Feb 23, 2020 6:53 PM
Verity portalsnaked to MidChilda
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"Yes.  Seeing new places, anyway.  I don't know how well I'd do going anywhere completely unknown."

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Eelesia nods. "It sounds like you needed the escapism, more than anything."

A message arrives. She reads it.

"Our medical staff can be ready for you in twenty minutes. Is that okay?"

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"That's fine."  

She watches Eelesia to see if they should be standing up and going somewhere, or if the medical staff will be coming to them.  

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Eelesia smiles at her guests' apparent restlessness.

"I can teleport us when its time. Or, we could go on a little adventure and race to the edge..."

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She had forgotten about instant teleportation.  Still, "A race sounds like fun."

Verity will need a moment to get on Araeneve's back, then lines up to start running.

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Eelesia pings the interior traffic server. A pair of illuminated trails light up inside the mirror-floor outside her sunken work area, flashing along in sequence, vanishing to a point in the far distance where a hair-thin line of light reveals the sky outside.

A ripple in space-time shakes the clutter on Eelesia's desks as she lifts off, hovering up to to float over Verity's shoulder. Lines of violet light glint along the seams in her form-fitting armor. It is rather a point of pride with Eelesia that she is among the exceptional few who can fly without a spell, on sheer power and mental focus, respiring mana in a way that creates localized turbulence in the dimensional sea, warping space around her body to create propulsion. She doesn't expect Verity and Araeneve to notice the significance of the skill but does maybe look a little smug.

"Ready when you are."

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Verity counts down, then they start racing. 

Suicune are pretty fast when they get going, nearly twice as fast as a cheetah and with more than enough stamina to go to the wall and back several times over without tiring.

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Eelesia waits to see how fast they are before catching up easily and keeping pace in the air beside them. She slaloms playfully from one side to the other.

It's twenty miles to the edge, a ten-minute journey.

That thread of light in the distance... is not a wall.

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Verity is not good at chicken.  They slow to a comfortable stop, unwinded by the brief run, then pad the remaining few feet to look at the not-a-wall.

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They're very high. A forcefield keeps the wind out, but there is no wall and no window, and they're high enough to see significant curvature of the planet. The city spreads across the land below, diminishing into suburbs and parkland towards the horizon.

Directly below, many more conventional skyscrapers, great gleaming testaments to free-handed architects, reach up towards them, looking like toys.

A handful of tiny specks that might be vehicles or people descend toward the metropolis below, from elsewhere.

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"Come on. It's safe. I promise."

She drifts out through the forcefield, her hair streaming in the wind. Then she cuts her propulsion and drops like a stone.

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It's not more dangerous looking than the air-stunts people like to do in the ships, and Eelesia seems unlikely to want her dead and more than able to catch her.  After a moment of steeling herself, they take a leap out of the tower chasing her.  

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Unprotected ears pop.

The strobing holographic trails continue, marking a path straight down through open air.

Eelesia is falling backwards, but when she sees Verity and Araeneve catching up, she spins into a dive. This is a much more fair contest, purely about gravity and aerodynamics. And in that at least Araeneve has her beat. Eelesia falls behind.

At about twice again the altitude of the tallest skyscraper, they fall through a screen of light. The air in front of them luminesces, like a re-entry burn, but its not hot. It doesn't burn. The drag field slows them gently from terminal velocity to a fall speed that even an unaided human could survive, as the holographic trails curve up into a gliding path to lead them toward a large balcony on the side of a skyscraper that is adorned with a big green plus sign.

Eelesia lets Verity and Araeneve touch down first, then darts down to alight beside them.

"Fun, huh? But just so you know, the safety barrier doesn't cover the whole city. Just 1st district. So."

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Even after a little while of slow descent to calm down, Verity's hands are still bunched white-knuckled in her daemon's mane.  She debates with herself for a moment.  Yeah, it was fun, though she thinks she'd prefer a solid hang glider if she does it again, barrier or not.  She takes note of the barrier's location, and nods.  

"Where are we now?"

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"First Veteran Medical Center."

The balcony they're on is maybe a hundred stories up, and is sectioned off into what appear to be several different kinds of landing pad, but that side of the building directly faces a chasm between skyscrapers, a massive thoroughfare running into the base pillar of the vaguely mushroom-shaped space tower.

Eelesia leads them inside, into a massive but comfy-looking lobby. The boy at the reception desk (also wearing another variation on waist-and-cape coverage that shows off a bit of bare chest) is expecting them. He gawks at Araeneve but keeps it subtle. He tells them that Healer Zenos will be with them momentarily and to please have a seat while they wait.

The lobby isn't empty, but it's big enough relative to the small number of waiting patients that it feels empty.

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She sits, noticing the room size and the size of the people.  "If you don't have daemons, why are the rooms here so large?"

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Eelesia looks around at the perfectly normal... okay, actually, yes. Objectively speaking, there does tend to be more room than necessary, most places.

"Hm. I've never really thought about it, but now that you ask, I suppose its because it doesn't really cost us more or take more time to build big than it does to build small, so really the only constraint on size would be the inherent impracticality experienced by people who cannot teleport or fly."

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"This room wouldn't be out of place on Citadel of Spring, the ship designed to accommodate the largest daemons, but we don't have anything like the large room we jumped down from.  My ancestors had less resources and time when they were putting the ships together.  

"Can many people here teleport or fly?"

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"Linker capacity obeys a logarithmic curve. The low end is limited to operating thaumtronics, and around the fortieth percentile is where an average person might begin to accomplish more with magic than with physical strength and also where it becomes practical to maintain a Barrier Jacket. Anyone can cast a flight spell with the aid of a Device, but to overcome habitable gravity one typically needs to be in the sixtieth percentile or higher. I am able to generate a twelve-G warp bubble without any technological aid. That's rare. To put that in perspective, I'm ninety-sixth percentile and my linker capacity is measured in grams. Ninety-ninth percentile capacities are measured in kilograms of mana, though; I think there are only like a dozen of those in the whole system---three of them are super famous actually."

"Teleporting via dimensional transfer is complicated and highly variant in power requirements but ends up being doable routinely by about a third of our trained agents. Flight is mostly a measure of raw ability while teleporting mostly isn't."

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Verity focuses intensely, trying to follow that.  She was never good at math.  Do the percentiles go before or after the logarithmic-ing?  Well, there are only a dozen 99ths in the system and more than 1200 people living here.  So sixtieth percentile is probably something less than 40% of the population.

"I think you might have more people who can learn to teleport than we do, if agents aren't too unusual in capacity.  Most people who can learn to teleport on the fleet do so.  Flying is more commonly learnable than teleport for us, but less often learned."

Depending on how short 'momentarily' means in this culture, she might not have time to ask more clarifying questions.

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"You have teleportation? Without---"

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A door opens and out steps the hottest guy they have ever met. Even by the standards of a post-ailment post-scarcity civilization, he is striking on the level of a superstimulus optimized for the alien standards of beauty present in Childan society.

As per protocol, his Barrier Jacket is deployed. The design might be slightly inappropriate for a medical professional but the highly personal nature of one's Barrier Jacket gets a lot of leeway in this society, and he considers the occasional sexism from women who don't take attractive young men very seriously to be part of the fun. Black, layered, form-fitting trousers with strategic cutouts and glowing emerald embroidery, tucked into greaves with green armor plates around the ankle. An entirely bare torso, barring a few strategically placed emerald straps. Tight, cape-like sleeves across his shoulders and down his arms, threaded with fastening belts covered in more glowing emerald embroidery. On his left wrist, a chrome bracer set with a large emerald jewel.

He takes in the sight of Araeneve and gives them a warm, professional smile. "We're ready for you now."

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In retrospect, she isn't sure why she expected alien doctors to wear the same pink and white uniforms as fleet ones.  That's going to be rather distracting, and she intentionally forces her view on the door frame behind him, flustered.  Maybe people here are just used to this, and she doesn't want to be the weird one.  

"Okay," she says, standing up.  If this is anything like doctor visits on the fleet there'll be an examination room, though she supposes he might just wave his hands and do some kind of alien healing magic in the lobby.

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(He mentally notes Verity's flustered effort to avoid ogling him with a small amount of concerned interest but doesn't acknowledge it since that sort of thing isn't relevant in his current professional capacity.)

Healer Zenos leads them down a short spacious hallway into a cavernous circular room. The wall(s) are display screens. A white Static Circle hums softly overhead in the center of the ceiling. The center of the room has a circular raised dais, about a foot high, illuminated from within with a softer white light.

"We'll be performing a PADATS and a HORI, is that correct?"

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"Yes, that's right."

Eelesia is too demisexual for unexpected physical hotness to fluster her in the first place, and she can also multitask well enough to ogle the pretty without losing any other trains of thought. But she does stare a bit.

"That's a Phase Aligned Deep Axis Topology Scry and a Hyperlight Ordered Refraction Imaging," Eelesia explains helpfully.

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