Dec 03, 2021 3:22 PM
Freedom Five Unity and an island of clones
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"Some combination of the above. If bringing the islanders here will take less than a few days, we can wait for the tour."

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"It's not like we can help with anything until they get here. And we could, scout around, but with, like, you know, less island and more interesting stuff to do."

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"Fair? But we can do some magic experiments as long we have time to figure out lodging before it's too late in the day?"

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"I'm a scientist, not a miracle worker. Some of these parts shipped from Japan. It'll be a while, I'm afraid. A week maybe." Devra winces. "We can still make plans, though! And you can absolutely help with things. Test crystal magic, answer questions, make arrangements for the other islanders so they have a place to stay...how many of you are there, anyway? And can you give me the overview on crystal magic?" Flicker. Clipboard! 

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"Twenty five total, including the two of us here. And there is the crystal, which..." he gives an estimate of its size of a small bus and weighting a few tons. "We will want to test if it's safe to bring. If it's not, we will want help to properly establish a colony there."

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"Mes and Henries are pretty with having each other around, but I bet some copies will scatter to the wind the first opportunity. I am willing to bet the Camillas will stop being civil to each other the moment it's clear that they have a way out."

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"Yes. And I am entirely willing to give an overview of crystal magic. Some of which I already explained to Unity. And a week is okay, if there is a way to send a message back sooner that would be better, but I don't think anyone is despairing over there so don't worry about it. We can test if your portals react weird to large quantities of our crystals in the interim. And get... at least a dozen rooms, ideally fifteen."

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"I'll shoot a text over to Nightmist." (Flicker) "If anyone knows how to send a message to an alternate universe through the aether, it's her. She's the one who gave me the idea for the portal, in fact. She'd probably be interested in your crystals too, come to think." 

Tachyon will listen closely during the crystal magic overview, keeping up easily with clipboard notes (using a special low-friction pen!) and only flickering a few times. 

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"I am glad that in a world of so many wonders, we can still be relevant."

Henry is clearly from a world without technological advancements, but he is fairly knowledgeable about magic and what his world kind of magic makes it easy to know. Crystal absorption is very akin to destructive uploading. The crystal "eats" matter and stores it's as information. One can unmake the process with various levels of control, simple materials being easier to replicate, and living things are harder, and magic is harder than living things. One can absorb two things and figure out how to merge then, or absorb a material originally in one shape and regrow it in a different shape. Both being the key fundamentals of using crystals to build things.

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Tachyon writes a lot more than Henry speaks, getting an excited gleam in her eye. Ideas, perhaps? 

Limits on how many things a crystal can store? Is the default an exact replica? "Unmaking" is causing the crystal to "forget" the information? 

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Limits of crystal information is measured by volume, and it's pretty trivial to get a ratio of one to a hundred, and much harder to pass one to ten thousand. At least with non-living things. The default is a replica, how exact depends on how diligent the person absorbing the object was. There are common short-cuts that will do if you are trying to copy, for example, a plate because you just need the outer shape to match and the specific microscopic impurities are not going to be usefully affect how use it will be. The same thing can't be said if you were trying to replicate, an animal, unless you want to risk the animal to end up brain-dead or injured. Unmaking was meant to be "reverse the absorption": taking a stored object and create a new instance. But you can erase information from a crystal, yes.

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Gabe also gives the example that they have food crystals with only a "slice" of food which can they can replicate over and over in a tube of food. It looks weird, but feeds the same.

He has been hanging around and helping Henry demonstrate the magic, but he is spending a good portion of the overview amusing himself with crystal sculptures.

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"Now you have me picturing a giant cylinder of pure pizza and I'm not sure whether that sounds delicious or disgusting." 

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Tachyon blurs around the sculptures occasionally, sometimes pausing in admiration for an entire second. 

"Fascinating! If complexity is a factor, then the lowest-hanging fruit is probably generating rare minerals or pure alloys. Hang on, let me fetch something." She disappears for a whole eight seconds, then returns, faintly sparking, with a box of parts. "These are some simple but hard-to-manufacture parts that I would use in the portal. Want to make a few spares?" Gabe and Henry may recognize a few from Unity's prior work. 

"And these - " she holds up a tray of small glass cylinders filled with shiny minerals - "are rare metals that can be made into useful catalysts or parts. Rhodium, palladium, titanium, iridium, platinum, gold..." She points them out. "Full disclosure, they are also worth a heap of money. So if you ever want to go your own way and want oodles of cash, you can sell that one or that one" - she points to the gold and platinum - "to a jeweler to get you started. A lot of companies would pay through the nose for the other ones but that's a harder deal to arrange. Be careful, though, as there are definitely villains who would kidnap you and keep you somewhere making gold for them. Even here, not many people can outright fabricate matter." 

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"Anything to help. I would want you to be very careful in case your technology disagrees with crystal creations but, if it helps getting our people sooner."

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"I guess one of me could become a jeweler," Gabe muses taking the gold and platinum to replicate.

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"Fear not, I'll run every test we have and then some. The exact shape matters on these machined parts" she identifies them, "but less so on these, and not at all on the pure metals, at least for this test." 

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Gabe creates exact copies of the pure metal samples, then stars playing a bit, by creating increasingly more complex geometrical shapes. Including a "ring" that looks like the original gold sample has been stretched out into a circular shape.

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Tachyon observes with fascinated concentration, occasionally asking about the limits of the copying. Could he increase the proportion of a specific component of an alloy? Create something in a different phase or state of crystallization? 

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It's possible to change the proportions of components of a given allows, but often it's easier to start with the different components as separate parts, then fiddle with them until you have a sample to your liking. Separating the elements of an absorbed material is possible, just hard. Not that dissimilar from trying to separate different grains by color. Henry is not sure about the second question. You can absorb and create at the same time, so you could absorb half of an object and start creating that half while the absorbing process is unfinished. It's mentally harder to juggle, like performing two different tasks with each hand.

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She clarifies: absorb ice and output water? Absorb graphite and output diamond? That sort of thing. (This may include an impromptu chemistry lesson). 

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Oh, yes. Ice to water being far easier. He was aware that you could derive diamond from carbon sources, but the inner working were unknown to him. He isn't sure his society figured it out that far.

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This can be remedied with sufficient learning material! Which Tachyon would be delighted to provide! Their crystal-magic is extremely convenient for rare materials. 

Hmmm, what about local-brand-magic amulets? She has one that does weakly microscopic vision, a gift from a wizard; is it copyable? 

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They can manipulate their own magic. Including copying it, but it's something of an advanced technique. Henry isn't sure that he can do it with the local magic, and wouldn't want to do it with something she would dearly miss. But as long she understands the amulet might be magically ruined, Henry is happy (and also curious) to experiment. Does the local magic tend to be dangerous if disrupted?

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It's at least moderately replaceable; Tachyon ponders for an entire half-second before agreeing to a potentially-destructive test. 

What Henry is calling "local magic" is actually something like thirty distinct schools, several of which are barely understood except for their existence and at least one of which can invite a literal apocalypse. But this particular amulet should be safe; it was made by a magician whose artifacts tend to favor finesse over raw power. There's not much to explode. 

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