Jun 27, 2019 2:24 AM
in color amentans meet hazel
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Afen is disappointed in the universe. He bounds back and forth across his room explaining why to his wife, his infant granddaughter, the end table, and a reporter flabbergasted by her good luck and cringing silently against the wall in the hopes he won't remember she's there.

"There is no reason to suppose that a species evolving independently of Amentans, with their own evolutionary history and living mammalian species likely related to theirs, would end up looking like us. None. Every explanation every scientist has ventured to the press has been unimaginative and unconvincing retroactive refitting of bad models to baffling data. Aliens shouldn't look like us but with different hair colors. Aliens that are not made out of carbon at all would be unsurprising; aliens with only as much physiological dissimilarity as exists between us and animal species on our planet would be mildly surprising; aliens with opposable thumbs would be truly remarkable. This is not remarkable and biologically enlightening; this is just inconsistent with everything we understand about the universe. It doesn't teach us new things about evolution; it should make us rethink evolution. - don't quote that part, they'll take it out of context."

Reporter nods rapidly.

"All of that said, I've picked up three of the languages and I'm working on building a good machine translator, it's a challenge with as little as they've produced in the way of electronic records. I'm absolutely going there to meet them as soon as the politicians figure out what to do with themselves."

     "Do you have any predictions about that?"

"About politics? Why would I have predictions about politics? They deliberately obscure relevant information, for one thing, and for another it's deathly boring."

     "- I mean, sir, surely you hear from your son about -"

"I have seven children and some of them are very dense indeed but not quite dense enough to try to interest me in politics."

      "I was referring to -"

"I know who you were referring to. If you want a statement from Aitim go bother Aitim."

      "Thank you for your time."

"I did not alter my activities in response to your presence and therefore you can't yet be said to have wasted any of my time though you should go before you do."

...out skitters the reporter.

 

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"Didn't hear anything interesting."

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"Okay. So - who's going to go poke around -"

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"Do we know of them killing anyone who didn't throw rocks at them -"

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"There's a little crater in Lisbon where the palace used to be. Apparently they were shooting at the planes and hit one and the colored-hairs retaliated."

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"Cratering a palace would produce - lots of unrelated casualties - do they not know or not care?"

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"Seems like it would be hard to not know."

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"We may be talking about isolated Antarctica wizards who have never seen a palace and could think they're autonomous artillery."

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"In that case, someone should probably tell 'em - maybe either way someone should tell them, so we have more information."

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"A languages person to incidentally pick up languages information or someone else?"

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"Well, if we're doing that in Portugal it kind of has to be someone with good Portuguese, they'll be confused about how English people even got the news."

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"Muggles do have some international news, although I suppose it might not have gotten around yet."

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"I can go to Portugal and sign up to help build things and ask a colorful-hair alien what happened to my sister who was a servant in the palace and see what we get."

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Miranda squeezes his hand.

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Squeeze.

 

He goes to a place in Portugal where people have been invited to show up and build an airfield. He tries to meander towards the colorful people.

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There are grey-haired people with fancy guns. There are purple-haired people who are showing locals how to build things to their standards and doing some of the work themselves. There is a yellow-haired colorful person who is running around apparently translating.

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What are they speaking among one another -

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A language with very few voiced stops and no R but lots of L. This is mostly discernible among the greys; the purples aren't talking much. The greys eye him warily.

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Those guns might punch through a shield charm. He tries to look unlikely to throw rocks. Asks in Portuguese "excuse me, do you know where the people are who in the palace -"

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One of the greys calls the yellow over. The yellow comes and looks at him attentively.

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Slower. "Excuse me, do you know where all the people are who were in the palace - my sister worked in the kitchens there - lots of people -"

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"I'm sorry, I do not know. This is a build site."

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"Who should I ask?"

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"If you would like to submit a written query we can send that up. If you are willing to wait until I am less busy I can write it for you if you cannot read."

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"I can read. I can't write in your language, does it have to be in your language?"

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"No, we can translate it."

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