Dec 02, 2022 1:19 AM
Earthling![REDACTED]-and-co. is portalsnaked to Dreamward and proceeds to !!DO MAGIC!!!!!! -- What? She's doing science instead? Bah.
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Do they have metals!

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Metals exist! They don't... mine them very much... because you can swap the materials of two objects, so you can just make a large thing into gold and a small sample of gold into not gold anymore. But this means they have plenty of all the kinds they currently know are worth having.

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Yeah she figured they'd do that.  Alright, good.  To...Reference, maybe?  Do they know what the speed of light is?  3E8 m/s in SI...and the approximate density of water at standard temperature and pressure, which she doesn't actually know off the top of her head, damn it, is 1 g/cm^3...How does gravity work, here?

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They don't know the speed of light, or that there is one, and they have no concept particularly analogous to gravity qua universal constant as opposed to "that way is down".

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"Alright then."  That's interesting and she can probably - yeah her glasses are working, light has speed.

To the front desk!

"Where can I find some scientists, if you please?  And a kids'-first-troportation how-to book, if I can take that with me."

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"Do you have a borrower's card?" asks the librarian. "I don't know where you go if you're looking for 'some scientists'."

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"I do not, yet.  Can I get one?"

"...Hm, yes, that is a bit underspecified.  Who would you recommend I speak to if I was interested in going on a general ramble about alternate-universe physics in the hopes that it allows for general technological advancement?  At least enough that I can charge my electronics ever."

She waves her phone demonstratively.

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"....I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about. Uh, you can get a borrower's card if you and your cohabitor have lived in this city for at least a thousand decasands."

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...The fuck is a decasand?  SI-prefix analogues and then they go and call it a sand?

"Yeah, I do not in fact have any of that.  A cohabitor, a residence, and also having been in this universe for that long, let alone this town.  ...I have woefully out-of-date alternate universe ID?"  She sheepishly produces it.  The picture doesn't even look much like the person holding it, but it sure does have a lot of fancy features.  "...Yeah, no.  Well.  Anyway.  Where's the nearest big center-of-learning?"

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"...ma'am if you don't have a cohabitor that is an emergency and you need to get under the dreamward as quickly as possible."

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"...Well, fuck.  Which way?"

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"It's the largest building in the city, the red and white dome, that way." Point.

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Right, she will make her way thataway posthaste.

And fret about the possibility of gribblies.

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The big white and red dome isn't hard to find. It's fenced and windowless and guarded at the only two apertures. It has its own water tower. People are picking up and dropping off children, here, taking them to restaurants and playgrounds that surround the dome. An extremely pregnant woman is going in.

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She'll let the extremely pregnant woman go on ahead of her, then talk to the guards.  Or plausibly a receptionist, if they just, let her in.

"Excuse me, but I was recently dropped here from an alternate universe, so I don't know what I'm apparently in critical danger of by not so being, nor how to resolve said danger, but apparently I need to be under the dreamward for reasons?"

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...the guard sighs. "Do you have a cohabitor, ma'am?"

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"Define cohabitor."

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"...do you speak Nlaaki, or do you need a translator, ma'am."

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Something intangible happens, and the way she stands, moves, speaks, is subtly different, more forceful - "You wouldn't have a translator to or from English, which is the only language I grew up knowing enough of to converse in before something dumped a vast collection of nearest-neighbor Nlaaki vocabulary in my head, unless something even more improbable than my arrival has already happened.  Though I can't rule out that it could have, because clearly it happened to me and why would I be special?  Anyway.  More pressing concerns.  What's a cohabitor.  I know the word but not the connotations as you do and it is clearly important that I know its proper meaning in this context."

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The guard goes a little cross-eyed with confusion, but says, "Another person with whom you share your body."

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"...That is a very interesting question that we cannot rightly answer unless you've a measure for souls."  She pauses, reconsiders.  "A nondestructive measure for souls.  Nonetheless, it is a recognized phenomenon of our homeworld's study of the mind that some attested the subjective experience of having multiple people in one body, in varying degrees and kinds of subjective differentiation of experience; in that model we could be said to have cohabitors, for we find modeling ourselves that way to be more accurate than not so doing.  Why are cohabitors necessary?"

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"So you don't fall asleep outside the dreamward."

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"Yes, well, we definitely don't have any way of knowing if we can manage the technique to avert that yet.  Or if we can even troport, as of yet; it's not something our homeworld had.  Though it didn't have whatever necessitated not-sleeping, either, and it had much grander technology, so who knows who's coming out better on that tradeoff, long-term."

"...Probably still you, a certain someone who prefers to be quiet about her true name and hasn't yet settled upon one to assume already has ideas for achieving things that our homeworld could only speculate about, because troportation is, in a word, bullshit.  We will need to go inside, then, though our present wake-cycle shall last quite a while yet.  I'm not sure of the time conversion, but if..." tap, tap, tap, tap go her fingers on a convenient hard surface, "each, of, these, is a second, and sixty of those are a minute, and sixty of those are an hour, we have perhaps twelve to sixteen hours left before becoming too physically incapacitated to meaningfully focus, modulo finding something our dear shy intellectual hyperfocuses upon, which has seen us through longer periods of wakefulness but does not avert sleep."

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"If what you're telling me is that you aren't a citizen of Kuigao, the dreamward isn't for whoever walks up acting insane, we need that space for our children."

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"What I am telling you, good sir, is that I do not know if I can successfully drowse a mouse, and that is clearly a critical skill to have, here.  So I will need to learn it, and if I have not learned it within sixteen hours, I will likely be unable to not sleep.  Regardless of whether you believe me sane or not, that is definitively a potential emergency, for reasons I still don't know, and it needs prompt handling.  So if you will not help me, I require directions to someone who will."

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