Sythyry (sythyry) wrote,

Protestations and Premonitions: Space Seminar 5

Mirrored from Sythyry.

“Oh, very simple. We’re going to use them all,” said Feralan. All of the sleeping wizards and assistants woke up.

“And make some watchers and wardians so that we know exactly how much each one is being used, and for what,” I added.

“Impossible!” cried Talujjan.

“I had expected it to somehow be impossible. What, though, is the reason it is impossible?” I asked, a bit mopily.

“No government, no duke, no mayor, no legeriat anywhere on the wide and woody World Tree will pay for four protections. At most they will pay for one, or perhaps one and a bit. Never two. Never ever three. And four is quite beyond the question,” said Talujjan.

“But is there a magical reason why not?”

“Bah, of course not. But this world is not run by magic, you idealistic little lizard! This world is run by money, by budgets, by finance, by taxes and levies and debts and leins! This I know, for I have made any number of gates — at least two a century!”

“We’re only interested in magical reasons,” I said.

“A fool, a fool, an ivory-tower fool! Your duke will exile you when you show them the price!”

Phaniet quietly said, “There is no duke involved here; the duke of Vheshrame will not be paying. And I am the mayor of Kismirth.”

“And I am the city-maker. We’re not looking forward to paying for the enchantments, but we’re not planning to make a profit on them,” I said.

“Not directly! Making Kismirth the transit point for teleporting between branches — now that will make the city rich in the long run!” said Phaniet, who understands these things. Some wizards and scholars nodded, and most simply looked puzzled.

“So, are there any magical reasons why our plan is dangerous?” I pressed.

There were. They were too technical to describe. We wound up changing nearly all the details, but none of the generalities such as have been discussed in here.

A few points are worth mentioning:

  1. Despite popular rumors, we did not invent some wholly new way to make teleport gates. A few details are new. Most of it what we’re doing is centuries old, or older. We’re making something bigger and stronger than anyone has done — and safer! we hope! — but it’s not a magical breakthrough.
  2. We are taking great advantage of Vae and hCevian. Both of them are intimately involved in Locador magic, in almost opposite ways. Both of them are cooperative. No other gate-builder has had a nendrai like Vae, ever, for there isn’t another one as far as we know. hCevian is more common, but we have more reason to trust him than any gate-builder has had to trust another Locador demon.
  3. Talujjan will stay and help. (By “help” I sincerely hope he means “help”.) He doesn’t want the biggest and flashiest gate-building project on the World Tree this millennium to happen without him.
  4. Our teleport gates have one fixed (to Kismirth, though of course Kismirth moves around) and and the other end moveable. (More specifically, we’ll be able to turn the gate off, and start it again leading to somewhere else.) This is a rare design, because moving the moveable end is very bad for the underlying universe. With all our overbuilt safety and repair measures, it should be safe for us to do, given a four-hour rest between moves. We plan to have the engine that moves it work once a day, so the rest should be all but automatic.
  5. Our gates are all one-way: half leading to Kismirth, and half leading from it. Two one-way gates are easier to make than one two-way gate. Most cities prefer the two-way gates (according to Talujjan, who pointed out that our mayor would absolutely reject getting the inferior choice. Silly Orren wizard had forgotten that Phaniet is the mayor.) Our mayor noted that we’d very much like to have travellers walk through the city, perhaps stopping at our many wonderful bordellos, restaurants, hook-joints, hotels, brothels, museums, cat-houses, gift-shops, whorehouses, etc.
  6. The gates will be surrounded by of our ridiculously over-powerful and very flexible city walls, neither inside nor outside. So hostile, rude, belligerent, or unseemly intruders will be caught, unable to return home or enter Kismirth, to be dealt with at our convenience.
  7. We will build two long-range teleporters, of a sort that we could only build with Talujjan’s help. After a great deal of mathematics, we think we can get a ridiculous range. The rest (ten others) will be shorter-range, but quite far.
  8. Talujjan could have built a quite-far teleporter any time. He tried! (Sort of.) His customer for it got overthrown in riots, due in some part to the expense of the gate, and in some part to the popular terror of having such a gate in the city, and in several parts to various other things, such as torturing political opponents and creditors to death. (Addendum: several quite-far teleport gates have been made, but with limited numbers of uses, usually just one. They are escape holes for certain extremely wealthy and extremely unpopular people, or, in some cases, research vehicles. A few are still in existence, having never been used.)
  9. We won’t be able to point the teleporter just plain anywhere. Each teleporter will have an associated talisman which, once a day, will let the teleport gate remember one location. A gate will be able to remember dozens of locations, and we will have protocols for controlling which ones it will forget to replace with which other ones.
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