Jul 06, 2022 10:02 PM
Vanda Nosseo lands on a world that fights a lot of wars.
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"When we first landed on other worlds! We had been very excited to expand the harmony with more voices and then they were discordant."

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"And then what happened?" Presumably open war but maybe they tried other things first.

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"They were only partially discordant, so we made them harmonious. It was not for a very long time that we discovered that there were things that could not be made harmonious."

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"How do you make something harmonious?"

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"You sing to it with the music of the soul. Then it is harmonious and harmony is very very good."

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"Is the music of the soul the same thing you used to - communicate with one of our representatives when they landed?"

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"Yes, we were very afraid when abominations appeared on our homeworld and tried to stop them as fast as possible."

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"Would you like help repairing the city?"

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WHAT IS THIS WHAT SERIOUSLY WHAT

(More harmony, more song, keep in focus... do they need obvious things explained to them? Probably.)

"We do not trust you, because you are abominations."

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"Not all of us meet the definition of abominations. Even some of the representatives didn't; we think you weren't able to detect them as you'd normally expect because of some of our extradimensional magic. However, those of us who could join the Concordance are reluctant, because it seems like it would be impossible to pursue any other things they consider important from within it, or to come out again afterwards."

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"... If you think you are not stabbing yourself, and you discover you are stabbing yourself, you will want to stop. This is not a reason to not want to stop stabbing yourself. When you discover you were wrong, and are now right, you won't want to go back to being wrong. Not being in harmony is like that." 

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"It makes sense that you would see it that way. We don't currently see it that way, and for that reason are not sending anyone to join your Concordance, even though we could and would want to if it seemed like it would help with the diplomatic situation while not sacrificing any of our people who don't want to give up on their current lives."

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Ugh. They could... accept someone... then banish them??? (Unified shock and horror.)

Someone wishes to propose that this is better than total annihilation... but in fact it is, like, bad to do this... but it is also bad if we all die...

The songs briefly clash in competition, each building on the other, before harmony is reached.

"We could accept someone into the Concordance, then expel them, but they would be very unhappy." There are REASONS they don't DO that but if they CAN get the horrible monster aliens in harmony it is probably worth it.

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"If they wish to return, after they are able to talk to us from outside the Concordance, we won't prevent it."

They rustle up a volunteer. Here is a Yeerk who perma-morphed into a Elf and lived in Nest for a while till her occupant broke up with her, that seems like about the right sort of person.

"Where should we send her?"

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... Probably the homeworld? It's not as if any other planets know what's going on right now. They can give coordinates for the right location on it.

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They will send her by wizard spell, since that doesn't require her to know anything sensitive such as how to, herself, teleport.

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Then she will appear somewhere that is not literally a crater, but that shared a continent with the place Vanda Nosseo first landed, on a small, empty farming town (where the houses are huge furred beasts with great clean hollow bodies, warm in winter and cool in summer, for life is greater than death). The plume of smoke is still visible, and the clouds are blotting out the sun. She knows that when it rains, it will rain black, and that the various solar-powered biomanufacturies that provide food and so much else for the Concordance will go hungry, as will many others beside.

And she knows this because she is larger. Truly, genuinely, larger. She knows what the back of her own head looks like because her mind is processing information automatically from a thousand sources, every thought that rises in the mind and her skull echoing outwards across a thousand other minds that take it and hear it and return it to her in glory and joy, resonating her thoughts a thousand times over, for there is more happiness in the first moment of her existence here than in all her life before. All her doubts and fears are echoed and returned with criticisms that puncture the logic and reassurances that warm her heart, for she needs never fear - needs never be alone - again, and the only thing to be afraid of is that an Outside enemy might appear to snuff out the greater new world she has entered.

(For these fears also echo in her minds, as they echo in all the minds around her; that the Enemy, something impossible to truly understand and comprehend, a thought that cannot be read, an asteroid that cannot be modeled, a predator that stalks in shadows and appears and disappears and strikes without rhyme or reason, might strike again, to snuff out all that matters from the world, as it has done to so many other worlds, so many times before.)

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(And, as the Concordance speaks, so does it hear, as all her thoughts and secrets and knowledge echo outwards, across mind after mind that studies them for whatever they can learn that might save their own civilization from that eternal silence that is their Enemy, for the answer to the abominations may well lie within her mind...)

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Kiszet-4990 doesn't know anything Vanda Nossëo considers sensitive.

But she does know things.

She was born during the Yeerk invasion of Earth, when they were trying to get more radiation-resistant Yeerks, but she didn't turn out to be radiation-resistant. She stayed in the pool and studied materials science and eventually got a Hork-Bajir host whose previous Yeerk had been executed for incompetence so she could test her prototype designs of shipping containers and biofilter shells and so on. She didn't make waves.

She knew her host very well, instantly, in the way of Yeerks. There wasn't that much to know - her Hork-Bajir had been Yeerked from a very young age and understood so little about personal agency that she didn't even have dreams about it when they slept - but what there was, Kiszet knew. They talked, sometimes, pointless little conversations - ah, this bark tastes fresh, doesn't it, yes it does, I think it's poplar; you have a new nick in your left forearm blade, yes I do, it's from the time when - but there was so little to say. Her host died of old age not long after Kiszet got her and then Kiszet went back in the pool. She's probably back by now, but hasn't contacted Kiszet, which is understandable.

When Ristrell took over, Kiszet was hostless and had almost nothing to do with the proceedings. It wasn't hard to convince the relevant people that she was a good candidate for Nest, the planet where some Yeerks turned into Elves (for the telepathy) and others lived in their heads (for the cozy friendliness). She turned into an Elf and got matchmade with a Yeerk she hadn't met before and they figured it would be fine, less well-chosen matchups had worked before, somebody named Enstat had all these psychometrics - but it lasted just a few months and then they were arguing bitterly all the time over who to hang out with and what to do with their time, and counseling didn't work, and now Kiszet's alone, and somebody who finds people with characteristics relevant to weird situations tapped her about half an hour ago and told her about this thing, this thing that is almost like what Nest is trying to be, and said she'd need to pop out again for a minute - like dipping in a Pool every three days, maybe - but then she could go back if she wanted, and right now that sounds very appealing, to sing this song with them forever -

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They are really very sorry that she doesn't get to sing the song with them forever! (sadness in the song, but a cleansing, pure sadness, better than silence, because you are not alone in it; there is a recognition that evil is evil, and sorrow is sorrow, supportive and warm). There were strange (could not read, could not follow, could not understand; the horror of emptiness in a world of fullness), terrifying (unbelievable power) monsters that appeared and attacked them and they tried to defend themselves and it didn't work, and now exiling her is the way to save the song, they're really very sorry that she had to go outside of it. (The tragedy of the least bad outcome; not regretted, but sorrowed over.)

(There is no idea in the song that anyone might not want to be part of the song; in possesses a sufficient level of goodness and joy to make everything outside of it seem dull and bleak forever, not to mention the absolute horror of incomprehensible beings they cannot understand and cannot negotiate with and cannot come to consensus with or trust existing and continuing to exist where they might at any moment for any reason try to shatter the song.)

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She can come back again after, right? After she talks to them and makes sure they understand that she's happy here? And maybe then she'll be able to - remember not being in the song, and that will let her talk to the strangers and maybe they can make really sure nobody will attack them?

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She can absolutely come back! (absolute consensus) unless Vanda Nosseo stops her (sorrow, fear, horror). They would never stop people from becoming part of the song, and she's very useful as a (unique-specialist-thinker-node), she is good and valuable and should be happy!

But they're sure that they can't make sure Vanda Nosseo won't attack them, because Vanda Nosseo won't sing with them, which is the only way to make sure. They know she's a good person, but you can't know people if you're out of harmony with them. So now that Vanda Nosseo is here everyone will live in fear forever (fear, tragedy, loss of safety) even more than they already were (there is an Enemy out there, it still lives). It is very sad, though not actually sad enough to make them prefer death to life (they have done the calculation, they are pretty sure).

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Most other kinds of people have to work out how to feel safe without knowing for sure by being in a hive mind that everybody around them is definitely safe to be around. It seems like maybe demons have not learned to do that?

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She is outvoted! It is very hard for her to continue disagreeing when she is in direct psychic communication with (directly) hundreds and (indirectly) trillions of people who are very confident that the entire concept of safety-without-telepathy is impossible!

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Oh. Well, she will have to go check when she steps out for a minute but she thought she remembered that being a thing.

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