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May 25, 2019 5:15 PM
Mikoto and Elvira in Milliways
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"I think she's a bit overwhelmed right now. We can always come back later?" Mikoto says, and the elephant-man nods. To Elvira: "Now that you're healed, do you want me to explain more?"

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Flinch. (...of course they're testing her, they want to check if this mage walking in from another world has been properly taught and all that.)

She does her best at radiating compliance and well-taughtness. "At your disposal, ma'am."

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"Thank you for your time," she says to the elephant-person, who nods, then gestures for Elvira to follow her. She stops in a hallway, leans against the wall. "Alright. Look. You don't have to do what I say. If I attacked you, I'd be the one thrown in a cell to cool off. I don't have enough information to know why you're obeying random people, but - whoever's where you came from most likely can't follow. Time's almost always paused in source worlds; only time I've heard of that not happening was when someone dreamed themselves in, or if they had active interdimensional communication with home."

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She follows. She attempts to parse this.

Time paused and whoever's-where-she-came-from-most-likely-can't-follow - that's important. Probably makes it less likely her captors sent her through on purpose (unless they didn't know about that), which really already didn't make much sense. And if it's true then she's - pretty thoroughly essentially-kidnapped, unless there's some way around it and the CIA will both realize they should figure it out and do that. (Accidentally kidnapped, so to speak, which doesn't really happen often (in modern times, she thinks) but did ever show up in lectures as a concept.)

And - the woman is trying to tell her that - she's not the one in charge of her, someone else is, and they'll be mad at her if she hits their mage? Something like that?

Looking down. "Yes ma'am. I'm sorry ma'am.

Might I know who is in charge of me here ma'am?"

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"No one. You're in charge of yourself. That's thoroughly true in Milliways, and would be true in many of the worlds you could possibly go to upon leaving. Which you don't, actually, ever have to do - you can stay here, rooms aren't free but there's work you can do, and if you decide to leave you don't have to go back to your world. If you open the door it'll lead to where you came from - and if I opened it, it'd go to my world."

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Flinch and shiver. That is - too far for testing (or at least far enough that she can't respond in usual ways without risking getting into arguing). Arguing with humans does not become allowed if they're saying things that are blatantly not the case.

She already said she's a mage; she doesn't know how people in actual real life other worlds might mark their mages but she is wearing a magic containing collar (two of them even) and chains, it doesn't seem likely lack of clarity is the issue here. (Which is good; trying to walk the line between 'arguing' and 'letting someone think she is not what she is' does not sound like an entertaining activity.)

Presumably at some point whoever is more in charge here or deals with mages here or whatever will come along and actually handle her. (And probably issue a punishment lest she get ideas from being told she's in charge of herself, but what is there to do about it.)

"I'm sorry, ma'am," she says. Tries to see if there'll be any indication of what she should possibly do in the meanwhile. 

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"Are the chains magic? I can likely get them off if not, or if any magic doesn't add to durability or prevent picking locks. If I can't, we can probably find someone in the main room who can."

"I feel, perhaps, I should clarify. You are not a prisoner here. You are not a slave here. You can legally and without repercussions tell me to fuck off. If you did, I'd leave you alone and return to my seat to keep trying to gather resources."

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"I don't know, ma'am. I could check if you would want." Basic sensing is permitted before the four days are over, and not blocked by either of her collars.

...Maybe testing after all, just for whether she'll try anything and not for whether drop to her knees and look very obeisant. She's not sure what to say - yes ma'am sounds like it might make it worse when whoever will actually be in charge shows up with punishment, but what else is there? She tries not saying anything.

(New situation (a whole new extreme level of new even) means likely punishments all over the place until she learns the specifics of how everything's done here. Which - nothing to do about that either. Maybe it won't be as bad as the Authority of Mages.

Maybe she'll get lucky and it won't even be as bad as the CIA.)

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"That would, in fact, be appreciated."

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"Yes, ma'am." She checks. It wouldn't be weird if some chains didn't have any magic on them - the point of chains is getting in the way of physical movements someone doesn't want a mage making; humans aren't about to let a mage be in position to start breaking chains or picking locks. These ones do have magic as it turns out though; probably to annoy the CIA if and when they'd get her back.

"Magic, ma'am," she reports.

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"Do you know what it's likely to do? I can rather easily pick a lock, or I have a tool that will cut metal but not flesh, if it won't hinder those."

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"Durability and anti-lock-picking, as you said, ma'am. Not too much, ma'am." Probably had other things they wanted to spend their magic resources on.

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"So it won't attempt to kill me - or you - if I try cutting them."

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She checks again, because that would be even worse to be wrong on than usual. 

"No, ma'am."

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"I'm going to remove them, now," she warns, before approaching Elvira closer and removing what looks like a cross between a tube of lipstick and a large floss-stick, that develops a glowing blue beam at a subtle movement from Mikoto. It slices through the chains easily.

"Anything special about the collars?" Mikoto asks, after she's removed everything not next to someone's neck.

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The chains will put up some resistance but the magic is just some extra durability; if her instrument can get through that then they'll give way. Elvira is still and cooperative and compliant.

 

Sudden shock of terror. It hadn't occurred to her to think of them when she'd thought of the chains, not even approaching the same sort of category in her mind. But she's in a different world, that connects to multitudes of them. Has no idea how they do things here - for all she knows they'd expect an implant for the power control.

"They're what contain and control permission for mages' magic in - the world I'm from, ma'am."

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"If I take them off, does the magic revert to your control?"

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Terror. 

If the earlier things weren't testing she's worried that saying it's illegal will get her too close to arguing. Or just not help. (She is, of course, not in any way thinking that saying she will be tortured a lot will help.)

"They'll explode ma'am."

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"Why? How do you prevent them from exploding?"

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"It's an involution of energy with - my magic, ma'am.

When one is exchanged for another it can be done safely."

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"What happens if one is removed entirely? Are you unable to control your own magic?"

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"I'm sorry, I don't understand." 

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"If I removed the collars, ensuring no direct backlash from them, and did not put on a new collar or equivalent, what happens?"

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Trembling. But she can't not answer a direct question. "A mage without a working collar can use their magic without permission, ma'm."

And - she doesn't know what will help, she doesn't know what to say - "Please ma'am -" She'd drop to her knees except the woman hadn't liked that - 

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"No one here needs permission to use magic that doesn't involve others. You can do whatever you want with your own self. You don't need to ever return to your source world. Whatever consequences you would face there don't matter."

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