Jul 06, 2022 8:53 PM
Vanda Nosseo lands on a world that fights a lot of wars.
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They're not going to interfere with running away at all. Some of the Elves aboard will improvise music in what hopefully comes across as a friendly way? They hope?

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The 'demons' do not seem to be very keen on friendliness. Their music will continue harmonizing with whatever is on offer, but they're pretty sure about their plans to react to alien invaders, and have no intention of altering their plans for minor trifles like the invaders not actually doing any invading.

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Wow. Disappointing. They didn't even try to demon-ize anybody! That worked with getting in touch with hostile Yeerks!

The Elves are very patient and will continue for a couple of days while the data folks chew on what the angels had on these guys and a psion back in Ithil pushes a computer to decrypt what they had on the radio.

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The attacks will vary to see if anything works; there's fairly clearly large-scale evacuations going on on the planet.

The data folks mostly just have lots of evidence that they react with the same aggression - sometimes panicked, sometimes methodical - to aliens who are not Vanda Nossëo. The angels have given the data folks no records of them peacefully interacting with any members of any sentient species, only violently.

Decryption, meanwhile, is not that hard, given Vanda Nossëo's resources. The public radio signals are warning that undetected abominations appeared on the homeworld, that an undetected ship evaded all their sensors to appear in solar orbit, and that the ship is (a) crewed almost entirely by soulless abominations and (b) immune to all their weapons. They go into more detail on Tarwë - one of them was partially open to song but did not accept harmony, they recovered valuable information from its mind, they're tight-beaming it. They're also warning that the evacuation of the home system is being organized, since it apparently cannot be defended. (There's also a lot of tight-beam radar signals, which are physically impossible to intercept for someone on the far side of them, if you need to worry about lightspeed.)

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Yeah, Vanda Nossëo doesn't need to worry about lightspeed.

Almost entirely? Any joy on figuring out who isn't a soulless abomination?

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Tarwë is not a soulless abomination, just apparently controlled by one! He also has lots of information about his empire, which they're passing on to important military and scientific bases; he thinks they're from an alternate universe, that they have basically no limits to their power, and that they can, in particular, raise the dead, move any object instantly to any location faster than the speed of light, create anything, and be immune to all harm, using the following methods (most of which are either accurate or understandable misinterpretations of what Tarwë thought). They urge everyone to continue fighting to the last instead of succumbing to the desire to depart a broken song; he may very well be wrong, and the scientists may well be able to reverse-engineer his secrets, now that they know that either FTL or cloaking is possible. Included is a description of Tarwë's best model of how FTL works; his dilithium crystals don't seem to correspond to anything they have but they hope they can synthesize them eventually. 

There's also discussions of how many refugees they're sending to various planets, so the destinations can get supplies together in advance. It is a lot less than the number of 'demons' on the planet.

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They did kind of try to make Tarwë commit suicide immediately, so apparently he wasn't not-soulless-abomination-y enough to qualify for assimiliation into their orchestra or whatever it is that makes them so cosmopolitan-looking.

Is the music changing or informative at all? Can they figure out how the various species that they look like were initially met? If they broadcast in the same channel, a simple hail or an offer to replace the city or send Tarwë back alone, will they respond?

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The music is changing, but it seems to be much more a matter of beauty than of information.

The various species were all originally genetically engineered in labs, mostly on that planet there. Some of them are derived from species that naturally evolved, mostly on that planet there; others are made in imitation of them. Some of them naturally reproduce; others are all lab-grown.

The hail triggers a series of tight-beams, all of which are "the abominations are initiating communications, we are going to try to respond."

<Greetings, abominations>

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"Greetings!" replies the Elf manning the comms. "We apologize for frightening you."

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"You set foot on our world." The voice is spoken by something not even slightly human - computer-generated? - and is speaking about the same language as the vaguely proto-Indo-European thing the angels were. "You are not in harmony."

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"If you would prefer we stop broadcasting music, we will stop. It seemed like it might be a way to communicate with you and was not intended to do harm. We apologize for trespassing on your world."

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"We will listen to your communications."

Pause.

"The music of the ear is meaningless. The music of the soul is harmony or disharmony. You are disharmony."

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"Can you explain to us more about that?"

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"All souls are either in harmony with the Concordance, or are in disharmony. Disharmony is wrong and bad and evil and should not exist and must cease."

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"What is the Concordance?"

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"The set of things that are in harmony with each other. We are all in harmony. You are in disharmony."

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"Is there a way to become harmonious?"

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"Everything that is not an abomination can become harmonious." Pause. "Abominations are things made out of stone or metal that look like they think, or things controlled by things made out of stone or metal that look like they think."

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"Once something has become harmonious, can it leave the Concordance again?"

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The demon who is handling the conversation is very shocked and disturbed! The demon's shock and distress propagates outward to the rest of the crew of the fleet command station; they echo back mitigated shock and distress (it's not like we didn't know they were abominations) and then calm, determination, focus; fear won't help, shock won't help, we sing in the harmony of strength and you will survive.

"Harmonious things do not want to be disharmonious because disharmony is wrong and bad and evil."

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"How did your people learn about this?"

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"It is obvious as soon as someone harmonious meets a disharmonious thing that the disharmonious thing is bad." This would be much easier if the demon could just COMMUNICATE with them because then they would just see that the disharmonious thing was bad. Having to communicate with noise instead of song is so terrible.

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"Is all the life on your home planet harmonious? How long has that been the case?"

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"All the life on our planet is harmonious because all the life on our planet has always been harmonious! We made it more beautiful but it was always in harmony with us since before we could think."

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"When did you discover that other planets' life didn't have this property?"

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