Jun 14, 2021 2:23 PM
Demon Cam in Haven City
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"You don't wanna come?"

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"Suppose we take the worst-off thousand people and go. If Kras can feed that many more, they won't do it for free. All thousand of them would need new jobs over there, without any idea who to trust less than usual and who to bribe in which business. And they're not on our warp network, so it'd be a long trip. The baron could shoot us down on the way out, Kras could get spooked and shoot us down on the way in, and in between here and there there are metal heads unless you put them on another planet first. And this is all assuming you want to help out with enough air trains to carry everyone, otherwise we can't get out."

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"I can feed people. And make a - I don't know what an air train is, a shuttle."

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"Might work. Wait. You got Kras without knowing it existed. Can you check for... places in Kras where they torture dissidents?"

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"...that is not a conjurable parameter but if you can name some dissidents I can see how they're doing?"

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"I don't know any in Kras - I do know some missing people here - what is conjurable?"

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"Books by title and author, locations by time, all the works ever written in a particular language... I should maybe do that anyway, try to train a computer to speak what the metal heads speak..."

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"Damn. - Can you do prisons in Kras?"

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"I don't think so but if there's a uniform the prison guards would wear, or something, I could bootstrap from there...?"

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"I wouldn't know. If you can do groups of armed people within fifteen feet of injured, unarmed people, that's either a prison or important anyway."

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"That's too elaborate. I can... do... surroundings of blood that is not in people? But that will get me a lot of false positives."

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"And negatives. - Better plan. You get rid of the metal heads and we make a new city."

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"I can start there, sure, after my computer's chewed on the language some - it might only be able to do writing if they don't have audio recordings - is this an okay place to put a person-sized amount of hardware?"

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"...Maybe. We probably won't be raided here but that's... say a seventy percent chance we make it another month."

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"Oh, it doesn't need to be safe, just not in the way, I can remake it if anything happens to it." He finds a corner to stash the processors.

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"Hey, while you're making things, can you get me everything Gol Acheron wrote, if he existed?"

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"That will get you his diary and love letters and whatnot, which I need a better reason than a casual suggestion to turn over."

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"I would guess he's too dead to be embarrassed, but fair enough."

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"Maybe you have an afterlife, who knows? Can someone recommend me a good map of this, let's say continent?"

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"There might be dozens of good maps but I kind of like the ones in the front matter of my history textbook, what was it called, Legacy of the Precursors? Something like that."

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Cam produces a nice big instance of that one.

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Haven City is along the southern coast of its continent, just west of a jungle and southwest of an active volcanic crater and some similarly geologically interesting areas. There are a lot of ruins: some lost cities, including one just off the coast marked only as "lost Precursor city", and some places marked with names like "ancient citadel". There are some known areas of metal head settlement, and some badlands that (based on their general latitude and distance from the ocean) should have been nice and fertile.

It's not a very big continent.

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"What's the deal with Precursors?" Cam asks.

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"That's the million-orb question. There's a bunch of ruins that would be older than recorded history if they didn't have words engraved on them. The tech still works, including the talking statues - we have one here but unfortunately it makes less sense than a romance novel plot, when it bothers to say anything."

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"It speaks your language though?"

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