Sep 23, 2019 7:09 AM
Foresight in the less fun parts of Kith
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"Sure; it's not like I'm going to run out of plants. How about in the shade of that tree over there?"

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"I don't want to put it very close to the tree in case they compete for water, but close enough to be shaded part of the day works."

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"Yeah, and if we put it too close we'll hit roots when we try to dig holes for them. Speaking of which, I bet I can make you a shovel handle for that rock you're digging with. Can you hold it out for a minute?"

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"Sure." Kiray holds out the rock.

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Margaret turns both arms from scales to skin just to be safe, then extrudes a single long branch that grows around the rock, leaving the sharpest edge exposed, with an approximate handle on the other end and an ultra-thin bit so she can remove it easily. It's not the most pleasant experience--the branch tugs on her skin weirdly--but when she's done Kiray has a pretty good approximation of a shovel.

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"Thanks!" says Kiray, and she resumes working more efficiently.

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Margaret joins in the digging whenever her plant-creation gets ahead of places to put them, with a metal shovel this time. "Anything I make that isn't biological disappears when I let go of it," she explains.

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"Why?"

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"Magical girl powers are weird, Earth scientists don't really know what's going on with them. Anything that counts as part of my body sticks around; anything that doesn't disappears. I can delete things too--if I put something in a pocket and then stop having the pocket, it's gone."

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"Huh."

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"Yeah." Dig holes, plant plants, futile attempt to come up with a polite way of asking "So are you going to start having sex with Daz and Sovi and if so can you give me five minutes warning first," give up and say nothing, more planting.

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Daz wakes up. Kiray starts talking to him in their language.

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Margaret is trying to pick out words she recognizes and speculating on the mechanics of making people when she suddenly interrupts with, "The vast knowledge of Earth is not mine to have, but mine to give to someone new."

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Kiray blinks at her, interrupting herself midsentence.

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She takes a moment out of being shocked by the implications to explain. "One of the things my magic does is . . . that. I say things I have no way of knowing, and they turn out to be true. This one means that if I make a person, I can give them knowledge that people where I came from have, even if I don't have it myself. I could make someone who knows medicine, mining, cooking, building things . . . someone who could start building this round up to a higher level of technology." Then it's back to being shocked.

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"Should I not have made her?" Sovi asks, pointing at Kiray. (Kiray seems unperturbed by the question.)

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"If she's glad she exists, it's probably good that you made her," she says, twisting one of her rings around and around on her finger. "And even if I make someone who knows more than all of us put together we can all still help with stuff, I'm pretty sure it takes multiple people to build lots of things."

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"All right," says Sovi.

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"Can you teach me everything you know about making people? I'm going to want to get this exactly right the first time."

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"I'm not sure where to start."

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"Well, what's it like? Do you have to hold everything about the person in your head at once, or can you build up a model over time? What does making someone good at a skill entail, do you have to think about a specific person to copy or can you just think "really good at such and such"?

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"I don't actually know how much of what I guessed is right," Sovi points out. "Kiray has some things I came up with before I made her and wasn't thinking about at that moment, but not all of them. She has some skills I tried to make her good at but not all of them."

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"Can you think of any differences between the skills you successfully gave her and the ones you didn't? Either differences in the skills themselves, or in how you tried to impart them?"

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"She can sing, which I wasn't trying very hard to put in, but not do any of the things you were talking about people doing on your world besides farming. I was trying hardest for farming, though."

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"Okay. What's 'trying harder' like, is it concentrating harder or thinking about it in more detail or something else?"

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