August 17, 2018, 07:33:39 PM

Author Topic: 5,000 PE  (Read 8452 times)

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
5,000 PE
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2016, 09:35:18 AM »
The mad scientist sat at his desk and thought.

14.7 billion years in the simulation per one year outside it, using an unknown number of borrowed V'torrraks. A V'torrak's potential magic output was supposed to be a lot stronger than that of any single sentient life form with magic training, let alone that of someone who wasn't trained. Someone who wasn't trained would probably only output magic through their aura or something. Unless they had more magic stored inside them that wasn't normally released.

Complexity penalty to that, he didn't really know if auras existed or how they worked if they did. He didn't even really know how magic worked.

Well, let's say that a V'torrak has ten times as much potential magic output as an individual mage, as a rather conservative estimate. Hypothetically, if there were seven billion mages in the simulation, then for the simulation to run at the same speed before any mages existed in it, there would need to be 700 million V'torrak's being used.

But Dan Rood had claimed that the Nameless one was absorbing intelligence from people who died in the simulation with no bodies on the outside to return to. Not just magic. Maybe it didn't need much magic. If the simulation needed extra intelligence to run, then probably no amount of magic could compensate for the insufficient intelligence before sentient beings lived in the simulation.

Not to mention, there were humans in Etheria as well as on Earth. And there was presumably breathable air on Etheria, just like on Earth. There were plants and animals and many other strange life forms on Etheria, just like on Earth. And the official map of the Central Hearthlands on the Arcane Wonders website looked suspiciously like Europe.

There was no way that the Nameless one would be able to plan all that out in advance, no way for it to know that Earth would even look like that, if its initial conditions for the simulation had been the space-time singularity directly before the Big Bang. The Nameless one was not a superintelligence, after all.

Which meant, if his line of reasoning was correct, that it hadn't been the initial conditions. The initial conditions would have to have been the Earth fully formed and with people already living on it. Everything else that had supposedly happened before that was just retconned into the simulation, or at least the world was made to look as if those things had happened. How could such initial conditions be set up in the first place, though? Maybe the Nameless one had some sort of blueprint, a map loosely based on Etheria, and it just filled in the details? But where would it even get such a blueprint? For a being that wasn't a super intelligence, designing such a complicated map would take a very long time. It would be plenty of time for the other gods to find out what the Nameless one was up to and put a stop to it. So how...?

The mad scientist tabled that question until he had more information.

Next question. How much time did they have before Asyra diverted enough magic and intelligence from the Nameless one to slow the simulation enough for it to crash? (The mad scientist had been able to guess exactly which of the Etherian gods would be messing with the simulation instead of just ending it. It had been kind of obvious.)

New people were coming into existence in the simulation faster than people were dying in it. So in order to really slow down the simulation, the number of people dying over time had to be dramatically decreased somehow. Either by lowering birth rates, or lowering death rates, or both.

So in order to maximize the number of lives saved both in the simulation and outside it, as many lives as possible would have to be saved within the simulation without causing it to crash, and they needed to ensure that the other gods didn't find out about what was going on inside the simulation in the meantime. Unless there were a lot more lives to be saved in Infernia and Etheria combined than on Earth inside the simulation, in which case any attempt to slow down the simulation could result in a net decrease in lives saved, not an increase. And what about other realms besides Etheria and Infernia? What if some of them had simulations of their own, and dying people who needed saving?

He had no idea. There had to be a way to find out without actually leaving the simulation. There had to be! But no, there was no law of the universe that said that such a thing was possible. But if there was any way to do that, any way at all, he needed to know as soon as possible.

He also had to find out what sort of security existed to guard the simulation, also without leaving it.

Could he perhaps contact the Nameless one, somehow?

The mad scientist sitting at his desk continued thinking.

Meanwhile, deep within the Earth's core, ancient titans slumbered.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: July 05, 2016, 07:45:46 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: 5,000 PE
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2016, 11:34:05 AM »
The Church of Asyra had been opened in Paris. About a thousand worshippers had travelled there from across the world to pray at such a holy place. That holy place had turned out to be another church that was generous enough to share building-space with them. The Church of Asyra also had a website and a Facebook page.  It had about twenty-five hundred likes and counting.

The members of the particular catholic church which was generously sharing their building with the Asyrans for the most part kept a wide berth from them, as if to say "We don't know those crazies!  We swear!"

Nevertheless, a decent number of catholics in that church had converted to Asyra within a few months. No doubt if they had all seen what the asyrans' high priestess was capable of, they would have all converted on the spot. Or accused the asyrans of witchcraft or something.

The high priestess was a young french woman in her late twenties, with long red hair, and a light pink armored smartphone holstered at her hip. She had been preparing for her trip to the States for the past couple months. There was an upcoming winter Mage Wars Festival being hosted there, and she had a hunch that her old friend Vincent, Malakai's chosen hero would be there.

‘C'est ainsi que débute votre aventure : des coins les plus reculés de la planète, les êtres légendaires se rassemblent pour s'affronter dans un combat dont l'issue sera décisive pour le destin des mortels, mais aussi des dieux.’

She remembered the quote from the back of the box for "Tournament of Legends" a Nintendo Wii game that she liked. It seemed rather fitting.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2016, 11:36:20 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
5,000 PE
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2016, 08:33:03 PM »
The new school year was in full swing now. Outside the simulation he had always dreaded it. Inside the simulation he had always dreaded the end of the school year instead. His time in high school and his first couple years of university had been much kinder to him than his time at the Tower of Night. That school had been torture. Literally torture. At least Navee had been there. If it weren't for him he probably would have died before graduation.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2016, 10:04:57 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
5,000 PE
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2016, 09:29:00 AM »
"So what are your plans for Thanksgiving?" Dan asked Harris. They were sitting in a cafe. Harris was eating a side salad, and Dan was eating a rather healthy-looking chicken sandwich.

Harris reminded himself that this was not a date. This was just a friendly get-together, they were not a couple yet. Then he wondered how sustainable that was, when both of them felt more than friendship for the other and they both knew it.

Harris pushed the thought out of his mind.

"I don't have any. You do realize that the bread in your sandwich has over eighty grams of carbohydrates, right?"

Dan's surprise was very clearly visible on his face. He checked the nutrition facts on the back of the clear plastic container he got his sandwich in while he chewed and swallowed.

"No, it's 66 grams," said Dan. "But still, damn that's a lot of carbs." He continued eating his sandwich.

"They must have changed it since the last time I was here," said Harris. "And you continue eating a day's worth of carbs in one meal."

"Eh, I'll recover."

"You're going to become fat."

"Yes. I am. Why? Would you like it if I was fat?" Dan waggled his eyebrows. He actually waggled his eyebrows.

"No. I'm going to forget you said that."

"Okay." There was a pause. "I don't have any thanksgiving plans either."

"Really?" asked Harris, surprised. "Why not?"

Dan gave Harris a look.

And then Harris realized the obvious, and smacked his forehead.

"Of course, you don't have a family in the simulation because you were retconned in fully formed. That's also why you look older than me despite having entered the simulation after me. Anyways, I'd love to celebrate thanksgiving with you."

Dan smiled.

"But isn't it kind of early to be talking about Thanksgiving? It's not even Halloween yet."

"Shadowfall is a joke in this world," said Dan. "Outside the simulation the holiday actually meant something. Here it's just an excuse for kids to get candy and have costume parties."

Harris grinned, mischievously.

"Why are you grinning at me like that?" asked Dan, suspiciously.

What do you think you know, and how do you think you know it? Harris thought but did not say.

"Nothing," said Harris, still grinning mischievously. One of his old friends in high school had hosted a Halloween party at their house every year since before they'd graduated high school. And since a lot of the students who had gone to their high school had social skills deficits and sensory issues, including Harris himself, their Halloween parties were much calmer and less alcohol-oriented than other Halloween parties probably tended to be. He wasn't sure if there was going to be another one this year, but he figured it would be a good idea to check.

The two of them finished eating, stood up and threw away their trash. Harris grabbed his book bag.

"Do you want a ride back?" asked Dan.

"Nah. I have class right after this. Thank you though."

They started walking towards the door.

Dan squeezed Harris's shoulder, the touch lingering about a second longer than what would be considered platonic. Harris instinctively leaned into the touch for that brief moment, then all too soon it was gone.

"Thanks," said Harris. "Bye!" He waved back at Dan as he hurried off to class.

"Bye," said Dan, bemused. He stared after Harris for a few moments. He looked cute when he was rushing off somewhere. Dan would never say that to him, of course. Harris did not think of himself as cute.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2016, 07:08:29 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
5,000 PE
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2016, 05:29:33 PM »
So I edited the post before last in light of the recent errata of the wizard. Since fire wizards don't exist anymore, Harris is now a warlock and he is not changing his magical major anytime soon. i also plan on changing the opening sequence so that Harris is playing a warlock, rather than a wizard.

EDIT: I actually think I'm going to keep the opening sequence as is. Maybe give him the chance to explore some more at some point in the story. I think air wizard might be very fun and more fitting for him than warlock in the end, so he might change his area of expertise at some point in the story, although his origins as a warlock will still be very plot relevant, and his original name, Fiennix, will not be removed just because he ends up preferring to use something other than fire. However, I might change my mind later and have him become another mage class. Expect his exploration to take a little longer.

Also, the changes I made due to fire wizards no longer existing have caused a bit of a domino effect so I had to do a bunch of edits and removals on the last several scenes to keep things consistent. Sorry about that.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2016, 06:51:56 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: 5,000 PE
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2016, 10:15:42 AM »
Edit: changed the part about Harris needing to go to grad school for the plan to work. That part didn't quite make sense with the way the story is going and the roles that different characters play.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: 5,000 PE
« Reply #21 on: July 16, 2016, 02:52:11 PM »
Also edited the part about what class Harris is taking. He's not taking that class now


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
5,000 PE
« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2016, 10:48:49 AM »
"What the hell are you doing here?" Harris demanded.

"I'm here to stop you!" said Vincent as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. He had summoned a white cloak knight, and the creature was pointing a sword at Harris with a look of righteous fury in its eyes which mirrored the one in Vincent's.

"Stop me? You mean from hanging out with my friends?"

"I know you're up to something here. Whatever you're doing, leave the innocents out of it!"

"I've been to this Halloween party every year for the past several years! In case you haven't noticed, some of us have a life outside of work!" and then as an afterthought, "Also, I'm not the one who's crashing Halloween parties and threatening its attendees with a show of force. Who's really the villain here?"

Jonathan stood up from his chair by the campfire and stepped between Harris and Vincent.

"Now, now, I'm sure this is all a big misunderstanding," he said. Looking Vincent straight in the eye, he said, "We're all friends here. We're telling ghost stories right now. You're welcome to join us if you like."

Harris suddenly felt a great deal of gratitude and respect for Jonathon.

Vincent walked over to the campfire and grabbed a chair far away from Harris, but then on second thought carried it over to right behind and to the side of Harris.

"I'm keeping my eye on you," Vincent muttered.

"If you attack me here, they'll call the police,"   Harris whispered without looking back, as much to reassure himself as to warn Vincent.  He wished that Dan would get here soon. He was running really late, now. Harris was getting pretty worried.

No, calm down. You are perfectly capable of dealing with the likes of Zach Shortie on your own. He never completed his undergraduate magical education. You did. You are stronger than him, and he knows it.

Harris sent a text to Dan:

Where r u?

Now it was Harris's turn to tell a ghost story.

"So...so one of my friends, his grandfather is an Egyptologist. A few decades ago he went to an unidentified pharaoh's tomb. ...It wasn't in, well it was in a pyramid, but it was below ground. The entrance I mean. I mean the entrance hall of the tomb, or whatever you call it. There was some sort of ancient artifact that belonged to that pharaoh. But that artifact, as you would expect of ancient Egyptian artifacts in ancient tombs, was cursed."

Vincent's jaw dropped. That artifact was clearly meant to represent the Arraxian Crown, an ancient demonic artifact which was cursed to open a portal to the realm of Infernia and which triggered the Demon Wars which devastated Etheria and destroyed much of civilization after their first industrial revolution. Was this story based on actual Etherian history?

"So he took the artifact home with him, and gave it to his grandson, my friend who I was talking about. But the artifact contained the spirit of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, who then possessed my friend. He, whenever my friend or anyone he cared about got hurt or mistreated in any way, the spirit of the artifact would take over my friend's body and force him to punish the perpetrators cruelly and unnecessarily."

"Now that is scary," said Annabel.

Sandy shivered.

Jonathan started to look thoughtful. Where had he heard that story before?

Vincent grimaced. That was definitely the king of the Pellian empire after he had attained the Arraxian Crown.

Harris continued.

"But eventually my friend tamed the spirit and taught him compassion for his enemies. That it was okay to be nice to bad people he didn't like. Then they had a ritual honor duel to--in which my friend and the spirit fought each other to determine if the pharaoh could finally pass on to the afterlife. My friend won, and the pharaoh's spirit was finally laid to rest."

What.

"Wait a moment, that's Yugioh!" said Brady. "You ripped off that ghost story from Yugioh, didn't you!"

"Yes. You caught me," said Harris, grinning.

"Wait that was the one you told us last year!" said Jonathan.

"Yeah, but not everyone had a chance to hear it last year," said Harris.

Harris's cell phone started to ring.

"Cool, a Digivice, where did you get it?" asked Brady.

"It's not a Digivice, it's just my phone," said Harris. "Be right back."

Harris walked away and went back inside Jonathan's house as he answered his phone. He went upstairs where the guests weren't supposed to go, entered a restroom and locked the door behind him.

"Hello?"

"Harris," said Dan.

"Dan! Where are you?"

"I'm sorry I won't be able to make it today. There was a bug in the simulation which I had to patch."

"What happened?"

"A global mental transmission. Asyra must have been trying to unlock memories of Etheria."

"How do you know that?"

"Magic-use in the simulation is locked to the cards and passwords, and Asyra can't use the cards because she's outside the simulation. What else would you think she was trying to do?" You could hear Navee's incredulity in his voice.

"Right stupid question," said Harris. "So you said the transmission was global. How many passwords was she transmitting?"

"I don't know. I blocked the signal at its entry point by changing a bunch of passwords in nearby minds. I missed a couple of them though."

"Great. So now we have a couple of new security risks to worry about."

"Not just a couple, Fiennix," said Dan. "Remember when I said the transmission was global? I think that there were many people sharing the same passwords."

"So..."

"Two passwords managed to get through. So, how many minds do you think Asyra could hack and change the password of before the Nameless one could stop her?"

"Not many. The mind isn't Asyra's specialty. She can't unlock memories directly. Or at least it would be more difficult for her. She would need a backdoor--some way to gain access to people's minds indirectly. The obvious next thought is that this backdoor is the soul."

Harris thought for a few moments. "And since the soul is basically just life-force that's been shaped by memories and inheritance, that means Asyra would be able to form a Life Link with people in the simulation right? She'd be able to guide them to feel out the dark spaces, so to speak, between their mind and soul, even if they're not consciously aware of what's in those spaces. But only a mage would have the training to do that. Holy mages would be better at it than most, but it would still be difficult even for them."

""And what about the Nameless one? How would it respond?"

Harris thought. "The Nameless one's specialty is the mind, not the soul. It would have trouble finding a Life Link that Asyra had cast until there was some sort of mental reaction to it. But the Nameless one is using a lot of his magic and intelligence just to keep the simulation running, so his attention is split. But Asyra can only cast one Life Link at a time, although I'm not sure how quickly she can cast them consecutively."

"Time moves a lot faster in the simulation, so we would have to assume that the number of links is small," Dan reminded him.

"Right," said Harris. "So it depends on how fast the simulation is running. Or wait, but then... If the simulation is going really fast, then the number of people whose memories are unlocked should be increasing slightly faster than the Nameless one can stop them, due to his split attention. So I guess it depends on how many passwords the Nameless one can change at once? If the simulation is going fast anyway. Hmm. So my guess is that the number of minds whose memories Asyra has been able to unlock is either very large or very small. But I don't know." Harris paused. "Do you?"

"No, but I have a vague idea. The bug appeared very suddenly and unexpectedly. The Nameless one must still have the upper hand, because otherwise bugs in the simulation before now would have been more common, more severe, or harder to patch. This bug was difficult to remove, but not that difficult, and it did not reappear after I patched it. And I did not think Asyra would have the upper hand this early, in any case. Asyra is relying on stealth to hack the simulation indirectly through backdoors, and she is not known for being a stealthy goddess. So I would guess maybe a few dozen. Or at least, less than a hundred."

Vincent hadn't heard the entire conversation, but he had gotten the gist of it. It sounded like Asyra had sent him some allies.

He scanned a card with his white armored smartphone and teleported away.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 11:31:18 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
5,000 PE
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2016, 01:44:39 PM »
That dream again. A kind, gentle voice that spoke into her heart, the unmistakable power of light and healing. Who was it? Who was calling to her? But she couldn't quite remember. She had seen the video footage of the interrupted final duel between her brother and that delusional boy, Vincent Black. And some part of her felt like she knew what it meant. It was on the tip of her tongue. But she couldn't quite remember. It wasn't just that though. She didn't want to remember it. It was terrible and she liked her life now and she didn't want that. Whatever that was. She wouldn't even admit to herself that she was thinking around the edges of a hole in her memory. She told herself it was nothing, just her imagination. Whatever was going on with that Vincent Black boy had nothing to do with her, as long as he didn't attack anyone she cared about again.

She had been meaning to meet up with Harris at some point and repair their relationship. She hadn't handled things with her brother very well over the years. He hadn't either, but of course that wasn't an excuse. But the prospect of talking to him and spending time with him again caused her a lot of anxiety. She had procrastinated it, and a few years later she was still procrastinating. She only talked to or went near him when their mom gave them an errand to do together, or when he was having a psychological crisis of some kind, which wasn't really happening as much as it used to.

One day in early November, her doorbell rang. She went to answer the door. Standing on the other side of the door was Vincent Black.

"Good morning," said Vincent. "You're Ally Hertz, right?"

She instantly wanted to ask, "Aren't you supposed to be in jail?" or "What is your problem with my brother?" and "How do you know who I am?" all at the same time, while simultaneously wanting to slam the door in his face and lock it. But she couldn't decide which option to take, so she just stared at Vincent with her mouth open.

After a long pause, the woman who answered the door answered the question.

"Yes, that's me."

It might not have been such a good idea to answer honestly. That boy was dangerous.

"Great!" said Vincent. "Cats in cream cheese pickle box toystore. Unlock!"

And then she felt the warm guiding light from her dreams pushing through her, illuminating the dark corners of her mind. She tried to fight it, but the light was warm and strong and impossible to resist. And then she remembered.

Her smartphone appeared in a holster at her waist, now with light purple armor.

"By the way," said Vincent. "I'm kind of thirsty right now. Do you mind if I come in and have something to drink?"

Ally Hertz, Rebecca Lucere, glared at Malakai's Chosen hero. "No."

He looked relieved, and entered her house.

"No, I mean no, I do mind! Get out!" she steered him out the door and lightly pushed the boy out before he had the chance to react. "Malakai is violent and vengeful, and Asyra should never have hired him as an archangel. I don't know what she was thinking! She probably wasn't."

And with that, Ally slammed the door in his face.

She remembered Etheria. She remembered her time as a priestess of Asyra. But she also remembered her time in this world, living in a democratic republic. She knew that monarchies were not a good way of running a country. Oligarchies suffered many of the same problems too. And the gods and goddesses were essentially beings that had absolute power over their domains. They ran the world and ruled over their followers. In other words, the Pantheon of Etheria was an oligarchy. But the gods were not much smarter than mortals. Just a lot wiser and more powerful. But how much of that power and wisdom came from experience, because they had lived for such a long time? What gave them the right to rule? Asyra was compassionate and good,
and she was wise enough to make good plans and enact them, but in the end she tended to solve all her problems with a blast of light and healing, and leaving everything else to her followers. And the other gods weren't much better.

She took her light green armored smart phone with lilac-colored stripes from its holster and held it in her hands. She really needed to talk to her brother about this. She had a feeling that if anyone could have a serious and well-grounded discussion about cosmic politics and spiritual government, it was him.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 11:33:35 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
5,000 PE
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2016, 06:36:34 PM »
It wasn't really possible to keep the truth completely secret. Sooner or later someone would notice. Harris and Dan had been banking on the likelihood that no one would believe them when they talked about what was really going on. Unfortunately, some people were too smart for that, and no doubt the NSA had recorded some of his phone conversations with Dan, and someone higher up had taken the matter seriously. That was why Harris now found himself in an interview with a CIA agent at a local cafe.

"Hi!" said Harris, sitting down across from the old man in the trench coat and sunglasses. It looked very stereotypical of a secret agent. "You're..."

"Agent Bob Bobriel, pleased to meet you," said the older man, holding out his hand to shake.

They shook hands.

"That's not your real name, is it?" asked Harris.

The corners of Agent Bob's mouth curved upwards slightly in suppressed amusement.

"No."

There was an awkward pause.

"Go on, ask your question, I know you want to," said Bob.

"Are you sure?" asked Harris. "It might be kind of rude."

"Don't worry I won't be offended."

"Okay," said Harris. "In that case, why are you dressed like a stereotypical secret agent? Doesn't that make it obvious that you're a secret agent?"

"Yes," said Bob.

There was a pause. Seeing that Harris was still confused, Bob went on, "But they don't know who I am outside of work, and this getup makes me look too intimidating for most people to dare approach me."

"Ah," said Harris. "That is really obvious in retrospect. Sorry for asking a stupid question."

"No need to apologize. Now, let's get right to the important things."

Secret Agent "Bob" leaned forward intently.

"If Asyra breaks the simulation, the United States of America, as well as the rest of the world, will no longer exist. Anyone who manages to escape from the simulation before that will be subject to unknown customs and forms of government, which may or may not be best equipped to protect their rights and security. Therefore, in order for the United States and other countries of Earth to ensure their independence from the nations of Etheria, it is of the utmost importance that the simulation be protected and maintained. I assume we are in agreement on that?"

Harris thought for a moment to process what he was hearing, and then nodded. He hadn't thought of things in quite those terms before, but that did sum up a large part of the dangers they would face if Asyra succeeded in breaking the simulation.

"As has already been demonstrated, it is possible for native Etherians to enter the simulation, either fully formed or by somehow being reborn in the simulation. First of all, could you please elaborate how that works?"

"I'm not sure of all the details," said Harris. "A lot of it has been known in the mind and holy schools for centuries, and what they didn't know Dan and I only started to figure out recently, and it's his area of expertise, not mine."

"How much of it do you understand?" asked Bob.

"Well, basically it's like...well, the laws of nature on Earth are somewhat different than on Etheria. Not that different, but only slightly. However, Earth exists in a simulation on Etheria, so the natural laws of Etheria still have power over Earth. In a purely non-magical universe people don't have incorporeal souls. Instead they have purely physical bodies with a much more complicated brain and nervous system instead of an incorporeal soul. The minds and souls in a purely physical universe cannot exist without a tangible substrate because they are just brain functioning. But on Etheria, minds and souls exist partially independently of brains, and can interact directly with the surrounding environment in a process known as magic. In Etheria's natural laws, human and human-like intelligence is a special case. So all children born in the simulation have a soul as soon as they develop self-awareness. But their souls are like...like...hang on trying to think of the word..."

Harris googled it on his yellow-armored smartphone. Bob raised an eyebrow at the sight of the device, his curiosity peaked.

"Like an appendix," said Harris. "They don't really need an incorporeal soul, because their brain carries all the same functions that a soul would. It's kind of redundant. However, it means that someone who dies in the simulation could still be recovered if they're given a body fast enough."

Now agent Bob was looking really interested.

"If the soul is incorporeal, why can't it just live on? Is there no afterlife?"

"Well, kinda not exactly," said Harris. "The soul does continue existing, but without a body to anchor it, it can't interact with anything. It has to lose consciousness in order to maintain its sanity because of sensory deprivation, and once it loses consciousness it's basically frozen in time, practically speaking. Souls are notoriously difficult to locate through physical space, and the less people alive who remember them, the harder it will be to find them. It is also possible that a soul that is unconscious and disembodied for long enough dissipates. Resurrection spells are very difficult and use a lot of mana, and qualified healers who can cast them effectively are hard to come by."

"I see..." said Agent Bob. "That seems to imply that your soul was partially inserted into your infant body when you entered the simulation, overwriting your brain as it developed. When your brain was a child, your soul was already an adult, and your brain was not capable of containing your entire soul until fairly recently. Is that correct?"

Harris nodded. This secret agent caught on pretty quickly.

The secret agent continued.

"It is therefore ambiguous whether or not you are really twenty-two years old or in your forties, as well as whether you count as a natural-born U.S. citizen or not. However, Mr. Rood definitely is not a natural-born U.S. citizen. Normally, the law would require him to be sent to an immigration court, but of course it might be difficult to convince them of the truth, and even if that worked we wouldn't have anywhere to deport him to."

Bob sipped his hot chocolate casually.

"Not to mention you, we all, still need his help in defending the simulation from Asyra's hacking," said Harris.

Bob nodded. "Quite right. However, there is only so much that he can do on his own. If and when Asyra gains the upper hand over the Nameless One, or another Etherian deity tries to harm this simulation or its people, we need to be ready to fight back. We are planning to hire Mr. Rood to continue his services in simulation maintenance and repair, as well as to help train new recruits to help him. Since we literally have no one else to take the job as of yet, and he is not a natural born citizen, he will unfortunately not be given a choice in the matter. However, we will be paying him handsomely for his services, and besides teaching, he'll only need to do what he has already been doing all along."

Harris nodded. "Sounds reasonable." That meant Dan would be able to quit relying on money from part time jobs and social security, so he would have more time for his real job.

"Additionally, another of our operatives will be hosting regular Mage Wars Academy and Mage Wars Arena tournaments in order to seek out people with magical skills and help to train them further."

Harris frowned thoughtfully as Bob continued. "We understand the risks that magic poses to certain critical projects for the sake of this world's future. However, we believe that the risks of magical attacks are already significant, and this way we will be able to mount an organized defense against magical attacks, while still maintaining some secrecy. Even you have to realize that total secrecy just isn't possible. What happened at Gen Con this year was publicly recorded. The existence of magic will go public at some point, but the knowledge of how to use magic will remain classified. We would like you to participate in our magical training program and help us to seek out potential recruits."

This was amazing. Harris had never imagined that he'd get this good a job offer any time soon, certainly not while he was still an undergraduate. And the CIA was going to spend a lot of time and resources to help him accomplish his goals. It was an offer too good to refuse.

"Wow. Thank you so much. You have no idea what this means to me. Sign me up!"


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: October 01, 2016, 03:27:17 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
5,000 PE
« Reply #25 on: September 30, 2016, 11:32:04 AM »
Edit: in an earlier part Dan said that time moves a lot slower in the simulation, but he was supposed to say that time moves a lot faster in the simulation. Sorry for the confusing typo! Also changed the color of Ally/Rebecca's armored smartphone thing.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 11:34:42 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: 5,000 PE
« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2016, 09:31:08 PM »
Edit: edited the discussion of soul mechanics to make it more streamlined and to not contradict something said earlier in the story


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
5,000 PE
« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2016, 08:19:41 AM »
The mad scientist had been unable to use magic. Mr. Rood had tried to teach him over video chat, and it hadn't worked at all. He already had a pretty good idea why not.

The magic was tied to the cards and the passwords. The passwords were also used to unlock memories of Etheria. Most likely only people who had learned magic outside the simulation could use it on the inside. And the mad scientist was never given such a password. He might not even have had one in the first place.

A CIA agent had approached him a couple months after that, saying that the CIA was offering American artificial inteligence research institutions and their work both funding and magical protection, and offering evidence that magic was real.

He had told the CIA agent that he was already aware of magic's existence, and also explained to him as clearly as possible how stupid and irresponsible it would be to give funding and magical protection to every American AI research institution. After all, only one superintelligence could be created at all, since a superintelligent entity could reliably outsmart any and all humans and prevent them from creating another superintelligence to compete with it. Most of the other institutions were not taking any safety precautions to ensure that their AIs would be designed well enough not to just kill everyone for raw materials.

Many of those other institutions didn't really have the expertise or sanity necessary to design such safety precautions. Since those safety precautions included making sure the super intelligence's programmed goals aligned with humanity's wellbeing and interests, that meant that the safety research included figuring out how to design the utility function–the values and goals of the super intelligence itself.

And that meant that whoever completed the AI safety research was effectively and to a large extent, designing the superintelligence itself. If in fact the safety research actually got completed at all before someone else created another unaligned superintelligence which would wipe out the human species.

That being said, some of the higher ups in the CIA were skeptical of putting all their eggs in one basket. They decided to help fund and provide magical protection for general artificial Intelligence research projects that were being conducted by several institutions, with a majority of the funding going towards the Machine Intelligence Research Institute and its affiliates. Unfortunately, that majority was still less than fifty percent. Artificial intelligence was now a lot less likely to go disastrously wrong, but it was still more likely to go wrong than not.

On the bright side, there was at least one person in the Central Intelligence Agency who had some common sense as well as intelligence.

Not that common sense was actually common.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: October 13, 2016, 08:25:59 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: 5,000 PE
« Reply #28 on: October 15, 2016, 11:55:35 AM »
Dialogue is translated from Valhallan blade-dance into Etherian standard.

On a giant, touch-sensitive and magic-sensitive battlefield with a variety of rocky and crystal terrains, floating in the depths of Voltari in a giant bubble which protected it from excessive magic...

Two sharp and elegant crystal bipeds with jointed blades for arms and prehensile split tails, stood on a cliff on this battlefield, facing each other. One was orange and standing farther away from the edge of the cliff. The other was a navy blue with green stripes, standing near the edge of the cliff. The blue captain quickly pointed her right blade at her orange pilot. It was clear what the gesture meant:

Report.

Her pilot stared at her, shifting from right foot to left, then left to right. He was expressing nervous about how the news would be received. No, not nervousness. Anticipation. If he had been nervous he would have taken at least one step back away from her when she had pointed her blade, and he would be looking at her blade, not at her.

The captain continued pointing her blade at the pilot.

Report.

The part of the ship/battlefield they were standing on would not affect the flight controls of the ship/battlefield. Those special tiles were hidden deep within the trenches, where only authorized personnel knew the correct sequence of moves to gain access.

The pilot stopped shifting from foot to foot in barely restrained excitement and began to fight/dance his report. The pilot walked towards his captain until he was standing right in front of her, to express how much distance was left between their ship/battlefield and its destination. He held his right blade above her left shoulder, and slowly lowered it to her left shoulder. This meant that they would be landing as soon as they were in orbit, and they would be landing in the northeastern quadrant. The captain jumped up and spun in excitement.

Excellent. Soon the Realm Bow would return to them, and their eyes would be able to pierce into other worlds once more. It was a powerful weapon/device that some of their best tacticians/choreographers/explorers (perhaps the closest translation in Etherian standard would be "researcher" or "scientist") had developed centuries ago, and had been critical to the defeat and imprisonment of the Thunder God.

It was time for the Warriors of the realm of Valhalla to return to Etheria and open up diplomatic relations once more.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2016, 11:58:08 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.

Sailor Vulcan

  • Secret Identity: Imaginator
  • Legendary Mage
  • *****
  • Posts: 3125
  • Banana Stickers 3
    • View Profile
Re: 5,000 PE
« Reply #29 on: October 15, 2016, 03:17:31 PM »
There are a lot of different directions I can take this story in after this point. I have a bunch of ideas, but I'm not sure where I want to go first. Any requests?

Some possibilities:

1. a weekend mage wars roadtrip for the thanksgiving episode
2. show more of what's going on outside the simulation including futuristic!Etheria
2a. introduce two new characters that I recently thought of. one of them is a merren boy and the other is a dwarven girl, and have them go on adventures together. the realm bow will likely play an important role in this, as will the Valhallans.
3. the magic-training program. have Harris and Dan help train new recruits. note: as has already been established, only those who have prior experience using magic in the world of etheria can use magic in the simulation. all recruits will be people who previously started or completed magical education in Etheria, whether they notice their memories of it or not.
3b. I could also have this be more of a tournament arc where those who are confirmed mages who haven't noticed their memories of etheria yet get to learn how to play Mage Wars before they are given their passwords and briefed after signing a non-disclosure agreement at the end of the tournament or something.
3c. introduce a new pov character who knows nothing about what's going on and ends up going to the tournament.
4. something else.

Let me know what you'd like to see!
  • Favourite Mage: Salenia Forcemaster
I am Sailor Vulcan! Champion of justice and reason! And yes, I am already aware my uniform is considered flashy, unprofessional, and borderline sexually provocative for my species by most intelligent lifeforms. I did not choose this outfit. Shut up.