Oct 01, 2022 1:02 AM
Vanda Nosseo discovers xianxia
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"Should I take care of negotiations for the next little while, Father?" 

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She leads Nelen out of the room and shuts the door firmly. "Sorry about that." 

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"It's quite all right," Nelen assures her.

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"Your powers are amazing. --How difficult are they to learn?"

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"Mine in particular? Not very difficult per se but they're very easy to abuse so there's pretty heavy screening for it."

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"Screened how? What other kinds of powers are there in Vanda Nosseo that people can learn?"

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"Lots of interviewing with truth magic, some training exercises intended to elicit stress reactions, background check, that kind of thing," says Nelen. "Natsuko's a wizard, that's also learnable and also takes screening plus you have to be very smart to get very far with it. If you're good at singing, there's magic songs; recordings also work. Magic rocks are mostly a Mîr thing, that's Vanda Nossëo's sister polity, though we have some too; their magic doesn't take much learning but you do have to pass a screen to get it. Sometimes people wind up with magic if they turn into vampires but it's not reliable. There's the Dwarf method of making artifacts, but it's too slow for most humans to bother with. So far everything else we've got is either trivial or something you can't get if you weren't born with it, though Mîr can 'wish on' duplicate versions of some powers."

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"I'm smart! And have spent a bunch of time working on not doing bad things when I'm angry on account of the evil mind-control thing! --Right I should be doing politics not being a huge nerd."

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"There'll be plenty of time to go sign up for wizard classes," Natsuko smiles.

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Bounce bounce. 

"--Right. Tell me more about Vanda Nosseo. What usually happens when someone joins? I mean, besides the official stuff."

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"It's pretty common for there to be a lot of emigration early on," says Nelen. "Adventurous types moving out into the multiverse to learn magic or science or to travel or to go on speaking tours or to start a restaurant for their culinary niche somewhere or to turn into a bird for a while or something. Some of them send remittances back home, and some will ferry multiversal goods in, so everything gets cheaper and everyone's buying power increases, fast, even before factoring basic income in - that can start before you even join, since you're allowed to visit Vanda Nossëo without belonging to it, and allowed to move there as an individual. There's often some unrest in certain classes or age groups if their way of life becomes economically awkward - farming and textile work in particular are hit very hard and not everyone's always delighted that they can just retire if they like. You'll get tourists; I'm not sure how many, it varies a lot, but there's always someone who's determined to visit every single planet they possibly can, and fans of various fiction genres you near-enough match, and people who like your art, and some fraction of the people who pick their vacation destinations at random. They'll show up and buy local authentic souvenirs for outrageous amounts of money and you may feel free to soak them for it, they know their own budgets. The envoy teams pack up and go home, the Department of Integration takes over and will want to train some locals for cultural competence reasons; that's a good opportunity for anyone who wants to pick up magic to get a foot in the door in the Vanda Nossëo organization and establish a track record."

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"The farmers thing does sound like a problem--not, like, enough of a one to make joining seem like a bad idea, but--is this kind of thing handled in a standard way, I remember something about a basic income, how economically awkward is it...?"

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"Vanda Nossëo issues every citizen a basic income; the pay schedule is currently every four weeks except in experimental regions or for people who want it in smaller more frequent amounts for whatever reason. If you join, or move to Vanda Nossëo as an individual, you can get a bank account - that's a formal record in our financial system that you exist - and it will automatically update with those payments. It's enough to live on, reasonably comfortably, by our standards, without working - it'll pay for a place to live on any planet, though not necessarily any city, and food and clothes, and frequent supplementary expenditures for entertainment or travel or charity or convenience or savings. It is very normal for a large chunk of people on a newly contacted planet, especially a lower-tech one, to immediately retire from their jobs and spend years living off basic income as soon as they're confident it's real; that's expected and fine and will not threaten Vanda Nossëo's finances at all."

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"Can't the people who don't want to retire just--not retire? And live off the basic income anyway while continuing to practice their craft even if people aren't paying them for it? --I don't have the best perspective on this, on account of being a princess and also a cultivator."

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"Yes, they can just not retire. Some people do that but others find it lessens their satisfaction in what they do if it's not also an economic niche, or feel less valued by society, or don't like not providing for their family themselves."

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"That makes sense. But it still seems thoroughly worth it, on net. What would be the first steps in joining?"

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"We need to make sure that your local laws are within or can be amended to accommodate the Vanda Nossëo requirements, and then we need to hold a vote of your population - everyone has to be allowed to vote, and turnout is very important, since the result is based on percentage of your actual population who vote yes, not percentage of people who turn in a ballot at all."

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"What's a ballot?"

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"A written record of a vote. It makes counting them easier if they're written down, but we can have poll workers writing down people's opinions for them if they don't feel up to writing it down themselves."

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"Or if they can't read, I assume."

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"That's the most common reason but not the only one."

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"We'll probably need a lot of poll workers, then; most people can't read."

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"Yep, we can deploy a bunch of them whenever you feel ready to hold the vote."

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