Feb 23, 2020 9:25 PM
Tyrians in Partyland
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Alice will quietly wait and not interrupt him as he's working then.

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While Lysander works on his map, Maddie and Riley work on their phones.

"What were you doing, back home?"

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The interface makes turning them on and assigning them phone numbers pretty intuitive.

"I was studying to do medical research. It seemed like the highest leverage problem space."

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"Is that how you pick? Highest leverage?"

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"More or less, whatever seems most likely to let me solve interesting important problems."

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"Why not engineering?"

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"What big problems are there in engineering? There's a lot of small ones to be sure but unless I happen to be brilliant enough to crack fusion I don't see much with a big impact."

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"I don't know engineering that well, but I think there's a lot of room for innovation."

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"Maybe, but it seemed more likely to be incremental. I don't have a super principled explanation of that though. Besides, with engineering these days you're mostly working with computer models. Biology is more hands on."

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"That's true. I don't think I could pick something just because it would have a lot of impact, I'm not that selfless."

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"Who said I was selfless? I want to make breakthroughs. That's why I'm willing to take chances like coming here. Better to fail a hundred times at trying something big than to just quietly creep forwards on little things."

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"Ambitious, maybe, not selfless. I mostly just wanted to take pictures."

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"Ambitious is a description I'll accept gladly. I can respect people whose passions draw them in other directions though. Not everyone is suited to solving big problems."

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"The most I considered was photojournalism, and it's a hard thing to get into. I was probably going to end up in web design."

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"Well, there's going to be lots to discover here, lots of pictures to take."

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"I hope so. Do you think we should head out there?"

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"I'd be happy spending weeks just pouring over the encyclopedia and fiddling with the clinic. If you want to explore I'm not opposed though."

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"No, we can spend a little more time here."

What else is there to read?

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"Alright." Riley turned to dig into the encyclopedia.

There's a lot of information in the encyclopedia, most of it is pretty obscure trivia leaving aside some bits about the complex. The bookshelves have a selection of fiction and non-fiction most of it's straight from Earth, some of the textbooks seem like they might not be though.

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She can read up on the complex first. Layout, history, any hints about who built it...?

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The encyclopedia is distressingly short on anything resembling a map of the whole complex. It will consent to show a map of the mall. That puts the size of the complex into perspective, though there's no way to know if the surface facilities are as extensive as the underground. If they are though it looks like the facility is over fifty kilometers in diameter. The articles on the complex talk about how it's maintained by small robots called servos which avoid being directly observed. They explain the types of buildings that are present including museums, apartment complexes and warehouses. There are bits of detail about how the doors work, including the fact that they're almost soundproof when locked but that tapping the doorknob will chime inside the room. There are a lot of little touches like that.

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Maddie relays most of this to Riley, in case she doesn't know. 

Any mention of what might be in the museums or warehouses?

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Not in a great deal of specificity, though some museums are referred to as presenting builder knowledge while others are referenced as reformatted facilities from the resident's world. The warehouses are listed as storing technical equipment and raw materials that are unsuitable for the mall and things in quantities higher than there is room for in the mall.

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She files that away, and goes to look at the possibly alien textbooks.

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If she doesn't have background in the topics they'll seem pretty like textbooks from Earth in the intro sections. What topic would she like to read about?

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