Oct 20, 2021 5:58 AM
Freedom Five Unity and an island of clones
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Tachyon - aka Dr. Meredith Stinson - has a new toy. It's supposed to be a portal to other universes, but it's been hella finicky. Even Tachyon's legendary enthusiasm is starting to fizzle; she's been working on it for weeks of regular time, which is who-knows-how-long for the speedster in high gear.

Devra can tell her mentor's frustrated by how she keeps forgetting to talk in normal people speed. Her lectures keep starting out as a high-pitched buzz. 

Devra's sure she could help with the thing, if Dr. Stinson would let her anywhere near it. It's not like she would blow it up or anything, she's learned after the last four - well, five - accidents. And the Omni-Drone Incident. And...anyway the point is she could help and Stint's not letting her. Boring

So of course she does the logical thing, and sneaks in to steal a peek. Peeking ensues. 

...

!!!

It's so fabulous. And complex. She can feel the internal parts with her mind, from the tiniest of microchips to the largest capacitor bank. It's a fascinating work of art. She just has to get a closer look. 

Her technosense gives her the best feedback from inside the ring. She can almost get a picture of what it's supposed to do, but it seems a little...off. Inefficient, or just not quite right, like a stained glass window with a piece missing. It wouldn't hurt to try a few tweaks, would it? And Dr. Stinson would be so impressed when Devra got it working right. Maybe the Stingy Stint would finally let Devra have a go at the cool shit. 

Fiddle. 

Fiddle fiddle. 

ZAP. 

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She zapped to a beach somewhere, with the portal toppled to one side. Which is not a good sign.

Speaking of good sign, if her technosense can range that far... she will notice a distinct lack of any signal of any kind. There is just her, the machine, sand, and the sound of waves.

Plus that bunch of reflective things in the distance, barely visible through the threes but likely dome shaped.

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Ooooohhh, she is in it so deep this time. 

Devra's technosense only extends a few feet away for everything except her creations. A glance around confirms that she's not going to be harvesting much of anything to fix the portal from her immediate environs. She's pretty sure it's not supposed to portal itself, too, and her sense of how screwed she is rises alarmingly. This might be worse than the Drone Incident. Devra shudders. 

A quick glance at the shoreline lets her estimate the high-tide mark. She takes inventory of her available tools and materials. One cell phone (no signal), one pair of goggles, a belt buckle, and a small handful of tools about the size and usefulness of a small knife and an Allen wrench. She doesn't dare disassemble the portal for parts, lest she never get it back together again. And she doesn't have nearly enough scrap to assemble a sizable golem. She squares her shoulders and sets to hauling the defunct machine above the waterline. 

It's friggin' heavy.

Devra, however, is stubborn. A couple hours and a puddle of sweat later, she has fashioned a small set of wooden rollers from the nearby trees, and wrangled the multi-billion-dollar ring of hardware a few precious feet up the beach, where it will hopefully not end up submerged in salt water. She can't do anything about the salt air, but it'll do for now. Puffing with exertion, Devra sets off towards the shiny domes. 

On reflection, she should probably have gone this way first. Eh, whatevs. Building stuff holds the panic at bay. 

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The day was going mostly normal. Which is to say, that they had some small amount of bickering between people. Then the loud probably-not-a-thunder which prompted him to make a head count by getting everyone together and accounted for.

The problem that it got the bickering people together in the same space and apparently that was enough to spark a pointless discussion. It eventually quieted down, but with the sort of bitterness in the air where he didn't feel confident to get everyone back at work. So Henry just decide to sit down and teach crystal magic to himself.

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Henry also finds that frustrating and nudges the Henry better versed in magic to teach him some.

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Their matching Gabes will just be over here diligently piecing together some better shoes and not commenting on today's drama out loud. Or how hilarious it is that the two Camillas are so displeased with each other. It's funny how some people can't get a long with themselves. Or just share a Samson if that is the reason why they are bickering.

There are four Henry and Gabe each, and for the Gabes that is a pretty chill state of affairs. It's funny how the other copies have so much drama.

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Unity will eventually notice - as the village get closer - that the constructions appear to be made out of crude-looking crystal formations. Sometimes encasing stone or plant matter, almost woven by it.

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The Henries spot Unity's approach and stand up alarmed.

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Oh, people, thank the aeons. The shinies are disappointing, though. She can't work well with nonmetallics. Well, maybe they have helpful powers. 

That's odd. A bunch of them look alike. Maybe quadruplets? And...more quadruplets? The heck? Anyway, Devra waves to the People. "Sup!" 

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"Sup!?"

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"Who are you?" Both Henries say at same time. Looking her up and down. 

"I mean. Hello. But seriously, who are you?"

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The Henries see a young woman, just about average height, in a tank top and jeans. Light olive skin with a few grease stains and sweat; black hair streaked with pink beneath a bandanna and a pair of goggles, with a small toolbox at her belt. 

"I'm Devra Caspit! Unity, if you heard of me, though you probably haven't since this is probably a totally different world! Who are you?" 

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The older Henry (Not that she will be able to tell) takes point. 

"We are castaways from the colony ship 'Crystalsky'. If that means anything. What do you mean different world?"

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"Dr. Stinson was building a portal! That goes between worlds! It wasn't working. I fixed it and then broke it again. It got me here. You got any metal? I'm good with metal." She gestures at her toolbelt; a small saw rises unsupported and twirls around her outstretched hand. 

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Since people were already pretty close it doesn't take much to gather back the crowd. Even at first glance, it's easy to notice more multiples.

"We can make metal, uh, do you want to come inside the central dome and sit while we mutually explain each other."

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"Sure! I'm exhausted." She begins trouncing towards what she guesses is the central dome. "Why are there, like, six of you?" 

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She is right about which dome is the central dome, It's at least three stores tall made out of a hexagonal lattice with white edges and black crystal.

"That is one thing we wanted to explain. Our local magic can do things with crystals, like duplication."

They pass through the dome's arced doorway into a wide communal space with a U-shaped mezzanine above them. There is a large glowing crystal in the middle. Big enough to justify the building's size. The air is cool and more light fixtures in the walls provide further illumination. There are also murals on the walls and floor. Mostly abstract geometric patterns.

Everyone is following them inside. Henry offers a chair for her to sit, right next to a green-glowing crystal lamp and some bookshelves.

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Oooo, pretty. 

"Oooo, pretty!" Devra sits in the indicated chair and gazes wide-eyed at her surroundings. "Did you say duplication? Like Proletariat? Wait, you wouldn't know who he is. You can duplicate people? That's wicked cool. The best I can do is my bots." 

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Most people here don't find their situation wicked cool, but no one voices it out loud.

"Yes. It's one of our magic applications. We can absorb something with crystal and make copies with the pattern. When our ship was crashing landing we got emergence crystallized to survive the crash-"

"400% survival rate," A Samson says and his Camilla slaps him in the back of the head.

"The crystal was supposed to just replicate us once." Henry says in the tone of someone who wants to ignore that distraction. "As you can see, it didn't stop. We haven't managed to figure out how to stop, or how to make contact back home. So we have been... surviving here."

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"It's still going? How often does it replicate? Can I feed it parts? What's the biggest thing it can replicate? How is it powered?" She stares at it intently. "If I can get the portal going you can come to our world! What do I call you?" she adds belatedly. 

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"I am a Henry Oswald, Sorry did I introduce ourselves? And yes, it's still going on, but that crystal only duplicate us. We use our own crystals to duplicate things," he demonstrates by making a dark crystal spike growing out of the palm of his hand. There is no technical size limit, but you need to crystallize the entire thing first. It's powered by ambient magic, lifeforce and light. What is your world like?"

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"I bet we are going to want to go, the standard here is having more than six kinds of people in it. I am a Gabe Valetine." He stands behind Henry and rubs his shoulders. "Henries and Gabes are pairs."

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The floating saw continues to orbit Unity like a small sharp planet while she absorbs this. "Good to meet you! When you say colony ship, do you mean spaceship? My planet's most advanced civilizations are just barely spaceworthy but we've met aliens with more tech and we're working on copying them. Some people on my planet can learn magic but not many and in different ways. Superpowers are more common, like my telekinesis and technosense or Dr. Stinson's speed. There's a super strong immortal guy, an alien with weather control, Proletariat makes copies of himself, and so on. Some people use their powers or tech to try to kill people and do other nefarious stuff, and heroes use their powers to stop them." She grins absently. "I'm gonna be a hero." 

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"Could you repeat all that, but... slower," Samson says.

"Uh... I catch all what you said, but that is a lot to process. I did mean a spaceship. Though one based on crystal magic and not easy to copy with our means. Are you saying your world has a different source of... powers that are not magic? What is your planet called? Our was Coeur in our language."

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There's no time for repeating things! There's so much to learn! Also, Samson should probably not meet Dr. Stinson. 

"Yep, powers are a different thing than magic. At least that's what the magic people say. We call our planet Earth. Can you copy this?" She holds out her cell phone. 

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Henry looks at it without touching it. "How fragile and complex it is? When something is simple we can... take shortcuts with the duplication, but..." He looks up.

Another Henry steps forward. "I should be able to duplicate it with no problem."

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