"Well, it'd be surprising if it were all one-way, right?
We think we've probably had a few walk-ins from our own world? But it's hard to tell: even the one who was only on their second life had been gone for centuries and recordkeeping was not as good back then, and most of them had been gone for millennia. And we think one of them was probably just from some very nearby world with the same geographical landmarks.
Likewise, we've heard occasional secondhand otherworld legends that might be based on historical walk-ins from Rekka, but, like, very few worlds that we know of have radio, a lot of them don't even have newspapers, it would be very easy for someone to share a world with a Rekkan walk-in and not find out.
Supposedly some fae have said that most dead fae have come back, reporting a single walk-in life with a human host and waking up back in the fae realm when the host died like they did when they first came-of-age. But I don't know how far I'd trust anything a fae said, and certainly not with the amount of whisper-chain on that: nobody's talked to a fae, at least not knowingly, in almost two centuries. Anyway, humans don't come back like that.
In general hosts and walk-ins tend to be a lot more similar to each other than two random people? We think probably it's easier to, like, successfully lodge in a host brain the closer it is to how yours was. Maybe there's some absolute cap where if it's too different you can't lodge in it at all no matter how lucky you are, and there are lots of writhing alien chimerae out there in the multiverse and we just never see them because they're not compatible with us."
He makes a pitying-and-somewhat-disapproving facial expression for a moment when he hears about the widespread caffeine addiction including in his host, then catches himself.
"I've only done caffeine a few times myself, on days when I had a shift at the medical centre and hadn't slept very well, but I've heard from people who've tried doing it a lot that if you take it too often your body habituates and all it ends up doing is bringing you back to baseline? And if it gets to that point it's not actually doing you any good, it's just a waste of resources you could've spent elsewhere and an extra thing that can go wrong if one day you can't get hold of it. Plus it makes a lot of people feel twitchy and nervous, and they know it's not really them but it's still unpleasant. I seem to be one of the lucky ones on that, though."
He pauses at the bit about longevity escape velocity.
He is...going to put whatever these emotions are that he is having (he'll be safe here, he doesn't have to roll the dice on the wilds of the multiverse again this had better be a good place to spend eternity what about the other 10% gene therapy wouldn't have helped with yesterday, would it if he'd been luckier, if he'd been more fucking careful, he probably could have lived to see his homeworld figure it out themselves, perhaps even as they speak his centuries-old loved ones are toasting an absent friend) on the list of things he absolutely does not have time to process right now.
"Amethyst was...the big thing was that she introduced us to steam engines. Like, we had a couple steam-engine designs kicking around? But they were just curiosities, they were so primitive as to be useless, and we didn't know it was possible to do better than that.
I remember...I was seven years old, and my household went out northwest to visit my uncle's household, and while we were there we went to a museum of industrialisation. And on the grounds as we walked in, one of the statues was a woman in some sort of foreign tunic, pointing at a locomotive and grinning, and a little behind her, holding her other hand, an amazed man looked on.
The plaque, and some of the exhibits, and some other bits from my family, told me about Amethyst's accomplishments. She was called Brightpath because where she was from, people chose second names based on their jobs, and she named herself after the better way she worked to show us. Lots of places have been at more or less the tech level we were at since time immemorial; who knows how much longer it would have taken, if we'd had to stumble across it ourselves.
...they also told me about artistic metaphor: she didn't, exactly, look like that. Like, she used to look like that, the statues and whatnot were based on self-portraits she drew, but what people saw when they looked at her was the guy who'd been standing behind her in the statue, Kotellu yet Shenedi.
Like I said, people tend to be similar to each other, but it's not absolute. Hosts and walk-ins are usually the same sex," he was going to say gender, but this language doesn't have a separate word for that "but not always, and...their souls were similar enough that they could share a brain, but his body didn't fit her very well, and it was rough for her. So a lot of artwork of them depicts them as separate-bodied people--usually holding hands--to show her in her true form.
...I'm glad your body is a lot closer to me: it's a little weird but I think I can get used to it. I'd like to draw you a self-portrait sometime when we're less pressed for time, though.
Uh, I wouldn't say it's 'okay' to not know bootstrapping, for one thing it'd be like not knowing algebra or something, and..." oh this language has a terrible vocabulary for talking about acausal coordination, huh "...it's not what we would want other people to do in our place?
But what I meant by 'lots of people' was, like, the 'even in your first life' part, that even if we were one of those worlds that had never heard of walk-ins we'd probably still do quite a bit of making sure that our tech level fails gracefully. The more complicated something is the more fragile it usually is, and often it's worth it to switch to using mostly the complicated thing, but it's not something to rely on lightly.
About seventy years ago we had this huge coronal mass ejection, basically knocked out our whole power grid, and...we didn't know that was something that could even happen, and we were very aware that if we'd had a couple more decades to get more entrenched on electrifying everything we'd have been extremely screwed? We've done a lot of hardening and decentralising on our electrical grid since then, probably we'll be okay when it happens again though we don't yet know that empirically, but...like, that's just one thing that can bite you if you take technology for granted."
He is not sure exactly what Xakda means by "diagnostic tech"--the connotations seem a bit vague--but he figures he'll probably find out firsthand soon enough, so he doesn't even add that one to the list of things to process.
(If Minaiyu had more time to reflect, he'd think about Xakda saying that people do not ever suddenly turn up with headmates here, and how the first explanation out of Xakda's mouth that Xakda came up with was delirium-or-something, and he'd ask about being less conspicuous in public. But he has a lot of other things on his mind, and he does not think to ask.)
He tastes the word "school". One-to-many-tutoring-place? He would not expect a three-year-old, of all people, to get anything positive out of in-person one-to-many tutoring: there aren't a lot of circumstances in which in-person one-to-many wouldn't be prohibitively overstimulating for at least one of student and teacher, and he's pretty sure none of those exceptional circumstances involve three-year-olds. Something for the list of lower-priority questions, probably.
Minaiyu stops doing the usual absent-minded human face-touching once Xakda puts shoes on, and in fact switches to absent-mindedly arresting movements Xakda makes towards doing so.