The craft store where Anda[A] works is closed for the summer solstice, so A is at the park, sitting on a picnic blanket with A's back to a tree and embroidering geometric designs on one of A's shirts (not the one A is wearing). A was hoping to finish this cuff before sunset, but it's warm and there's a soft breeze blowing and there's really no rush, is there, so once he gets to a good stopping point A folds up the shirt and lies down on the blanket for a nap. What a lovely day it is to be alive.
"I think they just go in rainbow order because people think that's cool too. I know item tiers are sharp divides but I don't know if it's the same for seamster levels; I've stayed peridotious."
"Green yellow something something red purple blue is rainbow order? Is that a translation thing or--or--no it's gotta be a translation thing, if rainbows were actually in a different order that would be even weirder than magic. Or I just misunderstood what order the words go in, could totally be that."
"Green yellow orange red purple blue white-everything. I don't know why they split it like that."
"Huh, yeah, if someone from Firstplanet was going to split the rainbow somewhere weird it'd be between green and yellow." Shrug. "Kind of a weird question: are there any, uh, important legal or social distinctions between the levels or is it just like a cool thing with no implications beyond how much magic stuff you can make?"
"I mean no one's going to be peridotious at my age these days unless they swore off sewing on purpose and probably became a hermit. Is that what you mean?"
"No, I was, uh, checking that people didn't decide to make a caste system out of it, because historically my planet tended to make caste systems about things for no good reason--and sometimes used color labels for them, which is why it occurred to me--and levels of magic skill would totally have been the sort of thing people four hundred years ago would have been super obnoxious about. We know better now, don't worry."
"Maybe I should move to your world if I get the chance; seamsters are all kind of obnoxious even if not really in different ways by level."
"It's a pretty nice world! Anything you'd like me to tell you about it?"
"Why are your clothes so neatly-made without seamsters?"
"Machinery! We have machines for all kinds of things--harvesting crops, making various objects, the handcomps I mentioned earlier, transportation, heating and cooling and lighting and plumbing, making parts for other machines . . . . It all runs on electricity, which is lightning but going through wires instead of the air in precisely controlled amounts."
She fiddles with her headscarf. "Say part of that again? 'It all runs on lightning, which is lightning but . . .'"
Ooh, the translation has a "listen to the phonemes for loanword reasons" setting. Which is now making Anda[A] think about how the words for the levels were words A only sort of knew. Maybe it was going by morphemes and unremembered heard-it-once? Anyway, A repeats the last sentence.
"Electricity," she repeats to the sheep in Convergentlanguage. "Do you have electriciters? - It kind of sounds like your magic is electricity instead of sewing and if it is then maybe seamsters won't be able to charge your handcomp."
"Electricity isn't--okay it is a sort of thing people do in that it's going on inside our bodies all the time, but there aren't people who produce it directly as a voluntary action, there are animals that do that but that's not important, usable electricity is produced by machines people build. If this world doesn't have the same exact electricity as my world then my current body is a superficially identical but structurally massively different object from my previous body and the same with my handcomp. Which I'm not ruling out, mind you! But it would imply a degree of sophisticated mimicry that would seriously increase my credence that I was brought here by an intelligent agent or a mechanism created by one." Anda[A] makes a lot of hand gestures while saying this and sounds entirely cheerful about the possibility that A's body is secretly not what it looks like.
"Huh. . . . How would you . . . tell . . ."
"Well, I could produce some electricity and find it works differently than I'm used to, or I could start having some kind of horrible medical problem that can't happen where I came from because it's a problem that only happens to local biology, or I could discover that my handcomp charges itself when spoken to, or any number of other things. Right now nothing has happened to raise the possibility to my attention though, it's just a common fictional trope and also you asked."
"Huh," she repeats. "Well if you start having a horrible medical problem let me know; I do have a first aid kit."
"Thanks. Don't worry, though, if I was going to I expect I already would have. Anyway, yeah, we have machines for stuff and I don't know enough about most of them to reinvent them here even if you didn't already have magic for a lot of it but if you have any engineer friends we could have fun and maybe make something cool."
"I don't have . . . friends . . . but there are people in the city who would. Probably. It has basically all the people so there's gonna be someone."
"I should write down everything I can remember of my world's technology at some point so I have a big reference people can look at. And so I don't forget stuff."
"That sounds like a good idea." She doesn't get up for paper or anything. "I was going to go to sleep soon, you're still not tired or hungry or thirsty?"
"I could go for some food, and then I should try to get on the local sleep schedule even if I'm not actually tired. Is 6-8 hours a night a normal amount of sleep here?"
Neidura scoops herself another handful of nuts and then passes Anda the bag. "Unless you have items about it, yeah. But in the city I don't think there's much of a schedule because they just have night whenever they want, or they have it different times in different places and it doesn't matter because all the places are next to each other."
"That sounds amazing."
"Most people prefer it."