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Sep 16, 2019 4:11 AM
Upload and Daisy
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The time dilation seems to have calmed down, at least enough that Deskyl shows up for a normal human number of meals in that time.

Interesting, she reports of the headband-and-arm setup. It is affecting me, but I can compensate just fine. Might help for me to know more about how the arm works.

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"The headband analyzes how your brain moves your existing arms, then creates a replica of the relevant brain region and sets up a connection to the rest of your brain that parallels, but shouldn't interfere with, the equivalent areas for your other arms. If you're getting interference my guess would be that you're aware of your other arms via your power, and don't have a similar awareness of this one, but since I can't sense or operate on the phenomenon in question that really is just a guess."

Further exceedingly technical details ensue if and only if Deskyl wants them.

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It's something like that, yep, which is why knowing how the arm works will help. She's up for all the technical details Margaret can give her; by the end, she's borrowed a set of beanbags from the bar and is juggling them with all three arms while she listens.

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Here is how the arm's hardware works, down to the last motor and screw! Here is how the combat arms she plans to make will work, it's basically the same but bigger and stronger! Here is how she plans to mount them on Deskyl's back so they'll have plenty of reach but not get in the way! Talking shop is pretty great.

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It is! Deskyl keeps up with her pretty well, considering the difference in background, and points out a few places where she needs different features or priorities than Upload is assuming - she doesn't actually need a full hand's worth of dexterity for fighting, but she does need it hardened against lightning insofar as that's possible - she's available to help test - and it'd be nice to be able to straightforwardly mount a shield.

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Upload has been working on lightning-hardening for her own next chassis, as it happens, so the ability to do tests is several kinds of useful! Shields are pretty great; she can put one on like this or like that or, if she wants it to last longer without devoting more mass to the power pack, like so. She's happy to iterate as much as necessary to get Deskyl the best offense and defense she possibly can. The ability to borrow parts and tools from Bar and then give them back without being charged for them comes in very handy.

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And soon enough they have a finished model. Deskyl has already been practicing for hours a day, katas and precog and strength and reflex training, and now she redoubles her efforts, figuring out how to best incorporate her new abilities into her existing fighting forms and working to make them second nature. It goes quickly, and after a month and a half she reports that she's ready for her first foray back to her world. I'm going after Grauzatis - the torture guy - first, not my master. I only get the element of surprise once, and he's the harder fight.

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"Good luck!" Presumably DZ is on door-holding duty; Upload will be hovering nervously nearby.

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Not going just yet, wanted to give you time for anything last-minute. And I want to talk to you about something first, too.

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"Okay. What do you want to talk about?"

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I might not come back. If I don't, can you look after DZ?

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Upload nods solemnly. "Of course. We can go back out the door to my world, she'll be safe there. I'll make sure she's okay, I promise."

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She nods. Thank you.

She gets a good night's sleep, and has a good meal, and makes sure she's properly warmed up, and -

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-goes.

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Margaret sits in the bar and frets. If she had her next body and a few more combat courses she would have offered to help, but as she is she would be a liability. She's warned the infirmary staffperson that she might get a patient soon, and beyond that she's out of ideas.

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A dozen droids, recognizable from the manual as Grauzatis' assistants, show up after about twenty minutes, with what must have been his test subjects: A blue-scaled woman with a bad limp and heavy scarring where the scales have been removed is helped along by a subdued human woman, followed by a man with prosthetic legs, who looks a little shocked but seems otherwise fine. Two of the droids are half-carrying another man, wild-eyed and gagged, who struggles in their grasp without seeming to be quite aware of what he's doing, and two push a wheeled machine big enough to suggest it might contain another person, while another carries a woman who seems entirely unaware of her surroundings. The lead droid speaks briefly to DZ, and half of them bring their charges and the machine to the infirmary while the others wait with her.

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This seems like a good sign! She can explain Milliways to anyone who seems confused; otherwise, more waiting.

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The new droids are even harder to read than DZ, with her subtle body language, and the others are still in the infirmary when Deskyl returns, coming through the door at a quick jog with her right sleeve hanging half off below a nasty burn on her shoulder and her 'saber still lit. The patrons near the door cringe away from her, too, for unclear reasons.

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Margaret waves hello and says "Welcome back!" but doesn't get in the way in case Deskyl wants to go straight to the infirmary.

Meanwhile a woman with dark skin, white-blonde hair, and gorgeous butterfly wings floats out of the back, not appearing to need the wings to do so. "Hey," she says, "Can you, like, chill out with the emotion magic and the waving a weapon around and stuff? Or go out of the main bar area."

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She lunges at the butterfly-winged woman, saber humming as she strikes at her.

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The saber stops dead in midair; a moment later so do Deskyl's other limbs. It's like being encased in stone: she can clench her muscles all she likes and not move an inch. She finds herself floating off the ground, across the room, and into a Security holding cell. It has a padded bench and a force field.

"Welp, now you're gonna sit here for two hours subjective or until you pull yourself together, whichever takes longer. At least you only tried to stab me and not someone who coulda got hurt."

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DZ tries to follow them in.

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Deskyl growls, but it trails off after a moment and she backs off slightly, looking confused.

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DZ is stuck on the other side of the forcefield, but it impedes neither light nor sound and lets her get fairly close to the bench.

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    Are you all right, Ma'am?

 

I don't know.

 

    Are you hurt, aside from your shoulder?

No, I'm fine. But...

    to crave what the light does crave, she signs, and Deskyl relaxes, leaning against the wall.
    to shelter, to flee
    to gain desire of every splayed leaf
    to calm cattle, to heat the mare
    to coax dead flies back from slumber
    to turn the gaze of each opened bud
    to ripe the fruit to rot the fruit
    and drive down under the earth
    to lord gentle dust
    to lend a glancing grace to llamas
    to gather dampness from fields
    and divide birds
    and divide the ewes from slaughter
    and raise the corn and bend the wheat
    and drive tractors to ruin
    burnish the fox, brother the hawk
    shed the snake, bloom the weed
    and drive all wind diurnal
    to blanch the fire and clot the cloud
    to husk, to harvest, 
    sheave and chaff
    to choose the bird
    and voice the bird
    to sing us, veery, into darkness.
       
[source]

To rot the fruit, she nods. To drive tractors to ruin.

I should meditate.

    Yes Ma'am.

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