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Author Topic: 5,000 PE  (Read 8430 times)

Sailor Vulcan

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« Reply #45 on: November 23, 2016, 08:55:26 AM »
The stop they were making on this day was New York City. Apparently there was an ambassador from another world outside the simulation besides Etheria who had entered the simulation, and had been causing a ruckus for some unknown reason, likely a cultural misunderstanding of some kind but nobody knew what.

None of the countries in the world had been able to agree on who should be sent to represent Earth to the Alien Ambassador. Seeing as the alien had entered the simulation in the United States, the United States volunteered Harris and Dan, whose negotiations with the Nameless One had led to the Earth's very existence in the first place.

Needless to say, neither Harris nor Dan were happy with only finding out about this at the last minute. Apparently a lot of people didn't want Harris or Dan to represent the world and kept trying to keep them from being chosen. But no one managed to come up with any alternative candidates they could all agree on.

It wasn't certain that Harris and Dan actually would represent Earth to the alien ambassador until the last minute. Especially since they didn't have much if any diplomatic training.

Of course, human diplomacy training would be useless in this case. The alien ambassador was genuinely alien, both in physical form and in spirit, and nobody could understand it. Even so, a trained human diplomat would still be accompanying them to meet with the alien. It would be a public event, and most people would not know why Harris and Dan were the ones chosen to represent the world.

After about a half an hour drive up to New York City from the hotel in New Jersey, they were immediately escorted to City Hall to meet with the alien.

Harris was very conscious of the fact that neither he nor Dan had brought any formal clothes with them on this trip. They were both wearing buttoned polo shirts and khaki pants, which was the closest thing to formal attire that they had brought with them. There were already reporters crowded around outside the building when they arrived. Harris swallowed, nervously. Dan put a comforting hand on his shoulder. They successfully avoided the reporters and went inside. Then again, it wasn't very difficult. The reporters probably didn't know who they were or what they were there for.


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« Last Edit: November 23, 2016, 01:41:20 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
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« Reply #46 on: November 23, 2016, 03:33:53 PM »
When they entered they were directed to wait just outside a large council chamber, where the actual trained diplomat was standing and waiting for them. She did not look happy to see them.

"It communicates exclusively with its body language, and it moves very fast," she said promptly in a thick Russian accent. "A team of scientists arrived two nights ago and they have only just started understanding some of its language. They will be assisting us in the meeting."

And without another word she turned and entered the large council chamber.

Space had been cleared away to make room on the floor of the chamber for the alien to move around. The alien did seem to understand English, strangely enough, but it could not speak English. In order for it to speak in its on language it needed the extra space. Reporters crowded the edge of the room, recording the meeting. There were some baffled murmurs when Harris and Dan entered the room with the Russian diplomat.

Without further ado, the Valhallan ambassador bowed. It was a gesture of respect that his kind had adopted from the Etherians. Then he began to dance, telling the story of his journey to Etheria and into the simulation. He was careful to dance slowly and carefully, using dance moves as simple as he could use without missing any important information. Unfortunately, even with the story dumbed down, no one in the audience was able to understand much of it. No one except Dan.

"I'm sorry, did you say something about learning, or knowledge? We don't quite understand your language," said Dan, shocking the team of scientists as well as the Russian ambassador and every other official in the room.

After a few iterations in which Dan took extensive notes and the team of scientists helped him by drawing diagrams of every movement they saw, Dan finally started to piece the alien's message together.

"You say you came to this world to learn about current events here? And you plan to report what you learn to the rest of your people?"

The alien nodded, and continued to dance, elaborating on what it had said earlier.

The alien and its kind were concerned about the technological advancement of this world. (It had been literally translated as "progress of tools".) They were worried that there might be a great destruction, which might affect both this world and theirs.

"What do you mean by 'great destruction'?" asked the president of the United States, who had been held up and arrived partway through the meeting. "Do you mean nuclear weapons?"

The alien made a gesture with its arm to ask them to elaborate.

"He means weapons which cause huge explosions, which if used for war could destroy civilization due to international treaties," said the Secretary of State.

The alien shook its head, took a huge step back and made a defensive gesture. Worse.

"It's talking about AI," Harris wearily concluded under his breath. Everyone in the room heard him of course, and they all looked in his direction. "Probably," Harris added. "I mean, there aren't very many technologies expected to be invented in the near future that could threaten an alien civilization, are there?"

Some experts on the subject of global catastrophic risk were consulted, and it was determined that if there were any such technologies on the way, a properly aligned superintelligence would probably be able to deal with them pretty easily. But if not properly aligned, a superintelligence would be an extinction event for all life on earth and possibly on other worlds too. This was not received well by every official in the room. One crazy person even suggested that they try to destroy the world so that it didn't threaten other worlds.

Finally, one intelligent person in the room managed to ask the obvious question. The heroic tycoon stood up and asked the alien ambassador if any other civilization had created their own superintelligence before. The alien shook its head.

The Valhallans had long ago found an alternative way for their species to survive that didn't depend on superintelligence, but it was severely limited in the scope of its power and it was not something that could be successfully replicated on this world. And the Etherians had gods who carefully limited their technological progress in some respects and accelerated it in others. Although that part was left out due to the Nameless One's request for secrecy.

In any case, the invention of a superintelligence on this world was inevitable unless it was destroyed by something else first.

That long explanation took a really long time to translate and even afterwards nobody was quite sure they understood it all.

After the meeting, Harris and Dan were among those who were swamped with reporters.

"Back off!" said Dan. "My friend is claustrophobic!"

Harris wasn't actually claustrophobic, but small enclosed spaces and crowds made him uncomfortable enough that the excuse was convincing.

They left without another word to the reporters.


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« Last Edit: November 24, 2016, 09:41:46 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Re: 5,000 PE
« Reply #47 on: November 23, 2016, 03:54:34 PM »
EDIT:
I updated the opening scene of the story to be more descriptive. Hopefully nobody will find it boring anymore.


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« Reply #48 on: November 24, 2016, 12:20:30 PM »
After the diplomatic meeting with the alien, Harris and Dan met with Jack and Grace for lunch.

"So then how were you able to translate the alien's language?" asked Jack.

"With great difficulty," said Dan. "I've read a decent amount about the Valhallans in history books. Apparently they used to be ruled by Ilasthasa, the goddess of air, but then they rebelled against her. They don't worship any gods, but they do admire some of them, apparently. Bellicar, Akiro and Eisenach are particularly popular with them. Their names in Valhallan Bladedance are the same as the names of their three basic 'spirit styles'."

"Spirit styles?" asked Harris, just as the waitress delivered their food to them.

"I told you about this before, remember?" said Dan.

"No, I don't," said Harris. "It was a long time ago and I probably wasn't paying attention."

Dan sighed softly. Fiennix really should have paid more attention to his history classes at the Tower of Night. "The Valhallans believe that everyone has a spirit style, which is made of some combination of the three basic spirit styles, which are based on the three primary motives of fighting. There are those who fight for fame and glory, like Akiro. There are those who fight to succeed--for victory, like Bellicar.  And there are those who fight for, well it doesn't translate well into English, but the closest word for it is 'Tamashi', which is the Japanese word for 'fun' or 'soul'."

Harris grinned. "Timmy, Johnny and Spike. Akiro, Eisenach and Bellicar. How did I not notice that before?"

"Who's Timmy, Johnny and Spike?" asked Jack, looking confused. Grace had the same look of bewilderment. She couldn't follow this conversation at all.

It's the three basic playstyles of customizable strategy gamers, first conceptualized by, well I don't remember who but it was in an article on Wizards of the Coast's website, about Magic: the Gathering."

Harris pulled up the article on his yellow-armored smartphone and showed it to them.

"Don't forget to eat your food, we have to be at the game store by 2," said Grace.


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« Last Edit: November 24, 2016, 12:25:32 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
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« Reply #49 on: December 06, 2016, 10:43:29 AM »
"You've been using the wizard a lot," Dan noted in the car on their way down south to Washington D. C. They were going there to get some very basic self defense lessons/a minimal level of military training, while also being taught some diplomatic skills to hold them over until they both had the time to take an actual class in foreign policy. While there would be normal soldiers to help protect mages from more mundane threats, a Mage was supposed to help protect mundane soldiers from magical threats.

Of course, since Harris and Dan were representing Earth to other worlds, they really did need some diplomatic training, not just military training.

"Yeah," said Harris. "I've been having a lot more fun building wizard spellbooks."

"It suits you," said Dan.

"Thanks!" said Harris.

A thoughtful expression appeared on Dan's face.

"I wonder...you cast a Sailfin Hydra in your match against Zacharias at Gen Con... could you have somehow gotten some arcane training already inside the simulation?"

"Oh. Huh, that is strange. I hadn't noticed that at all until now. I don't think I had any training in arcane magic outside the simulation, and inside magic is tied to the cards and the passwords. I also didn't seem to actually have to do much to cast the spell. In fact, I wasn't even trying to cast it for real, it just sort of happened. I think it must have just taken some of my mana and cast the spell automatically. My cell phone, I mean."

"Well I doubt it's all automated. The Nameless One doesn't have enough intelligence or magic in him to cast all our spells for us. Unless..."

"Unless?" asked Harris.

"Oh, I get it now!" said Jack.

"You do?" asked Grace from the driver's seat. "Explain it to me then, because I'm lost."

Jack continued. "What if all of us, the rest of the world, do have enough intelligence and magic?"

"So what you're saying is that every time I cast a spell in the simulation, or at least if it's one that I wouldn't know how to cast myself outside the simulation, it consumes the intelligence and magic of people inside the simulation who have just died. And since most people aren't mages, most of that magic and intelligence comes from people's souls," Harris had a horrified expression on on his face.

They needed to tell someone about this as soon as they got to D.C., and hope they were wrong.

Grace kept driving.


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« Last Edit: December 06, 2016, 10:46:16 AM by Sailor Vulcan »
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Re: 5,000 PE
« Reply #50 on: December 11, 2016, 03:06:09 PM »
Harris hadn't done much actual fighting since before the simulation and he was out of practice, and also not in as good shape as he had been. The VERY rudimentary crash course Harris and Dan received in D.C. mostly consisted of learning about military policy, diplomacy and getting into shape, as well as giving researchers the chance to study their magical abilities.

It was quickly determined that while their magic was tied to the Mage Wars cards and to the rules of the Mage Wars card game, there were some differences between playing the card game and having an actual Mage duel.

"Yaaaargh!" that firestream had hurt.

"Can't take the heat?"

For one, the duels were not turn-based. Your strategy, agility, physical endurance and quick thinking determined whether you won or lost a fight. That meant you weren't supposed to just stand in one place waiting for the opponent to hit you. Although to be fair, lower level mages tended to do better in smaller spaces where they would have the best chance of hitting the enemy. Give them a large open field and they would have trouble catching the enemy or retreating from them. Most academy-level spells were fairly short-range, and not optimal for long, drawn out battles. Which meant that in a larger battle they would need assistance to get around quickly. However, the best way for an academy-level Mage to start an engagement when alone was through an ambush. So for the two days since arriving in DC on Friday, Harris and a bunch of other academy-level Mage recruits who had recently recovered their memories of Etheria had been practicing ambushing each other with magical attacks in an area where there were no civilians.

It had been discovered rather early on that at some point, Harris had developed an affinity for Arcane magic, and had even gotten some theoretical arcane training in the simulation without realizing it. Apparently the time he spent studying to be a research scientist a while back before he changed his major to English, combined with what he had learned over recent years about scientific methodology, rationality and how to test one's beliefs empirically had been enough for him to become a wizard, at least where the simulation was concerned. Even if Harris didn't know how to cast very many arcane spells outside the simulation, he had enough of the background knowledge and skills taught in the arcane school that he would be able to cast those spells if he had known how, and that was enough for casting them inside the simulation.

And after his deal with the Nameless one, his deal with the demon lord Bael was null and void.

It was somewhat disturbing to see how much of magic was automated within the simulation. It was almost as if something else was forming the spells for them, and the mages just needed to feed their power into that something.

Harris glanced around, suspiciously. His current opponent had no creatures in sight. Either they weren't there, or they were hiding, or they were fighting another mage.

Well, if he put his opponent on the defensive, they would be forced to bring their creature out to guard them. And if the creature was too strong, Harris could try to stagger it and flee.

Harris had Aurora Lucere, Dawnbreaker's Chosen guard him, then swiped a firestrwam card through his armored smart phone, sending a stream of fire at his opponent. His opponent tried to dodge but wasn't fast enough.

"Yoooooooooow!"

"Damn, that hurt. But this will hurt even more!"

He summoned a Firefist Brawler. Then two more ran over to him from their separate fights, taking Harris by surprise and clawing at him. But the mages they had been fighting already followed...


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Re: 5,000 PE
« Reply #51 on: December 12, 2016, 11:26:56 AM »
Harris and Dan got back home on Monday, fully healed and with a bit more fighting experience and diplomatic skill. At the very least Harris was no longer quite as likely to risk an international incident because of poor etiquette or miscommunication.

Jack and Grace had already gone home before they did. Thanksgiving break was over, so it was time for Harris to go back to school.



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« Reply #52 on: January 26, 2017, 04:55:05 PM »
The Mad Scientist looked at Mr. Dan Rood across the table at the coffee shop they were meeting at, skeptically.

"We need a list of people from outside the simulation who haven't noticed their locked memories yet." Mr. Rood told him.

"And why are you asking me?"

"Well..."

How did one go about explaining to someone that they were suspected of having been gifted with some of the Nameless One's own intelligence for the very purpose that they'd already dedicated their professional life towards? Especially when one didn't know whether the information was classified or not.

At Mr. Rood's awkward look, the Mad Scientist said,

"Just because the Nameless One probably gave me some of their intelligence and perhaps a fragment of their utility function when I was born doesn't mean that I know how to contact the outside world. I've been trying to find a way to do that and I haven't had much success so far. So unfortunately I do not have access to Etherian census records."

Navee gaped.

The Mad Scientist smiled. "It's kind of obvious, really. It's what I would do if I was the Nameless One, as opposed to, say, leaving my master plan to random chance."

"Right," said Mr. Rood. "Fiennix said you were a genius. I forgot."

The Mad Scientist snorted.

"By the way, who's this 'Fiennix' you keep mentioning?"

"He's my--" and then Navee cut off abruptly as he didn't know how to end that sentence. Student? But Fiennix wasn't really his student anymore. Boyfriend? But they weren't actually together, despite knowing each other's feelings for each other.

The Mad Scientist grinned at seeing the red tinge on Mr. Rood's cheeks.

"I see. You must be very lucky to have him."

Navee nodded.

"Thanks for the magical bodyguards by the way. You trained them well."

"You're welcome," said Mr. Rood.


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« Last Edit: January 26, 2017, 05:12:52 PM by Sailor Vulcan »
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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.