 26, and its date of sample is December 1997.
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"World of Origin. Okay, that makes... some sense. How many are there?"
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"Yours is the latest addition, for a current total of seventy-four."

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"How did you add mine?"

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