6149/A Meeting With Mercy

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A Meeting With Mercy
Date of Scene: 05 November 2018
Location: SSC Stranger Than Fiction
Synopsis: Mercy talks to Staren about immortality and those who seek to share it with others.
Cast of Characters: Staren, Mercy

Staren has posed:
    Once Mercy confirms she's ready to beam up, there's a sensation of moving very fast and then--

Hub - SSC Stranger than Fiction (Location #0)

    The walls, floor, and ceiling of the Stranger than Fiction's lower deck are covered with a facade that makes the structure look as if it are constructed of large stone bricks. The 'hub' room is about 25x15' across and about 7 1/3 feet tall. The teleporter pad is in the fore-starboard corner, the doorway to the lab is in the center of the fore wall, and the doorway to manufacturing is in the center of the aft wall. A spiral staircase to storage and the residential deck is in the aft-port corner. Through thick transparisteel windows, you can see space outside. Large storage cupboards are against the walls here.


    Staren is standing with his back against some of the lockers, hands folded behind his back. When Mercy appears on the teleport pad, he smiles and extends a hand, "Welcome! So, what is it you wanted to talk about? Did you want to, ah, see the facilities" he gestures towards one door "or talk over tea or something?" he gestures towards the stairs.

Mercy has posed:
Mercy is all down for fast transportation. She'd love to stop flying on airplanes, you know. Once she gets to a safe enough spot, she waits and then-- well, that's not home. She checks for ruby slippers, before looking up at Staren and grinning at him.

     "Good afternoon, Staren. I'm sorry we didn't get to chat much last night, but - I would absolutely love to see some of the technology, especially the medical stuff you have access too. I haven't really- heard of a lot of people that do have that resurrection capability, so..."

     Mercy is wearing a labcoat again, but this one's open, revealing the charcoal slacks and white blouse under it. Still the nametag - same hospital designation as the one from before.

     "How are you doing?"

Staren has posed:
    "I'm alright! I mean, it's always nice to see someone take an interest in this stuff. Far too many think death is necessary, or what gives life meaning, or they don't believe that /aging/ can be stopped and imagine being a sessile, shrunken and wrinkly bag of bones after a couple of centuries. Or they're worried their friends will die before them, as if we wouldn't happily give immortality to /everyone/... well, you've heard it all before, right?"

    Staren leads her forward into the next room.

1. Science Lab
This large room is a curious juxtoposition -- high-tech lighting and computers, with furnishings that look fresh from the middle ages. In addition to various tools for physical measurement and chemical analysis, computers and access ports here allow one to make use of the erchius particle accelerator built into the ship. Equipment from transhuman space is close to the door along the port wall, including a photocopier-sized nanofabber, a healing vat, an ego bridge, and a couple of synths hidden inside storage lockers.
Stairs heading upward and aftward are against the starboard wall, allowing access both to an upper level of the laboratory and to the living area.
The lab is approximately 40x15', with the partial second floor about 7 1/3' up.

    Staren stops by a device fairly close to the door, a stand holding an oblong, person-sized pod in it with some kind of sensor ring that can move along the top part of the pod. "So, just to be clear from the start... I didn't invent any of this. I found a world where people were eager to share knowledge, and accepted it. And the key to using it for resurrection is scanning the brain and digitizing the mind, then writing it back into an organic brain or a robot body or what have you. For aging... well, obviously, robot bodies won't age, but even for organics, regular treatments with nanotechnology" he raps his knuckles on the person-sized tube next to other device, "will keep the body in its physical prime. The genetically engineered bodies they use on that world may not age past maturity, I'm not sure -- since they had this technology, I don't think anyone there has been away from a healing vat or bodyswapping long enough to really put it to the test, but I understand that they can even regenerate limbs, slowly."

    Staren looks from the tube to Mercy and scratches the back of his head. "So, uh... that's the big stuff, I guess. I didn't make it but I want to share it."

Mercy has posed:
     "Death isn't fair to the children that I see in the pediatric ward, nor is it fair to the people who find themselves with a curse of their own bodies creating things they can't work against." Mercy says, soberly. "I'm in my late thirties-" Which is odd, since she looks like she's early twenties at the best- "And I've been doing medical work since I was a teen. It's not... it's not that we're trying to stop them, or..."

     Mercy grasps for the words.

     "It's not that we're trying to stop the cycle, we're just trying to do the best we can. There are people I know that don't want the immortality; but they do want to live healthy lives. Who am I to disagree with what they believe?"

     Mercy follows Staren into the next room, whistling faintly at the supplies and the tubes. She places her hand on one, leaning in faintly to peer at the tube itself. "I don't have stuff like this. I have... nanotechnology, yes. It's very, very, specialized nanotechnology, and only myself and a couple of others-" She frowns- "Know how to utilize it. I'm trying my best to do what I can.... for everyone."

Staren has posed:
    It's not that odd. In a few more years, people may start to notice the same age discrepancy in Staren.

    Staren listens, his ears turning to follow Mercy, nodding at the end of her speech. "Of course... if after living for, say, eighty, ninety, a hundred healthy years, they never get around to deciding 'Okay, I've had enough, I want to die now', well..." He shrugs.

    Then sighs and holds a hand to the side of his head. "Geeze, I make it sound almost sinister. But if we give them lives worth living, why wouldn't they want to keep living them? Still, it's ultimately their choice, as you say."

    Staren begins to pace. "Two things prevent me from just spreading these all over the Multiverse right away... One, that the technology can be misused /terribly/ -- trapping a digitized mind in simulated torture forever is just the tip of the iceberg -- and two, society has some problems accepting it yet."

    He's frowning at those thoughts, staring off into the distance, but then he smiles and looks at her again, scratching the back of his head. "So, what did you want to talk about?"

Mercy has posed:
     Mercy shakes her head. "It's ... religious things, sometimes. Those that believe in reincarnation, and the like - they don't want the immortality, because it ... stops the cycle, so to say. Most of the time, though, those that we can't fix, because they're so far gone into the pain their bodies gave them... that's what hurts."

     Angela tilts her head as he mentions trapping a mind. "I- Tomoe had mentioned something about that. A-- death game? How often do things like that, occur in this ... multiverse? How long do we have until someone uses this technology like this?"

     "How many people don't trust you, due to the tech you have on hands?"

Staren has posed:
    Staren nods. "I suppose it would stop the cycle in places like Creation. But if a soul goes to a new person with no memories or anything of the person it was before, how's it any different in practice from regular death and birth? And then there's afterlives. I guess then it depends on how attached you are to the world. If you're, like, a hermit who doesn't want to interact with anyone still in the living world, hey, why not?"

    Staren starts pacing again. "How often? Hmm... one, two, three... to six I guess, depending on how and what you count, over the past dozen years. Maybe seven with the current state of their world? It's... weird. There's a school on Afterus for people who expect to be in death games one day, but that's got some kind of... time loop prophecy thing going on. I've met some of the students. One was smart enough to accept my help and my tools. She'll make an excellent leader to her group if she ever /does/ get trapped in a death game."

    "How long do we have until this is misused? I mean... it must've, already, on the world it came from. There organized crime does things like intercept transmissions of people across the solar system and put copies to work as slaves while the original is none the wiser. And if a truly /competant/ villain put this to use on a world somewhere, news wouldn't /get out/, would it?"

    Staren stops and taps his chin thoughtfully. "How many distrust me specifically due to this? Maybe one thinks it sounds too creepy? I mean, I'm sure there's conspiracy theorists out there who think all kinds of things, but I can't worry about the opinions of every single person in the Multiverse. They aren't getting out there /doing/ things, are they?"

    Staren shakes his head. "No, most distrust of me is less about the specific technology and more about the whole... manner. Looking to repurpose technology or magic that was used for evil for good ends. Not caring if it 'sounds shady'. And of course, the general idealogical differences the Concord has with others -- I'd rather not let the law hold us back from making lives better, and I'm not eager to tear down mostly-functioning systems with some problems to save some people if it will only hurt others."

Mercy has posed:
     Mercy watches Staren pace around. The blonde's face is tired but thoughtful. She finally takes a seat on the ground next to the tank, her gaze focusing on the tank itself rather than him. At his last comments about the law, she laughs, a little.

     "Aye, I operate outside of the law as 'Mercy'. Angela Zeigler has a perfectly reasonable lawful job at a Swiss hospital." The former Overwatch agent remarks, rubbing the bridge of her nose. "I know, I know- a doctor Paladin, who breaks the law. Funny, isn't it?"

     "I had meant more distrust in general, but... yes, you've confirmed it's basically the same as to what I, Ana.... Moira-" Angela practically spits the last name- "Get when we use our nanotechnology. It's not pretty, bringing someone back to life, but do it we do, and without regard to what others think." Mercy tilts her head back.

     "Damn." She finally says, after a moment of silence from her. "This many worlds and we're still stuck on the basics."

Staren has posed:
    Staren briefly gestures to the chairs a little forwards in the lab.

    "It's not that weird. The Paladins know some laws are no good, and your world's got robot racism something fierce, albeit not entirely unjustified." There's a brief flash of concern over his face as she mentions Overwatch. Crud. The Concord's ended up backing Talon in that fight, so far.

    Staren sighs, and clasps his hands behind his back. "Well... I guess that's human nature. On many worlds death's been inevitable for a million years. Possibly many million. People are going to be slow to accept that can change and we're not just selling snake oil. Plus, accepting us would mean accepting that a whole bunch of people -- more every day -- died for no reason. Human nature. But..."

    Staren smiles as he starts pacing again. "There's some good news! One, the Concord's viability as a faction demonstrates that powerful people are beginning to recognize, if not immortality tech specifically, that we can make progress seeking out technology and magic that 'looks shady' and putting it to our own ends. And two, I've got a plan..."

    Staren stops, then paces more rapidly. "I build a robot dragon. Fearsome, but not actually TOO tough or deadly. Spread the word on some world, that a dragon's got the secret to eternal life. Heroes will come to slay it, and when they do, in its 'lair' they'll find machines with instructions, to help them gather the dead and terminally ill and digitize their minds, bringing them back to a massive server. An afterlife, and one that they can use VR to communicate with any time. And see, it won't be so suspicious when it's hard-earned and not free -- they had to slay a dragon, after all!"

    "As the world's technology advances, and they get used to digital heaven being a thing, 'dead' people still being around and being part of life more and more as technology advances, one day it won't seem too strange to just, not die in the first place, and to let the dead in heaven out in robot bodies or clones or whatever. When they want. People can then go in and out freely, of course..."

    Staren stops and smiles at her for a moment, then his expression falls a bit. "Of course, we're talking a frustratingly long timeframe -- WE may be immortal, but so many more will die while the experiment is being carried out -- and on top of that, there's still all sorts of implementation questions. How to govern digital heaven, for one, to make sure that noone can take control and turn it into hell, nor that an exiled criminal can track down the server and blow it up. And of course, there's the ethical issues of doing this. I've been dragging my feet, hoping answers would become clear to these things, but so far, no..."

    He stops and hangs his head, then looks at her. "What do you think?"

Mercy has posed:
     "It's still weird."

     Mercy looks at the chairs, back at Staren, shrugs. She seems to find something fascinating with the tank and seems disinclined to move from where she's at, even as she leans back, palms on the ground. She watches him thoughtfully give out his plan, one eyebrow lifting when he says 'build a robot dragon', then the second one joins the other at the use of virtual reality. Both eyebrows stay up at least until he asks his question.

     "Medicine is a funny thing. Here, take this herb. Drink this oil. We're going to look at your bones with this machine. Here, take this combinations of herbs and oils. Science is doing it's best to try to get us out of the old ages, but nanotech is still a new thing on my world, much less many others that probably are much less... technologically inclined than mine; or yours."

     See: Ponyville.

     "It could work. But why would people trust whatever the dragon left behind? How many dragons would it take to spread the technology across the world? One dragon in one place means even slower spreading, not to mention how many worlds there are in the multiverse. One world will take-- centuries. Multiple.."

     Mercy shakes her head. "It's a start, but it's not strong enough."

Staren has posed:
    Medicine is a funny thing. "Before I got ahold of this technology and didn't need to see doctors anymore, I trusted them. I mean I still do, I just haven't-- I mean it doesn't matter anymore. Yeah, maybe the workings of how you're healing me are a little strange and esoteric, but I talk about how a robot works and it's the same. If we can't trust anyone to know their stuff..." Staren shrugs. "But, again, human nature works against us. Some people don't trust what they personally don't understand, and you'd think attrition would fix that, but if people couldn't survive and multiply without doctors there wouldn't have been any to become doctors in the first place."

    Staren nods at her assessment. "They'll trust it because they're greedy and hopeful. When you get a magic sword from a dragon hoard, most people go cool, I'm using this now, not taking it to a series of wizards to check it for curses and to check for /hidden/ curses that are designed to be easy to miss. Other than that, I agree entirely. I hope that a better plan will come soon. On the other hand, the longer I wait to start this because I'm hoping for something better... What if it never does?" he shrugs.

    "Do you have any ideas?"

Mercy has posed:
     "Yeah, and most people do trust doctors. Most." Mercy says, biting her bottom lip. "Nature is a funny thing for humans: Most people are generally trustworthy, at least until someone or something does something to wrong them or warp their own perceptions. Some people don't trust stuff they get, and others are 'hey I never get sick why do I need to see a doctor' kind of tough-guy brainset. It's... we've been working on conception for millenia, more than likely."

     "I don't... I don't know. I never thought about those outside of who I could get too on my world, and to be frank, I'm not -- I'm not sure anything I could do on my world would help, since the omnics are making anything robotic hard to trust in the view of the people. Technology is tricky that way..."

     "... but let me help you, in any way I can, for this is something across factions."

Staren has posed:
    "We've been working on conception since before we had intelligence," Staren observes dryly. "That's why people who don't trust doctors manage to exist in the first place."

    Staren tilts his head. "The Omnics are? I thought it was whoever was behind them, using them. Possibly multiple whoevers, since I understand there have been three different attack patterns?"

    Staren nods, and smiles. "Of course! I'll keep you in mind, and you keep me in mind, and we'll see if we can help eachother. Do you have any particular ideas about how to help? Also, you should talk to Kotone Yamakawa about joining Daedalus, it's our little... cross-factional organization for... Perhaps not spreading immortality and resurrection specifically, but this mindset of getting help and information to people regardless of factions and other ideals, without profit."

    He scratches his head. "Ah, it hasn't really been that active lately, but you never know, maybe one day it'll pick up. Plus, we've got interest in a planetary colony and a moonbase! So, you can check those out."

Mercy has posed:
     "It's not that the Omnics themselves are bad-" Mercy hastens to explain- "But after having technology fix itself and create things for war, even though now there are peaceable Omnics who wish for harmony between Omnic and Human - needless to say things are a little bit strained on my world. The war is-- the war is a bad thing. No one knows quite who or what or anything is in regards to them. It's not really..."

     She struggles for words. "The lack of information is frightening."

     A inhale, then a slow exhale. "Kotone Yamakawa - yes, I heard that name before, she's a fellow Paladin. I'll reach out to her." Mercy pushes herself back to her feet, glancing at her watch. "I thank you for the show of technology and the talk, Staren - it's nice to speak to people about these things. I need to get back to work, however."

     She chuckles. "Breaks never long enough on twelve hour shifts."

Staren has posed:
    Staren nods. "You're welcome to talk any time! And you know..." He tilts his head towards the devices against the wall, "A break can be longer in time-accelerated simulspace. It takes 10 minutes to scan your brain and an hour to put you back into it, though. I, uh, I'm not saying come here, I mean, I can have the gear made for you so you can keep it at home, if you want."

Mercy has posed:
     "Oh, please forward me that information and gear- I'd appreciate it. Might mean I'll drink less coffee." Mercy's tone is so very wry.

Staren has posed:
    "Will do!" Staren smiles. "It was nice talking to you, Dr. Ziegler!"

    After a moment, he realizes she doesn't know how to work the teleporter and moves to help her beam back down.