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TS22: Interface

Jove’s alarm came way too early the next morning. He grumbled, stumbling out of bed, and turning it off, silently cursing the idea that putting the alarm on the floor would force him to get up even if he just wanted to turn it off. Then he remembered his alarm clock didn’t work in Atlantis.

Aether was making the noise. Jove opened the book to reveal a note, “Don’t oversleep and miss class.” This was followed by the current time of 9 AM, and an option to turn the alarm off. Jove tapped the off option, and closed Aether, carrying the book into the main room.

“Okay, who set the alarm on my grimoire?”

Both of his roommates looked at him, and Tan said, “We can’t access your grimoire. It’s bound to your magic, it won’t respond to us.”

Somehow, Jove knew this was going to be a long day. He walked past the open practice area and settled into one of the chairs. “Then who did?”

Tan nodded, fiddling with a sizzling skillet that he put down directly on the table in the middle of the seating area. “I figured I could apologize for what Rai did last night. Are egg-sap omelets okay? I was going to add mushrooms and peppers.”

“Sure.” Jove he looked at Aether, “How did you know?” Jove opened his grimoire to check his schedule for the day, but instead wrote “When was alarm set?” on the blank page.

The reply appeared underneath. “Alarm was requested at 2:17 am last night.”

“What time did we end up getting back to bed last night?”

There was a pause, and Chris answered, “2:15. I checked the clock.”

Jove wrote, “Who set the alarm?”

“Jove – Owner,” was the response.

Jove thought back to when he went to bed. He did say something about being concerned about oversleeping, but that was just to the empty room. “Tan, can the grimoires accept spoken commands?”

Tan nodded, “They need an app for it, but yes. Speech is fairly easy for magic to understand.”

“Okay, that’s possible.” Jove wrote, “Is speech command app installed?”

The response came, “No.”

Jove tried a different approach, “How was alarm set?”

“Concern for oversleeping was written, alarm was set in response.”

Jove asked his roommates, “Are commands logged? I mean, if I wrote a command, could I flip to the page where I wrote it?”

Tan answered, “Yes. Commands and responses are logged, like you were using a notebook. You can rearrange them or delete them, but they’re recorded by default.”

Jove wrote another command. “Locate written expression of concern.”

His grimoire replied, “Expression not found.”

Jove gasped in frustration. He wrote, “Then what happened?”

“Unknown.” There was a delay, and underneath the automated response, I asked, “Should I look into possible explanations?”

Jove jotted a Y for yes and closed the book. He put it down and grabbed the plate of breakfast that Tan has just finished. “Maybe it’s just a glitch, but how did it know to set the alarm? It thinks I told it to.”

Tan finished plating the rest of breakfast for himself and Chris. Tan thought, “Maybe you accidentally formed a familiar bond with it.”

“A familiar?” Jove blinked, and looked at his grimoire, “A spirit given physical form that absorbs magical backlash?”

Tan laughed. “No, they only do that in role-playing games. Basically, an extension of your own magic can bond with an item, animal or faerie. It makes them aware of your moods and desires. They’re safe, since they’re basically part of you.” The jaguar pondered, “I thought the grimoires couldn’t be used as familiars though. Something about them being part of a collective and safeguards against hacking. A normal mage would make a single page that was a familiar, and place that into the grimoire. Basically making a familiar with access to the grimoire. Still, a familiar would have shown up separately on your list of maintained spells.”

Aether chimed, indicating that I had finished my research. Jove took a look at my answer, and read it out loud, “Command was given direct to interface enchantment.” He paused, “That sounds like a familiar. Maybe there’s something odd about the way my blood bonds to items?”

Tan pulled a piece of paper with a rune on it from under the table. “Chris and I got you something that might help. It took all my discretionary money for the month, and Hypatia had to get it last night, but I wanted to be sure you got it this week, before you learn too much about your magic.”

Jove took the paper, “What is it?”

“A spell tracker.” Tan smiled, “It keeps a log of every spell you use, checks it against a database of known spells, and identifies the element and any common names. So, if you used magic to tell your grimoire to set an alarm, it will be able to identify what spell you used.”

Jove looked at the paper, his eyes tracing the complicated rune. My words came to his mind again, command was given direct… Jove held the paper in one hand, and his grimoire in the other. He said, “When I added my textbooks to Aether, I used what I thought was the earth method, a rubbing transfer.” He closed his eyes, and attempted to observe the paper, to feel the rune.

Tan sounded nervous, “Jove, what are you doing? I can’t afford another one.”

Jove reached out, and part of him felt the faint resistance of the rune on the page. If he could directly interact with Aether’s command line, perhaps he could also directly interact with the application loader. Jove imagined the rune traveling down his arm, across his chest, and into Aether. The presence of the rune seemed to follow Jove’s will.

He opened his eyes, and noticed the rune was gone and Aether had “Application installed.” written on the page.

Tan just stared. “That’s not possible. I mean, an animus could do that, but he’d just recreate the logging spell from scratch.”

Jove set Aether down on the table, “I’m not a revoker. There’s nothing like that on the list of powers you showed me.” He laughed, not expecting the weight that took off his shoulders. “So, what did I do?”

There was no way a simple familiar bond could account for the installation of an application remotely. I didn’t know the word, so Aether checked the records for direct interaction with magic. Aether chimed, and wrote the answer on the page. The answer also explained Jove’s ability to negate magic.

Everyone was stunned for a moment. Jove definitely had not written the question down. Jove looked at the page, and read my answer out loud.


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