Jul 06, 2022 9:46 PM
The Origin Trade Consortium makes contact with Patalon
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"I was a little preoccupied thinking about the implications of Daeva. Please, go on."

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"So, in our general area of the multiverse there are a lot of Bells and a lot of Ardas and for unclear reasons it is typical for those two things to come into contact first and join up with the rest of us later. Elendil is run by two Bells who found each other before we found either of them; they got started on things in a particularly crowded world called Warp, evacuating the native world of the one of them who isn't from Warp and remaining in contact with their neighboring Arda, Telperion. My wife's from an Arda and she and I founded Mîr together; we focus on the neighborhood where wishes work. And Vanda Nossëo was founded by Loki in her world with some people from her Arda, Elentári. But Bells and the kinds of people we join up with on Ardas work together well and are reliably aligned, so while those three organizations are administratively separate, we share resources really freely. Some of my alts aren't formally with any one of the three, though all of the ones for whom that's the case live in Vanda Nossëo worlds since Vanda Nossëo's wound up being something of a catchall."

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Morning-Glory nods. "I see. The Consortium has a similar kind of relationship with our local goddess, Aura; she maintains a neighborhood known as the Lucidity with her abilities, which has become one of the more heavily inhabited areas of the Consortium. Would you like a basic map?"

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"Yes please."

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"Here's something basic." She pulls a holo-pen from her suit pocket and flicks it on.

Map of the OTC

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"Goodness. Here's ours."

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Morning-Glory nods. "It would appear our dimensional technology may be better at finding mutual neighbors - that or we may simply have swept our local area over a longer duration. How long has Mir existed for?"

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"Not that long, sidereal - it feels like ages to me but it's actually less than two decades - Vanda Nossëo's older, Elendil's in between. Our state of the art for finding neighboring worlds is either looking for specific things - like Earths and Ardas - with my wife's powers or similar, or, alternatively, worldleapers, but this is not considered very safe now that we know Materia is a worldtype."

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"The OTC's existed for around a century now. Exploration is a hazardous job for us as well - we have some basic scanning, but we can't determine if a world is hostile without visiting. So we use forking technology on volunteers, with the understanding that any given fork may not come back from any given mission. The woman I came with, Thorn, has volunteered for this several thousand times - she has a somewhat unusual mindset that conceives of each fork as a part of a greater whole, reinforced by use of memory sharing and archival."

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"Charming! The forkable species in our sphere - Space Elves - take on disproportionately dangerous work compared to their non-forkable counterparts, but we don't have a memory sharing and archival solution for them."

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Morning-Glory nods. "Opportunities for trade, then. Once we know each other a bit better."

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"Quite. Are there particular things you've seen here that you're interested in?"

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"Can one go to Cube, morph there, and then leave retaining the morphed form? Without side-effects?"

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"One can! There are technically side effects but they're things like 'you have to do something complicated to regain the ability to morph', it's perfectly good for the typical case."

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"That'll be popular, then. Such things can be done with Persona magic but they're currently quite expensive. Matter synthesis is also more expensive in the OTC; I expect demon-based mass production to have an advantage against our transmutation and robotic assembly solutions. Replicators would also be a wonderful technology to import, even if their capabilities are more limited than they appear."

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"What're your most exportable magics?"

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"Condensed receptacles for abstract concepts that can be broken or read from to release the stored quality - it's a little unpredictable what's extractable, but we can do sleep, memory, souls, time, pain - that one matters because we have a second magic system that does enchanted artifacts which run on pain. Those are exportable as well, they function just fine on pain from a weymark and have many applications. Enchanted items for scrying, compressed-dimension containers - those are dimensional magic and don't run on pain. If we're including magic you'd have to travel to the OTC to have installed, then there's also the fruits of Persona magic - physical and mental enhancements and modifications of various types, up to some fairly impressive levels for the most expensive ones. Forking is included there. There are also some oddities like fruit with limited-time magical effects when eaten and ritually programmable black glass."

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"What is a weymark?

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"It's the generic name for an extracted concept. Generally they take the form of jewels."

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"Can you tell me more about your map - what's up with the abandoned worlds, what are the implications of all the neighborhoods, what's special about the ones that get names on this map -"

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"The abandoned worlds are considered to have physics - generally magic - hostile enough to make them unfit for long-term habitation. There are a few one-offs but you must be wondering about the Skanthivus and Imperium neighbourhoods. Put briefly, in the Skanthivus neighbourhood there is a predatory infectious magic system that hates other magic systems and also advanced technology, and in the Chaos neighbourhood emotions give rise to horrible psychic phenomena and evil gods."

Morning-Glory crosses her arms. "Regarding the other neighbourhoods, I'll summarize briefly - new pain-based artifacts can only be created in the Lifewell neighbourhood, Weymarks can only be made in the Origin neighbourhood, demiplanes can only be made in the Seria neighbourhood, forking and personal enhancements can only be done in the Theta neighbourhood. The Lucidity is the area a particular friendly reality warper is able to access - she's able to do astroengineering projects and emulate the effects of other magic systems. 

As for Cthonia - that was the focus of the Namer's War. They have a magic system that allows one to mind control and bodily puppet others if you know their true name. That magic system is now broadly illegal to use in the OTC, but the extent of that system's neighbourhood is still recorded so people can weigh their risk." 

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"Yikes. At least Materia stays in its own box as far as we've observed. I wonder if you'd like to hire some of my emotionless sapients to do recon in Chaos... What constitutes someone's true name?"

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"It's possible to strip Paradox infection from a host with Persona magic, fortunately - we had to do a lot of that during the evacuation. We would love to hire some Kyubeys or other emotionless sentients to help evacuate the parts of Chaos we haven't got strong access to. 'True name' is the name you most identify with - generally the one you use most, though Cthonian culture differs on this point. It can change over time, in which case the enslavement decays, but that generally requires lack of attention from the controller."

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"The Kyubeys are a single hive mind, their creators are what I'd tap for something like this."

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"That makes sense. I don't know the operational details necessary to speak to the effectiveness of that plan, but it's plausible that it could offer a significant advantage."

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