Jul 25, 2021 6:47 PM
Freedom Five Unity and an island of clones
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"Maybe after lunch? For now, you show us where it is for preliminary precautions. And we build a place for you. Does that sound good?"

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"Sounds good!" 

Unity polishes off the snacks and leads the way to the portal. It's a ten-foot-diameter circle of metal and gleaming parts, several panels removed, revealing intricate exposed circuitry where - ahem - someone had been testing it. 

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Eventually they decide to use an existing dome to work for Unity's dormitory, and start growing a second domed annexed to it. Her workshop.

They then break for lunch and afterwards go to rescue the portal machinery, which is looked at curiously. A Henry stops a Samson to poke the thing absently in case it's dangerous.

As a group, they grow a crystal bed under the circle, which later evolves into a cart to move the thing to Unity's workshop.

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Unity observes with fascination, and levitates a few stray parts onto the cart. 

Do they all have to be in physical contact with the crystal? Are they different colors? Who's leading the growth party? How do they grow crystal wheels

She bounces with excitement. This is gonna be great

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The crystals are different colors, but the same color for each kind of clone "template". Henry's are always black-gray, and Gabe's are always black with a colorful sheen. Camilla's are bright green.

You can reabsorb a crystal you are connected to. You grow wheels by growing the crystal into the right shape then retracting until the wheel is "cut" loose from the rest of the structure. And they require physical contact with a continuous section of crystal to manipulate it directly. Once the wheels are loose they can't manipulate it unless they reconnect it.

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Once the portal's moved, Unity cheerfully helps set up the workshop (part directing, part levitating small metal objects) and provides a steady supply of tools and parts to copy. 

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Does she mind if one Henry hangs around to ask about her work? He is curious how it all works. And can supply tools and parts.

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Not at all! It's fairly boring at first, mostly just objects levitating themselves into place. Unity's being careful with her tools until they're copied. 

Then the copies start arriving, and the spectacle begins. 

Small devices telekinetically rip themselves into component parts, which zip over to Unity's workbench for close examination, dissection, and reassembly. Unity uses a handheld crystal saw at first, then, after assembling a metal frame for it, graduates to controlling it with pure telekinesis. Similar approaches hold for crystal scoring knives and other implements. She requisitions more and more supplies as she starts hitting her stride, and broadens from "something sharp and hard, and as much scrap metal as you can give me" to requests like "three hundred times as much of this paste, but don't touch it, it burns" and "glass lenses like this one, can you make it larger?" and "can you clone liquids? Don't let this one near a flame." In a few days she's assembled a small blowtorch and a soldering iron and is using them to speed up the dissection and reassembly steps. 

She may be showing off a little. 

A week in, her workshop is a flurry of flying parts and sparks. None of the flying parts endanger Unity or her audience, but Henry may get his eyebrows singed by the occasional explosion. "Lab safety" is not Unity's strongest suit. 

The portal sits in a far corner of the workshop, on a large frame, well clear of Unity's local metallic blizzard. The frame and the portal start to expand as Unity removes parts from it and fastens them to the edges of the frame; it starts to look like the portal is flying apart very very slowly. Unity calls it an "exploded view," which may not be the most reassuring phrase ever. 

A second frame, and second portal, begin to assemble as well. 

Unity must be reminded to eat or sleep occasionally. 

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They can replicate liquids, and even gases, but it's much harder. If there is a way to freeze or partially solidify something it will be much easier to create more of it. Everything else is doable, unless the paste burns crystal or something and the lenses are trickier but doable.

As soon mentions of sparks and flammable materials are made, the Henries collective ask and try to figure out themselves standards for lab safety. They also make sure she is eating properly, in part by getting her to eat with the others and in part by having the night watch making sure Unity is not up too late.

The Henry is a bit put out that his eyebrows got singed. But hair can regrow like anything else.

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She tries a couple ways of freezing liquid fuel. After her third try shatters and then combusts, she desists. The hard way it is. 

Availability of fuel constrains her efforts somewhat. She has to get creative with some of the cutting - making part templates, then sending them to be copied, mostly. 

Unity is amenable to lab safety precautions! She complains, but she does enact them. She just doesn't seem likely to devote time and effort to planning them, by default. In her defense, stuff like "personal protective equipment" are less concerning when you can put metal through a bandsaw from ten paces away. When paying attention, she's also eerily precise, never slipping up or applying the wrong amount of force. 

In rare moments of downtime, Unity chats with clones about island and pre-island life. 

Three weeks in, the new portal is starting to look mostly complete. Unity starts asking for MORE POWER. 

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Once they figure out liquid fuel it's easy enough to make more of it. Just hard to get a hold the first time around.

The Henry regrows his eyebrows, with a bit of crystal magic help. Which makes them look artificial and weird. Like someone had them plucked very precisely. Or a badly done hair implant. He appreciates the precautions, however.

Pre-island: Most of them signed up to colonize a planet, maybe this planet, but their ship was stuck in interstellar space for a while. Which is more survivable when you have this kind of magic, but far from ideal for a prospering society. Then someone finally was able to produce a crystal that could make the ship move again. None of the clones here is sure why it crashed landed, but emergency messages told them to go to the "lifeboat" crystals. So they did that. And then they started waking up here. An unknown amount of time later (it could be centuries later for all they know).

Island: The early days were harsh, and they were pretty sure some early generation of clones died, but once they managed to get crystal production go into a calorie positive direction it got much better. Just weird. The world is definitely terraformed: the animals all look like hybrids of recognizable animals and the plants have a high rate of edible-to-not. A lot of their time is spent trying to build infra-structure that matches their population growth and figuring out how to explore the rest of the world. They managed to make their way to some other islands nearby, but there is no sign of other people.

They can give her MORE POWER (assuming safety precautions).

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Huh. Weird story. The idea of FTL travel using crystals isn't completely new to her - Unity's world has a lot of weirdness in it - but she still finds it fascinating and asks a lot of technical questions. 

The new portal is now humming loudly, though not visibly active. Unity announces it'll be ready in a day. Who's going with? 

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They try their best to answer her question and also make some of their own.

 

Is the portal safe? And does she mind teaching some basic key-phrases in her language? A Henry and a Gabe will go for their first trip if it's safe enough.

 

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"Sure it's safe! I got here, didn't I? Don't know why you need key phrases if you have translation, but..." Unity provides haphazard English tutoring. 

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"We don't know how being in another world will affect our magic. And we can technically be separated from our crystals."

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"Oh, huh. Okay." English tutoring: is. She's not especially good at English tutoring, but basic phrases can be communicated. 

 

After further telekinetic fiddling: "Alright! This should probably work. Stand here, please." 

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They do as instructed. "What exactly will happen if it does work?"

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"We'll all pop over to Dr. Stinson's lab. Several loud alarms will go off and a red blur will show up and zip around, verify we're not a mutant monster invasion platoon, then introduce herself. She'll ask about five hundred questions in the first minute, then remember normal-people-speed and only talk normal-people-too-fast. When you finally manage to get a word in edgewise and explain your crystals, she'll be delighted and fascinated and want to know how they work. With luck she'll be too excited by your tech to yell at me for fixing her warpgate." 

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"Okay, that sounds reasonable. Uh... do the honors?"

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"Let the button-pushing commence!" 

Unity makes an entirely unnecessary sweeping gesture, telekinetically depressing a button on the side of the machine as she does. It glows and whirrs. The surroundings begin to fade into a blank, staticky whiteness. 

Then...

bwee

bweebwee

BWEEBWEEBWEEBWEE -

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Surroundings fade into existence once more. They're in a combination laboratory / machine shop, with many elements recognizably similar to Unity's hastily-constructed workshop, and many more entirely unrecognizable features. There is one feature, however, that is entirely too recognizable. The giant sparking wheel of the warpgate surrounds the travelers. It appears to have come along for the ride. Most of it, anyway. 

Klaxons blare from somewhere, and red lights flash. 

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"...Oh good, it worked!" 

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He holds Gabe's hand and wordlessly asks him to stay still and quiet. "Yes, it did. Do you think anything exploded on our end?"

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"Oh probably not, everything's...uh...here." She looks forlornly at the spark-spitting warp gate. "Darn it, that was supposed to stay behind."

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