Feb 26, 2020 1:23 AM
Verity portalsnaked to MidChilda
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Verity is wandering through the farms of the generational ship Aureolin Marsh, riding on the back of her daemon.  Here, surrounded by green plants on all sides, it's almost easy to forget that she's not in some forest on a planet. 

Something large comes slithering up behind her.  An onix?  She turns around just in time to see a mirror approaching.  Then her and her daemon mount are swallowed up.  

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Pedestrians on this wide, landscaped, glass-bottomed bridge (mostly professional-looking women), yelp in surprise and scatter at the strange apparition in their midst.

Towering superstructures connect to either end of the bridge, stretching down through a few scattered clouds to the surface streets far below, and up to pierce the vast blue sky.

A vast blue sky that is full of moons. Or rather, planets. Looming huge, impossibly close, there are at least five green-blue spheres wrapped in the white of clouds, each rimmed by an odd halo of color. Each identical, though showing a different face.

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Verity has just enough time to stop herself from falling before she gets distracted by the sky.  She stares at the planets, buildings, and clouds with confusion, unable to place what she's seeing.  

Everything is so big, and so distant.  

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Among the passers-by who don't hurry on their way, there are a handful of women in pantsuits who seem to be speaking into holographic interfaces or holding said interfaces up, recording, while others still seem to be scrolling through pages of information that to their frustration and/or excitement cannot identify the stranger's mount.

A (young?) man dressed in a half-cape with epaulets picks up a little girl who squirms and protests, "Daddy! I wanna pet the blue doggy!"

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Araeneve is paying a little more attention to the people, and notices something alarming immediately.  None of the people around here seem to have daemons. 

This snaps Verity out of her thoughts and prompts her to look around, too.  The clothing is also different than she's used to.  Holographic interfaces aren't unheard of, but she's not used to them being so common, either.  

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There is, indeed, not a daemon in sight.

And there are a lot of people. Less than a hundred on this bridgeway, growing in number as more passers-by stop to see what the fuss is about, but other bridges between buildings wind through the great glassy edifices. In one direction the city continues all the way to the horizon, above and behind which looms a tower of impossible scale, surrounded by moving lights. In the other direction, the city tapers down, thinning into vast, cultivated parks that might or might not transition into lush forest about fifty miles off.

Ahead, inside the building at the end of this bridge, is a gorgeously decorated complex of multiple restaurants. Behind, inside the building at the other end of this bridge, is what appears to be an office complex and a showroom for what is probably some form of modern art.

Gawkers murmur to each other curiously but no one thinks to question or interfere with the woman on the unidentified creature. After all, there're too many summons-species, familiar-species, and imported aliens to keep track of, and teleporting outside authorized transit points is a crime that is only slightly more severe than speeding in a groundcar.

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She should probably find someone to explain what happened, or where she is.  That's going to be difficult, considering the visceral reaction of horror at their lack of visible souls.  They don't seem to be zombies, so maybe they're in another place nearby?  She can't imagine a good reason to separate everyone, though.  

With the lack of anyone suspicious nearby who might have been responsible, she heads in the direction of the office complex. 

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People get out of her way. The little girl squirms and makes another demand to pet the blue doggy. One woman steps off the side of the bridgeway and flies under her own power to the next bridge over. A few people gawk at that, but it is approximately one-quarter as interesting as the majestic alien dog-creature.

Inside the office complex, there are cavernous, tastefully decorated floors of desks and holographic screens, sparsely occupied. The lobby is suspended, giving a view into three such floors, connected by wide staircases to one side. There is a rather generic corporate logo etched in glass behind a wide, ivory reception desk.

The receptionist is an extremely pretty young man, dressed in a symmetrical golden split cape over a sheer white fishnet shirt with bangles at the ribs and a low-cut pair of airy silken trousers. He watches the approaching alien beast with noticeable this-is-outside-my-job-description alarm.

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Verity dismounted Araeneve just before entering the building, but the suicune is still following close behind.  They'd never had an especially long range from each other, even after Araeneve had settled into such a large shape.  

She feels distinctly out of place in the large and fancy structure.  Her own clothing is decent, made of silk in every shade of blue and woven with bits of crystal in elaborate fractal patterns trailing down from the shoulders, but she didn't grab her finest outfit to tromp about in the farm district.  It's about as ratty an outfit as she was allowed to wear, as a Legendary, the pants in a slightly different array of blue shades where they'd been replaced once before from mud and tearing through brambles.  The boots only match in that they are blue.

She walks up to the receptionist and tries, "Hello. I was teleported to the bridge outside against my will by some kind of... mirror?  I'm not sure where I am."

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Receptionist boy visibly relaxes.

"Welcome to Vivid. We're located on the 140th floor of the Arylide Plaza, South Cranagan 4th District. How may I help you?"

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"I'm not sure.  The mirror teleported me somewhere far enough away that I don't recognize any of that.  Originally I was on a sub-light generational ship, travelling through space.  Is there... some kind of place where people who suddenly appear are supposed to go?"

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"Oh, that does sound like quite a trip. Yes, I do believe I can call the local TSAB office. They should know what to do. One moment."

Receptionist boy calls up a holographic screen and talks to an incident handler, who agrees to send someone to pick up the displaced individual and help her out.

"All good. Someone's on the way."

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"Thank you."  

Now she can just kind of stand around and wait for them to arrive, and gawk at the architecture.  Not that there weren't large and opulent rooms on the ships, but they went for different aesthetics.  

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An intricate circular diagram of scintillating violet light unfolds at the back of the room, in a clearly-marked section of floorspace. It builds itself from a point, spreading out. It rotates... only it is more like it is rapidly reforming itself than actually rotating. It is not a hologram. The light it gives off is nearly tangible.

A svelte woman appears, slipping into existence through rended spacetime. She wears elaborate layers of form-fitting subtly glowing purple armor decorated heavily with dark blue opals and accented by detached white sleeves on all four limbs that do not appear to obey the laws of physics. She is standing on the not-hologram, about a foot off the floor.

She hops off and approaches. "Hello! TSAB General Affairs Agent Eelesia Rimac. I understand you two are quite significantly displaced. Would you like to come talk about what we can do about that?"

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"Sure.  I'm Verity-and-Araeneve.  Do you get people displaced by mirrors often?"

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Eelesia beckons toward her magic circle.

"Mirrors in particular weren't involved in any of the incidents I'm familiar with. There was a mirror?"

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"I was walking through a farm and heard something coming up from behind us.  All I saw was a mirror coming towards me, and then I was here."

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"How odd."

She moves to the middle of her magic Circle.

"Step onto the Circle, please."

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Right.  She doesn't feel especially confident about the magic circle, but there's not much choice.  Verity and Araeneve step on at once, Verity's hand in Araeneve's mane, just in case it transports them immediately.  

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The Circle is... not quite solid, but solid enough, and provides an incongruous amount of traction.

It doesn't transport them immediately. Eelesia has to center herself and then use the Circle as the firmament of and fulcrum for the mana pattern she emits from her own body.

Navigation will, of course, be handled by her Intelligent Device. "Destination: Traceback."

Soaring Anima responds in a synthetic feminine voice, DIMENSIONAL TRANSFER.

And now they're somewhere else.

A cavernous space, big enough to hold the detailed holographic map of all nine of the primary dimensionally linked Childas and surrounding star systems at something close to accurate scale. A smooth, mirror-finish floor extends into the distance in every direction. Every hundred feet or so, large, lit-up work areas are sunken into the floor. Each pit is as large as some apartments, ringed by sofa-like seating, and contains a center of holographic screens, desks, chairs, a break area, and a meeting area.

Eelesia's is much like the countless others spaced across this vast chamber. She steps off the Circle and down the handful of steps, beckoning Verity and Araeneve towards the console at the center. As soon as they follow her, the Circle disassembles itself, scattering into motes of purple light.

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They follow, Verity still holding her daémon's mane and letting her guide as she's distractedly craning her neck to look at everything.

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Eelesia takes a seat on a plush armchair in the meeting nook.

"So, first thing. What would you say your highest or most urgent priority is right now?"

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She has to think about that for a minute.  They weren't really needed for anything important on the ships, and would rather not go back anyway.

"More information about... everything.  Why people don't have their daémons around.  Where I am - I'm guessing this is a planet?"

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"Yes." She points up at the second planet from the star, in the center layer of the nine parallel star systems. "That one."

She goes on to explain, "The Time-Space Administration Bureau is the coordinating organization for an interstellar and interdimensional disaster prevention and relief force. We're headquartered here, on MidChilda. General Affairs Agents like me don't get involved in Lost Logia containment or other big disasters you might have heard about, but it is still my job to prevent and to solve problems, only the problems I deal with are the small, civil ones. Like ensuring that situations such as yours result in the least possible hardship on all sides."

Eelesia pauses, thoughtful. (While her device, Soaring Anima, does a context search for "daemon". She gets many results, none of them usefully clarifying.)

"I'm sorry, I don't know what a 'daemon' is, so I can't answer why none are present."

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"I'm a daemon," Araeneve speaks up.  Suicune aren't gendered, but the voice sounds more masculine than feminine.  "Daemon are the souls of our person, in physical form.  Everyone has one - at least that we've ever seen before today, and different people get different shapes with different abilities.  We can't go very far from each other, and it's painful to come into contact with a person who isn't our own."  

"We just arrived today, less than an hour ago," Verity says.  "Before that, our ships never got into contact with people outside of our fleet.  About 200 years ago, our people used to live in a pocket dimension of some kind, with a single planet in it.  The pocket dimension began to die, and they built a fleet of ships to go to a new one.  They made it to a much larger universe, but between stars, and have been going towards the closest likely planet ever since."

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"Ooh. What can you tell me about this pocket dimension? Size? Properties? Boundary conditions? Was its field neutrality higher-energy or lower-energy than real space? Do you know what caused it to collapse? Did it have any mappings to imaginary..."

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