Jan 29, 2022 2:53 AM
delegations from topias: anomaland, bobbiverse, malachitin, elfland, ozytopia, alicornutopia, dath ilan
Permalink

In a cave known on some planets as "Altamira", where there are prehistoric drawings on the walls across many worlds, there is an event.

It'd be sort of hard to miss. There's a lightshow, some harmless radiation spikes, a resonant high-pitched noise that lasts for several hours and is really annoying for miles around, basically it was thoroughly obvious. The interesting thing was that the cave then proved to exist in several universes as a single cave where previously it was one cave to a customer.

We will elide here the frantic linguistic nerdery, the protocols necessary to ensure that no one brought a flu home, the physics experiments for determining how things split back into their own universes (you can go to someone else's, if you hold their hand and let them precede you out of the cave; unattended objects get a little squirrely but not so much that one can't run cables), the security arrangements each world undertook at the aperture, and the installation of conference furniture and a water cooler and everybody's respective Internet access. Instead we will open on the Summit: contingents of diplomats and whatever auxiliary personnel each world found meet, assembling in the cave. (Please don't touch the paintings, some cultures care a lot about those.)

Total: 407
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

Firstplanet has brought the maximum permissible number of scientific researchers in addition to their diplomats, and also a tray of Anomalan snacks ranging from "chocolate-coated peanuts" to "fried jalapeno slices with vinegar". There are detailed labels on all the snacks with their nutritional and chemical contents, and tablet with a survey form in which to write your opinions on their various properties.

Permalink

Dath ilan found out about this summit kind of late; they went much more slowly and cautiously on exploring the cave, compared to some others.

Thankfully, Governance has long since gamed this literal exact scenario to death.  They've gamed it to death so hard that it died twice.  They're ready, they've been so ready for ages.

(There's an internal prediction market on how long it will take Reality to go completely off the rails of any previous LARP or simulation.  The market assigns a 28% probability that it happens within the first five minutes of proper interworld conversation beginning.)

The delegation has a ninth-ranked Keeper, the smartest person on the planet, the person on the planet with the best prediction market score, a topnotch mechanic who's also an endurance medical technician, somebody with an incredibly good memory who reads a lot, the world's greatest detective, a cheerful old person pushing 60 who doesn't know any government secrets and was planning to commit true-suicide soon, and a carefully sealed sphere with life support containing an observer who knows what actually happened in the past.  They wear visors with more advanced computing technology than is supposed to actually exist in their world, with constantly updating graphs showing what secret prediction markets are currently saying about whatever's happening.

They've pressed the amber 'prepare for emergencies' button on the Basement of the World, but haven't issued a red 'go full speed' light.  It currently seems like it would be reasonably hard to launch a full flight of nukes through the cave system, and if any world is sending nanomachines through, dath ilan was screwed as soon as the cave overlap existed.

The cheerful old person will try some of Firstplanet's snacks!  They have no internally detectable mental effects!  Her medical parameters are all normal too!  Nobody else from dath ilan takes any.

Permalink

The Teachingsphere pulled out their best diplomat from the monastery where she was having a yearlong silent retreat after some particularly tricky negotiations with the former Communist bloc about nuclear weapons. She was briefly extremely displeased, but recovered her equanimity quickly once she discovered that the reason was that they made first contact with alternate dimensions (!) who are all full of saints (!!) and almost none of which had heard of the logos (!!!).

The monk diplomat team is universally dressed in tunics, scapulars, and cinctures in the light green that indicates that they do politics; their heads are shaved. Mindful of the teaching that a monk should spend twenty minutes daily in prayer, unless they're very busy, in which case they should spend an hour, they universally spent the time before crossing over in desperate prayer that they behave effectively so they can understand the wisdom of the other dimensions and share what little knowledge of the logos they had themselves. 

Permalink

But will the cheerful old person fill out the survey? The biologists and chemists and food scientists and hedonicians back home really want all the data they can get, here.

Also, what do they expect their primary exports will be? Anomalan prediction markets suggest they'll be exporting medical technology, art, and parrots.

Permalink

The Elfland delegation is on the smaller side.  The elves arrive in exceedingly comfortable elegant clothing, and disperse among the assembled people.  A few cheerfully fill out Anomalan snack surveys.  They all have exceedingly long hair except for a couple who have buzz cuts, and they all carry what appear to be leather bound notebooks which, if inspected carefully, are actually notebooks full of paper but with screens inset in the inside of the front cover. 

Permalink

Who got to send representatives was the subject of much debate, which is here elided by the author for the sake of brevity (to give an approximate idea of the scale, one secession and a half was declared over the matter but the New Sotoh thing barely counts and everyone knew West Katlim had been planning to secede anyway), but because the cave was in Callassa they got dibs. A handful of other countries were chosen -- for being on good diplomatic terms with Callassa, for being willing to send exclusively diplomats fluent in Spoken Llassan to make things easier on the Anomalan machine translation researchers and Llassan Sign for backchanneling, and not having had a revolution or secession in the last thirty years.

So now there are diplomats from four different malachitinous nations and a few representative works of fiction. They're wearing a wide array of different styles of clothing, and have not brought snacks.

Permalink

The delegation from Green includes:

- a white-haired old lady dressed in voluminous purple robes with white detailing and accessories; her nametag says Shrey of Alund, Representative of Green, and her braid goes nearly to the floor
- a middle-aged man with a blond buzzcut in fabric that all looks like those paintings where you put in a selection of colors and then drag something pointy through them; he's accompanied by a black-tailed marmoset; his nametag says Cason of Yaris, Representative of Green
- a woman about the same age as the man, in a much less flashy outfit (white blouse, black slacks); she has a crow; her nametag says Tsahiri of La, assistant to Green representatives

They have brought their own lunches but didn't think to bring any to share. Tsahiri takes a chocolate-covered peanut and fills out the survey.

Permalink

The Anomalans, who are wearing colorful multi-layered ensembles with lots and lots of pockets and hooks for small useful objects plus kind of ridiculous amounts of jewelry, are appreciative of elven fashion and willingness to take surveys.

They're very curious what it means to be a delegate from a work of fiction! Their delegates are from every continent and chosen by prediction-vote and for a broad cross-section of skills.

Permalink

Sorry, it was taking a moment for dath ilan's prediction markets to evaluate the probability that the surveys were cunning traps!  The old lady can fill out the survey now.

Permalink

Ozytopians take food, sit quietly, close their eyes, and concentrate completely upon the experience of consuming the food. Then they fill out surveys. They would like extra pages for the survey, please, they only have one page each and that's not enough space to fully describe a piece of food. 

Permalink

No, sorry, what that means is that the delegates brought works of fiction reasonably representative of their respective countries' bodies of literature, that being the thing everyone agreed would be least likely to be similar in another world even given that they have the same geography and similar biochemistry.

Not all of the malachitians fill out surveys but some of them do; the ?girl? with the hair that's half black and half blue really likes fried japaleno slices with vinegar.

Permalink

Ozytopians think that's a really good idea the malachitians have! A low-ranked monk is sent back to Ozytopia to collect a representative sample of works from the Teachingsphere. 

In the meantime perhaps at some point people would like to hear Ozytopian songs?

Permalink

The Greens would love to hear Ozytopian songs!

Permalink

If you click this little "expand" button it will get you a 65535-character text box! If they had known sooner that this was going to happen they would have programmed multilingual form buttons in addition to the multilingual keyboards. The Ozytopians can put as much data into the survey as they want and thank you very much for participating. 

Anomalans want to read the representative works of fiction!! Maybe not this minute because there are important realtime things happening, but definitely soon.

Oooh, music, yes please!

Permalink

A few of the elves are entranced by the music.  Do the Ozytopians have score to facilitate singing along?

One of the elves seems likely to start asking many questions about musical notation, traditions, and tropes but is subtly poked by the elf next to her before it gets out of hand.

Permalink

After conferring briefly, four Ozytopian diplomats sing in perfect harmony a tribute to the concept of brassica. They are very thankful for brassica! It is true that food had to taste good but it was not at all true that brassica specifically had to exist! They are very impressed by it being turnips and kohlrabi and cabbage and kale and collards and Brussels sprouts and mustard and rapeseed, that is a lot of variety! All the kinds of brassica are also all very nutritious vegetables and they are grateful for this! Lots of people bred brassica, and their work should be recognized! It's also very cool how Brussels sprouts taste good now. 

(Two diplomats grumpily sit in silence due to being bad at singing.)

Permalink

What a good song! Firstplanet, it transpires, also has lots of brassicas but a slightly different set! How delightful. They could sing a song of their own to reciprocate if people would like.

Permalink

Dath ilan is trying to do the thing where they update very rapidly from data and see the truth in advance of being hit over the head with it.

Faced with an entirely out-of-context situation, the dath ilani delegation is being cautious in a way that strikes dath ilani as obvious.

Other delegations are not being cautious, and are rapidly giving away massive amounts of information about their own worlds, much more than dath ilan is apparently providing.

38% probability that this entire summit is a gaslighting-con-larp being arranged by a single world or existing confederation, with the goal of showing an apparent openness norm that will lure dath ilan to be more open itself.

22% probability that other worlds are systematically much less honest than dath ilan, and everybody here is presenting elaborate lies, as - it will turn out - any non-dath-ilan world would automatically do as a matter of course.

On the remaining probability mass, dath ilan is being sort of rude relative to average branch-of-humanity norms, but with the fate of all of these planets at stake, they can live with being a little rude.  Dath ilan can repay all the information it's not currently giving, with interest, later.


Oh, prediction markets just updated again.  They can answer Firstplanet's question about exports now!  Dath ilan is interested in trading all sorts of intellectual property, of course, that's more scalable than anything that has to be brought through a cave.  They're especially interested if anybody has any improvement over par cryopreservation technology, or any effective way of enhancing human intelligence.  Also has anybody done anything about the thing where people get dumber and sicklier just as they're getting old enough to learn anything?  Dath ilan is really annoyed by that.


The world's greatest detective will sing a dath ilani cheerful-comic song voicing a parent's over-the-top praise for a child taking their first steps and repeatedly falling over.

Permalink

The Greens really like these songs! Is there a good recording of them they can kick back home? The acoustics in here aren't great and they didn't bring a microphone setup. They have songs too but none of these are singers. They do have recordings of their own world's stuff though.

Permalink

Ozytopians are also interested in trading intellectual property. They're not sure what kinds of human-intelligence methods dath ilan already has, but they have a set of meditation, education, etc techniques and dath ilan can look over them later in the conference and see what is novel to them? They can also make recordings of the songs available for free to the Greens.

(Ozytopians are very pleased by how well missionary work is going so far.)

What's a cryopreservation?

Permalink

Cryopreservation is when, if you don't know how to fix somebody, you put them in liquid nitrogen in case someday they figure out how to undo both that and also the original problem. Right? That's what it is on Green.

Permalink

Does that... work.

Permalink

That?? Seems like a really big 'in case'??? 

Permalink

Well, it doesn't work on Green yet - that is, they have liquid nitrogen, which is also great for customized ice cream, and they can put people in it, but they don't know how to reverse the process. Does dath ilan? That would be cool!

Permalink

One of the Anomalan biologists wants to go to a breakout room and get into the metaphorical deep forest on the biology of aging and intelligence enhancement and the mechanics of cryopreservation! They have made several discoveries in all of those areas, though they also can't revive anyone yet, and hope they don't overlap much with the dath ilani versions! Also have they tried brain/computer interfaces and how far have they gotten?

Total: 407
Posts Per Page: