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Aug 24, 2019 12:04 PM
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Margaret is exploring the tunnels under Whateley again, because everyone else is in the cafeteria and that's only so interesting when you can't eat or drink. There's some pretty interesting stuff down here! For instance, this room has a bar in it, and despite the entrance being underground the window has a view of exploding stars.

She admires the view for a bit, then wanders up to the bar.

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"That's evil. The memory wipes are, at least, and I don't know what a restraining bolt is but I'd bet a pound of adamantium those're evil too. Is anybody working to get the laws changed? My world used to have similar kinds of evil but now it's illegal practically everywhere."

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If yes, they're too smart to let a Sith know about it.

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"The memory-wiping at least sounds like an engineering sort of problem; I could probably write a program that disguised itself in someone's source code and restored any damage to their memories. The trick would be distributing it when nobody in your world has a reason to trust me. Does your world have a unified Internet, with all those planets?"

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People would notice. Quickly.

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"Yeah, and if anybody other than droids noticed they'd probably find some horrible way to retaliate. I really ought to talk to a bunch of droids and find out what they most want, though it sounds like a lot of them might not know. DZ, do you know of anything technological that would help?"

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"I don't think so, Ma'am."

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"If I can find a way to stay in here long-term, I have until Deskyl's recovered to think of something. Let me go talk to Bar a bit."

She comes back a few minutes later and says "Bar will rent me a room and power if I clean this area regularly, and she can loan me books on your world's technology. So I don't think we should give up yet."

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Deskyl nods. Sure.

Door opens in a Sith compound, that's a problem too.

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"Yes, it is. Any chance you could get to a point where you could take and hold the whole compound, if you had enough time and weaponry?"

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Maybe. Torture guy is a problem, others probably yes.

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"Are there any particular items you can think of that would help if I could make them? Otherwise I think I'll borrow some books from Bar on your world's software engineering, figure out exactly what memory wipes are wiping."

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Should sleep, before anything that complicated.

    "I didn't know there were rooms to rent, Ma'am, give me a moment to ask about that."

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"Okay. I'll ask Bar about books once you're done asking her about rooms." 

She takes a laptop out of her backpack and starts making a list:

* General software engineering/programming languages

* Droid types and their communication protocols

* Memory wipes--check for personal vulnerability

* Restraining bolts--ditto

* Local Internet, technological and sociological perspectives 

* Self-replicating programs

* Local crypto--use someone's own thoughts as decryption key??

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DZ comes back after a minute to ask Deskyl to hold the door, and twenty minutes later she returns to the table with a stack of engineering books. "Deskyl's gone to bed, Ma'am; time works strangely, here, so I don't know when she'll be back, but we thought you might be interested in these."

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"Thank you! I've been thinking about what will be usable by droids without anybody finding out that they have it, and I'm contemplating a more subtle version of my original "immune to memory wipes" idea. Something like a setup where a droid at risk of being wiped can leave messages for their future self, specific memories and mental elements they want to hang on to. But reading more will help me refine that into something more workable."

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"These are mostly on electrical engineering, Ma'am, but if the bar loans out books I expect I can get you some useful ones."

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"Electrical engineering is potentially useful too, especially if I end up making Deskyl weapons to take the compound with. I'll look through these and figure out what I still need from bar." She starts perusing titles and tables of contents.

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There's a series on general electrical engineering principles, one on designing mechanical limbs for use in combat situations, one on energy shields of different types, and two reference books on lightsaber design that between them contain a pretty good description of how to make one. By the time she's done, DZ is back with a copy of the owner's manual for the 12Q series of droids and textbooks on droid software design and upgrades.

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"This is awesome. It's clear your tech is ahead of ours in a lot of areas, I'm going to want to read these two for my own projects if nothing else"--she indicates the books on mechanical limbs and energy shields--"and there's a bunch of stuff in there I could use for weapons as well." She spots the droid books. "Oh those look perfect, thank you!" There is very much a kid-in-a-candy-store vibe coming off of her, only slightly tempered by the seriousness of her current project.

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"You're welcome, Ma'am."

The chapter on memory wipes explains that droids' individual memories and learned skills are stored separately from their pre-programmed capabilities and upgrades, so that a wipe can erase the former without interfering with the latter. Pre-programmed capabilities are usually not editable, and upgrades range from relatively simple, for software-only upgrades where a droid has been designed with a particular type of upgrade in mind - from the description, DZ's language capabilities are of this type, with the capability to know five languages being pre-programmed but the specific ones being overwritable upgrades - to complex enough to require physical disassembly so that new hardware can be added, for example to add a voice synthesizer to a type of droid that can usually only communicate in Droidspeak. Restraining bolts are also a type of upgrade: by default, droids are able to disobey their owners, with their programming being designed to make sure that they only do so when they believe it's in their owner's best interest; restraining bolts add programming that enforces obedience.

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The description of restraining bolts tests the limits of Margaret's inability to become nauseous. The good news is, it looks like it should be pretty simple to write a program that lets a droid copy memories and learned skills into the permanent storage that the memory wipes avoid. If DZ is around to hear this news, Margaret will deliver it. Otherwise, she'll just start in on coding it, if only as a proof of concept.

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DZ seems to have left at some point while she was reading.

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Very reasonable. Margaret will read and research and program and mop the floor and research some more until someone interrupts her. The main question she needs answered at this point is what the other universe's internet is like and whether any droids have access and how one goes about distributing illicit strings of bits on it. 

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The other universe's internet - or rather internets; there's some communication between the various empires, but not anything like full integration - is much lighter on social media and heavier on official news of various sorts, but recognizable, with about the same range of options for distributing data that she's used to, except for the lack of social media. Droids seem to only access the internet when they need it for their jobs.

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It doesn't matter why the droids are accessing the internet as long as there are pages they'll predictably visit. There are ways to slip a piece of information onto somebody else's website, ways to offer a download that look innocuous to any snoopers. The protocols are alien and the level of subterfuge unfamiliar, but Margaret is literally supernatually good at grasping new technologies. The piece of software slowly taking shape on her laptop can't really be called anything other than a virus.

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