Apr 16, 2021 7:30 AM
Demon Cam in the Space Silmarillion
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He hands the body to some very confused-looking people first. They leave without asking any questions, or at least any audible ones. 


"Sorry," Maitimo says, when they're in the room across the hall, glaring his screen to life.

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"I knew it probably wasn't going to work. There's no principled reason for 'no minds' and therefore no reason to expect it wouldn't apply to software minds."

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"It doesn't make any sense at all. As a limitation."

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"I know! I mean, I'm mostly glad we have it - Hell works as a society because everyone in it is indestructible, if we could just make squishy humans some people would and things would get potentially very fucked up very fast - but sense, no, none of that."

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He raises an eyebrow. "Demons would mistreat incarnates if they could, you think?"

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"Most demons, no! Some demons yes. Demons vary and there are lots and lots and lots of us."

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"Quendi vary! But that, I think, none of us." He briefly looks troubled. "Well, if it's preventing great evils then it's not worth whatever benefits it'd have for us and it's not a good idea to find a way around it."

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"I mean, I wouldn't have to go tell everybody," Cam says.

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He raises an eyebrow. "I suppose not. Then we'll try thinking of ways around it - if you get the data and we press the metaphorical start button..."

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"Maybe, yeah. Uh, do mind your infosec on that, I can translate you a handbook on how to security-by-obscurity And Other Ways To Keep Demons Out Of Your Data."

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"Noted. Very much. We don't bother with audio recording, since usually we do everything with telepathy, so there's no records of any experiments here that aren't put to writing."

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"Yeah that's gonna make it harder. I'll translate you the handbook anyhow." He pulls it up on his computer. "We can convert but not automatically decrypt, that's a big one."

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"We don't have encryption except as a sort of theoretical math field. Valinor."

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"...maybe I should actually program some Quenya into my computer so it can autotranslate if there's going to be so many things to want to do that with. Uh, can you name me a good varied text corpus with, like..." Arithmetic. "Maybe a quadrillion words for my software to chew on?"

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He raises an eyebrow. "Can you pull up the palace library catalogue? Founded in 1251, it has my father's name at the top..."

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"And that'll be about the right amount?" Cam tries to make it fit onto one chip.

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"I honestly am not sure. I know how much we spend on the library but not how many words are in all the books. Father could tell you, not because he memorizes trivia but because he'd guess words-per-book and books-per-Year and get an astonishingly close estimate, but mine'll be way off."

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"Fermi calculations: they're great." Chip! Success! He tucks it into his computer and fires up some computation and starts translating stuff so it has known plaintext.

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"Should I leave you to it and go notify various people of your existence in order of how offended they'll be I haven't done so already? I can stay if you need other media suggestions or anything."

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"I think I have enough to go on for a while," Cam says.

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"Lovely. Later. Thank you very much for everything."

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"You're welcome."

And he translates things and reads and he sips coffee.

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And Maitimo's back a few hours later, having told people relevant bits and pieces of the things they're going to need to know - Cam's probably going to be annoyed to realize how disputed the Kingship is, but nothing they've asked of Cam is actually particularly political - avoids people he doesn't think he can talk to right now, can't find Findekano, returns nibbling on stale lembas. "I forgot to ask, do you know enough to be happy trying to replicate a Silmaril before we leave orbit here?"

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"Erm, hang on a sec -" Searching library corpus for 'Silmaril'...

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"There will not be anything in there about how to weaponize them, or even the fact that they're weaponizable, Father invented them and he's the only one who'd know how to do it."

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