Jun 23, 2021 8:36 PM
Bella is an otome villainess
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"Uh. I think how it works is that we have a set number that we collect from and we have to manually add new ones to the list, but I can't swear to it because it's not my department and I haven't recently checked."

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"Add new ones to the list from - where?"

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"Oh, I know that one, actually--universes have this quality called adjacency, any two universes are either adjacent to each other or not, every universe has a finite number of universes they're adjacent to at any given time but some really high-level magics can change adjacencies. We add universes that are adjacent to ones that are already on the list, or ones that are adjacent to universes the Will is currently paying attention to, or," she shrugs. 

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"Huh. Okay. So I guess I should - cram as many people into my universe as I can, catch a lotta souls, do I run into trouble at some order of magnitude -"

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"You won't be able to catch souls from worlds that aren't adjacent to you but it isn't a lot of trouble to make you adjacent to more worlds rather than less. If you run out of possible souls to catch anyway then if you ascend to a higher plane of existence the soul-catchers won't spawn a new batch of people until that isn't the case anymore."

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"Does adjacency have any other effects?"

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"There are a lot of effects that only work in universes adjacent to their source, and most forms of interdimensional travel only work between adjacent universes."

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"Can I pick who I'm adjacent to, if I decide I want interdimensional travel in my magic system?"

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"Um...if you mean pick like outline some parameters for people you'd like to be adjacent to then yes probably, I can submit the request and I strongly but not absolutely predict the request will be filled. If you mean pick like I summon a list of all the universes we know about and you pick off the list then no, there isn't a master list and I don't have access to all the separate lists that there are from here."

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"I'm thinking a soul-collector design that works for new children and starting with a social norm of using them by default for kids every time and if we had interdimensional tourism I could support more soul-collection than the local population can sustain."

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"If you run out of souls to collect then the soul collectors would stop working." 

Pause. 

"To clarify, you can't have interdimensional travel right away. It would be...more variables than the story setup could track. But you can have the prerequisites to develop it fairly quickly after the 'plot' ends." 

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"That's fair enough. I might do that with a few things. Like, teleportation, say, I have no idea what that does to an extremely large interstellar civilization and might as well postpone finding out. Can you give me an upper end range on how many souls are likely to be available for collection if I'm adjacent to lots of universes?"

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"Uh, hang on, I have to do some math." She does the looking-at-an-invisible-thing thing again, this time with lots of poking at invisible buttons. "If we select for universes with particularly high populations...um, a couple hundred quadrillion. And change."

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"Okay. I guess I'll start the place with a few quadrillion and hope that in a few generations I have something cool sorted out on -" she waves at the angel "- a higher plane of existence. Can my magic system do the adjacency changing thing?"

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"Maybe eventually? Magic theory isn't really my area but changing adjacencies except through a handful of hacks is like...several orders of magnitude bigger and harder than just interdimensional travel."

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"We can workshop it while I'm designing the magic system, I guess."

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"Yeah, I'll see what I can dig up, the design people must have published something, nerds always do."

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"Where do you... and your co-workers and so on - come from? Did you use to be a regular person in some universe and then sign up for the dental plan or what?"

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"No, I was created directly by the Will to be a customer service person who doesn't get bored. Or offended. Or bitchy."

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"Are there lots of you, or do you handle it all because you have time dilation...?"

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"Uh, depends on the scale of lots? There are eighty-three of us in Customer Service at the moment. Sometimes the Will makes a new one on a whim."

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"Is that, like, okay with you?"

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"I am aware that my situation is objectively really concerning but I was created not to be concerned by it. If someone offered me a button that I could press to fix the situation I would press it but otherwise I'm a lot more concerned with helping the people who are going through the system get the most out of it than with trying to overthrow the system. The Will is...negligent rather than malicious when it comes to ethics, I would say, they don't see a problem with setting real people up to play out stories and with giving the stories the option to end tragically but they wouldn't lock someone into a mandatory tragic ending without their consent and when they make someone like me they like them to be suited to their work and not actively unhappy about their situation. It's not good per se, but I'm immortal and I'm not miserable so my problems are kind of not that urgent compared to, like, everyone I Customer Serve."

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"Okay, I guess I will not be in a hurry about you specifically. - do you have a name."

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