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Jul 02, 2022 4:52 AM
Vanda Nossëo meets Har
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"That makes sense as a political philosophy. Do you have any expectation that it's enforceable?"

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"We did just dismantle a key arm of our enforcement protocol here," she acknowledges, "but it's important to us and if it makes the difference between Har having slavery and Har not having slavery, we'll put a lot of effort into figuring out how to enforce it."

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"You have, I imagine, decided to broach this matter with us because it is the imperial government alone which could repeal the law against releasing those slaves who cannot follow the law."

"Which," Haria interrupts, "we will need to discuss altering to explicitly state within the territory of the Hari Empire, as we hardly claim jurisdiction over what you do in your own worlds."

"Yes, quite," says Saran. "And that law is an imperial law, exceptionless and universal. We can make laws like that - simple laws, laws that require nothing of those who would rather forget there are people other than themselves. Most people live in larger states that people can leave any time they want - often for some other large state - and which may therefore require much more burdensome things of, for example, parents. If you speak of this instead to the Governor of Anavel Sani, you do so with my blessing."

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"So you expect it won't be possible on an imperial level but may be on a state level?"

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"Something you'd like better than the current system might be possible in some states, and is not possible for us right now. I note, also, that the legal precedents have not held, for instance, that it is criminally negligent to leave a knowledge mage free of any command magic in itself if the slave is not also in a position to do nonmagical sabotage of any kind. I may have garbled that, a bit, Haria?"

"Close enough. There's no legal requirement to use command magic and no legal requirement not to give a slave away for free to mysterious mages from the stars, nor any legal requirement to make that decision without consulting the slave."

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"Right, we're really expecting the sticking point to be slaves whose owners do not want to stop having slaves," acknowledges Alassë.

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"Yes, the fact that you're proposing we enforce something objectionable to many people, intruding on the solitude of those who have retreated from society and forcing medical and chemical synthesis research to be rebuilt from the ground up, insisting that there is no way to avoid our commands and that we must be omnipresent in every life and relationship, is a sticking point," says Haria. "Would I be wrong if I guessed that a typical Vanda Nossëo member polity at the time of initial contact knew the number of its own people, and was composed entirely of those who would make substantial compromises to avoid being cut off from society?"

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"That's true of typical member polities, yes."

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"It's not true of us. It's substantially closer to true of the eleven largest states, and especially Anavel Sani and Cloudbreak, and we have no objections to you speaking with their governments after this. Are there perhaps any other goals you have that might be more tractable?"

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"I'm getting the sense that you aren't liable to object to free trade or networked exchange of information."

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"In general I don't think we will object to that, and if you have any logistical difficulties in implementing any of it, we can see if we can help. We would object to visitors or immigrants who would not follow our laws, including those now awaiting resurrection who haven't followed our laws. For those who have done us no harm, we would ask no more than that they be asked to summarize our laws and state their intent to follow them, unless and until it becomes clear that this does not suffice to keep their crime rate at or below the level we currently experience from our own people. Individual states may also object to the dissemination of advertisements that fail to comply with their truth-in-advertising laws. I don't expect any of this to be a substantial impediment to trade or the exchange of information."

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"We can make the test on the Hari laws a condition of entry, yes. Do you object if we resurrect people who have not followed your laws in the past, settle them within Vanda Nossëo, and allow them on transit to Har if they pass that test?"

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"Those people have been given their chance already, generally multiple chances, and we will likely only want to allow them if there is some very clear reason to believe they are more capable than they were in the past, such as a disease that affected their judgment and has been entirely cured. I will point out to you, also, that I had expected you to ask us if we couldn't favor clean executions more often, as opposed to death by torture, and if you do want to ask for that in the future, resurrecting our criminals will make that a harder sell."

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"I didn't actually know that you tended to go for death by torture. We'd be happy to take them off your hands if that would be satisfactory, but if you prefer to sentence them yourselves, we would much prefer clean executions. We aren't in a specific hurry to resurrect any of your criminals and won't be unless, say, their bereaved immigrate to Vanda Nossëo and put in a request for them."

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"If the end result of execution is being welcomed into a great and prosperous empire as its free citizens, we will not go out of our way to make the process pleasant. As long as it is unpleasant to experience and removes people from our universe, that suffices for our purposes, no matter if or when you resurrect them. Any who find it too terrible to live with the possibility that they could end up subject to our justice are free to leave first and commit all their crimes on your planets if you'll have them."

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"What if someone commits a crime in Har and then leaves before they're arrested?"

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"Well, that, perhaps, ought to depend on whether we can come to an agreement on whether you'll return them to us, and what you'd do to them if you didn't, and what you'd want us to do if one of your people did that."

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"It would be a pretty hard sell to repatriate an escaped criminal to be tortured. Easier if it's a quick death, but that is related to the expectation that we'd eventually get around to resurrecting them."

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"What would you want, if someone... owned a slave in Vanda Nossëo, and then came to Har?"

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"...almost no one does that. Stipulating that this is one of the situations where they do?"

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"If you can think of a more likely crime, you're welcome to suggest another example, but otherwise, yes."

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"Oh, you mean if someone were keeping a slave against their will, not that this was, say, one of the species that likes slavery, or an oddball of another species. I think we'd be inclined to treat that as we would any other kidnapping case."

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"And how do you intend to treat other kidnapping cases that wind up in our territory?"

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"We would want the kidnapping victim returned to their home, being that we by default perceive them as a sovereign person with rights over themself."

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"And the kidnapper?"

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