Emiko looked around the new research outpost. It was fairly small by Starlight's standards but it could be expanded later if necessary. The station was a mere 2 kilometers in diameter and only the same amount wide making for an inner surface of about 12 square kilometers. For now it was mostly park land and some small farms. There was constant soft illumination through the transparent siding of the station's outer ring from the silver mist outside and fusion powered lights provided brighter illumination on a daily cycle. The strange mist didn't seem to be affected by gravity and was close to uniform in every direction they'd sent probes out for at least a few million kilometers. A magecrafter had come through and determined that the mist was probably harmless but none of them were currently available for follow-up tests so at least for now the team here would be relying on resonators and good old-fashioned physics.
"Thank you. Scaling is hard but there's been a lot of work already done on that so the scaling itself isn't really my doing."
"Still, nice work."
"So, want to have a look at me casting some very simple spells?"
"Yes, though if it's stuff that needs to target something we should go inside because that's where the samples are." She opens the door and walks into the small lobby that makes up the above ground space of this building. "Do you prefer stairs or an elevator? We're going down a couple floors."
"How about the elevator? It probably isn't hydraulic, so it'll be interesting."
"It is not." She walks over to the elevator door and it slides open. There's a panel of buttons on one side and the one for sublevel 3 lights up without any apparent action by Riley. There's a total of five sublevels apparently. Once they're inside the elevator starts moving down much more smoothly than Griffith is accustomed to. It's also a longer ride overall for travelling just a couple stories.
"Yeah, this is pretty different from the elevators I usually use. Much smoother ride."
"It's a very old and tested design. We use a set of cables on a spool connected to the elevator by pulleys and we turn the spool to raise or lower the elevator. There are some other safety features but they only apply if something goes wrong."
"Oh, neat. I don't know how much the elevators I'm used to have safety features, but they're moved upwards by sudden bursts of water from below, and for downwards they use brakes."
"That sounds exciting, well going upwards anyway. I feel like using brakes would require semi-frequent maintenance because of wear."
"The brake systems might regrow themselves to compensate for wear, though I don't know if they do."
"The lab is this way." She leads the way to a small but well lit and ventilated room. There's a large bank of refrigerators with petri dishes along one wall and there are a number of racks of plants in plastic trays on racks under glow lights and a small aquarium with a number of shrimp and small fish along another. The other two walls have lab benches and there's another couple lab benches in the middle. A man is working on something with safety glasses at one of the benches along one wall. He looks up when they walk in but turns back to his work without saying hello.
"Oh, nice. All the lifeforms look lifeless to my spirit sense but they're still neat and they're clearly in practice alive."
"That's interesting. Do you have an idea about a good first test? Does positive energy persist in a subject after you cast a spell on it?"
"I think a good first test would be causing extremely minor injury to a plant and then poking it with the mildest positive-energy spell I have. And no, it doesn't."
"Sounds good." She walks over to the rack and retrieves a small lettuce plant and carries it back to a workbench. Her staff floats beside her when both of her hands are busy. "Alright, I have diagnostic spells running, do you want a scalpel for damaging the plant?"
"Sure. Or you can if you want. I can do 'Stabilize', the lowest-power undirected positive energy administration spell I have, at range, so we can do this without me touching the plant if that would get you cleaner data."
"That sounds like it would get very clean data." She pulls a scalpel out of the drawer and makes a cut on one of the leaves. "Whenever you're ready." She's recording both what the energy is doing and how it is shaped. Also where, if anywhere, it goes when the spell ends.
Griffie targets the cut lettuce with Stabilize. Nothing visible happens.
After a moment of looking, Griffie reports that the positive energy just unraveled and dissipated, instead of healing the lettuce.
"Well that's inconvenient. I wonder whether there's a way to make your magic work on things made of our sorts of matter."
"We could try higher doses and see if it gets flashier, or spells that direct the positive energy more? There's one which has it target pathogens and such, maybe at least the destructive portions of that would work? At least this does suggest I shouldn't accidentally cause something weird by leaking trace amounts of positive energy."
"And I have some lightning spells, could those be compatible? They don't use the elements or positive energy."
"If nothing else I'd be very interested in seeing how a lightning spell works without electrons. If you don't mind my asking what are the constraints on how many spells you can do? If it's particularly limited maybe we would be better off making a plan instead of just trying things as we think of them."
"Every day, which is 24 hours, which is … I don't have a clock, but I know some timekeeping songs to get an estimate for now, and we can calibrate it off my casting-capacity refreshes later. Anyway. Every day, I can prepare 4 orisons, 6 first-sphere spells, 5 second-sphere spells, 4 third-sphere spells, and 3 fourth-sphere spells. Orisons can also be called zeroth-sphere spells, but they're different because I don't expend them when I cast them."
"Good to know. Was Stabilize an Orison? And what sphere would the others you mentioned be?"
"It seems like an odd coincidence that both our civilizations divide the day into 24 hours."
"Stabilize, Create Water, Detect Magic, and Guidance are orisons. Life Bubble is sphere-4. Remove Disease is sphere-3, though if I were to do tests with it I'd want to use Diagnose Disease first, which is sphere-1. The lowest-sphere lightning spell I know is 'Aggressive Thundercloud', which is sphere-2, but that's not a fundamental limit, my druidic tradition just doesn't emphasize low-sphere lightning much and I haven't bothered to compensate. And I can do undirected positive energy at any sphere."
"As for 24 hours: Sometime around an hour is a nice length, and of all the numbers near 24, 24 is the one that can be divided the most different ways? I think?"