Jan 27, 2023 12:04 PM
the governor of ira sani in radiant
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"I do not know."

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"So uh, Hermes-Ishtar owns the place, but they're - pretty evil. They control basically everything on this planet - until recently, at least. Like, it's illegal to import or make most things, only legal to buy it from them, they set the prices real high. All the higher-ups are arbitrary and cruel, and will just straight up ruin your life on a whim, or if you're inconvenient, or expensive. The police like to kidnap people for fun, and they get away with it because who's going to stop them? Uh, and they control information really tightly, which is honestly kind of the worst part? Hermes-Ishtar is the internet and media Charter, they own all of it, from the public libraries to couriers and airports. Talking about how much you hate them will get the police knocking on your door. Writing the wrong kind of stories too, or suggesting that maybe things are bad and the government should change something."

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"I do not like evil. I like righteousness."

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"Yeah, ace. Anyway, I didn't know any of this was coming but-"

"Like, under a thousand people knew it was coming. They've put us all between begging for mercy when Ares or someone gets here and the void." The woman says sarcastically.

"It had to be done," the man says with a frown. "We're isolated, and what the police were doing was definitely illegal. When the revolution finishes, we can negotiate with the Compact, rejoin peacefully."

"Yeah, that will definitely happen and can't go wrong at all."

"Well. We're far away from the fighting here. You can't trust the internet right now but - we'll see."

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"...Um, you said about a nurse?"

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"Yes, Nurse Emile is in the same building we're all staying in. You can see her if you'd like, all private. Or not, if you don't want, but it'd be good to at least check." They're still walking to it; The complex is fairly large, but they're almost there.

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Shrug. "I'd like what you'd like."

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"You shouldn't get medical services just because someone else says so! There's a right to bodily autonomy, we've been ignoring that for too long, it's important." Rey says animatedly.

Morgan snorts and shakes her head.

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"But you think I have tech. But I don't know that I have tech."

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"This is this and that is that."

"You don't have tech? Is it an implant, then? Or augment?"

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"I don't know what those words mean."

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"Implants are devices that you put in your body." Morgan leans down and parts her hair behind her ear to show a small strip of metal embedded in her head.

"But augments are stuff you get done to you to change your body, uh, either adding new parts somebody grew or genetics, uh, the instructions of your body that you can pass on to kids, too. If it's plastic or metal, it's an implant. If it's meat, it's an augment. Usually."

They arrive at the door to the completed hotel building. It opens automatically, revealing a spacious lobby full of art features, only slightly marred by the pile of strange crates, bags, and so on strewn around.

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If only it instead opened on Milliways. Oh, well.

"I have the meat augment," he says distractedly, glancing around at everything in the lobby. Art features are cool! Bags and boxes are information about their technology and also the state of their supplies!

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"It's an augment, huh? Alright. Nurse set up shop down the hall, they did build an actual infirmary, so yeah."

The art features are semi-abstract sculptures often half imitating human form, some moving or changing color gently. There are also wall screens with gently moving colorscapes. The largest one is a table with a glittering cloud of shiny pieces of metal rising and falling and changing color through no visible mechanism, forming a gently rolling landscape mosaic that constantly scrolls offscreen. Soft piano music mixed with natural sounds like wind in trees and songbirds or crickets is playing from somewhere.

Bags and boxes mostly contain: Other bags and boxes, various devices with screens, clothes, towels, umbrellas, small cubes of various substances, pill bottles, quadcopter and wheeled drones, silvery packages labeled as Economy Food, prewrapped packages of toiletries, and one big crate is completely stacked with copies of a geometric crystal that changes color based on the angle you look at it.

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He is familiar with Earth technology and therefore concludes that some of those things are computers and automata. Unclear what the economy eats, maybe it's currency.

The changing mosaic is spectacular. And the music is like if nature-show music were made for humans.

"I like that," he says, gesturing, as he proceeds in the general direction of down the hall.

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"Oh yeah, if there's one thing they're good at it's art."

There's a small sign with arrow indicators in the hallway. Maintenance, Janitorial, Electrical Room, Nurse's Office, Manager's Office, Staff Quarters, VIP Services. The other two don't follow him, lingering in the entryway instead.

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He heads into the office, hoping it'll actually be Milliways.

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It is not Milliways! It's a little waiting room with a few standing screens. A little musical tone goes off.

"Hey, is that you up there, kid Morg found?" Comes a question from behind a little half-wall counter and around a corner.

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"I'm up here and I'm not a kid."

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"Sure thing, you got a name?" There's a rattling sound and then the voice is getting closer. A tired and grey-haired woman turns the corner and takes a look at him, one hand fidgeting oddly. "They texted me and said you might want me to take a look at your health, just in case. I don't have a whole lot of tools here, but we can take a look, easy. You can call me Margarine."

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"Pleased to meet you, Margarine. My name is Valanda. I do not know why I am here. Also, I think Morg thinks my augments are not like I think my augments are."

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"I see what they meant about second language. Can you remember where you were yesterday? Do you know what augments you have? Oh, do you want me to see if you are hurt or sick? You don't have to if you don't want to. You can be okay with just part of it, that's all fine."

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"I was in Riuhiu yesterday. I think I know that I have, uh," they had a native word for it here but what was it - well, they also had a native circumlocution for it - he starts ticking augments off on his fingers, "in my instructions of my body that I can pass on to kids, I have the kind of blood that is good to have in Anavel Sani. In the instructions of my body that I cannot pass on to kids, I have..." Valanda gestures vaguely at his face, or maybe even more vaguely at his very green eyes, "colors. And hair that will probably not go away when I am older. My sides of my face are the same but I do not have that in the instructions of my body. Someone, uh..." He mimes rearranging his face with his hands like clay. That's not quite what happened but close enough. "In the instructions of some of my body but not all of my body, that I cannot pass on to kids, the 17β-estradiol does not get made. I have also within me," he taps in their vicinity, "two things, these are polyvinylpyrrolidone, stearic acid, and testosterone. I had other things, those are gone now, those saved me from being sick. I have also some... uh... I heard someone say 'magic' about them but I think you say 'magic' for things that are not real. My things are real. But you cannot see my magic things - I am not angry or afraid if you try to see them. And, uh, I do not know very well what 'augments' means, so I might have said the wrong things."

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She types things into a computer as he speaks.

"...Hum, okay, give me a minute to digest that, please." More tapping at the computer.

"'Augments' is a weasel word, it's a general term for lots of more specific things and it gets confusing. So, you have inheritable augments that are useful for being in Anavel Sani - never heard of it - and non-inheritable augments or some other treatment for hair color and face shape, as well as what sounds like transgender - boy becomes girl or girl becomes boy or somewhere in between, that's transgender - augments or implants. One genetic but not inheritable for estradiol, two implanted devices for - it was polyvinylpyrrolidone, stearic acid, and testosterone? And then also something that other people called magic, but isn't. All that sound about right?"

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"I think that sounds about right, but the for being in Anavel Sani can inherit wrong because it is two pieces."

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