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Aug 03, 2021 3:17 AM
Riley goes adventuring
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"That was fast." Also, flying under one's own power = cool. Robyn is impressed. 

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"Flying is fun. The evidence seems to line up with my hypothesis. At this point long term testing might be useful to see if dust can be uncoiled slowly rather than all at once. The uncoiling itself probably isn't useful but it might provide insights into how dust is formed. Or do your people already know that?"

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"There are theories, but nothing conclusive. Once the scientists wake up and get the Paranoid Security Briefing from Ironwood, you can bug them for more." 

Atlas power plants and batteries frequently use controlled lightning Dust, but she's unsure whether that counts as uncoiling slowly or just using one grain at a time and flattening the surges with capacitors. "I bet Professor Polendina would know if anyone would." 

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"I look forward to meeting them. Hmm, I think I still want to see what the other types of dust do and get this scroll connected to your networks. After that I think we can call it a night."

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Good plan. 

Bright orange produces a flash of heat but no visible flame. Dark orange conjures a pebble. Yellow makes a static spark. Dark green causes a small weed shoot to grow into the floor, though its roots don't penetrate far. Pale green makes a pop noise (if studied closely, it's generating air). Blue makes a puddle and light blue a small shard of ice. Purple doesn't have a visible effect, but careful magical study reveals it's (somewhat randomly) affecting the gravity nearby its trigger point. White makes a bright flash of light. 

"Purple and white Dust can pull off some very fancy tricks, but they need a lot of technical fiddling to get there. Purple can make things heavier or pull them around, and white is the basis for our hardlight shields and training constructs." 

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"I'll be very interested to see your technology when I'm allowed to."

Does the gravity dust effect resemble the one keeping the city up?

Is the process for connecting the scroll complicated? Does the scroll network work via radio?

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Oddly, no. The gravity Dust is completely different from the effect holding the city up, which appears to be unique. 

It takes about ten minutes to set up the scroll - though Robyn warns it only has basic civilian access. It is indeed using radio. Robyn recommends checking out the Athenaeum site, first - "it's got a little bit of everything that isn't classified, though some of it can get pretty technical." 

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"It seems like gravity dust does very different things inside your technology if whatever holding up this city is any indication. I wonder why that is..." Riley comments after the dust tests.

Riley looks for the root article on gravity dust if there is one.

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There's a large article on Dust and a smaller one on each of the colors. The gravity article includes a lot of weapon examples used by Huntsmen and Huntresses; it sounds like whoever wrote it was really into weapons. The section on theory is comparatively small (though it does contain a crosslink to "Dust theory") but it does list among its examples that gravity Dust is responsible for levitating Atlas. 

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Well that wasn't helpful. What does the article on Dust Theory say?

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There's oodles of conflicting theories proposed by Atlas scientists about Dust in general and gravity Dust in particular, but there's not much discussion of the city-holding-up properties thereof. While gravity Dust could in theory levitate a city, it would take a lot of Dust to maintain the effect for long. The prevailing guess according to Athenaeum is that Atlas has developed a highly classified process for using gravity Dust for levitation at an extraordinary efficiency. There are more wild theories in the discussion section, ranging from "someone's ridiculously powerful Semblance" to "ancient magic ???" to "Boarbatusk Grimm in giant hamster balls." 

There's a great deal more on the hardlight construct applications of white Dust, but a significant chunk of it can be summarized as "this is classified by the Atlas military so we really don't know." Atlas does a lot of weapons research. 

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Then it's a good thing she's in Atlas and not another part of the world. More in depth experiments are definitely required but in the meantime she asks Robyn to lead her to where she's supposed to stay.

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This way! Here's a guest suite in the Academy residence floor. It's spacious and well-furnished, complete with a kitchen and pantry. (No Schnee DustHearth; it's centrally heated. There's a glowy thermostat, though.)

Also, obligatory security quiz on what Riley has scanned and learned therefrom, ongoing honesty of replies, lack of plans to commit atrocities in Atlas, etc. (Ironwood sent her a list. Eyeroll.) 

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"I haven't scanned anything I didn't tell you about already and I haven't learned much yet. I am still a bit confused by what's keeping this city up but people on Atheneum seem confused too. I haven't lied to you as far as I know and I have no plans or cause to do anything I would consider an atrocity or anything on that list."

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With this duly verified, Robyn departs with a cheery wave. 

(She's off to make her report to Ironwood and start her transition to the day shift). 

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Riley activates her four dodecs and they hover gently a small distance off the floor in various places in the suite as determined by their sentry algorithms. She also sets down her backpack. Time to work a bit more at understanding this world. Boring stuff first. What other polities are there and were there any wars in recent history? Are there any major political controversies at the moment she should know about?

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The Athenaeum is happy to oblige, though the account may be a bit...biased. 

In addition to Atlas, there is Vale to the south, Mistral to the southeast, and Vacuo to the southwest. (Everything is south of Atlas). Atlas is the most advanced by far. 

Besides the ongoing struggle against the Grimm, there are quite a few wars in Remnant history, though none within the last generation. The biggest such conflict began about eighty years ago. Mantle (present-day Atlas) experienced a disastrous encounter with the Grimm, and instituted a number of ordering polices designed to prevent outbreaks of mass panic. Art and literature were heavily regulated. Mistral, allied with Mantle, agreed to adopt these Grimm Decrees, but Vale did not. Vale's refusal (and their rejection of Mantle's cultural advances) heightened tensions in Remnant. A joint settlement by Mistral and Vale erupted in civil war, which touched off a full-scale war between the polities. The war drove advances in military and Dust technology, but caused the loss of many settlements to Grimm. The threat of the Grimm was so great that when Grimm showed up to a battle, both sides would cease fighting to repel the Grimm assault. 

Mantle and Mistral pressured Vacuo to support them, arguing that Vale needed to be stopped before the Grimm killed everyone involved. But Vacuo instead sided with Vale, dragging on the conflict further. After ten years of fighting, Mantle and Mistral launched a combined invasion of Vacuo in a desperate bid to end the fighting. But the combination of bad luck, interference by Vale, and Vacuo's perpetually nasty weather resulted in Mantle's defeat. 

In the subsequent Vytal Peace Accord, Mantle managed to avoid ceding its sovereignty to the Queen of Vale, whose role in the war gave her outsized influence. After the war, slavery was abolished, all four governments restructured, and Faunus granted increased rights and their own continent, Menagerie. (The Discussion section of the Athenaeum contains a great deal of angry shouting about the wisdom of this choice). Finally, the four Huntsmen Academies were founded, one in each capital. 

Things quieted down somewhat, with minimal conflict except for the Faunus Rights Revolution, triggered by Faunus dissatisfaction with their treatment and attempts to confine them to Menagerie. The Faunus officially won, but racial relations have been strained since and some parts of the world still consider Faunus to be second-class citizens. A group called the White Fang has been organizing protests, some of which have turned violent. 

Faunus rights is one major controversy, and though Atlas learned from Mantle's mistakes, there is always the age-old debate about how much thought control is justified by the threat of Grimm. 

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The idea of thought control in general is unsettling it's also strange that this world ever had slavery if the Grimm are attracted to negative emotions. If there is a bias it's not immediately apparent to Riley. The presence of racism is entirely unsurprising, most worlds have some. The biology of the faunus is intriguing what does Athenaeum have to say about that.

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Faunus biology is weird! Faunus all have excellent night vision and exactly one animal trait. They are often, but not always, mammal traits. Chameleon skin, fish tail, scales, tusks, cat ears, pig snouts, and just about any other combination seems to be possible. Faunus can breed with humans, and the union always produces more Faunus. Faunus of similar animal traits that breed will tend to produce Faunus of the same type - say, two wolves make a cub. One wolf Faunus and one human will have a cub as well. But two different types of Faunus produce seemingly random Faunus offspring, even those in a totally different animal kingdom. 

Atlas has a concept of heritability but has apparently not yet discovered DNA, which complicates the biology articles somewhat. 

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That.... it's utterly absurd, she's eager to study that in more depth and with proper analytical tools.

Also she turns in response to a notification from her dodecs. "Hello, welcome to remnant."

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"Hello Cleaksky. What are your thoughts?"

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"I don't think these people have much to offer us but they need a lot of help. At this point my main concern is the Grimm. I expect our standard tuning will keep them away but it's possible the magic is intertwined with this civilization's innate magic and if it is we probably have to let it pass for even a partial evacuation. There's also some exotic biology I'd love to study."

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"Reasonable, what about their politics?"

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"We're being hosted by what appears to be the most militarized of the local powers, also the most technologically advanced, somehow they lost the last war despite that. Either their militarization is a response to that loss or this is a world where the balance favors a few exceptional individuals over large military forces. I can't tell which from what I've read. I can patch you into my connection to their data networks."

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"Yes please. What do you think of the people you've met?"

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