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Nov 29, 2022 8:26 PM
Vanda Nosseo deals with Sesat
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"Oof, hate it when that happens. Can I read it?"

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"I sure assume so, considering you're a demon, but I'm going to be kind of annoyed about it if all that comes out of this conversation is more people doing that."

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"I mean, I can't do it right now, if it's not part of the task, but if I'm in this to help you out I wanna know how bad it was, you know?"

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"Can I do multiple tasks here, like, can we start with something like 'I'll name it and you can conjure it in exchange for going over the cultural subtext for me' - I'm not from her world, I picked up that it was a hit piece but I don't really have the context to know how bad."

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"Oh, sure, you can do renegotiations - did you not take a class or anything before doing this, that's safer than it used to be but still not great -"

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"I read things beforehand but not specifically a class."

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"Well, I'm not the violent nutcase type, lucky you. I will do cultural subtext, assuming I know anything about the culture, if you got interviewed by energy beings shaped like crabs or something I won't be able to help you."

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"I got interviewed by a green person. It's called She'd Like To Call It 'Courage'."

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"Like all green or like green hair?" the demon asks.

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"Green skin."

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"Less common! Anyway you haven't really phrased this as a task you're agreeing to yet."

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She can phrase it as a task she's agreeing to.

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"Cool cool yeah," says the demon, and she produces a copy of the article, skims it, and says, "Okay, and this is like a house elf situation or you're just highkey into BDSM or what?"

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"I don't own slaves. I live in a country where people own slaves. I live with people who own slaves. I do job training and know things about the labor market, which, guess what, means I interface with the slave trade. A lot, yes. Perhaps instead of that I could have quit my job, risked falling out of the - class of people who can afford houses like the one I live in, who get treated in ways everyone in Vanda Nossëo just considers basic decency - and then there'd be just as many slaves, but they'd be incompetent, and everyone would be poorer. Perhaps I could have left my house and my family rather than tolerate having any cleaning done by a slave, perhaps I could have defected to Azan - they ban slavery, after all, except for us, they want to enslave my people in particular - or, you know, perhaps I could have decided to go see more of Vanda Nossëo and maybe move somewhere that actually bans slavery, after seeing it for myself rather than trusting rumors, after getting enough multiversal money to afford to do that, which I was told I ought to do by getting interviewed - and now I, personally, am the face of slavery in Sesat, and I can't move away because I don't want to have this conversation a thousand times."

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"Wow. I mean, they don't seem to've published your picture, but yeah, that seems rough, I think Thomas Jefferson couldn't free his slaves when he was alive because he was in debt and it was expensive or something but also he invented the spinny chair and also he bred my favorite cultivar of pea. So you just want to look for dirt on this lady instead of publishing a rebuttal or something?"

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"I'm not sure if it - it'd be fair, see, to point out that my son and his wife own slaves, but I don't want to say 'no, be mad at them instead of me' - I don't know, would you publish a rebuttal, if it were you?"

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"I don't know what someone who wanted to put out a hit piece on me would even say but maybe? Like, if the situation's complicated and, say, you don't just think owning people is totally cool but you're in too much debt to get their manumission papers or whatever you do there, that's kind of cool, you might get people taking up a collection so you can free them?"

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Meanwhile, in Sesat, a family wanders into town with nothing but the clothes on their backs, and sends their oldest son into an envoy shop to ask about emigration.

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"Hi there!" says the proprietor, who is a giant bug.

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"Hello, sir. I was wondering about moving to Vanda Nossëo. Is that something I can pay for with stories?"

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"You can get bus tokens for stories, and then nobody's going to make you turn around and come back after you've bussed someplace else."

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"Thank you, sir, and can people pay for food and shelter once they get there?"

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"If you want to be a citizen you can get your first basic income payment right away, yep!"

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"I don't yet know anything about the responsibilities of citizenship. Is that information something I can buy for a story?"

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"Yep!"

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