Jul 06, 2022 8:33 PM
The Origin Trade Consortium makes contact with Patalon
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"The risk would be that they go in with intel that can be extracted from them, but probably there's a way around that with a sufficiently clear mission spec, we can get into the details later on probably... is there any obvious reason, given that the OTC is not a government, that Vanda Nossëo can't operate basically unimpeded in OTC space, and vice versa with your people coming through to trade in Mîr and Vanda Nossëo and Elendil?"

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"The OTC is contracted to ensure the security of the Trade Worlds, and to be blunt, we don't know you. We've been systematically decieved about polities' character before, and in your case the twin facts that you have unknown magic and that you're multiversal means that you could easily have something unacceptable hidden, either by magical means or in an uncharted world. We're willing to extend some trust, but free access to the whole of the Nexus is not immediately on the table, especially not for magically powerful individuals. The OTC can generate simulated or otherwise controlled environments; based on the conservative assumption that you could have similar capabilities, we don't yet have the data to confidently assert that you're nonhostile. As such, more diplomatic exchange and negotiation will likely be necessary before free travel is established in either direction. I hope you are not insulted by our caution; we have too much experience with the worse kind of world to be anything but. 

Even after basic trust is established, individuals with alien magic are likely to have tighter passport controls for some time - we do not have native ressurection technology, so the risk/benefit calculation on the part of our contractors is likely to weigh against. 

In the longer term, bringing in certain types of foreign infrastructure is also likely to be contentious; aside from the obvious security concerns, the OTC's daily operations rely to a certain degree on a steady income derived from its maintenance of multiversal infrastructure in the Nexus, and serious competition on those core industries would be likely to sour relations if approached too hastily. 

There are likely things I'm forgetting, but those seem to be the primary concerns."

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"I'm not insulted, no, just trying to get a picture of how you do - customs, border control, that kind of thing; I think possibly you're at least as much of a government as Vanda Nossëo is in practice even if it's not your underlying mandate. I don't know how your interworld transit works, but as a gesture of good faith, our most common type that doesn't target at complete random relies on having an adequate mental image of the place; magic rocks with teleporting ability like my wife can use other parameters but still need to be using some parameter. If you're very paranoid about this you'll want to make it hard to learn that you're off Patalon, and not distribute accurate pictures of at least whatever world is adjacent to Patalon."

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"Without getting overmuch into the complete adjacency map, our contact on the Patalon side is a Half-Tamed world some distance from our core. With what you've given us, we should be able to take steps to prevent the whole adjacency chain back from being easily derivable by your magic. Thank you."

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"I mean, not to sound threatening about it but we could likely figure it out anyway, it'd just be more annoying, but I don't think there's anything obviously urgently worth antagonizing you about it."

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Morning-Glory smiles slightly. "Understood. Now, while I can't unilaterally invite you to send an envoy or team of envoys to see parts of the OTC, I expect that a proposal to such an effect would be accepted by the Board of Directors, particularly if you were willing to accept a team of envoys to your worlds in return. Would you be interested in such an arrangement?"

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"Isn't one of your people already gallivanting around Mîr? More like her are welcome. I think we'd like to send you some envoys."

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"I'll pass that up the chain when we conclude this meeting, then. 

In the longer term, technological and cultural exchange seems likely to benefit both the OTC and Mir. Priorites for the OTC are likely to include setting up local shops for import and export and establishing free travel."

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"We have teleporting bus lines and I can let the people who manage those know to expect to add a bunch more lines. Unless your solution is better."

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"I think it will be a matter of some debate which dimensional transport system is better. Let's hold off on that for the moment."

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"Mm-hm. Vanda Nossëo likes operating import and export stores too, but mostly as a gentle introduction to the concept and a way to get consumer-grade goods into the market, rather than a fundamental value, it's more heavily relied on in low-tech situations... one thing I imagine wanting to do early is check your map for adjacent Bells and Ardas, even if you're confident there aren't any you've already met, just because we're so efficient at turning those in particular into aligned net resource gains."

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"Most of the local area is either hostile or has already been swept, but I'll relay that to the Directors."

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"It's not impossible you'd parse a world with a Bell in it as hostile - or for that matter an Arda, depending on when you found it and what kind it was - so checking again would be good. Also apparently sometimes we're species that live ten years, or dimension-hop on our own and are in different worlds at different times, and accordingly we now have a policy of re-checking frequently."

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"That makes sense. May I ask what divinations would be employed to that end?"

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"Althood is a conjurable parameter, but only if the demon knows what worlds to quantify over. My wife's teleportation and some similarly specced other magic rocks can teleport to Bells or whatnot, but we wouldn't care to try that in hostile territory without precognition relay to Eclipse set up - the psions in Eclipse don't work if they leave, but they can receive and act on extradimensional information no problem. Once we've determined someone is there we can extract them from the universe without entering it with a Materian-style wizard spell."

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"Could you check worlds simply by name or designation, without requiring a demon onsite?"

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"Most likely, yes."

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"I don't think it's feasible to conceal the names and designations of all worlds within the OTC for any significant period of time, so most likely we'll provide you with a list of the names of all charted worlds to check. My bosses will naturally not be thrilled about the implied ability to conjure information from arbitrary parts of the OTC, but that capability of yours would seem to exist regardless of what we do about it."

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"One of my alts is a demon, if that helps. But in the long run, yes, we don't have such perfect information security that we are concealing from all of Hell what worlds there are."

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"That would likely be helpful."

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"Should I ask him to join us? Or anyone else, if there are other people you think you might benefit from meeting - I'd suggest people who are formally part of the Vanda Nossëo and Elendil structures but realistically I can speak for them in broad strokes."

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