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Nov 28, 2020 5:28 AM
ves and imrainai in bliss stage
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After Star Wars, Karen's crew unanimously votes to stay at Eros.

Karen gets to work as a librarian. She skims books to familiarize herself with their contents, so that she can give better recommendations to people who come through. She reads down Lev's list of items, noting things they can try in terms of making new materials. She learns what things Eros already knows how to make, and how. She considers how they might go about re-domesticating bees, to address everyone's sugar cravings and give them more nonessentials to buy if Lev wants to switch over to money at some point. She has no idea how to produce paper, other than that it involves wood pulp somehow. She's pretty sure they can figure out metalworking if they can successfully produce a furnace, although it'll take some trial and error and a lot of practice.

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After the first day, people with minor problems start trickling in. These two people are fighting. This person's baby won't stop crying. This person hates EVERY JOB IT IS POSSIBLE TO WORK.

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Karen would not say that she is an expert in solving interpersonal conflicts, but she does have seven years of parenting experience and she is very willing to suggest possible solutions to things. 

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Lev seems to be happy with her performance, because the trickle of people continues to arrive, and people start showing up spontaneously without Lev referring them.  

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Oh good. Karen offers whatever help she can.

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Chris teaches Suzanna how to repair solar panels. 

It is difficult to tell-- he's not a person who smiles with both sides of his mouth very often-- but he appears to like her. 

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This is convenient. It would be lame if the person in charge of the robots didn't know how awesome she was. 

She diligently fixes solar panels. Occasionally she also asks questions about the robots, because the robots are pretty much the coolest thing in the world.

"So if you wanted to maximize your time spent fighting aliens and not actually dying or blissing, how would you do that? Do you have, like, records of everyone who's ever died or blissed and what they did, and everyone who hasn't?"

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"We do! You can take a look at them sometime if you want, we generally let people look for patterns."

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Excellent.

Zana requests the records and looks for patterns the next chance she gets. Anything interesting?

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The more overpowered your anima is, the more likely it is that you'll bliss.

People are more likely to bliss after breakups, particularly with their anchor, or when they're in situations of emotional stress.

Anyone who tries to pilot over the age of 18 blisses.

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Don't be eighteen, don't break up with your friends or people you're dating, and don't get stressed, OK. Simple enough.

What's a definitely overpowered anima? What's a definitely not-overpowered anima? What do people who haven't blissed yet make their animas out of?

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You can make your anima out of your friends, or your family members, or people you're dating.

Animas made out of more people, or people you have more intimate relationships with, are more powerful. They look more badass in the aliens' world. They are better at achieving the mission objectives. They incur less damage when an alien attacks, both damage to the anima itself (which turns into relationship stress in the real world) and damage to the pilot (which turns into trauma and mental illness in the real world). If you have a very powerful anima, you will rapidly bliss. 

If you make your anima out of one or two people that you don't have a particularly intimate relationship with, you will be much less likely to bliss, but you'll also have horrible relationship problems and mental health issues all the time, and sometimes you'll fail your missions.

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Hmmm. Horrible relationship problems and mental health issues sound like costs she can figure out how to deal with, especially if Karen's helping her, but failing missions is less good.

Any info on whether 'lots of people you're not close to' or 'a couple people you're very close to' is less risky? 

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They don't seem to have any evidence on it! 

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Well that sucks. She'll have to do high-risk science on herself. Her default strategy should probably be to only use relationships with people who would never break up with her, and also to use precisely the amount of power she needs to get things done, insofar as that's something she can judge while she's deployed.

In the mean time she memorizes all of the relationship sets that have ever been used for animas and what happened to all of the associated pilots, in case a pattern becomes more apparent as she's able to draw on personal experience.

- any evidence that the total number of relationships you've ever called on is correlated with blissing, or is it only using lots at once?

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No one seems to have tried a 'lots of relationships' strategy yet!

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Well, then someone is going to try swapping out robot parts a lot. If she blisses three months in then everyone will know not to do that next time.

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"Find anything interesting?"

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"The obvious pattern is just that animas made from more relationships and stronger relationships make you bliss really fast, and animas made from a few not-very-close relationships give you mental health problems and relationship problems and mean you fail missions more, though you tend not to bliss. But there's lots of other stuff I can't tell yet, like whether number of relationships or strength of relationships is more correlated with blissing, or whether there's a direct tradeoff between relationship stress and not blissing or if they're both responding to something else, or whether you'd incur the same blissing risks in terms of number if you used lots of relationships over time, and swapped relationships out a lot, or swapped anchors, but never called on too many relationships at the same time."

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"The thing I'd worry about with swapping out relationships a lot is the risk of breakup. It's not clear to me whether the thing that causes bliss is high-intimacy relationships breaking up, or any relationship a pilot has breaking up, or any relationship used in an anima breaking up, or none of the above and actually stress just makes you bliss and breakups are stressful."

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"Hmm. ...well, pilots are obviously at high risk of breakup because they're pilots, it seems like it does something to you even beyond the stress you'd expect to see from being a robot pilot. And we know that that has to do with the specific structure of their anima, or with something that's connected to the structure of their anima, because you don't see the same pattern in people who use strong animas. So I think if you had someone with a lot of friends or family members who they knew would never break up with them, or who at least wouldn't break up with them unless something really crazy happened, then you could see whether the risk of blissing is connected to using lots of relationships ever, or whether the risk is only connected to using lots of relationships at once. And it should tell you something in terms of whether it's each instance of being called on that hurts your relationship, or whether it's ever having been called on at all. And then even if it goes really badly, you'll at least have narrowed down what not to do, you know?"

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Chris actually smiles. With both sides of his mouth, even. 

"We'll see if Lev approves of me doing science on you. He keeps muttering about research ethics."

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Gonna do SCIENCE to GIANT ROBOTS made out of FRIENDSHIP while in the process of PUNCHING ALIENS. They are probably approaching the theoretical limits of what might constitute the best job ever.

"Cool. I already have, like, ten siblings, and I think at least half of them are in the category of people who it'd be really hard to get to disown me forever, so as test cases go I think I'm a decent one."

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"...biological siblings or adopted siblings?"

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"Mostly adopted, Connor's my only biological sibling. I don't know how the robots count that."

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