Jun 27, 2019 2:05 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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...rest of the ni Karen got?

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"...I mean, I guess I can replace it for less than that... it's not easy to uninstall... do you care which one, nobody's been interested in the stuff back on that shelf."

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"No. Will it light uninstalled?"

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"No."

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"It's electric - I'm not an electrician -"

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"Electric mean -"

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"Ummm. Zap!"

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...for some reason this delights him and he turns to his wife, chattering excitedly in his own language and jumping up and down and then kisses her.

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Giggle, kiss.

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"Are all the machines things we can learn with enough time? No thing we can't do because we're different?"

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"Uh, I think so, yeah. Unless you're just not smart enough or something I guess? I dunno."

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"Don't think colored hair people smarter."

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Shrug. "I didn't say that, that's just, like, a reason somebody might not be able to, I can't think of any others."

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"Thank you very much." He hands over the money for the light fixture.

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She unscrews it and hands it over.

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And he leaves with Miranda and Karen, translating the whole conversation from his notes.

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"Well, I guess that's informative."

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"Gonna reverse engineer the light?"

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"Yeah of course. And - it's not magic, or at least she didn't think so -"

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"That's interesting. Unless they have previously conquered some other place we've never heard of and she's a purple-dyed local from there and doesn't know what's really up or something elaborate like that."

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"They could have wizards who aren't widely known, sure, but  - the reason we were postulating wizards at all was the tech, right - is your recording thing still transmitting, Timothy, get the Ministry and all the other Ministries to wait on introducing themselves to the new government -"

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"Hopefully none of them have quietly moved on that already, wouldn't necessarily have heard."

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"Yeah - luckily the new government does not make itself that easy to contact -"

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"Complete with shredding what goes in the suggestion box, yep."

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