Jul 04, 2020 10:54 AM
A Margaret in a transdimensional transhumanist beauty salon
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"What, like Harry Potter or something? Worlds with secret magic where everything that makes the history books goes the same even though it's all different underneath?"

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"Yes. It's very strange!"

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"Yeah. Speaking of masquerades, why isn't the multiverse and stuff common knowledge back home? I've been keeping everything secret out of, like, general worry about disrupting the status quo, but unless I'm somehow the first person from my world to find out that doesn't explain much."

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"For why I haven't broken it - I generally try to avoid being too open when visiting a world without apparent magic, because some places with masquerades have laws against breaking said masquerades - at the nicest - or even have some sort of automatic magical enforcement, and some places are subtly anti-magic, and it isn't always easy for me to tell what's going on right away. You actually might be the first person from your world to interact with an actual vanishing store or some other method of inter-dimensional travel, at least in a situation where you could record it and not have it taken as a myth."

"There aren't many proprietors of vanishing stores willing to visit magic-less places, too, and most of my sort have some kind of personal investment in not being broadly known about."

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"That makes sense. I'll probably keep on saying nothing; too many unknown unknowns to want to get into as a random high school student, and I don't want to cause someone to come bother you."

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"It's possible there's advances you could move more subtly to your world, too, especially once out of high school."

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"Yeah, I'm going to be reverse-engineering myself anyway, I guess it makes sense to patent anything patent-worthy if the original inventors aren't around to lose any revenue from it."

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"I think your world also has something about things getting into the public domain eventually?"

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"Public domain is definitely a thing but I don't remember if it's about patents or copyright. I'll look it up when I need to know it. Oh, speaking of needing to do things, I might need to go home soon; let me check the time."

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"Clock room hasn't moved since last time you were here, thankfully..."

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And how about time back home, has that moved? One of these days she's going to get unlucky with the time difference and have to do a lot of explaining to her parents. She should probably tell them before that happens, really, but between the debt and the technically not being human anymore she's not sure how well they'll take it.

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It hasn't moved as much as she's been here, but she should probably start heading home soon.

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She says her goodbyes, goes home--and then, as soon as it's too late to turn back, kicks herself for not getting Silv's contact information. She's going to have to hope they're there at the same time again, or get Marel to pass a message.

She tries out some partial truths on her parents; they end up believing she's a human with a very cool dragon-shaped vehicle, doing an unpaid internship at a store they're willing to believe is at least science-fictionally weird. Now at least if she stays out too long she can say she got held up at work.

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Work continues being available, at least. The store seems fond of her.

Margaret does, soon enough, get another partnered mission - with Silv again.

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"Silv! Hi! I was hoping we'd run into each other again."

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"Hey Margaret!" they call. "And yeah, same."

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"We should ask Marel if there's a way to send each other email or something."

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"Yeah! Email's that computer letter thing, right?"

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"Yeah! It's great, the messages go through instantly and it's much harder to lose them than paper letters. At least within a single planet's internet, anyway, I have no idea if there's a way to make it work between worlds."

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"Maybe the building could - I don't know, hold the emails and then send them all out when it connects to a world? Like a post master."

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"Yeah, if you made an email server that could talk to various worlds' internet and put it in the building that would do it. Except your world doesn't have internet access yet, so it wouldn't work for emailing you in particular. We might just want to leave each other paper letters."

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"I actually pretty much just hang out here or on missions or assorted other worlds. Would get anything sent to the building pretty soon after it arrives. Still, I don't really know a lot about email or internet stuff..."

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"Then leaving notes is probably best. Though, I could show you the Internet if you wanted to visit my world sometime."

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"I'd love that."

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"I would too. But right now we're apparently supposed to be exploring a sunken ship, which should be pretty cool."

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