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May 21, 2022 2:03 PM
Vanda Nosseo deals with Sesat
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"...Why is it okay for you to tell her to leave and not okay for her to tell you to stand on your head?"

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"Because it's my restaurant, and my head."

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"So anyone can tell anyone else to leave their restaurant and not tell anyone to stand on their head - I guess laws are different because you know them and they stay the same and they're the same for everyone? And, uh... does that mean you can't hit anyone, at all..."

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Keoni and Artorian look at each other and giggle. "Not if they don't want you to, hon," Keoni replies after they recover.

"There's some people authorized to bend the rules because rules're there when your judgment's not good enough and sometimes they're too restrictive for someone with amazing judgment," says Artorian. "But that's like, a Bell might teleport a planet to get it out of a dangerous place, that happened this one time, and normally you aren't supposed to teleport a planet without checking with the inhabitants but that was a special case. But even a Bell isn't going to refuse to leave somebody's restaurant if they're asked, or make people stand on their heads. - Bells are a kind of person there's a bunch of, they're in charge of a lotta stuff."

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"...Why is it okay for them to teleport a planet but not to stay in a restaurant?"

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"The planet was being attacked by evil spider monsters," Artorian replies. "There's no particular reason they'd need to be in a restaurant that wanted them gone."

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"So they're allowed because if you ask people afterward 'would you rather have gotten eaten by spiders?' they won't complain about it?"

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"That's not far off? It's not how I'd put it but it's at least close," Artorian says.

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"How'd you put it?"

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"They'd have the right reasons to teleport the planet, and you can be sure of that because there's like, what, a round dozen Bells by now and they're all like that wherever they're from. If somebody did say 'I would rather have gotten eaten by spiders' they'd be like 'hm, why's that, let's figure this out for next time so I can make better choices with this information' and not like 'I will slap you down for lèse majesté'."

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"That... sounds okay. What if you teleported a planet away from spider monsters?"

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"We can't teleport," says Keoni.

"Probably if we got a teleport and we teleported a planet away from spider monsters - well for one thing that can be hard to do right, you need the planet to keep moving smoothly and to bring its sun and any moons and I could be ignoring half a dozen things like that," says Artorian. "But if we were right I don't think we'd get in trouble? The rules are just to - make it clear that usually if you think that you're not going to be right."

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"I think I get it. The law's just a guideline and the real rule is you do what the person in charge wants, the only difference is here everyone is slightly in charge?"

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"...hmm," says Keoni.

"Everyone's in charge of themselves," says Artorian.

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"I don't get it."

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"Nobody'll tell you to stand on your head because it's your head. If somebody else's head is at risk, somebody might have to make a call, and there's some people we generally expect to make the right calls, but your head, your decision."

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"I guess."

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"I think you'll get used to it," Artorian says encouragingly.

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She smiles.

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Meanwhile, in Sesat, someone who has gotten a restraining order against one of the escaped slaves walks into a shop and asks what the best place to go on vacation is.

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"Oh, gosh, depends what kind of vacation you like! Hiking? That thing where - what's the thing mammals put on their faces - snorkeling? Architecture? Restaurants? Quaint locals? It's a big multiverse," says the birdperson he's talking to.

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"Huh, well, I think I might like to try all those things, but architecture sounds the most interesting - uh, but I also like restaurants," she says, belatedly considering that a slave who has just run away is probably going to prioritize food over art.

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"What kind of food do you like?"

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"I don't think I know enough about Vanda Nossëo's cuisine yet to say!"

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"Okay! Well, for architecture and food I'm going to recommend Patchwork. It's a planet in Hell, it's got lots of mini-polities on it that are mostly not themselves demons but the whole planet's administered by a demon oligarchy that care about making it safe for mortal visitors to swing through and there's enough demons there to make the food and architecture scenes really nifty."

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