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Nov 28, 2020 12:44 AM
Lenora and Thorn do a tour of duty
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"I don't trust it either, but it's paying my lunch ticket so..."

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"Personally I would describe the OTC as generally benign. It actually cares about the flourishing of sentient life, in its own weird way, and in general it doesn't make things worse. Which is pretty good for a self-interested company."

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"Meanwhile you can hardly trust the Windward Company not to cut its own purse or hamstrings while scrabbling for more cash. And they have a military. Which I deserted. That's my experience with companies."

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"Yeah, I can definitely see why you'd be hesitant." Thorn says, settling in on the bed.

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"It sure would be nice if the OTC happened to be shaped in such a way that everything it touches is made good, but the world isn't really shaped like that in my experience. I'll believe it when I see it."

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"Yeah, it's not all sweetness and light. The OTC is still a corporation, and even when it has beneficient impulses they're mostly for PR. It's just that the OTC's PR budget is way too large."

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"Mm. Where do you two live?"

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"I've got a personal demiplane apartment. Built the demiplane myself."

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"I live close to my work usually, getting apartments near the frontlines if I can. Often I can't and I'm forced to camp."

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"-Your own pocket of space. That as expensive as it sounds?"

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"Yeah, it's worth a Cernnous or so - that's about twenty billion OTC. I qualify as a goddess by OTC standards because I'm able to make stable demiplanes. Took me a few centuries to get the hang of it, but I had sponsors."

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"I knew really, really good engineers or lawyers or whatever could make a lot of money, but damn."

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Hannah grins. "Yeah, that's why I don't have to work much. I spend a decade or so making custom demiplanes for people and then take like a century off, with occasional piecework mostly to keep my skills sharp. Not a bad trade in exchange for a few centuries and being fried a few times by my own early work. OTC is big on real estate."

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"It keeps hitting me that I could have 'a few centuries' now. If nothing eats me out here before I've got something to deal with that."

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"If you play your cards right you could end up like me. You're at the forefront of a revolution, you have a powerful ally in your Thorn, and you're willing to act to seize the opportunity. You could get a contract with OTC to provide Hours and get on the health plan, and from there work your way to a broader immortality by learning dimensional magic or similar. We've had more than a few girlfriends go goddess to keep up with us in the past."

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"Yeah, I dunno about that. We could probably get a steady supply of Hours - it'd definitely make the Tacketies a lot richer, so good riddance to the Windward Company. I guess it's just that 'Goddess' sounds wrong to me. Like that should be someone made of living fire with motivations and senses my mind cannot rightly comprehend, or something."

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"The OTC formally defines a god or goddess as someone capable of making a Cernnous based on personal effort."

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"It's OTC doctrine that each and every sentient being has the will to become a deity in it. Everyone wants to be powerfully immortal. The trouble is there's not enough space and magic for that - so the OTC spends money getting people to expand the multiverse and create new worlds. The end goal of the OTC is for everyone to have their own private godly domain."

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"If you believe the propaganda, at least."

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"Mm. I've hard something like that here, too. 'Every soul contains the potential for apotheosis'. But souls - at least, here - don't quite seem to be the thinky bits. More something that gives you importance and significance and the ability to stand against the dark. The soulless are more susceptible to star-madness."

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"Your definition of soul is different from ours. Ours are... The thing contained in our memory crystals. They're the patterns of us. The things that define us. Sometimes magic can tear them out, but usually that means the body is dead or as good as. We were quite concerned about the soul trade because it might have been a case of selling people."

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"I get the impression the way things work here is super weird. Souls aren't people, but they're... Almost personalities, or bits of them at least. And you can have a spirit, at least in the Blue Kingdom, which is- Just a person without a body, I suppose, but they get called souls too."

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"Blue Kingdom souls sound closer to our working definition of 'soul.' We might have to investigate that."

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"Hands off my world, you two. These decisions are mine and not yours."

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"As you say."

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