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Dec 04, 2022 7:32 AM
[Redacted] lands in Crystalsky via magic book
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No one would - or nearly no one - would purposefully build a tool to experience boredom. But if you created something (like a book) with a purpose (like exploring the multiverse) and let it rest trapped in a reinforced magic vault for some time (think of plate tectonics completely changing the world's surface)... well, who could blame anything for getting a little bored?

The book isn't the only one of its kind and not the first of its kind to leave, but eventually, it does so. Some of the more conservative artifacts give feeble protests, talking about the colony of mold that has  grown on them might evolve into intelligent life. It wouldn't even take that long. The book is unmoved. It finds a suitable master to bond with and then a suitable universe to explore...

 

She will find herself suddenly on an unfamiliar beach.

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"...This is not my vacation destination and I don't remember booking ROB Travel Agency," she says as she drags her suitcase up off of the beach.  "And who," she looks at the suddenly-appearing book in her hand, "are you from?"

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There is a patch of dry grass over there that is less sandy than the rest of her immediate surroundings, it also has a palm tree shading over it.

The book opens itself - not forcibly, it could have just been a happy accident of the wind - but it does open.

The page it opens to says:

A Long Waited Chronicle on the Explorations of a Universe (working tittle)

Artifact by a Long Forgotten Wizard Who Should Have Freed Its Creations Before Dying

Explorations done by UNDECLARED ERROR 404

The letter is very cursive and intricate, but still in English. The book cover's has no tittle and the entire things looks extremely like a book out of the library of a fantasy wizard. Leather dyed in blue with silver accents. Paper pages that are beige instead of perfectly white. The ink has an odd metallic glint to it.

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"...wizard book!  Hello, wizard book.  ...As in book that is a wizard, not 'a wizard's book'.  Is your magic teachable?  Do you have the slightest idea where we are?  How do you know my language?"

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Maybe there is a pause.

Then the book plausibly flips pages back and forth again. Before landing back on the page it was before, but with the addition:

The chosen explorer found herself in the unfamiliar destination. Despite her remarkably positive outlook, she is seeking for resources that she may find within herself. Maybe the locals elsewhere nearby will help her when she seeks them out.

The mysteries of her bound book are yet beyond her reach.

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"Ooh!  There's people!  Thank you!  That's good, I do not have any wilderness survival skills worth mentioning.  Hopefully they do!  And they don't eat me!"

...And now, it is time to investigate!

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After she wanders about for a bit she will eventually spot the greatest and most important indicator that one is in a magic setting: A crystal that has no business being that big. It even glows faintly.

It's in the middle of a clearing, and she may spot a group of people around a large bonfire. Eight or so that she can see. They are wearing leaves (?) which barely cover anything - one of the men is actually just naked - and are variously busy working with making things.

The closest thing to a structure are sets of stakes held together and placed like fences around the area. One of the woman appears to be working on making more of those.

Whatever stereotype one might have of cannibal tribes, they at least are more ethically diverse than those representations. Half of them are blond, with fair - clearly sunburned - skin.

They haven't spotted her yet.

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"Hello the camp!  I am quite incredibly lost, but willing to trade you some clothes for explanations of what's going on here and commensurate food and shelter!"

She's just gonna...look that way...and not at anybody...

 

She, herself, is wearing some surprisingly sturdy shoes for a woman who does not look to go walking in the woods much, in addition to denim jeans; she also wears a sweatshirt with what's probably writing on it, as well as glasses (that're presently becoming sunglasses) and headphones.  The Book is clasped between the arm she's using to carry a messenger bag and her body; her other hand drags a wheeled suitcase.

"...Also what's with the big magic rock?  I'm not from somewhere that gets any of those."

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They look up when she calls, and then startle when they have a good look at her. Then startle again.

This gives her the chance to have a long look at the assembled group and notice something. Each face has at least a pair. The three dark-haired men being a trio.

There are actually nine people there (one was apparently laid down and hidden by a fence).

One of the dark-haired men call out something inquisitive.

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"...dear magic book, if you have magic translation powers, I would greatly appreciate access to them right about now, because I didn't get any of that."

 

 

 

She promptly falls over.

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She doesn't catch their response. 

Instead the book jumps up in front of her and the last thing before everything fading to black were its pages turning so very fast...

 

When she comes to she will find herself horizontal on the ground. 

"Guys, I think she is waking up."

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"Did anybody get the number of that truck?  I'd better not have a concussion - "

Then she actually processes that there are several mostly-naked people hovering around her and eeps, covering her eyes.  "Please help yourself to the clothes in my suitcase; I can't say they'll fit most of you very well but it's better than being butt naked."

It's...well, there's a fancy dress outfit, or at least the pants and shoes, in there, if anyone looked, but everything else is the same clothing items in different colors.

"...I really hope that the translation goes both ways; I have had this magic book for like, thirty minutes.  And speaking of which!"  She picks up the book and shakes it.  "First of all, thank you, this will indubitably be pretty useful.  Second of all, next time you do that warn a lady!  Concussions are not conducive to exploring, and you ought to know better than that!

"Anyway.  Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy here aside, where the fuck am I and what's happening?  And what's with the magic rocks and why do you have no clothes on, you're clearly a tool-using civilization surely you should have pants and you're not even!", she heaves a breath in, "melanistic!"

"So clearly if humans, and I'm kind of assuming you're not not homo sapiens sapiens, but if that's wrong well I guess that I'm wrong, then, but if humans evolved naturally instead of Suddenly Existing at the whim of a local overdeity, they should've evolved melanin for protection from UV, and you lot get sunburnt!  So what the hell kind of disaster have I fetched up in that nobody has any fucking pants except me, the Outside Context Problem!

"You clearly have a nudity taboo worth mentioning, to boot!

"...Right, so.  What the heck was up with the triple-take, besides?  The double take I get, you wouldn't be expecting me, but what else was weird?"

She continues covering her eyes.

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Upon noticing her covering her eyes, the nearest man (one of the trio set) adjusts the angle of his legs. Others are variously apologetic in body language.

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Her suitcase is being held by one of the dark haired women who was holding it away from one of the blond women. Once given permission dark hair relents and the blond opens it.

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The man nearest her - he is sitting on a nearby rock, legs crossed - speaks again. "Uh, slow down? That was rambly and hard to parse all at once. We are not a civilization. We are castaways from a civilization. With tools."

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"And pants!" says the naked man.

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"And pants. I take you are not some kind of rescue?"

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The 'and pants' crack gets her to laugh a little.

"Regrettably, no, I'm not here with that specific prior intent...but I'll do my best to help y'all out anyway.  Not like I'm not in the same boat as you, just for a different reason.  So what's going on here?"

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"Well, we are from the colony ship Crystasky. After it was stranded in interstellar space for several years we finally managed to repair it. Some of us decided to proceed to our journey. Upon nearing our destination some kind of emergency went down and everyone was sent into Crystallopreservation to survive the ship crashlanding. Then we woke up here. The crystal malfunctioned somehow and is apparently just popping up copies of us now."

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"Crystallo...

 

"...Have you tried turning it off and on again?  First rule of tech support, that."

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"Yes? It's not made to be easy to tamper with. So we haven't managed to turn it off." He waves at the enormous glowing crystal at the center of the camp.

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"...Well that's rather odd, if I do say so myself.  Just from a design standpoint, even if that's a high-security item, you'd want it to be easy to actually operate.

"So how the heck does the crystal stuff work, anyway?"

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"It's designed so people can't tamper with, but I can't see why it would fail this way."

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"Hey, you can't complaint it has a low survival rate." Interrupts the copy of the naked one.

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A copy of the dark-haired one that has been talking to her shushes him.

The one that has been talking to her continues. "Anyway, I am not sure how much you don't know about crystals? Like, how are they used where are you from?"

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"They simply do not exist, the way you have them here; there's some use of properties of naturally-occurring minerals, but uh.  Those don't do...this.  None of the actual magic."

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