Dec 02, 2022 1:31 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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"Your parents are supposed to teach you that. But I think most likely you have a cohabitor and you'll be fine as long as you don't go lie down under a tree and drift off, okay? She'll take care of you."

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...Well, that was clearly the wrong sort of thing to say to her, given that her reaction is to draw up tense as a bowstring and rejoin, firmly, "What part of I don't know if I can troport physical fatigue was unclear, exactly?  We were informed, good sir, that this was an emergency, and I do not wish to subject this city to monsters from our nightmares, for example!  ...Though, realistically, what dreams we recall are more the flavor of an endless labyrinth, rather than of monsters on the hunt.  So if that is the threat..."  She shakes off the tangent, and resumes.  "Regardless.  We still don't know what the danger is.  And you are not telling us what the danger is in sleeping, nor are you directing us to someone who will tell us the danger.  Therefore, we cannot take steps to mitigate it.  So," she looks like she's holding herself back from raising her voice by sheer will alone, "are you going to help, or shall I try asking at the other gate?"

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He rubs one eye with his hand and reaches for a mouse. "If you fall asleep, a klaon is likely to eat you," he sighs. "Just stay awake until your cohabitor can take her turn, all right? Do you need help to write her a note that you're having trouble?"

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"The - " She cuts herself off.  "My ability to communicate is quite functional, and you are not helping."

Nope, she's done trying to talk to this guy, back to the library it is.

"Having determined that I am enough of a cohabitor to count, I find that my problem is unsurety in our ability to troport, as it is not something that this body was born having.  I - we - would surely have noticed, prior to now.  How would you recommend I approach a crash-course to drowsing?"

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The librarian sighs. "How about 'Counting A Hundred Suns', children's nonfiction, over there?"

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"Many thanks, and my apologies for the - everything; we are having quite a time of all this, and the English-to-Nlaaki slash Nlaaki-to-English lookup table that has somehow been stapled on to our brain is apparently both populated oddly and stingy with its synonyms, because it missed the word we use to describe a person who is not you but shares brainspace with you, and instead picked the word for someone who lives in your house.  Still.  The warning was needful, even if for different reasons."

Now, the troportation book, perhaps?

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There are a few copies of Counting A Hundred Suns and they are about how to drowse your first mouse to demonstrate that you are ready to move in with someone and be able to live outside the dreamward permanently.

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And...does it explain how the fuck, pardon her language, one actually goes about troporting?

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Yup. In lots of different metaphors in case one doesn't click right.

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Well.  She can test that.

And then, when it works, and she's - she hopes that they have a test page in the books, honestly, she doesn't want to meddle with her clothes - she can hope that it's extensible to mice.  She kind of wonders if she can troport the fatigue poisons from her brain into her - was it kidneys, or liver?  No, skip the middle step.  Directly to the bladder for excretion.

But that's later.  Right now she's just going to try it the bog-standard way and not pay too close attention to the fact that if it's just material properties it oughtn't work on any of the out-there stuff like fatigue or even temperature.

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The book does not have a designated test page. It recommends using your clothes if you're practicing with color, and further expects that everyone's clothes have a few extra bits in other colors sewn in for swapping the color around. It has no recommendations for drowsing your bladder instead of a live mouse you have conveniently on hand.

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She does not have that but she does have the maker's logo on her sweatshirt so it's doable at least.

Yeah, they wouldn't, this is the barest basics of troporting, whereas her thoughts are off in - yawn - advanced theory land.

Well, she needs to find a mouse and hope, then.  And hope that it doesn't cost the end user money.  She only has Earth money.

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Mice are available... for sale.

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...What about the mouse carts?

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It's cheaper to borrow one there, for sure. Not free, but she could conceivably find the necessary change by rummaging around.

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Well.  She'd best rummage, then.

Once she's tried...well.  Then it's definitely time to go back to the library again.  She has someone she ought to thank for their help.

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"Hey, it's me again.  Thank you for the help, and furthermore, apologies for all the trouble - I know Ophelia offered hers on our collective behalf already, but I was the proximate cause of the mess.  Honestly, though...I still don't know what to do, now.  There's monsters afoot somewhere, and I'm just a budget-model scientist, not a fighter, but I still - There's stuff I know, about lots of things, even if some of it's clearly invalidated - for example, the force of gravity can't possibly be only the constant G times both masses over the distance between their centers squared, because you can't have infinite massive planes that way, but I know some of my knowledge is still accurate, and I know the process of how to determine what's not accurate about knowledge.  I want to use that to help people."

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The librarian blinks at her politely. "- Ophelia?"

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"Ophelia was driving when we came back in here after the guard pissed her off by not explaining shit until she'd asked him thrice, repeatedly, then asked for the rapid intro to drowsing book.  You're speaking to the person who asked about troportation the first time and then ran off in a panic when she tried to borrow a book and found out that there was a potential emergency in possibly not having any cohabitants.  Which still strikes me as odd; we can slog onwards just fine even while physical-fatigued, and that seems to be the majority of mental-fatigue sources, at least in our experience."

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"...so, you do have a cohabitor, Ophelia, and you.. forgot?"

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"There was a critical understanding failure of what a cohabitor is.  And it's technically not just her, she's just the one you met.  I wouldn't say I forgot, because - well, you can't forget someone you can feel in your brain, but it's not going to produce a particularly inaccurate world-model if you think that way, because I don't know many things a child should, for all that I know quite a few things you don't."

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"...are you looking for more books, at this time?"

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Hmm...  "...I'm not sure what the hell I'm doing, pardon my language.  So I guess what I'm looking for is advice on whether I should look for more books, or for directions to the nearest university that has laboratory facilities."

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"I'm not sure which you should prefer, but there are books here, and a college that way, which... might have labs, though I don't know what kind of lab you want."

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"The college seems like a decent bet, honestly.  As much as I just enjoy reading for its own sake.  ...Thank you, again, for, well, putting up with all my me-ness."

And now!  To the college!

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