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Nov 27, 2021 11:43 PM
Dottie lands in the middle of Brian and Jackson
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"I can't usually feel the right sense of triumph about something I've never experienced, once I get past the childhood fantasies. I can probably keep it up as long as there are literal superpowers to play with, so as long as you can sustain it, we could just stick to Triumph."

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"Your way works fine for me, I was just curious."

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"No, I think I was sticking to my old routine- superpowers do just change the game for me, emotionally. I read tons of superhero comics as a kid- triumph is definitely the feeling I get every time I'll add a new psion or mage feather to my cap. Anyway. If we're both done eating, I should think hard about how I want my anti-panic powers to work, and you should work on your hypercog."

To the hotel room?

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Bella pays the bill and they can go off to the hotel room!

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Hotel room!

Time to look up how psionic psychiatrists help with panic attacks- just enough of an idea to know what he wants to aim for, but not enough to constrain him too much, and then...Triumph.

Dottie explains how they can cut some more corners as they build rapport- "We need to like each other a little bit more, but that's easy enough on my end, if you can come up with any ideas to like me more, I'd love to hear them- and it's just as important that we've chanted together before, that we know each other's styles, that kind of thing. More for me, right now, since I'm composing the chants, but you'll get the hang of it."

And then it's time for a casting or three. Something to prevent panic attacks, then a re-tooling of that since he's expecting the first one to be subpar somehow (probably because he missed something), and finally, an attempt at naïvely mimicking...underwater breathing.

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"How does liking each other help?" she wonders.

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"Rapport has a couple of known factors- liking each other, knowing each other's styles, picking the right emotion to work with- and when you have higher rapport, you get a stronger chant. For Triumph, that could make the difference between getting an inconvenient interface for a new power and getting something that fits the way you think. Or not- it's hard to be sure exactly what benefit we could get, but there's never really a reason to under-supply a Gift chant."

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"Huh. I guess I can try to like you more, then."

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"It's not exactly something most people can just decided, but I figured you were the type to want to know it's an axis of improvement. I already like you enough to get most of the benefits out of that for rapport- you hit diminishing returns around 'enjoying someone's company and seeking it out', which works since you're the only interesting person I know on this planet. You have better options, though, so if you can make it work, I'd recommend it."

With that topic covered, though, they can focus on chanting. Dottie works up his feeling of Triumph as he thinks about getting rid of his panic attacks forever. When his mind is finally his own again, and not something that can just work against him whenever he thinks too hard about the wrong thing-

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Bella chants about thinking faster and better and more intuitively and more precisely.

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His first attempt gives him an interface that seems to think he needs to pick apart a panic attack as it happens; Dottie discards that one and moves on to a second attempt immediately.

The second version of the power is about isolating triggers and- partitioning them? He won't know for sure until he tries it, which isn't happening while Isabella is in the room.

If she's not satisfied with either of her two attempts- or if she wants to try for something else- they can keep going.

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She actually likes her second result fine but is willing to keep rolling the dice to get more of a feel for the space of options.

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Sure. Dottie thinks his second interface is good enough to play around with, so he'll try to get underwater breathing.

-there's no sense of what the interface is on land, maybe? Either that or it didn't work at all, which is a new failure mode.

"Panic attacks might have worked, but I'll want to take the time to modify it. Either copying underwater breathing didn't work, or I can't test it until I'm in the water. What about you, do you have something you like?"

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"Yeah, if you want to go fill the tub and stick your head in I'll be fine."

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"...can I ask you to check how it goes? I just have to- intend to do it, right?"

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"Sure, I'll stop you if you're going to drown or report that it was a terrible idea."

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Great. Dottie goes to re-enact his trauma or whatever. This is probably therapeutic, or something.

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(Is he going to report that it was a terrible idea? Or drown?)

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Within five minutes, he reports: "That was amazing! I've overcome the natural human condition with magic from another world. Everything about this is amazing. The panic attack power works, too. I'm not having any kind of reaction at all, it's nicely locked up in a mental box now."

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"Oh good!" she chirps, when he gets around to saying that in real life.

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"Yeah, it is."

He's- probably about to start feeling bad about killing a bunch of people because of unresolved trauma, but he can have the courtesy to do that when Isabella is not right next to him.

"The panic attack one is really useful for compartmentalizing, but my guess is you're not into that."

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"It's not for me, yeah, I'd design the power differently if I started having panic attacks."

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"Do you require anything else before I bid thee adieu?"

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"I'm good. See you next time!"

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