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Aug 24, 2019 11:30 AM
Upload and Daisy
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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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...you missed... Bar, last three papers I published, please?

They appear. They're quite a bit more advanced, on the topic of lightsaber design, than anything in the books she's read so far.

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"Oh wow, this is some cool stuff! I guess I can just leave anything weapon-related to you and focus on coding, then."

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She grins, then sighs.

Not enough focus to do anything really good, right now. But my 'saber is one of the best, yeah, hard to improve that.

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"I hope you get better soon," she says sympathetically. "And I'd love to see your lightsaber sometime."

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We'll see.

That's not a thing you ask a Sith.

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"Oh, sorry. Um, I take it back?"

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It's okay, you didn't know.

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"I'm surprised we haven't had more of that sort of thing. It's kind of weird that both our universes have humans, let alone mutually comprehensible cultures."

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I guess.

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"How much trouble understanding each other do different species in your world have?"

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Varies hugely, mostly with amount of contact. Droids are good at figuring it out, though.

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"Huh. Anything else I should be thinking about while I write this program?"

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Droids aren't dumb, but they're super inexperienced, and bad at thinking about themselves - you've noticed with mine probably, and she's older than most and I've been working with her. There's all kinds, in all kinds of situations, but they're all made to work, and to want to. You could maybe do different messages for the different classes, to give different reasons to use it. You definitely have to assume one of them will tell someone eventually, though - no matter how convincing you are, there'll be one somewhere with orders. And - slow is okay, maybe even good; there are lots of droids, and only one door.

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"Yeah. I'll want to ask DZ for help when I'm writing the messages; she has understanding I can't easily get secondhand. And yes, slow but eventually lots is better than a bunch at once and then nothing. As for someone telling somebody, it might be that the best I can do is keep switching around what pages I'm using as carriers, make sure the original transmission can't be traced back here, and add something so that any description of where to go is only accessible to droids who have used the software to preserve memories. But I'll keep looking for ideas."

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Deskyl nods. Not my specialty, but doesn't sound obviously wrong.

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Upload turns back to her screen unless it seems like Deskyl is about to say something else.

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Deskyl goes back to her room, and it's a few weeks before Margaret sees her again, though DZ comes down regularly for food and to check on her - quite regularly, in fact; they quickly work out that time is passing between four and five times as quickly in Deskyl's room as in the main bar. (DZ apologizes for interrupting her too often.)

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Margaret apologizes for her software progress being so slow, but within a few weeks of her own subjective time she has a package of programs with all the features she discussed and then some. It hides itself among rarely-accessed files so it's nearly impossible to detect, and the only memory it preserves automatically is the fact of its own existence and the understanding of how and why to use it. She asks DZ to review the "documentation" parts and their explanations of why it's a good idea to remember more things even if one's master mistakenly believes it isn't.

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DZ isn't much help - she can tell when something's wrong, but she rarely has any idea how to fix it - but she's very patient, and the documentation comes together eventually.

Deskyl comes down to the bar eventually, looking alert and watchful and not at all as though she's just spent the last two months doing nothing but sleeping, and comes over to ask Bar for an NQ- line sparring droid and a blinding helmet.

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Upload has been in the main bar area except when it's time to sleep and charge her batteries so she can see anyone else who shows up. The few people who have been in and out haven't resulted in anything other than casual conversation and something to do during her cleaning shifts, but at least they've kept her from going stir-crazy.

"Hello again!" she calls out to Deskyl with a little wave, then wonders if the translation effect still works when one person is receiving her speech as sign language and looking the other way.

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It works well enough, apparently. Hi. I'm going to go practice precog, you can come watch if you want.

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"That sounds fun." She stands up from the chair where she was programming, which at this point looks identical to staring into space--she built a development environment into her head to work faster.

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She goes out back, and when she's gotten a bit of distance from the door she puts the helmet on and releases the spherical machine into the air. Don't get too close, she signs. Lightsabers are very dangerous and I can't tell where you are.

Then she lowers the opaque visor of the helmet and lights her 'saber, and the sphere begins shooting what seem to be bolts of light at her, just one every few seconds, moving between shots to make their trajectories unpredictable. Deskyl parries with her 'saber, sending two shots rebounding off into the trees before she tags the droid with one, the bolt crackling against its shields. It speeds up, and so does she, but soon she's hitting it with nearly every shot anyway, faster and faster, turning and spinning in a deadly dance.

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This is extremely impressive and gets Upload thinking about radar. She adds some notes to the big file of Things To Remember When I Go Back to Whateley, along with people's names and her class schedule and what day of the month it is there.

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Deskyl goes on for some fifteen minutes; if Margaret's watching closely enough, she'll see that she begins to slow, very slightly, near the end. She keeps going until the robot beeps to indicate the end of the session, though, and as she's taking her helmet off, it reports that she parried 100% of its shots and hit it with 97.3% of them. Horrible, she signs.

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