Oct 28, 2021 9:35 AM
Freedom Five Unity and an island of clones
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"Did you always have magic or did someone figure it out someday? I bet the first crystal users caught a bunch of flak from all sorts of people with monopolies on making things." 

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More importantly, though, can they replicate saffron? (for science!) 

In the spare seconds between conversations and while waiting for extrusion results, Tachyon is setting up some kind of apparatus in the corner of the lab. It looks like a clear sealed box with some kind of rubberized bottom and a bunch of wires and cylinders, at the end of a long row of tubes and boxes. 

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"I think so? I don't remember hearing a period of history where crystal magic wasn't a thing, and it seems to have always been there. Maybe some story or another about how hermits didn't have any access to it."

He in fact can replicate saffron. Soon they will have a small saffron fortune on their table. Regarding Tachyon's machine, he asks. "What is that supposed to do?"

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"Particle acceleration! In layman's terms, it slams really tiny things into each other really fast to make other tiny things which are hard to get otherwise. It's my main area of study and it's how I gave myself super-speed. Short version, I found a particle that messes with time and it gave me superpowers." 

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"I thought you locked yourself in the accelerator by accident and miraculously survived the resulting bombardment." 

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"Quiet, you. Anyway, Henry, I don't actually expect you to be able to notice them, let alone catch and duplicate them, but it'd be very interesting if you could. Some particles are incredibly hard to stabilize and your magic could help with that." 

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"Huh... are the particles solid? I can duplicate sand, but it's a bit harder than solid rock. And if you have enough of it."

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"The particles are so tiny that 'solid' is not really a coherent concept anymore, because 'solid' is just one way of arranging large groups of particles." Cue another impromptu lesson, this time about molecules and states of matter. 

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Henry finds it all fascinating, though he really doubts he will be able to use crystal magic to duplicate specific particles that way. He theorizes it's the kind of thing that's simply limited by human senses.

He is willing to try.

(It predictably doesn't work.)

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This particular experiment takes several hours, between the equipment setup, the sealing and vacuum procedures, and sundry follow-ups. The results are disappointing, but it was worth a try anyway! 

 

Between that and a few other tests, it is beginning to get late. 

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Gabe finds all these new machines novel enough to be entertained for a bit, but he is so thankful by the time it's over. There is so much amusement one can do by playing around with crystal-assisted sculpting.

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But...the science! 

Oh well. Dr. Stinson has results to analyze. She deputizes Devra to show Henry and Gabe where they can stay. (She still recommends Treetop, for the view). 

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Meanwhile, Devra has dug a small insect-shaped object out of the depths of storage. "Cool cool. Before we go, think you could do one more test? I wanna know if you can duplicate Bee Bot!" 

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"Let me handle it then, Henry looks tired."

So, what is this Bee Bot?

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It is cute, that is what. (According to Unity, at least). 

It appears to be a palm-sized metallic hornet, silver and pink and yellow. 

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It's indeed cute and Gabe starts covering it with pale-green crystal. It almost looks like an insect trapped in Amber, then the entire thing is a solid chunk of crystal.

Gabe recreates the thing. "This was complicated, but didn't feel weird." Gabe says handing the first Bee Bot copy while working on a second one.

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Unity stares at the copy in concentration for a second. It buzzes up and flies around her head in circles. Unity pumps her fist in the air and does a startlingly good impression of a nefarious cackle. 

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"Oh, no, what have you done." Dr. Stinson rolls her eyes. "No legion of mechanical exploding bugs in the lab, Unity. Take it outside." 

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"Awwww. But he's gonna save me so much tiiiiiime!"

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"Why do you even need more of those." 

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"They're cute and they carry stuff!" Seeing the look on Dr. Stinson's face, she adds, "Ummmm...for science?" 

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"Well, it was nice to confirm you can replicate mechanical golems," Dr. Stinson remarks to Gabe. "We were never sure if they were fully nonmagical in nature, we think Unity's own animation powers are at least partly magical but apparently the golem bodies aren't." 

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Devra's bot does a backflip. She grins. 

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"When you said exploding, did you mean that the bodies are non-magically explosive?"

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"Only a little bit!" 

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