Aug 08, 2022 2:45 AM
bella pays suze back
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"They vary. Boston does some amazingly effective team-building things and New York, uh...contains Julia and the boy who adopted Rebecca, the girl in pajamas, which seems to be turning out well for them considering Sacramento but he couldn't possibly have known that at the time, plus Orion Lake."

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"Marcy from Boston is good to know, and her squadmate's making my agglo terrarium for me, he has an affinity for 'containers' - mine's metamagic, what's yours?"

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"Metamagic? That's amazing. --Mine is biochemistry."

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"Ooh, how's that manifest?"

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"I'm doing alchemy track, I've had a lot of recipes so far that duplicate the effects of mundane drugs--caffeine, aspirin, things like that. Also a few poisons but those are less interesting. I talked with a junior who thinks I'll be able to do some really interesting things to the endocrine system later on."

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"I might be in the market for poisons once I've filled up my agglo terrarium."

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"I might be willing to give you a discount if the horrible wall sitting turns out to be valuable."

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"It's not very exclusive information, I got it for free from Annie who's in my history of artificing section."

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"Ah. Well, I'll likely still have no idea what to do with the vial of strychnine the lab wanted me to make when your terrarium is done with, so it's unlikely to be too expensive anyway." 

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"Gosh, strychnine." She will write this down in the section of her notebook devoted to planned agglo interventions.

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"It's chemically complicated, it turns out, and so are the horrible things it does to people."

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"Well, hopefully it will also do horrible things to agglos. Or do nothing to them but then if I set one out that's picked up a vial and stake it out in the hall it will be replaced by a dead horka or something."

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"I can think of worse outcomes. Is that your ultimate plan, see how far up the food chain you can launch it?"

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"Yeah, pretty much. The province of Alberta has no rats, and it's not because rats prefer Saskatchewan."

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"The province of Alberta has no rats?"

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"Yeah! They just... got rid of all the rats in there. You aren't allowed to have them as pets in Alberta, they spent a ton of money on rat poison and making sure rats had nowhere to live, and now they don't have rats. And modern pest control relies on contraception as much as poison. I feel that we are not taking enough leaves out of the standard pest control handbook. If a mundie has roaches they do not personally step on each one they catch and expect to stop having roaches."

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He physically sits on his hands. 

"I very badly want to help with this and I can't because I don't expect it to pay off soon enough to help keep all four of my siblings alive." 

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"Well, I'm hoping to have a writeup to send out by the end of the year, and you can help me convince your seniors to carry copies to submit for publication? - I'd wait and concentrate on getting myself through except, you know, can't be sure that I can do that."

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"No, I understand. I will suggest someone talk to you--I can't, I won't make any tradeoffs that might give my siblings fewer resources. But within that constraint, this could be the most important thing any of us ever do. If this war, this epidemic, could end--" He shakes his head. "--If you give me writeups of your progress every now and then, if anything happens to you I can make sure it doesn't vanish." 

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"Thank you, I really appreciate that. And, y'know, not everything funges against your younger siblings, they're not here yet and if you toss me a snack token to buy agglo poison with or buy homework off me preferentially I don't think that'll hurt your position there."

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"I could also save up my snack tokens for three years to give to them but that's absurd and at that point the cost of storing them outweighs the value, you're right. Preferentially buying homework from you I can certainly do, what classes are you selling homework in?"

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"Literature! I'm one of those weird people who actually likes the kind of literature they have us on in here. I haven't seen you in my lit classes but you're quiet, I could've missed you - Victor Hugo and Cervantes, this semester."

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"I'm not taking either of those this semester but if you keep your assignments I can use 'Bella is selling the homework' as a tie-breaker if I'm offered them next term. And I think Madison is in Cervantes, I can point her at you." 

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"I keep copies, yep."

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"Then I may have an excuse to read the unabridged Les Miserables at some point in the future!"

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