Sep 22, 2019 3:12 PM
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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"That sounds like lots of fun but I'm actually not clear on why you'd start there."

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"We need more information, hanging around their operations centers seems like a decent way to get it, the language helps with that. We might at some point want to impersonate them, polyjuiced or just with hair dyed; the language is necessary for that. If we want to take some of them off and ask questions, we can't assume the important ones speak English or any Earth languages."

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Miranda Accios the magic dictionary.

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Minor and Finis can do language lessons!! Finis has some theories on the different color dialects which Minor adopts immediately and which are hard for everyone else to remember!

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Theodore leaves again to go spy on skypeople in their tall building house complex. "I'll wear a wire, you can get more vocab off it. I'm never gonna get fluent enough for impersonation schemes so I don't see how it matters."

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"It might matter if you ever end up eavesdropping without a transmitter but it's probably not that big a deal, yeah."

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Theodore sneaks into skypeople complex behind a skyperson and parks close enough to talking skypeople that his transmitter can transmit.

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There are some purples with some purple babies hanging out chatting! There are greys playing something in the tennis genre! There are yellows practicing English, with a green along for good measure!

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On the other end wizards listen to chatting purples with purple babies.

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"So I said sure they mostly want construction and shopkeepers now but they'll have room for everything soon enough, there's room for proper cities in hundreds of sites across the planet, I said he can work in a shop for now and open a restaurant later -"

"I'd feel weird going out to eat here, it's not clean yet -"

"Are they going to make the natives shower properly at some point once the infrastructure's all up?"

"I hope so. I wear gloves and don't let them behind the counter but once a drunk one lunged at me -"

"It's always men for some reason, have you noticed, I don't think I would have noticed except they have such funny facial hair styles and it's conspicuous."

"I hadn't noticed that actually, but yeah, now you mention it, always men getting too close."

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"Their women barely wear any clothing," Minor mutters on the other end. "Not that I'm judging them but."

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"What does that have to do with anything?"

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"That would be why men are staring or getting weirdly close."

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"That and the drunk part, reportedly."

Purples have changed the subject. "The moon is so big."

"I know, right? There's only one but they make up for it. I heard they think there are total solar eclipses here!"

"Total, like -"

"Like if you wait enough the moon will just go smack dab in front of the sun, bam, no sun, just like a little tiny bit around the edges."

"Wow!"

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"They're kinda sweet. Maybe they can stay even if we make their government fuck off."

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"How'd you pick this assignment, anyway?"

"I like it cloudy, and, y'know, islands are neat. You?"

"Oh, I let them send me anywhere the wife and kids could fit in. My best friend's in, wosscalled, Jong-gwo?"

"China!"

"That's just stupid, it's one thing that we can't pronounce Olvala's real name and have to swap some consonants but where in the fuck did 'China' come from if the people there call it Jong-gwo?"

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"Why is that -"

 

       "Unclear etymology," says Finis regretfully.

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"And apparently in Jong-gwo they're shorter -"

"Worse nutrition or just a phenotype thing? These people phenotype all over the place."

"I don't know, I guess we'll see in a generation when they've had population controls and a decent food supply for long enough. And they all have black hair, that's a phenotype thing, and that eye thing that Nama Peshi has, you know the thing -"

"They all have that?"

"All of them. Phenotyping all over the place."

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" - when they've had population controls? Have they said anything about population controls?"

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" - no."

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One of the babies starts fussing and gets passed to its mom for nursing. "Nama Peshi was so good in Tam Wandering."

"I haven't seen it."

"Well, it's good."

"Yeah - you'd like it, it's the same director as Aftermath -"

"Oooh."

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"The fuck do they mean population controls."

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"We don't have a way to control their topic choices," says Miranda.

"I wonder when Cene's going to get its planet."

"I hope it's not nicer than this one, I'd feel so ripped off -"

"We get a head start."

"Sure, but they get to learn from our colonization experience - they've got those observers prowling around -"

"If theirs is nicer they won't benefit that much from the colonization experience, if they get a nice planet they won't have to build them sewers -"

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"Has anyone noticed observers wandering around - what are they observing for -"

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"Is Cene one of the places we've heard mentioned -"

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