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May 18, 2021 3:38 AM
Riley goes adventuring
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"Will you be making specific Dust samples available or should I restrict myself to passive scans of the environment for now?"

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"Robyn can get you Dust samples for study from the armory. I'll also send her the location of your guest room within the hour, and future such data can go to your personal scroll once it's set up." 

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"Wonderful. Shall we then Robyn?" Her grip on her staff shifts slightly and she starts to scan the first thing she checks for is ambient magical effects.

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There's one definite ambient effect, the one keeping the city aloft. 

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"Dismissed." 

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"Armory's this way!" Robyn announces, saluting Ironwood with a grin. "We'll get you that scroll while we're at it." She turns to depart. 

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She follows. "Is there anything you can tell me about how the city flies?"

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"Gravity Dust. I've never seen the technical specs and I probably wouldn't understand them if I did. Dustech can take years of study and that's supposed to be one of the most advanced applications." 

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"Will there be gravity dust in the armory?"

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"Enough for a sample, definitely. Anything else you'd like to examine, besides Dust?"

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"I'd like to scan everything but Headmaster Ironwood told me not to scan any of your technology."

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"Yeah, his job is loosely defined as professional paranoia. You'll get to it eventually, I bet, once he concludes that state secrets are a lost cause. He only explicitly ruled out scrolls, weapons, and robots, so you could probably scan, say, a Schnee DustHearth." 

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"What's that?"

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"It's just a furnace that uses fire Dust. Not especially complicated, but also not a weapon, scroll, or robot. No state secrets in a DustHearth, unless you count the Schnee patent on the thing. Don't build one and sell it, or we'll have the joy of experiencing the first interdimensional lawsuit in Remnant history." 

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"I have no designs on becoming a tycoon. I'm glad I can start to get a handle on your technology."

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"I'm looking forward to seeing more of yours. You have people backups. That is beyond huge. Do you know, until today I gave myself 50-50 odds of surviving to age thirty?" 

Three hallways and an elevator, and they arrive at a large metal door. "Here's the armory." 

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"Is that... typical? I knew this world was dangerous but... that's such a small amount of time."

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"Before I got stationed in Atlas my odds were even worse. Three out of four Academy graduates die in the field before turning thirty. Granted, that's because we run around outside the city fighting vicious monsters. Unawakened in Atlas and Mantle are much safer by comparison. Those outside the city...depending on location, their odds may not be quite as bad as mine were, but it's a near thing." 

She places a palm on a panel near the door; it glows faintly and emits a satisfied beep. The door opens, revealing a crisp, functional, rectangular room filled with racks of various weaponry, inactive humanoid robots and prosthetics, and colorful crystals and powders. 

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"Hopefully we can change all of that."

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Riley looks around the room. "What would you recommend I scan first?"

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"We will." Robyn smiles fiercely. "We will." 

She points to the colored powders and crystals. "Powdered Dust, crystalline Dust. Colors correspond to elements, see if you can figure out which. Bonus points if you can tell which form is natural and which is processed. Kindly steer clear of this room's other contents. You already verified your intentions, but Ironwood-class security means I should still check from time to time. So expect the occasional Semblance-enforced pop quiz about your scanning habits. I want to watch for a bit, then I'll get you a spare scroll to play with.

"Out of curiosity, how old are you?" 

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"A challenge then. I'm 41 and I'm still considered pretty young. Not a child but young." She starts a scan of all the dust at once. The first scan is to see whether Dust is made of ordinary matter with exotic effects added or if it is made of exotic matter.

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The signature of Dust is closer to "exotic matter," although it has some traits in common with ordinary matter. 

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Hmm, probably stable enough for standard diagnostics. Riley puts up containment fields around each sample regardless. Precautionary measures are not optional. The next scan tries to identify the exotic effects especially how they compare to each other.

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The most obvious and prevalent exotic effect is the one that prevents the Dust from immediately exploding. It's "stable" in the sense that it would last a long time, possibly indefinitely, if not disturbed. That is the only sense in which it is stable. 

The samples are mostly similar. Same-colored ones are more similar to each other, in the sense that isotopes of the same element are - that is, the universe does not appear to distinguish one amount of blue Dust powder from another of equal volume. Powder and crystal differ only in structure; crystal seems the more stable of the two. 

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