Sep 27, 2022 9:15 PM
Vanda Nosseo lands on a world that fights a lot of wars.
+ Show First Post
Total: 806
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

"I'd prefer you avoid spreading the information around, at least."

Permalink

"Understood! Anyway, you also wanted to know more about Vanda Nossëo. People who developed interworld teleportation methods of various kinds - several of the magic methods I mentioned and also a nonmagical method - started exploring their neighborhoods, checking out what was there and what the useful frontiers of improvement for everybody involved might be. They found some surprising commonalities - for example, humans are common, even though that's weird, and there are a couple of specific planets that show up again and again so you wouldn't be able to tell the difference from up high, though they may be found during different calendar years and with some other details tweaked. There are also people - underlying personalities, and some more cosmetic stuff on top - that show up again and again. I don't have any that I know of but Mateo does, and Avigail does, and Vëoneo does. They're easier to find if you're on a repeated world because you can just see if you popped up in the same place, but apsels can also check, if we need to know for some reason."

Permalink

"Fascinating!" he says. "Our most obvious frontiers of improvement are keeping demons away, providing more advanced technology - the angels have a very good understanding of physics but are not very good at turning that into something we can make practical use of - and ending the current war; for the sake of the first we'll want to join Vanda Nosseo immediately, and hopefully you can organize a peace conference that can manage the third."

Permalink

"We'd be happy to organize a conference; I don't currently have a good sense of how tractable everyone's grievances are but we can throw a lot of resources at it. Are there specific technologies you'd hope for or shall we just set up shop somewhere so you can see what we've got?"

Permalink

"Almost every foot of land is claimed by at least two countries, the kings of Ostal, Ljudizem, Raetila and Ingden are generals of mine with - if you discount the rights of the Admiralty - no claim better than some local support, and both my Holy League and the Coalition against it are backing governments-in-exile and liberation committees for every region that can swear to be the home of an oppressed minority whether or not it's plausible, and the Coalition wants me dead, Amraterre abolished, and a more tractable Admiral - that is to say, one who doesn't believe in demons - installed. So I haven't thought a conference would be at all tractable until you arrived.

"And I don't know what technology you have. More Bestowals would be useful if you can make those; more hero crests, similarly. Better healing, more food, science classes understandable to humans; if you can clear the lowlands to make them more habitable, we'd like that. Most of our world's wildlife is demonic in origin, and we can't remove the breeding places because they're too far beneath the breathable zone for anyone without hero crests to travel."

Permalink

"If Bestowals and hero crests aren't magic and don't need to be intelligent to work, apsels can make them. We normally distribute healing and food in storefronts we set up in newly contacted settlements, though this location in particular doesn't look like a permanent habitation so I don't know if it'd suit. We can offer you magically animated artifacts called golems which know a lot of math and science and can teach it to interested parties and respond to questions; on a few planets we've tried that alone as a low-effort plausibly-better-than-nothing intervention. Is the wildlife sapient or just part of a different biosphere that it shared with demons once?"

Permalink

He listens a moment.

"The Angelic opinion is that there is no sharp line between 'intelligent' and 'not intelligent', only degrees, and they consider the Bestowals and crests below the intelligence level they consider to be a 'person' but not on the level of, say, rocks. If apsels can make Bestowals, that will solve almost all of our scarcity problems; Bestowals can create anything we can specify and we're very good at specifying. You'll want to contact national governments and tell them that you can make them Bestowals and they'll tell you where to put them, but most cities are on Bestowals not because those were the best places to build cities before, but because anywhere is a good place to build a city afterwards."

"The wildlife is created by the demons but not sapient; they are apparently very good at making living things. The only sapient creatures we know of are ourselves, demons, and angels, though the angels say they have records of more that the demons wiped out before they encountered each other."

He pauses. "How do you draw the line between 'magically animated artifacts' and 'people?' Everything we know that can teach is a person."

Permalink

"Intelligence isn't a sharp line, but the line that matters for apsels is considerably below that of 'person'; an apsel-made fruit fly will behave quite normally but an apsel-made hamster will not. If Bestowals don't work out you might be able to get along with matter replicators but they require a substantial power supply so they're not standard among things we distribute to lower-tech planets. In the case of the golems - well, if you ask them, they say they aren't people, and they're programmed to do a pretty narrow set of things even if they do those very well. You can talk to one if you'd like."

Permalink

"The Bestowals have their own power supply," he says, "like the hero crests - though they're not expected to stop running for another seventy thousand to two hundred and fifty thousand years - but otherwise that sounds very reasonable. And I'd like to, if you have time."

Permalink

Vëoneo pops up to the ship to fetch a Charp, which can answer any questions the Admiral may have about math or science or things it or its fellow Charps it's gotten within updating range of have encountered but reports no internal experience of any kind.

Permalink

Great! He'll be happy to talk to the Charp!

Once he's done that, he'll want to talk to them more about Vanda Nosseo, entry procedures thereto, and whether they can provide him with anything stronger than tea for keeping him awake so he can continue this conversation longer.

(He'll also need to update his people and rewrite his campaign plans, which might take a little longer. But he can multitask.)

Permalink

They can get him a cup of coffee if he'd like, or a skip-sleep song.

Permalink

Skip-sleep song sounds good! How many of these are they prepared to provide and is there anything they want for them in return?

(Also on his list of priorities: Get a formal announcement to all his client states that they should cooperate with Vanda Nosseo, which is a non-angelic force that is prepared to defend them from the demons anyway.)

Permalink

The conventional exchange for songs and things like them is stories; the Admiral has already told them plenty of stuff so no need to pay them for this one for him or anyone else who wants to listen in.

Permalink

Excellent. If he can get more of these, he'd appreciate it; right now he's trying to arrange peace negotiations, manage internal diplomacy and still fight a war effort; anything that can give him and his people (here or elsewhere) more hours in the day will help them with the required multitasking.

Permalink

They'll give him a sleep-skip.

Permalink

Great.

Permalink

Forensics, meanwhile, is on the assigned task. First of all: do demons and angels in fact literally exist.

Permalink

Demons: Yup! Carbon-based life form, but not in any recognizable line of descent from Earth; looks like a sort of centipede-ish thing with lots of little legs, some of which are also arms, about a foot and a half long.

Angels: That blue crystal on the admiral's forearm. There's apparently a lot of circuitry in it, or something like circuitry?

Permalink

Huh. Maybe angels are AIs? That would be neat.

Next: ballpark order of magnitude estimate of how populous both are? And then: WHERE are they?

Permalink

Populace: Demons appear to number in the hundred-billion-ish order of magnitude; angels in the millions or low tens of millions.

Where: There is exactly one angel on this planet, the blue crystal on the admiral's forearm! There are half-a-dozen demons thataways in a spaceship that looks like an asteroid. They appear to also be inside other creatures; the asteroid spaceship is loaded with nasty-looking critters, rather like the 'wolves' or 'bears' on this planet but scaled very, very up. There's also very large numbers of both, mostly on other worlds (in the case of demons, who appear to have more than a thousand) or in a number of ships/stations, most of which are in asteroid belts around suns (especially in the case of angels). Both of them are pretty thoroughly dispersed.

Permalink

Whoof. Okay, at first glance looks like this is a Cubical sort of situation. But the forensics folks will write it up in very neutral language, provide images of the ships and stations and planets for teleporters, run their checks for anything suspiciously missing that might be magic...

Who's the guy with the angel accessory, anyway -

Oh, huh. They'll throw that tidbit in too, that's neat.

Permalink

Yeah, he does appear to be an alt of Napoleon I Bonaparte, Emperor of the French?

(There's nothing suspiciously missing.)

Permalink

"- You have alts!" remarks Junan when he gets the forensics results. "Apparently on Earths, one of the recurring planets, you're this guy called Napoleon."

"He's Napoleon? Coooool," says Mateo.

Permalink

"Don't believe I know the man," says the Admiral. "Should I take it as good news?"

Total: 806
Posts Per Page: