<Alice> stands out by the campus library, looking up at the clock tower atop the library for a few moments. Not much foot traffic out this time of night, people walk past her without even seeming to acknowledge her existance.
Dan wanders around the campus somewhat aimlessly with his travel mug in hand. He is headed somewhat in the direction of the corner coffee shop but not on a direct route.
<Alice> turns as Dan starts to walk past the library, and she moves over to walk alongside him. “Hello, Dan. How’re you?”, she gives the clock one last look and tucks her arm around her laptop bag.
Dan smiles as he notices Alice walking next to him. “Oh, hey. Doing pretty well, not a whole lot going on just at the moment, and so much research to do. You know how it is. How about yourself?”
<Alice> looks thoughtful before responding. “I am okay. You are… Looking for her too?”, she asks, her eyes scanning back and forth a moment as if worried about people watching or following.
<Dan> Her? Which her? I wasn’t looking for anyone in particular but you know how it is. We tend to run into people when we need them
<Alice> “Saturn. I know you hear her too.”, she smiles and nods in understanding. “This is true.”
<Dan> “Oh, yeah, her. She’s pretty groovy. I’ve been trying to help her out, and learn more. She’s… complicated. So you can talk directly as well? Who else can?”
<Alice> “Just us I think. I am naturally attuned to her frequency… You… Broke into it somehow.”
<Dan> Not really. I made some guesses as to things, looked around in places that were less obvious, and she said hi to me first. I was very careful not to break in on that network.I was a polite but inquisitive guest. And probably also lucky.
<Alice> nods her head. “Very. A few others that managed contact had trouble coping with it. But I imagine it must take some mental strength to rework things the way you do.”
<Dan> Probably. Also my… hmm.. particular world view may have put my mind in a more receptive state for her. Really probably too many things to possibly have any idea which one was the cause without a lot of checking. Tons of RNG in the simulation and some of them are devilishly complex.
<Alice> “The clocks hold the answer. I think she means where her body is currently.”
<Alice> ducks into the coffee shop, holding the door for Dan and checking about for people before speaking up again. “Roxy would go nuts, then again, she might be attuned enough to have set them. All the big clocks in town are exactly 6 hours off.”
Dan walks up to the counter and negotiates purchase of a suspiciously large caffinated beverage, then joins Alice. “Clocks eh? Six hours off? You’d think I’d have noticed. I should go check that out. And who is Roxy??”
<Alice> tilts her head, sitting where she can watch outside. “Roxy is like me. She like steampunk and clocks. She has a very keen sense of time and always makes sure they are set correctly.”
<Dan> Yeah, I can tell if a clock is right or not m’self. It’ll be good to meet her I guess when the time comes. Steampunk is very cool.
<Alice> “She is nice. We had some adventures. I do not know what the signifigance of the six hours is though.”
<Dan> Well, six hours ahead or back?
<Alice> blinks and then frowns a bit. “I don’t know. Ahead would be… London time. Back would be… In the ocean?”
<Dan> Yeah, tricky thing about 6 mod 12 I suppose. Well, London is a good place. *He pokes at his phone briefly* Or.. Auckland, NZ, parts of Russia, uh… Tuvalu. Not mcuh
<Alice> nods and looks back out the window again. “Hmmm. Maybe that is where it is? Still a lot of ground to cover…”
<Dan> I’ll check it out. You’d think people would notice six hours off. Which clocks?
<Alice> “Just the big one outside the old hospital… And now the one at the Library too.”
<Dan> So it’s contagious. That sounds worth looking into.
<Alice> nods, but looks concerned. “Please be careful. I get a bad feeling when I look at the towers.”
<Alice> “I will go with you if you want. But I am not much of a fighter.”
<Dan> I’m not much of a fighter either, but I do try to be ready for one since I’m way too curious, and something about that and cats being bad, I guess. So, I don’t look for trouble, but I poke around areas where it hangs out so I try to be ready.
<Alice> nods. “I am pretty good at not being noticed, and somewhat of a psychic sense. It usually tips me off to trouble in advance.”
<Dan> Those both sound like really useful skills. Anything you could teach?
<Alice> tilts her head, thinking about that for a moment. “That would be an interesting experiment. My ability to remain hidden is really just a mental effect so you might be able to mimic it.”
<Dan> I’d certainly be willing to study it, especially if you’ll let me observe closely when you do it. Is it active or passive? Can you turn it on and off?
<Alice> “It has aspects of both. It sort of becomes a reflex that people don’t take notice of me. But if I think on it, I can almost disappear completely. Still show up on cameras, they dont have minds to be fooled by it. Some that have been at it longer can do it and it makes people forget they were even there.”
<Dan> That sounds super useful. So much to learn, so little time for it all. Just one lifetime at best. Well, one lifetime, at best going to old age. But you know what I meant.
<Alice> smiles and nods. “Some of what we learn takes many lifetimes.”
<Dan> Yes, and we can pass some things on, but… there are limits!
<Alice> “Why do there have to be limits?”
<Dan> Well, I suppose I can probably extend this shell long enough that I can upload my consciousness into something that’ll be around long. Maybe even find a way to self host on the sim box itself. Hmm.
<Alice> smiles. “Maybe. I am sure you will find a way.”, she watches him drinking and wrinkles her nose slightly.
<Dan> “Sure? Nah, nothing is certain. But I’ll do what I can.” *he notices her reaction and pauses his drinking* “something against iced coffee?”
<Alice> shakes her head. “Not specifically, no. Sorry. I was just recalling the last time I tried to eat something. It did not go well.”, she glances around briefly. “I had a cup next to me while working and without thinking took a sip. And had to rush to the bathroom before throwing up.”
<Dan> “Well, at least you could tell people you’re pregnant if it happens again. Still doesn’t sound pleasant. I’d be pretty bummed if I couldn’t eat.” *he pauses and looks briefly horrified* “I didn’t mean… I’m sorry”
<Alice> “In passing that might work but not for long term. And it’s alright. It is not pleasant but it is not all bad.”, she looks back out the window again. “It gives me time.”
<Dan> “Yes, time does seem an advantage for you I suppose. And I suppose you would have to be careful with that one, but used judiciously could help. I guess. I’m not really an expert on this I guess.”
<Alice> chuckles. “Its fine. Most people ignore me anyway so it is not likely to come up. And there are other things. Not having to buy food means more money for hardware. I am no expert. I just do what I need to get by.”
<Alice> looks back at Dan. “You may want someone that knows about ghosts to come to the clocktowers… I know the one outside the hospital is haunted. I havent been in the other but it is also a possibility.”
<Dan> Haunted eh? Well, I know people who know more about that stuff, though I guess at some point I may have to bite the bullet and learn it all m’self.
<Alice> nods and gets up from the table. “Some can be dangerous… I should go. It will be morning soon. But I will go and help you with this later.”
<Dan> OK I’ll talk to you then. You know how to get hold of me