Oct 28, 2021 10:49 AM
amenta colonizes delena
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Sure! Here is the website where they post that sort of thing.

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Traveler, meanwhile, emails Sasip again: they're ready to get started on figuring out pollution detection, any advice on where to start?

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They've got an experimental design written up! Does it help with the crafter thing at all to visit a location before they have to do something complicated in it?

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It can but it's finicky, why?

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So they know if they should have the would-be genecrafter experimenter tour the place first. Also they should go over the decontamination process in advance to make sure that won't confuse them. Other than that they basically have the experimental design set up and have gotten permission to borrow a red to touch some mice.

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A tour will let them point out potential problems with working in the space, at least, and going over the decontamination process is a good idea too - it might need to be modified for their nonstandard body plan. They're not prepared to run the experiment yet, though; they don't have a working pollution detection method to test.

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Okay, they can schedule the tour for whenever convenient and have someone ready to walk her through the decontamination steps.

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Cool.

As for where to start, they don't really know; Amentans themselves cannot detect pollutedness any more than they can detect stolen-ness, it's a fact about the history of a thing more than the current state of its atoms. It's not genetic, it's not something you could see with a microscope, it will be very cool if a crafter can tell the mice apart but they don't know how that would actually work out mechanically.

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- ah. That's not going to work, then; he's sure a skilled fleshcrafter can give someone a sufficiently good sense of smell to be able to detect which Amentan subspecies has touched something, but crafting can only work with physical properties, like he said earlier, and if the project is to de-pollute the reds, just being able to tell whether the toucher was red isn't good enough.

He emails Professor Kenah with this news - is there any hope of coming up with an acceptable de-polluting method without a test?

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Maybe! It's understood that natural processes of the kind that eventually use polluted matter as mushroom food or fuel for an algal bloom or the template for an eventual fossil or fertilizer for a tree do eventually de-pollute matter. But normally when you depollute matter you don't need to give particular attention to the matter showing up in a condition to do its job afterwards, that's the trick. Here are some papers on the depollution process to get traveler familiar with the kinds of reasoning Amentan theologians use when figuring out odd cases.

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Well, he and pillowsoft can spend some time reading, then.

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Theology papers take it as axiomatic that the primary pollutants are pollution. These include bodily waste that is specifically rejected by the body because it is waste (so this doesn't include sweat, tears, blood from injuries, lost hairs, or shed skin - they have a way to carve out an exception for breathing), and also dead bodies (but not necessarily the amputated parts of surviving patients; there's a lively academic debate about both that and about whether those parts retroactively become polluted when the person dies, though consensus seems to be no-but-be-careful-just-in-case), and also reds. They have papers about what barriers are sufficient to prevent pollution transfer (they like plastic a whole lot) and what conditions are required to make sure that an instance of pollution has been completely cleansed from a person, animal, object, or area, whether this is achieved with soap or fire or bleach or "natural processes". They do use physical states of matter as correlates to tell them how effective a cleaning agent is but it's not remotely obvious how any of them would be survivable for someone who must be presumed totally polluted in every cell, like a red. (Decontamination showers do the trick for people who have experienced only surface pollution; people who for whatever reason are suffering internal pollution go through considerably more invasive procedures.) They write about how pollution transfers - this requires contact, though droplet contact is important to watch out for even if pollution is understood not to be strictly speaking airborne, and it doesn't jump from object to object, so a red wearing shoe covers can step on clean ground and leave it clean, though the covers are necessary in case any primary pollutant is tracked directly on the shoes from presumed exposure to bodily waste. This is also the philosophy behind the design of police weapons that are made of two sections.

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...it's not that hard to make a dog that can walk through a fire and be none the worse for wear; harder to make one that'd take drinking bleach in stride, but not impossible in theory, especially if it only has to manage that way for a few hours before its chemical reactivity is set back to normal. Heat may just be the way to go, though, if they'd take them reaching some particular internal temperature as having done the trick?

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Even after reading a handful of theology papers they can get the impression that this would be subject to vigorous academic debate.

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All right but is there any method that wouldn't be, if there is it hasn't jumped out at them yet. Maybe they just haven't read far enough.

Traveler emails his red contact, eventually, with an update on pillowsoft's presence and their research so far: it seems promising to him even if they don't have a specific plan yet; what do they think?

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...that seems like it would hurt?

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She would of course do something for that - a temporary full-body pain block is inelegant but will definitely work if she can't come up with something more targeted. (Hi!)

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Hi! Uh, if cooking a red with a pain block will make the cleans buy it...

...does this scale?

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Well enough, yeah, both the fireproofing and the pain block are only intermediate difficulty and she expects to get good turnout from an all-hands call, for this. The big question at this point is whether they will buy it, and maybe what happens afterwards. (How many reds are there on the planet, by the way?)

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On this planet there are 600.

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Okay, yeah, that should scale just fine - they do want to get the ones on the other planets too, but if she and a couple of friends can get this whole planet taken care of within a couple of months then crafter-power isn't likely to be the sticking point.

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There are about forty million reds back on Amenta.

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...she takes that back. Not in the sense that they won't try, but in the sense of - that's a couple generations of crafters making it their life's work, pretty easily. Maybe if this thing where they're going to get as many of the next generation of Amentans crafting too works out and they take it up, or something.

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If they focused on people who were about to have kids before they had them they wouldn't have to do forty million, some people would die and no new polluted reds would be added, but yeah. Maybe if reds who've been cooked are allowed to learn crafting they can do it.

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That'd be a smart approach, definitely. They can think more about the logistics when they know whether the cleans will accept it at all.

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