“Mary, do you have a minute?” Kyle asked leaning into the office of his new project lead.
She looked up from something she’d been working with on her computer. “Um, yeah. What is it?”
“I wanted to run a spell by you, I think it might be a good fit for the chip project.”
She raised her eyebrows slightly. They hadn’t gotten to the assignments before the interruption yesterday, so she was probably surprised he’d shown up with something so soon. Kyle hoped she wouldn’t think he was brown nosing. Failing that, he hoped she’d be impressed by his brown nosing. “Sure, what is it?” She turned back toward her computer. “You have a link?”
“I have a live demo.”
Mary turned back toward him, this time she looked more than just a little surprised. Most of the spells they were likely to use would have been, at best, useless in the middle of an office building. Some of them would have been dangerous. “Here, now, in the office?”
“We were discussing using illusion right before the….” He trailed off. He didn’t really want to complete his sentence, ‘IP Bounty hunters burst into the building and started throwing combat magic around.’ It seemed to fall into the same category as embarrassing behavior at the office Christmas party – best left unmentioned.
“Before the disruption.”
“In that case, let’s see this spell,” Mary smiled. Apparently, if he was coming off as a brown noser it was within acceptable limits.
Kyle nodded then stepped into the hall again and grabbed the gray rolling cart he’d brought with him. It contained equipment from home. The RealDreams autocaster, a light meter, and a very small battery. There was also a magical flow meter he’d pulled from company stores. Mary was a little bemused at the equipment, but she didn’t say anything as he struggled to set it up in her small office. She had one of the coveted office slots in the mostly open and cubical dominated floor plan, but it wasn’t spacious. With two people and the autocaster board things were uncomfortably cramped.
Kyle had put together another half a dozen green light effects the previous night and loaded them into the autocaster. That had a dual purpose, first he’d thought his demo would look better if he could just flip a switch, but second it protected the base spell. He hadn’t patented his approach yet, and he wasn’t going to able to at midnight. Well, actually, he might have. If he’d been willing to summon the Registrar directly. His magical law class had stressed the idea that protecting a spell by getting the Registrar to recognize it was very quick, very certain, and always available. It was also very scary. Kyle had about as much desire to lodge a magical patent through the Registrar as he had to contest a traffic ticket via judicium Dei; he’d go through the normal patent filings and put up with the wait. Besides, it had occurred to him that he might sell licenses to the light spells and leave the spell that had produced them in his pocket as a trade secret.
Thus it was the RealDreams Kyle set up in Mary’s office. He hooked it to the tiny battery routing its power through the flow meter. That was essentially the same as a limiter binding, except the meter had a tiny bit of circuitry in it to set the limiter binding automatically and precisely at progressively lower levels until the outbound flow began to overtake inbound flow. Its tiny digital display reported whatever level it settled on. With the spell basically inactive it it was holding at the default value of 1 Merlin.
Kyle linked the RealDreams, and flipped it to “Environmental Green Screen”, one of the machine’s presets. That program scanned the room with a mundane ir camera then covered anything which didn’t move, and wasn’t recognized as human, in pure green illusion; it was a popular illusion in the movie industry. Mary and Kyle seemed to be floating in a featureless empty green expanse. The transition was sharp enough that Mary grabbed the corner of her desk. As it rattled it seemed to blink into existence. Kyle felt a little vertigo as well, and had to gulp several times. He’d thought the green screen would be a better example of pure light, the necessary ingredient for chip etching, then one of his more theatrical settings, but he decided next time he’d tune the effect to leave the floor visible.
Kyle had to nudge the flow limiters to clear the green illusion wrapping it. When he did so, it to seemed to pop in to existence out of thin air. Its reading had plunged to .001 Merlins. It was a preposterously tiny figure, and Kyle suspected it was only reading that high because the machine couldn’t measure smaller quantities of magic.
“Tada,” he said holding it up and smiling.
“That’s impressive. I had no idea RealDreams was that efficient. You know, I’ll never understand how they failed. I owned stock in the company, but can we still license their spells?” She eyed the meter again, “Actually, is that thing working right? That’s way too low.”
“Yes you can license the spell, but it’s not a RealDreams product this is the spell I mentioned yesterday. The meter is definitely running right.”
Mary made a considering noise, “Well I can see why you said the scale constant wouldn’t be a problem. Even if you’re the only one casting it, it must be in the basement with a base draw like that.”
Kyle grinned. “It wasn’t hyperbole. I can produce light with absolutely no scale constant. I lugged in the board so I could demonstrate that; we just need to cast it a few more times. For that, I’ll need project approval to check out some equipment.”
Mary shrugged, she didn’t look like she believed him but she said, “To rewrite magical physics we can check out some equipment.”