Jan 27, 2021 7:15 AM
Changeling falls on Arcbright
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She paws through the catalog excitedly and has lots of questions.

Are sending stones FTL comms? Does Forgotten Song stay on permanently? Does the Will-O-Wisp light work through cameras- Will the user be able to see its light in the view of a camera, and will someone else, or automated monitors, see it? Do perfected boots go even faster if you're already fast? Are things that violate your form a big concern such that she needs the amulet making it Inviolable? Does the rod of freedom do anything about non-magical mental manipulation? Why not make vat-jellied elf ears? She really wants a laser sword because lasers don't work that way but that's not exactly a high priority. Or a question. Does the eternal car battery come in 'power plant' form for big spenders? Does sinflower work on people with really weird biology or full body androids? Does she have to stay awake forever to use Thirteenth Hour or just a week? Upon seeing the Seven-Pinned-River she wants to grow lots of eight-foot carbon nanofiber hair with titanium wire core and tools on the end and be Doc Ock but that's not a question either.

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Yes, sending stones are FTL. Forgotten song can be removed but is by default permanent. The Will-O-Wisp's light is not caught on camera at all. Perfected boots do go even faster if you're fast enough already. The amulet is mostly worn on half-tamed worlds and as a personal defense for people who have pissed off wizards. The rod of freedom only defends against magic. They sell vat jellied elf ears as well but some people prefer the genuine article. Similar but more powerful energy sources can be purchased for more, yes. Sinflower works on every biological they've tried but it is a chemical and won't work on androids. Thirteenth Hour is... it's best if she doesn't sleep at all, but some short snatches of sleep now and then can be managed. Has she considered purchasing Dyne? 

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She predicts some people will want to digitize the sending stones back home and make a proper zero-latency extranet. Not to mention teleporting between planets. Dyne sound fun and she wants some. She needs to know more about what Thirteenth Hour actually does before deciding to actually get it. She can go a week without sleep for a week but will crash pretty hard afterwards, so maybe not? She wants a forgotten song and the basic pain necklace and 5 Dyne for now and will come back later having thought about it more.

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Thirteenth hour gives you an hour during the day that didn't exist before and during it a personal demiplane is accessible. If you fall asleep while the personal demiplane is open there can be... issues. Rarely. But they're in the class of "kidnapped to a hell dimension." Thirteenth Hour is illegal many places where they judge the risk too great.

They will give her purchases in a plastic bag and ask for the next customer in line. 

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"Not really into shopping?" asks Hannah.

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"Shopping is fun but I'm not allowed to make major purchases as a catgirl. 'Cause unless I deliberately don't every time I change shape I'm changing my brain too, ya know? All my money would be gone in a week. And I'm new around here, sooo I'm interpreting 'major purchases' a bit low in OTC to start with. Food's usually okay and clothes I tend to just copy - I wanna morph into a nerd if I'm gonna nerd out about my outfit rig, lemme know if you're interested? Anyway, I'll come back for more stuff later in a more foresightful frame of mind~"

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"Makes sense! Then probably shopping won't be that fun, though we can walk around and see what's on sale. There're usually buskers on the Main Concourse this time of day if you want to call things off."

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"Window shopping's still fun. I could change into something else but I get the feeling I'm already being the kind of person who gets along with you, yanno?"

She swings the bag casually. Pauses to put the necklace on.

"Also I think watching buskers could go either way 'cause I'll be tempted to join in."

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She smiles. "Yeah, you seem pretty cool. Let's windowshop, having you join in on some buskers is not my idea of a good time."

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The shopping mall is filled with people in various shapes and sizes; most are humanoid but there is at least one telekinetic squid. In other oddities there is a huge flower, too big to fit through the doorways of shops, with a woman nestled inside it; she floats along in a large planter and somewhat obstructs the walkway. One of the shop clerks has come out to show her dresses. 

For sale, there is clothing and crockery and furniture and watches and smartphones and household enchantments and blenders (electric and magical) and chocolates and caramels and vanillas and exotic candies for people who like the taste of grass and perfumes by the same company and peacebonded weapons (swords, bows, guns) and shoes and bronze sculptures and pets (robotic and biological) and tabletop games and toys and so on. There are two one-Credit stores selling enchanted fidget tesseracts, plastic battery-powered hand fans, and kitschy home decorations. There is also an extensive food court with prices in both OTC and Takkarash; it sells pizza, Cthonic fusion cuisine (which seems to rely heavily on sausages), ice cream in various strange flavours like "bloodfruit", noodles, sushi, curry, submarine sandwiches, and so on. There are "vat-certified" certificates on the walls of the outlets that use meat. 

Most meals are around 99 Takkarash or 8 OTC. 

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She starts minting pain two or three at a time every minute or two; It makes her ears twitch but doesn't otherwise seem to affect her.

Ooh, a fidget tesseract. Buy. Fancy exotic candy? Buy! Just 10 OTC of it though.

...Food court. "I will NOM ALL THE FOOD. Well, not literally all of it. What's your favorite, Hananh? Ooh, hey, I should listen to something Devilmachine made so I can get properly excited for it."

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"I usually go to the curry place, they've got some hot vindaloos you can mint TK off and they're worth it. Then I go to the ice cream place to get the lingering spice out of my mouth. As for Devilmachine, I can pull up something on my phone - Your Wings is pretty good -"

Your Wings turns out to be a grungy electronic duet between a pair of sadists in love. "A knife against your skin/a kiss with teeth within/so brilliant the pain/your wings begin again"

"It's relevant to note," says Hannah, "That Scythe, the singer, has an elaborate scarified tattoo of wings on her back which I understand Rose, her partner, is almost always working on."

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"Nuclear spice? Let's do it."

She nods along to the music and comments, "Hot."

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Hannah points out her favorite curries from the menu. Ordering is practically instant; the clerk just loads up their trays with separated-compartment platters and waves them off. Just leave the platters afterwards, they're self-cleaning and teleport back to the restaurant when you're done. 

The spice is nuclear as advertised. Changeling's necklace starts minting TK all by itself, the balance on her payment card ticking back up. Hannah grins through watery eyes and flashes a thumbs-up. 

"Yeah, they're definitely hot. I've never tried; that level of masochism isn't my jam, I'm much more casual. Know some people who have though; Kumi's had demonic clients and I know Eva's done it, Eva's done everything."

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She doesn't even notice the convenience, drones do the same thing at home. "Holy hell that's hot! Am I breathing fire right now?" She flushes from the spice, but her eyes don't water more than a little bit.

"Casual omnivory and bucket lists are the two components of my soul. But most of the more extreme stuff I only do once, you know? There's this death game, last-man-standing in an abandoned moon arcology thing they do with cheap Sony Sameface frames backed up by AR, in Usea. That was fun but I wouldn't do it again, it got pretty intense. And I've been with a hardcore sadist before, if not a literal devil. But I can still appreciate the idea." Shrug.

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"Just a little," says Hannah, seemingly unperturbed by her dish's own spice. "You get used to it. As for bucket lists, you really gotta meet Eva. She's made it her goal to go everywhere and do everything and she's pretty much achieved that, mostly through a lot of forking. - Do you, er, have that where you come from?" 

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"Sounds like I really should meet her, that sounds amazing. Eh, proper forking is super dangerous, because of - quantum bullshit, I don't know the details. People can come out wrong, or with psychoses and stuff. If your stack gets fried, that's risky too, they restore you from a backup but the process is just like forking, technically speaking. It's illegal some places too."

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Hannah pulls at something invisible around her neck, and a gold necklace with a quartz crystal on it flickers into view. "This is my equivalent of your stack. I have it because I used to be an Eva - we diverge a lot, since we end up falling in love with very different things. I have a lot of the dabbler drive and the hedonism; also some of her more negative traits like her naturally poor memory and not-so-good executive function. The memory crystal fixes the poor memory, but..." She shrugs. "I think I'm more fun this way anyway."

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"Hmm. I lean on my stack a lot for memory, too. Don't know whether to consider myself a hedonist. Probably I am most of the time. Sometimes it's like... Whoever I used to be is buried under swapping around all the time. But it's fine, this existence is fun, and I get different things out of it, like- When I go skim the legal code later I'm going to be properly anxious and paranoid to really understand and internalize the implications. It's useful like that."

(Nom on the nuclear spicy curry, with breaks to flush and pant. It's about half gone.)

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"Sounds good to me. Eva will be interested, she hasn't lived like you have yet I don't think. The tech isn't there for us. I'd be more sympathetic about your feeling lost between forms but it's your own fault if you didn't keep proper backups."

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Shrug. "Well, backups are harder for us. Riskier. Couple centuries ago I'd be dead of old age though, so I can't complain about the tech. Anyway, who I am now is what counts in my opinion."

(Rapid noms to finish the dish. Ear-twitching and squeezing her eyes shut at the spiciness concentration.)

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It is so cute and she really wants to pet her. She restrains herself. 

"How widespread are these cortical stacks, anyway? Are they cheap? Because while we've fixed aging accidentals and genetic diseases still get people."

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"They're cheap, the procedure is really streamlined. There's charities that do work stacking people in really poor places on Mars and dust-speck republics? Er, little asteroids full of survivalists. So it's not literally free. But pretty close to. It's considered inhumane to have a kid and not stack them and I think most governments subsidize it hard. Oh, kids have to be like two or three before it'll take."

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"Sounds like we'll pay a lot for the technology once we get back to your world. And of course then your world will get our cool shit too, it'll be a whole thing, but we have practice with that, it ought to go fine. Want to go meet my sisters before the show?"

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"Hmm... Sure. Sounds interesting. I change myself, but you fork and change yourselves. It's kind of a neat mirror. Ice cream first, though." She sticks out her tongue and winks. It's slightly fuzzy.

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